Healthgrades has published its annual list of top hospital facilities in the US.(1) The list underscores inequality in the distribution of healthcare in America. Note that this list is based on outcomes in 32 clinical procedures — that his how well patients did in terms of survival and not having to be readmitted.
Healthgrades has three levels of honoring hospitals: Top 50, Top 100 and the Top 250. The last represents 5% of the hospitals in the country.
Now about inequality:
- California has 47 of the top 250 facilities, and 12 of the Top 50.
- Ohio has 24 on the list of 250 and 3 on the Top 50 list.
- Pennsylvania has 22, of which 5 are on the Top 50 list.
- Florida has 18 with 1 in the Top 50.
- Virginia has 16 of which 2 are in the Top 50.
- North Carolina has 15 of which 1 is a Top 50.
- Illinois has 13, with 6 in the Top 50.
- Massachusetts has 12, with 3 in the Top 50.
- Michigan has 10, with 4 in the Top 50.
- Arizona, Maryland and Minnesota each has 9. Three in Minnesota are Top 50. Maryland has 1 Top 50 facility. Arizona has 2.
Those 10 states account for 204 of the top 250 hospitals and 43 of the Top 50 facilities. The remaining 40 states plus the District of Columbia have 46 hospitals between them on the Top 250 list, and 7 of the Top 50.
Some states have none on the Top 250 list: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, District Of Columbia, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and North Dakota.
Eleven states have just 1 hospital on this list, and it’s often not in the largest city in the state: Hawaii (Kailua), Kentucky (Lexington), Louisiana (Marrero), Nevada (Reno), New Mexico (Albuquerque), Oklahoma (OKC), South Dakota (Sioux Falls), Tennessee (Kingsport), Vermont (Burlington), West Virginia (Huntington) and Wyoming (Cheyenne).
For that matter, in my area of New Jersey, the closest hospital network to make the list is Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia (the Jefferson Bucks Hospital in Langhorne, Pennsylvania). We know Jefferson intimately, and the Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience is outstanding, and made the Top 50 list.
The list isn’t perfect. One way for a hospital to manage the numbers is to refer complicated cases to another facility. However, that doesn’t always work. For example, Maine hospitals regularly refer cases to Boston, but no still no Maine facility made the list. Conversely, Thomas Jefferson receives referrals from other hospitals and still made the list.