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U.S. News releases "best hospital" list

h-photoU.S. News released its list of "best hospitals" on July 15. Admittedly, the list is intended to reveal the "best of the best" for medical sophistication in a host of speciality areas. Our concern is that it continues to foster the impression that "bigger is better." Out of 4,861 community hospitals in the 2007 AHA database, only 1,859 were eligible for inclusion in the study. Rural hospitals are once again shut out of yet another ranking system. U.S. News also ranked an unique subset of hospitals, the "best children's hospital" list. In a similar fashion, why shouldn't a ranking be made of rural hospitals, using rural relevant indicators? If hospital quality is continually defined in a large, urban context, rural hospitals (Critical Access Hospitals in particular) don't stand a chance to compete in a value-based purchasing environment.

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