Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center ranks first: U.S. News & World Report survey

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center ranks as one of the top five American hospitals -- and the best hospital in the western United States for the 21st consecutive year -- according to a U.S. News & World Report survey that reviewed patient-outcomes data, reputation among physicians and other care-related factors.

"We put the patient at the core of everything we do -- that's the ultimate standard," said Dr. David Feinberg, CEO and associate vice chancellor of the UCLA Hospital System. "This is a wonderful tribute to our entire health care team, who provide excellence in patient-centered care. We are grateful to our gifted and dedicated medical and support team throughout the UCLA Health System who go the extra mile every day to save lives and deliver compassionate care to patients in our community and from around the world."

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is also the only hospital in Los Angeles and the Southern California region that appears on the magazine's "Honor Roll." Of the nearly 5,000 hospitals put under the U.S. News microscope for the 2010-11 edition of "Best Hospitals," just 152 managed to be ranked in even a single specialty. The honor roll recognizes the even smaller group of 14 hospitals that received points for demonstrating excellence and ranking at the top or near the top in many specialties.

"Great people are the lifeblood of great institutions, and this honor makes us extraordinarily proud of our dedicated physicians, nurses, researchers and staff," said Dr. A. Eugene Washington, UCLA vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "We congratulate each and every member of the UCLA Health System team for once again helping us earn this hard-won distinction."

Hospitals are ranked in 16 specialties, from cancer and heart disease to neurosurgery and urology. The rankings in 12 of the 16 specialties were driven by hard data such as death rates, procedure volume and care-related factors such as nursing and patient services. In the four other specialties -- ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology -- hospitals were ranked on reputation alone.

To be considered in any of the 12 data-driven specialties, a hospital first had to meet at least one of the following four criteria: It had to be a teaching hospital, be affiliated with a medical school, have at least 200 beds or have 100 or more beds and the availability of four or more types of medical technology considered important in a high-quality medical facility, such as a PET/CT scanner and certain precision radiation therapies.

Next, the hospitals had to meet a volume requirement, individually calculated for each specialty. The required volume was the number of Medicare in-patients from 2006 to 2008 who had various conditions and underwent specified procedures in the specialty. A hospital that fell short could still qualify if it had been nominated by at least one physician in any of the U.S. News "Best Hospitals" reputational surveys conducted in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The magazine put 4,852 U.S. medical centers through an intensive screening process to create the 16 specialty rankings in the 2010-11 edition of the survey, which is now in its 21st year. Full data is available online for the hospitals that qualified for ranking but did not score high enough to be ranked. The rankings can be found online at and will be featured in the August print issue of U.S. News & World Report.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was rated one of the top five hospitals in the nation, along with Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, which ranked first; the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., which was second; Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, which ranked third; and the Cleveland Clinic, which ranked fourth.

The "Best Hospitals" honor roll highlights the medical centers that were ranked at or near the top in at least six specialties. Nationally, UCLA ranked in the top 20 in 15 of the 16 specialty areas. In each of the following specialties, UCLA's national rankings are indicated: cancer at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (10); diabetes and endocrine disorders (5); ear, nose and throat (11); gastroenterology (8); geriatrics (2); gynecology (13); heart and heart surgery (8); kidney disorders (7); neurology and neurosurgery (7); ophthalmology at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute (5); orthopaedics (19); psychiatry at the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA (6); pulmonology (18); rheumatology (6); and urology (4).

Also, for the first time since the U.S. News & World Report rankings were established 21 years ago, Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital was ranked in two of the 16 specialty categories: neurology and neurosurgery (37) and orthopaedics (50).

"When the stakes are high, you want the best care you can get for someone close to you," said U.S. News' health rankings editor Avery Comarow. "These hospitals are accustomed to seeing the sickest patients day in and day out."


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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