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CONTACT: MIKE SONDERGARD
8 John Pappajohn Pavilion
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 356-7123
e-mail: michael-sondergard@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

UIHC specialties rank high in "America's Best Hospitals" list

IOWA CITY, Iowa--Twelve specialty services at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics rank among the nation's best in U.S. News & World Report's 1998 annual guide to "America's Best Hospitals."

Leading the way was otolaryngology, which moved up to second nationally after ranking third in 1997. Two other UI specialties -- ophthalmology (6th) and orthopaedics (8th) -- made the "top ten" list. It marked the ninth consecutive year that UIHC earned high rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

R. Edward Howell, UIHC director and chief executive officer, said the comprehensive, across-the-board rankings for various medical specialties underscore the overall high quality of health care provided at the UIHC.

"This recognition should be of extreme special interest to our staff and our patients," Howell said. "The consistently high ranking of a broad spectrum of our medical specialties reflects directly on the expertise and dedication of our staff in serving patients. It is another confirmation of the comprehensive, high quality health care services available to our patients without having to leave the state and travel long distances."

The UIHC ranked 15th overall nationally in 1997 rankings in which 16 hospitals were listed on the "honor roll." This year the honor roll includes only 14 hospitals.

"While we didn't make the honor roll again this year, we continue to be recognized among 'America's Best Hospitals,'"Howell said. "In fact, because our ranking of many medical specialties remained virtually unchanged from last year, we're confident that the UIHC's overall ranking is virtually unchanged from last year."

Nevertheless, Howell said, the UIHC's goals remain high. "We are not, and should not be, satisfied with anything other than a top ranking at every level," he said.

In the new rankings published in the July 27 issue, 12 UIHC health care specialties received recognition for excellence. They are:

    • otolaryngology, ranked second (up from third);
    • ophthalmology, ranked sixth (same as last year);
    • orthopaedics, ranked eighth (down from seventh);
    • neurology and neurosurgery, ranked 13th (same as last year);
    • pulmonary, ranked 12th (up from 15th);
    • endocrinology, ranked 18th (down from 17th);
    • urology, ranked 19th (down from 18th);
    • rheumatology, ranked 22nd (up from 25th);
    • gastroenterology, ranked 25th (down from 21st);
    • geriatrics, ranked 27th (down from 19th);
    • cancer, ranked 34th (down from 19th);
    • AIDS (discontinued as a ranking, though UIHC ranked 24th in 1997);
    • gynecology, ranked 35th, (down from 26th)

Howell said the UIHC's reputation is based not only on the high quality of its clinical services, but also its commitment to teaching and research. "We serve as a comprehensive resource to all Iowans, in partnership with hospitals and physicians from throughout the state," he said. "That's our mission, and we remain committed to it."

Howell also praised the UIHC's faculty and staff for its commitment and dedication to excellence. "This continued recognition speaks volumes about the quality of our staff, and the strong support we receive from our university and state leaders."

U.S. News & World Report's rankings are the product of a rigorously conceived methodology in which each hospital is assigned a score, called the U.S. News Index, based on three equal components--reputation with board-certified specialists, predicted mortality, and various medical information.

In all, 1,985 of the nation's 6,400 hospitals met at least one of three initial requirements for consideration: affiliation with a medical school, membership in the Council of Teaching Hospitals of the Associate of American Medical Colleges, or having a minimum of nine out of 17 key technologies readily available. The final rankings include 132 hospitals.

7/17/98