Each year before U.S. News releases its annual Best Hospitals rankings, we want to provide hospitals with the opportunity to request a change in the way their name is displayed on the U.S. News site and in the printed Best Hospitals guidebook. As the launch date approaches – this year it's July 15 – we also need to have reliable information on file to get the word out to hospital media contacts that the new rankings are imminent (and if their medical center was ranked, to tell them so in advance).
Accordingly, a primary media contact and one backup at more than 2,200 hospitals – those that met initial eligibility criteria for the current Best Hospitals rankings – should have received an important email yesterday from RTI International, our contractor, about how to update their contact information. (The subject line was "Please Respond – U.S. News Best Hospitals Media Contact Request." It was sent from BestHospitals@rti.org.) Only the two designated individuals got the email. A broader list of recipients will receive embargoed notifications this summer before the rankings are released.
The RTI email included a login and instructions for how to verify or update media relations contact information on a dedicated website. All such changes should be made on the site, not by contacting U.S. News, RTI or other parties directly.
That site is also the only place where hospitals can initiate a name change request, and guidelines for such requests are posted there. All requests are carefully considered by U.S. News editors. We want to honor hospitals' wishes while maintaining stylistic standards, as all journalism organizations do. A change is likely to be approved if the proposed name –
- Does not combine words in unconventional ways, such as WestMain or BestCare. Rather, "West Main" and "Best Care."
- Does not uppercase names or words unless they are abbreviations or known acronyms. Not "CHRISTUS" or "SAINT," for example.
- Does not call a hospital a "Health" or "Health System" unless the name also includes a specific location, such as ABC Health of Middletown.
- Does not include words that are not part of the name, such as "Primary Pediatric Center, a Hospital That Cares About Kids."