UK HealthCare again top Kentucky hospital in U.S. News & World Report rankings, with four more in the state listed among the best

By Melissa Patrick, Kentucky Health News

Five Kentucky hospitals have been named among the nation’s “Best Regional Hospitals” in the annual ranking by the U.S. News & World Report magazine. 

The No. 1 hospital in Kentucky is the University of Kentucky hospital, followed by St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood-Covington. Tying for third place were Baptist Health LexingtonNorton Hospitals and St. Joseph Hospital-Lexington. 

To make the list, a hospital must:

  • Offer a full range of services;
  • Rank nationally in one of 11 measured specialties, or have seven or more high-performance rankings for procedures and conditions; and
  • Have at least three more “high performing” than “below average” rankings for procedures and conditions.

The report offers an overview of 121 Kentucky hospitals with a breakdown of each of the measured categories, according to the services a hospital provides.

UK HealthCare, for the eighth straight year, ranks No. 1 with its Albert B. Chandler Hospital. It also ranked in the top 50 hospitals for cancer care for the seventh straight year, ranking 44th. Its Markey Cancer Center is Kentucky’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, and one of 72 in the nation.

“Excellence in health care is not merely a title to be held but a relentless pursuit to improve the lives of our patients,” Dr. Robert S. DiPaola, UK’s provost and acting co-executive vice president for health affairs, said in a news release. “To be consistently ranked among the best in the nation requires a commitment to exceptional care, groundbreaking research, innovative education and compassionate service from our faculty, providers and staff across UK HealthCare as we serve Kentucky and beyond.”

The evaluation of the UK hospital includes data from its Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital. The hospital system was also nationally ranked in two other adult specialties: ear, nose and throat and obstetrics and gynecology and three children’s specialties: pediatric cardiology and heart surgery, pediatric orthopedics and pediatric urology. 

It rated high-performing in the adult specialty of gastroenterology and GI surgery, and the following procedures and conditions: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, colon cancer surgery, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, hip replacement, kidney failure, leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, lung cancer surgery, ovarian cancer surgery, pneumonia, stroke, and uterine cancer surgery.

St. Elizabeth ranked high-performing in these procedures and conditions: colon cancer surgery, lung cancer surgery, prostate cancer surgery, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, heart attack, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, diabetes, kidney failure, back surgery (spinal fusion), stroke, ovarian cancer surgery, uterine cancer surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement, COPD, and pneumonia. 

Baptist Health Lexington rated high-performing for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, colon cancer surgery, heart attack, back surgery (spinal fusion), stroke, hip replacement and knee replacement. 

Norton Hospitals (Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital, Norton Healthcare Pavilion and Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital) rated high-performing in prostate cancer surgery, heart attack, aortic valve surgery, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, stroke, maternity care (uncomplicated pregnancy), hip replacement and knee replacement. It ranked below average for hip fractures. 

St. Joseph Hospital-Lexington rated high-performing for colon cancer surgery, heart attack, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, kidney failure, COPD, and pneumonia. 

Data from the report came from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the American Hospital Association, professional organizations and medical specialists. Ratings for procedures and conditions were based entirely on objective quality measures, the news release said.  

The 34th annual rankings compared hospitals in 15 specialties and 21 common procedures and conditions. Nationally, the report named the top 22 hospitals to the national “Honor Roll.”  The top hospitals were not ranked this year, but were instead listed in alphabetical order. Regionally, 494 hospitals were recognized in 49 states and 92 metro areas as “Best Regional Hospitals.” 

Click here for a list of frequently asked questions about how the magazine ranks the hospitals.

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Photo: South facade of the Albert B. Chandler Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. (J654567, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)