Ron Hytoff, Tampa General President and CEO
Tampa General Specialties Recognized among America's Best
Tampa General Hospital, the primary teaching hospital for the University of South Florida (USF) College of Medicine, had reason to celebrate this summer.
U.S. News & World Report ranked it among the nation's Top 50 hospitals in seven medical specialties in its 2009-10 publication of America's Best Hospitals. The seven medical specialties include diabetes and endocrine disorders, geriatric care, gynecology, heart and heart surgery, kidney disorders, orthopedics, and urology. Of those seven, five benefit from the leadership of USF faculty.
This year marks the first time the hospital has earned Top 50 recognition for geriatric care. Last year, Tampa General was recognized for endocrinology. Orthopedics made the list for the fifth consecutive year.
In Good Company
Other Tampa Bay hospitals making the U.S. News & World Report making America's Best Hospital list in addition to Tampa General include Moffitt Cancer Center and All Children's Hospital. All three hospitals are USF hospital partners. Moffitt ranked 16th among the nation's top cancer centers; All Children's ranked 22nd in urology among the nation's best children's hospitals.
"America's Best Hospitals, an annual ranking of the country's elite medical centers, is a tool for patients
who need medical sophistication most facilities cannot offer," said Avery Comarow, health rankings editor for U.S. News
. "Unlike other rankings and ratings that grade hospitals on how well they execute routine procedures like outpatient hernia repair, or manage common conditions like low-grade heart failure, the U.S. News
approach looks at how well a hospital handles complex and demanding situations—replacing an 85-year-old man's heart valve, diagnosing and treating a spinal tumor, and dealing with inflammatory bowel disease
, to name three examples."
Ron Hytoff, president and CEO of Tampa General, said the recognition reflects the solid partnerships with the USF College of Medicine and community medical providers collaborating with hospital staff. "Great things happen when medical care is provided through a team effort," he said.
Stephen K. Klasko, MD, CEO of USF Health and Dean of the USF College of Medicine, said the ranking "is not surprising to us. We already know about the stellar care that our faculty members provide. But we do like to see them getting national recognition for their hard work. We're proud to see them counted among the country's best."
Of particular note, Tampa General rose from a 27th ranking last year to 22nd in gynecology, making it one of the top programs in the South. At the hospital, USF associate professor James Mayer, MD, is the chief of the obstetrics and gynecology division, Klasko pointed out.
"Part of the explanation for that improvement is from our partnership's visionary commitment to a robotic surgery program with an emphasis on advanced gynecologic and urologic robotic surgery," he said. "That program has been implemented, in large part, by USF surgeons."
In the other specialties, Tampa General ranked 32nd in diabetes and endocrine disorders; 47th in geriatric care; 34th in heart and heart surgery; 37th in kidney disorders; 27th in orthopedics, and 29th in urology.
"In nephrology, the division chief is Dr. Stephen Rifkin, associate professor in medicine," said Klasko. "That ranking went up from 39th last year."
Klasko gave a nod to Vincent Perron, MD, assistant professor, for his work in geriatrics. Perron is vice chief of Tampa General's internal medicine division and medical director of Tampa General's palliative care services.
"The diabetes and endocrine disorders category, which increased from 39th last year, crosses many specialties," said Klasko. "Among those who should be recognized are Dr. Anthony Morrison, professor of internal medicine and director of USF's division of endocrinology and metabolism, and Dr. Charles Edwards, assistant professor and chief of Tampa General's internal medicine division."
In orthopedics, Tampa General's division chief, Roy Sanders, MD, is a clinical affiliate professor at USF.
To determine the Best Hospitals rankings, U.S. News evaluated 4,861 hospitals nationwide in 16 specialties: cancer; diabetes & endocrine disorders; digestive disorders; ear, nose, and throat; geriatric care; gynecology; heart and heart surgery; kidney disorders; neurology and neurosurgery; ophthalmology; orthopedics; psychiatry; rehabilitation; respiratory disorders; rheumatology; and urology. Less than one-third of those evaluated qualified for rankings. Tampa General was recognized along with 174 medical centers across the country.
The rankings in 12 of the 16 specialties—all but ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and rheumatology—are predominantly driven by hard data. There are four components: reputation (which counts as one-third of the score), death rate, care-related factors such as nursing and patient services, and (new this year) patient safety. In these 12 specialties, hospitals must pass through several "gates" to be considered a Best Hospital.
The first gate determines whether a hospital is eligible by requiring it to be either a teaching hospital, have at least 200 beds, or have at least 100 beds, plus at least four of eight key medical technologies, such as current-generation CT scanners and precision radiation therapy.
The second gate determines whether a hospital is eligible for a particular specialty ranking. The hospital had to either have at least a specified volume of certain procedures and conditions over three years, or been nominated by at least one physician in the last three years of the annual specialist survey.
The third gate determines whether a hospital grades highly enough to be ranked, based on its reputation, death rate, patient safety, and factors like nurse staffing and technology.
In the four other specialties—ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and rheumatology—ranking is based solely on nominations from the three most recent physician surveys.
"When the stakes are high, you want the best care you can get for someone close to you," said Comarow. "These are hospitals that are used to getting the sickest patients."