KU Hospital, Saint Luke’s Get Top Honors In U.S. News Hospital Rankings

Aug 8, 2017
Originally published on August 8, 2017 7:11 am

Two area hospitals earned spots on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” list.

The University of Kansas Hospital was deemed to be the best hospital in Kansas and in metro Kansas City, while Saint Luke’s was ranked the second best hospital in Missouri, behind Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka was deemed the second best hospital in Kansas, the only other hospital in the state to earn top honors.   

KU Hospital was nationally ranked in eight adult specialties by U.S. News and Saint Luke’s Hospital was nationally ranked in four.

It’s the sixth consecutive year that U.S. News has listed KU Hospital as the best hospital in the state and the 11th straight year the hospital has shown up in its Top 50 rankings of specialties.

Here are the specialties and KU Hospital’s national rankings in those specialties:

  • Urology, No. 17
  • Geriatrics, No. 18
  • Cancer, No. 25
  • Neurology and neurosurgery, No. 26
  • Pulmonology, No. 32
  • Gastroenterology and GI surgery, No. 34
  • Cardiology and heart surgery, No. 36
  • Nephrology, No. 46

Here are the specialties in which Saint Luke’s was ranked:

  • Cardiology and heart surgery, No. 34
  • Neurology and neurosurgery, No. 46
  • Pulmonology, No. 47
  • Gynecology, No. 48

Only 152 hospitals nationwide out of about 4,500 U.S. News surveyed received rankings in at least one of the 16 specialties the publication measured. U.S. News based its rankings on a variety of factors, including risk-adjusted survival and readmission rates, volume, patient experience, patient safety and quality of nursing.

Nationwide, U.S. News assigned its top "Best Hospital" honors to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.: Cleveland Clinic; Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore: Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; and UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco.

While many publications and websites now rank hospitals, U.S. News’ annual rankings are considered to be among the more credible ones because it draws on a wide variety of generally reliable and rigorous data. Using somewhat different data and weightings, a five-star ranking system introduced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last year assigned three stars to KU Hospital, four to Saint Luke’s and five stars, its top rating, to Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

“I think if you look at our performance, a hallmark of our performance as we've transformed the organization has been consistency and sustainability,” said Bob Page, president and CEO of KU Hospital. “And so with those two, I think once again this has been a testament to our ability to not be the one-hit wonder but rather be the organization that year in, year out, is very consistent with its performance.”

Page pointed out that last week, the hospital became the first in the country to achieve certification as a comprehensive cardiac center by The Joint Commission, the body that accredits hospitals nationwide.

“For us, it begins to become a resume of performance instead of a set of accolades,” Page said.

The recognition by The Joint Commission occurred the same day that a former cancer patient sued KU Hospital, alleging she was misdiagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the hospital covered it up.

Shawnee resident Wendy Ann Noon Berner alleged she only learned of the misdiagnosis when a former pathology chief at KU Hospital, Lowell Tilzer, filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the hospital last year. Tilzer contended the hospital had failed to take corrective action after the botched diagnosis. He later dismissed his lawsuit.

In response to Berner’s lawsuit, KU Hospital said in a brief statement that it acted appropriately “with the best interests of our patient in mind.”

Dan Margolies is KCUR’s health editor. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.

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