Among the elite

UF Health Shands Hospital, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital remain nationally ranked

By Bill Levesque

University of Florida Health Shands Hospital and the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital once again have been ranked among the nation’s best hospitals in six medical specialties each in the U.S. News & World Report surveys of Best Hospitals and Best Children’s Hospitals for 2018-19.

UF Health Shands ranked No. 2 overall among Florida hospitals and ranked highest in Florida in pulmonology and in neurology and neurosurgery. No other Florida hospital has more than six specialties ranked in the nation’s top 50.

And for the fourth year in a row, UF Health Shands ranked in more adult and pediatric specialties than any other hospital in the state — a total of 12, factoring in the pediatric rankings released in June.

UF Health Shands’ highest-ranked specialty nationally is pulmonology at 22nd. Also ranked are nephrology (27th), geriatrics (32nd), neurology and neurosurgery (32nd), diabetes and endocrinology (39th) and gastroenterology and GI surgery (46th).

Four additional specialties are rated as “high performing,” meaning they ranked in the top 10 percent of the hospitals surveyed by U.S. News. Those are cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, orthopaedics and urology.

Pulmonology jumped 12 spots in the rankings, up from last year’s 34th. The division has a highly regarded lung transplant program and was recently designated as a member of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s Care Center Network. Medical centers in the network — the division is one of 60 nationwide — have the highest level of expertise and resources for the treatment of interstitial lung disease.

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, knee replacement, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

“We take great pride in our teams and the unwavering skill and commitment they bring to patient care, and these rankings are a reflection of their dedication,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., interim senior vice president for health affairs, at UF & president of UF Health.

Earlier in the year, the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital ranked among the nation’s elite in the same six specialties as it did a year ago. But UF Health’s pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program moved up two places from last year to 19th nationwide. Additional rankings included pulmonology, which moved up 11 spots from last year to 22nd, a historically high ranking. The other ranked specialties were diabetes and endocrinology (27nd), neonatology (39th), cancer (49th) and neurology and neurosurgery (50th).

The children’s hospital’s pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program was the highest-rated in Florida for the third consecutive year. Also ranked highest in Florida were pulmonology, and diabetes and endocrinology.

“The rankings confirm that UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital continues to be viewed as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country,” said Scott Rivkees, M.D., chair of the UF College of Medicine’s department of pediatrics and physician-in-chief of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.

The “Best Hospitals” rankings are based largely or entirely on objective measures such as risk-adjusted survival and readmission rates, patient volume, patient experience and safety, and quality of nursing, among several metrics, according to U.S. News.

“The physicians, nurses and staff of a great hospital system recognize that the respect of patients is something that can never be taken for granted and must be continually renewed,” said Ed Jimenez, CEO of UF Health Shands. “We’re honored that U.S. News has again recognized our efforts. But we know the job of providing great health care begins anew tomorrow, one patient at a time.”