Among the best

UF Health hospitals earn high marks in annual rankings

By Dan Leveton and Bill Levesque

The University of Florida Health Shands Hospital and UF Health Jacksonville have been listed among the nation’s best in the 2017-18 U.S. News & World Report ranking of U.S. hospitals.

For the third year in a row, UF Health Shands ranked in more adult and pediatric specialties than any other hospital in Florida — a total of 12, factoring in pediatric rankings released earlier this year. The hospital was one of just 152 nationally of the 4,658 evaluated to be ranked in at least one adult specialty.

UF Health Shands’ highest-ranked specialty is nephrology at 25th. Also ranked are diabetes and endocrinology (tied for 31st), geriatrics (42nd), gynecology (35th), neurology and neurosurgery (36th) and pulmonology (tied for 34th). UF Health Shands is the only hospital in Florida ranked in gynecology.

Four specialties — cancer, gastroenterology & GI surgery, orthopedics and urology — were rated as “high performing.” U.S. News also evaluated treatment involving “common procedures and conditions” at UF Health and rated five as “high performing.” Those are abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer surgery.

UF Health Jacksonville was recognized as a “Best Hospital” in northern Florida. Highlighting the organization’s achievements is its ear, nose and throat program, which is ranked 37th. Ear, nose and throat services are provided by physicians of UF Health Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and UF Health Otolaryngology.

UF Health Jacksonville also received high-performing scores in nephrology, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The rankings earned high praise from leaders across both hospitals.

“We are honored U.S. News has once again recognized the high-quality care and commitment that the UF Health Shands team provides to its patients,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “These rankings are a result of the skill, hard work and unwavering dedication of the faculty, staff and students who collaborate every day to ensure patients receive the high level of care and attention they have come to expect from us.”

Russ Armistead, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville, said the rankings demonstrate the high level of care performed daily at the hospital. “This achievement continues to show the services we provide to the citizens of Northeast Florida are among the best not only regionally but now also nationally,” he said.

U.S. News evaluated more than 4,600 medical centers nationwide in 25 specialties, procedures and conditions. The specialty rankings are based on 2,600 metrics centered around patient safety and survival; resources related to patient care, which include the hospital’s volume of patients and nurse staffing; and the hospital’s reputation among specialists for developing and sustaining the delivery of high-quality care for patients with the most challenging conditions or who need difficult procedures.

U.S. News made several changes in 2017-18 to the methodology used in its hospital rankings. The rankings addressed the role socioeconomic factors play in treatment outcomes so hospitals are not penalized if they provide care to poorer, high-risk patients. It also made an adjustment so that hospitals were not penalized if they took on high-risk patients transferred from other facilities, among other changes.

These changes make a comparison to last year’s numbers difficult, said Ed Jimenez, chief executive officer of UF Health Shands. “We are still assessing how the methodology change may have impacted our latest rankings. But we are nonetheless proud to note that UF Health Shands is ranked in more adult and pediatric specialties than any other hospital in Florida.”

Earlier this summer, U.S. News ranked UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital in six medical specialties. Those are pediatric cardiology and heart surgery (21st), diabetes and endocrinology (23rd), pulmonology (33rd), cancer (46th), neonatology (48th) and neurology and neurosurgery (49th).