No Kentucky hospital made the honor roll of the 17 best facilities in the country as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, but Baptist Health Lexington was deemed the best hospital in state.
In the report released Tuesday — the 26th edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospital rankings — the top five hospitals in Kentucky were listed as:
1. Baptist Health Lexington.
2. St. Elizabeth Edgewood.
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3. (tie) Norton Hospital in Louisville and Baptist Health Louisville
5. University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital.
According to U.S. News, the ranking, which took a year to compile, is based on volume of patients, the number of specialties offered, and safety measures such as infections and whether patients return to the hospital after their original treatment.
How well hospitals care for five common health problems — knee replacement, hip replacement, heart bypass, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD — were ranked for the first time.
Baptist Health Lexington and St. Elizabeth received high marks in four of those five patient care categories; Norton received high ranks in one category and Baptist Health Louisville in three.
Baptist Health Lexington was one of 137 hospitals in the country to be recognized for specialty care, ranking 39th nationally for ear, nose and throat treatment. Baptist Health Lexington had one low rank in all five patient categories, scoring 5 out of 13 for hospital-acquired infections and earning a "significantly worse than expected designation."
But, overall, Baptist Health officials were pleased.
Ruth Ann Childers, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said it was the physicians and nurses who focus on quality that made the hospital No. 1 in Kentucky for the second year in a row.
Steven Hanson, CEO of the Baptist Health network, said in a news release, "Our physicians and staff are constantly working on quality and safety initiatives, not just to keep our scores high, but because it's the right thing to do for the people we serve."
UK ranked "average" in four out of five patient care categories. It was the only hospital in the top five to rank "below average" in any core patient care category. That category was heart failure.
Like Baptist Health, UK ranked "significantly lower than expected" for hospital-acquired infections with a consistent score of 3 out of 13.
UK scored "better than expected" for keeping COPD patients from returning to the hospital within 30 days.
Dr. Bernard Boulanger, chief medical officer, said UK consistently works on patient care and publishes is quality data at UKHealthcare.uky.edu/quality.
U.S. News ranks only top performers.
Lexington's other large hospitals, St. Joseph and St. Joseph East, were unranked overall. Both received average scores for treating COPD and heart failure. St. Joe received an average score for heart bypass. St. Joe East was average in caring for knee replacement and below average for hip replacement.
Because of a small number of patients undergoing the procedure, St. Joe was not ranked for hip and knee replacements, and St. Joe East was not ranked for heart bypass.
Both St. Joseph and St. Joseph East scored a consistent 7 out of 13 or, "as expected," for hospital-acquired infections.
Nationally, the top five honor roll hospitals were Massachusetts General in Boston; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn,; Johns Hopkins, Baltimore; UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles; and Cleveland Clinic.
In a news release, U.S. News & World Report stated that the rankings were designed to help people to make informed decisions about where they receive treatment. More than 5,000 hospitals were reviewed.
The list does not include the lowest-ranking hospitals.