SALT LAKE CITY - University of Utah Health Care has been ranked among the nation's top health care providers in U.S. News & World Report for 2010-11. The 21st annual survey of America's Best Hospitals marks University of Utah Health Care's 17th appearance in the report of the finest health care systems in the U.S., which is set to hit newsstands on July 27.
The annual rankings look at 16 medical specialties to list the top 50 hospitals in each area. This year, University of Utah Health Care made the list in two categories: pulmonary, and ear, nose and throat services (ENT). The magazine evaluated 4,852 hospitals and only 152 managed to be ranked in even a single specialty. These numbers place University of Utah Health Care in the top 3 percent of hospitals nationwide.
"It is always gratifying to be ranked among the best, and this recognition truly reflects the hard work and dedication of our physicians and staff," says Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer of University of Utah Health Care and senior vice president for University of Utah Health Sciences. "Our first priority is always to our patients and we continually work to provide them with the best health care through a combination of service, comfort, personal care, and technical excellence."
The rankings were primarily driven by hard data such as patient safety, procedure volume, and patient-to-nurse ratio. To be considered in the data-driven specialties, a hospital first had to meet at least one of four criteria: It had to be a teaching hospital, or be affiliated with a medical school, or 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 inpatients from 2006 to 2008 who had various specified procedures and conditions in the specialty.
"When the stakes are high, you want the best care you can get for yourself or someone close to you," said Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. "These hospitals are accustomed to seeing the sickest patients day in and day out."