Four specialties at UNC Hospitals ranked among nation’s best

UNC Hospitals has been ranked in four specialties in U.S. News & World Report's 2010-11 Best Hospitals. This is the 18th year in a row that UNC Hospitals has been ranked in multiple specialties.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Media contact: Tom Hughes, (919) 966-6047,

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – UNC Hospitals has been ranked in four specialties in U.S. News & World Report's 2010-11 Best Hospitals, online at and featured in the August print issue of U.S. News, available on newsstands July 27.

Best Hospitals 2010-11 includes rankings of 152 medical centers nationwide in 16 specialties, including cancer, diabetes and endocrinology, ear, nose, and throat, gastroenterology, geriatrics, gynecology, heart and heart surgery, kidney disorders, neurology and neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, psychiatry, pulmonology, rehabilitation, rheumatology, and urology. Full data is available online for another 1,740 hospitals that qualified for ranking but did not score high enough to be ranked.

“This is the 18th year in a row that multiple specialties at UNC Hospitals have been included in America’s Best Hospitals,” said Dr. William L. Roper, dean of the UNC School of Medicine and chief executive officer of the UNC Health Care System. “Our inclusion in these rankings is a testament to the excellent quality and longstanding consistency of care offered at UNC Hospitals.”

The UNC Hospitals specialties, and their top-50 rankings, are:

  • Cancer, 47
  • Ear, Nose, & Throat, 21
  • Gastroenterology, 27
  • Gynecology, 27

The rankings in 12 of the 16 specialties were driven by hard data such as death rates, procedure volume, and balance of nurses and patients. In the four remaining specialties--ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and rheumatology--hospitals were ranked on reputation alone.

To be considered in any of the 12 data-driven specialties, a hospital first had to meet at least one of four criteria: It had to be a teaching hospital, or be affiliated with a medical school, or have at least 200 beds, or have 100 or more beds and the availability of four or more types of medical technology considered important in a high-quality medical facility, such as a PET/CT scanner and certain precision radiation therapies. 

Next, the hospitals had to meet a volume requirement, individually calculated for each specialty. The required volume was the number of Medicare inpatients from 2006 to 2008 who had various specified procedures and conditions in the specialty. A hospital that fell short could still qualify if it had been nominated by at least one physician in any of the U.S. News Best Hospitals reputational surveys conducted in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

“When the stakes are high, you want the best care you can get for yourself or someone close to you,” said Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. “These hospitals are accustomed to seeing the sickest patients day in and day out.”

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