It came as a shock to some health care insiders last year when Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston dethroned long-reigning champion Johns Hopkins Hospital from the No. 1 spot on the Honor Roll of the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. But humbled Hopkins bounced back this year, surging past Mass General to reclaim the top ranking. The Baltimore hospital, which on average admits more than 100 patients a day and performs some 150 daily surgeries, ranked among the top 10 institutions nationwide in every single medical specialty that U.S. News factors into its rankings.
[Photos: The Honor Roll of Best Hospitals]
While Baltimore and Boston can each lay claim to a superstar hospital or two, several other cities have many more choices when it comes to medical centers that can provide world-class health care. Here are the five cities that are home to the greatest number of the top hospitals in the United States.
1. New York.
No metro area can top New York City, with two hospitals on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll and 55 U.S. News-ranked hospitals within its metro area, which extends into New Jersey and Connecticut. New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell is ranked among America's best in 15 of 16 medical specialties, including cardiology & heart surgery, neurology & neurosurgery and psychiatry — and NYU Langone Medical Center takes top honors in 12 specialties. Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey scored third place city-wide, up from fourth last year. Hospitals that trailed those three in the New York metro rankings still found ways to stand out: The Hospital for Special Surgery, for example, ranked above all other hospitals in the nation for orthopedics, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center ranked No. 2 nationwide in cancer (both are in Manhattan).
Chicago is a close second, with 36 ranked hospitals this year. Northwestern Memorial Hospital ranked in 12 specialties, including diabetes & endocrinology and urology. Rush University Medical Center ranked in 9 specialties, Advocate Christ Medical Center, in Oak Lawn, Ill., ranked in cardiology & heart surgery and geriatrics, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago ranked No. 1 in the nation in rehabilitation.
3. Los Angeles.
The City of Angeles had 32 medical centers on the U.S. News list, including UCLA Medical Center (ranked in 15 specialties), Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (ranked in 12 specialties) and Keck Hospital of USC (ranked in 4 specialties). UCLA also landed a coveted slot at No. 5 on the nationwide Honor Roll, and it ranked among the top five hospitals in the country in geriatrics, ophthalmology and urology.
Despite its image as an economically down-and-out city, Detroit has much to offer if you're in need of serious medical care. That's because greater Detroit, which encompasses the university town -- and the university hospital — of Ann Arbor, Mich., has no fewer than 25 medical centers that made the U.S. News rankings this year. Detroit's top institutions are University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, in Ann Arbor, which ranked in 12 specialties, and Beaumont Hospital, in Royal Oak, Mich., which earned top honors in seven. Harper University Hospital, in Detroit proper, ranked in neurology & neurosurgery and pulmonology.
With 21 ranked hospitals, Washington, D.C., is the only other metro area to surpass the 20 mark. The best hospitals in the area, which covers parts of Virginia and Maryland, include Inova Fairfax Hospital, in Falls Church, Va., which is nationally ranked in gynecology and recognized as high-performing in 11 other specialties. MedStar Washington Hospital Center, which ranked in cardiology & heart surgery and is high-performing in eight specialties, and MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, which ranked 11th in the nation in rehab, are also stars of the medical community here. In addition, the capital region is home to Children's National Medical Center, which U.S. News ranks among the nation's Best Children's Hospitals.
[See Photos: America's 10 Best Children's Hospitals]
While these five big cities may have more than their share of great medical centers, an interactive map quickly reveals the top hospitals are scattered far and wide. For any patient, that's good news.