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And the best hospital in the West is ... [Updated 1:15 p.m. July 22]

July 17, 2009 | 12:20 pm

Which local hospital ranked higher than such esteemed institutions as Massachusetts General Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic in the latest national rankings compiled by U.S. News and World Report?

That would be the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, which came in at No. 3 on the prestigious honor roll, released this week.

Ucla The magazine assessed 4,861 hospitals in 16 specialties, from cancer to urology. Only 174 hospitals were ranked in the top 50 in at least one of the specialty areas; among them, 21 made the “honor roll” by earning high rankings in six or more specialties. Each of the top three hospitals were ranked in 15 out of 16 categories.

UCLA earned top 10 rankings in 12 specialty areas -- diabetes and endocrine disorders; digestive disorders; ear, nose and throat; geriatric care; gynecology; heart and heart surgery; kidney disorders; neurology and neurosurgery; ophthalmology; psychiatry; rheumatology; and urology. It was also ranked 11th in cancer, 13th in orthopedics and 17th in respiratory disorders.

Rankings in each specialty area were determined by a mix of mortality index, defined as “a hospital's ability to keep patients alive” (32.5%); reputation, as assessed by 200 randomly chosen physicians (32.5%); other care-related factors, such as nurse staffing and use of technology (30%); and patient safety (5%).

Overall top honors went to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, followed by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Other California hospitals on the honor roll were UC San Francisco Medical Center (No. 7) and Stanford Hospital and Clinics (No. 15).

Among other Southern California hospitals:

  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles was ranked 10th for digestive disorders, 15th for heart and heart surgery, 15th for neurology and neurosurgery, 19th for diabetes, 20th for kidney disorders, 26th in orthopedics, 29th in respiratory disorders, 33rd in geriatrics, 38th in urology, 44th for cancer and 49th for gynecology.
  • UC San Diego Medical Center was ranked 14th for respiratory disorders, 20th for psychiatry, 21stfor rheumatology, 39th for urology, 43rd for kidney disorders and 47th in cancer.
  • USC’s Doheny Eye Institute ranked 8th for ophthalmology, 30th in gynecology, 45th in neurology and neurosurgery and 48th in cancer.
  • UC Irvine Medical Center was ranked 18th for urology and 29th for gynecology.
  • City of Hope in Duarte was ranked 22nd for cancer and 36th in urology.
  • Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey was ranked 18th in rehabilitation.
  • Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego was ranked 38th in respiratory disorders.
  • Long Beach Memorial Medical Center was ranked 44th in orthopedics.
  • St. Joseph Hospital in Orange was ranked 46th in orthopedics.

-- Karen Kaplan

[Updated 1:15 p.m. July 22]: An earlier version of this post contained incorrect rankings for several Southern California hospitals. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is not ranked in ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation or rheumatology. Desert Regional Center was not ranked in ophthalmology. Casa Colina Hospital for Rehabilitation was not ranked in rehabilitation. Loma Linda University Medical Center was not ranked in ophthalmology. Del Amo Hospital was not ranked in psychiatry. Huntington Memorial Hospital was not ranked in rheumatology.

Photo: Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is the best in the West.
Photo credit: Ann Johansson/Getty Images