Baystate Medical Center Recognized As a ‘High-performing Hospital’

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Medical Center is recognized as the top hospital outside of Boston based on the most high-performing specialties, according to the latest edition of the U.S. News Media & World Reports 2011-12 Best Hospitals rankings.

The rankings, annually published by U.S. News for the past 22 years, listed Baystate Medical Center as “high-performing” in the following specialties: cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, orthopedics, pulmonology, urology, and ear, nose, and throat.

The latest rankings showcase 720 hospitals out of about 5,000 hospitals nationwide. Each is ranked among the country’s top hospitals in at least one medical specialty and/or ranked among the best hospitals in its metro area.

“We are proud to be recognized by U.S. News and World Report for the quality of care we provide to patients right here in Western Mass. Baystate Medical Center has invested significantly in our quality and safety programs, and we are gratified by this recognition,” said Dr. Evan Benjamin, senior vice president of Healthcare Quality at Baystate Medical Center.

The core mission of Best Hospitals is to help guide patients who need an especially high level of care because of a difficult surgery, a challenging condition, or added risk because of other health problems, to referral hospitals like Baystate Medical Center.

“These referral centers are where others hospitals send their sickest patients,” said Avery Comarow, U.S. News Health Rankings Editor. “Hospitals like these are ones you or those close to you should consider when the stakes are high.”

Covering 94 metro areas in the U.S., the regional hospital rankings complement the national rankings by including hospitals with solid performance nearly at the level of nationally ranked institutions. The regional rankings are aimed primarily at consumers whose care may not demand the special expertise found only at a nationally ranked Best Hospital or who may not be willing or able to travel long distances for medical care. The U.S. News metro rankings give many such patients and their families more options of hospitals within their community and in the health-insurance network.

Comarow said the hospitals described are what he calls “high performers,” which includes Baystate Medical Center. “They are fully capable of giving most patients first-rate care, even if they have serious conditions or need demanding procedures,” he explained.

Hard numbers stand behind the rankings in most specialties — death rates, patient safety, procedure volume, and other objective data. Response to a national survey, in which physicians were asked to name hospitals they consider best in their specialty for the toughest cases, also were factored in.

The rankings cover 16 medical specialties and all 94 metro areas that have at least 500,000 residents and at least one hospital that performed well enough to be ranked.

The rankings are also featured in the U.S. News Best Hospitals guidebook, which went on sale Aug. 30.

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