We published an advance look in March at the upcoming expansion of the Best Hospitals regional offerings, which will incorporate statewide rankings of hospitals. Now, with Best Hospitals 2012-13 slated for release July 17, we can provide more details.
Last year we introduced rankings in major metropolitan areas. Hospitals nationally ranked in one or more specialties were also ranked in their respective metro areas, for the first time giving consumers a way to compare these hospitals to neighboring institutions. Also ranked in the metro areas are "high-performing" hospitals—those that aren't nationally ranked but perform nearly as well as their nationally ranked brethren in at least one specialty. Including high-performing hospitals in our metro rankings highlighted significantly more options for tens of millions of patients who live in or near a major city and who don't necessarily need a nationally ranked hospital to address their medical needs.
This year we are applying the same principle--and the same ranking methodology--across entire states, in order to serve patients whether or not they live in a major metropolis. We will release the state rankings, along with the rest of the rankings, on July 17. We will publish rankings in states with two or more nationally ranked or high-performing hospitals, as long as at least one is either nationally ranked in at least one specialty or high-performing in at least four specialties.
Metro Area Rankings
We will again publish metro rankings as well, though only in metro areas with at least 1 million residents and at least two hospitals that meet the criteria just mentioned for state rankings.
Smaller metro areas will not feature rankings. These cities are generally embedded within larger regional healthcare markets, where residents may be well served to consider high-performing hospitals throughout the entire region.
Regional Hospital Lists (not ranked)
We have defined some 200 regions, such as Maryland's Eastern Shore and Michigan's Upper Peninsula, that represent such regional markets. All nationally ranked and high-performing hospitals will be recognized as Best Regional Hospitals within their respective region. Many of these regions have cities and towns of small or moderate size and as a consequence may have few if any hospitals that meet the standards for being ranked. Moreover, some readers may interpret the boundaries of a region differently than our editors have determined. Because of these factors, we will not publish rankings in these regions.