July 19, 2004

Hospital programs ranked by
"U.S. News"


By Cindy Sanders

Emory Hospital has again earned a Top 10 ranking in heart and heart surgery from U.S. News & World Report , making the 14th time since the magazine began ranking hospitals in 1990 that Emory's internationally renowned program has been named among the nation's elite. This year Emory's cardiology program finished 8th and was the only heart program in Georgia to make the magazine's Top 50 in that specialty.

Emory programs in ophthalmology (17th), psychiatry (18th), kidney disease (21st), geriatrics (27th), urology (40th) and gynecology (40th) also were included in the magazine's rankings of 17 specialties. As with heart surgery, Emory had the only programs in Georgia ranked among the Top 50 in each of those specialties.

Overall, Emory qualifies as one of 177 hospitals in the country named this year in even one of U.S. News' Top 50 specialty rankings. The magazine screens for hospitals that are among the nation's most advanced in performing large volumes of difficult procedures, offering new treatments and utilizing new technology.

"We feel honored to receive this recognition of the superb care that Emory offers patients across a very wide spectrum of diseases and conditions," said Robert Bachman, Emory Hospital chief operating officer. "Patients have a right to expect the best available technology and medical expertise when they seek care from a hospital, and that is what we strive to deliver every day."

Bachman noted that the recognition for Emory's Heart Center, which has multiple venues within Emory Healthcare, "reflects the world-class medical and scientific staff that has helped to develop many of the latest tools, techniques and procedures that are used today in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease."

Hospitals and medical centers make the rankings for several reasons, according to U.S. News. Their doctors perform large numbers of complicated and risky procedures, and studies show that practice counts. They also tend to adhere more stringently to advanced treatment guidelines, to incorporate new findings into patient care and to conduct research that gives desperately ill patients additional options.

To be considered for this year's rankings, a hospital had to satisfy at least one of three requirements: membership in the Council of Teaching Hospitals, medical school affiliation or availability of at least nine out of 17 key technology-related services (such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET)). Mortality ratio--the measure of a hospital's ability to keep patients alive--and other care-related factors such as nurse-to-bed ratios also are important.

Ophthalmology, pediatrics, psychiatry, rehabilitation and rheumatology are ranked only by their reputation among board-certified specialists, based on a survey of 150 randomly selected physicians asked to name the top five programs in each specialty.

"The criteria used in selecting a best hospital underscore what is important to Emory Healthcare and what we believe is important to our patients," said John Fox, president and CEO of Emory Healthcare. "Although Emory Hospital is singled out for mention because U.S. News ranks single hospitals rather than integrated health systems, the same principles and quality of care--and many of the same individual specialists--are reflected throughout Emory Healthcare. We note in particular that the Emory Heart Center is actually a systemwide center, and Crawford Long Hospital in Midtown delivers fully equivalent care to that offered by Emory Hospital."