University of Florida Health Shands Hospital emerged as Florida’s top health center and one of the nation’s elite in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2020-21 Best Hospitals survey, with a remarkable nine medical specialties placing in the nation’s Top 50 — more than any other hospital in the Sunshine State.
Having nine specialties rank among the best in the United States is a feat seldom achieved by the vast majority of the 5,000 hospitals around the nation analyzed in the annual U.S. News report.
“I am extremely proud of everyone in the UF Health family whose compassion, dedication and skill contribute to making UF Health Shands Hospital one of the best in the nation and No. 1 in Florida,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “These rankings are one reflection of how our employees are entirely focused on giving their best every day to meet the needs of our patients.”
The nine specialties ranked among the nation’s Top 50 are urology (17th), ear, nose and throat (25th), cancer (33rd), geriatrics (tied for 33rd), nephrology (33rd), diabetes and endocrinology (34th), pulmonology and lung surgery (tied for 37th), orthopaedics (tied for 45th), and gastroenterology and GI surgery (45th).
Underlining UF Health Shands’ position as the leader in Florida health care, five of those nine specialties were ranked the highest in Florida. They are geriatrics, tied with Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville; nephrology; ear, nose and throat; pulmonology and lung surgery; and urology.
In June, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital was nationally ranked in three specialties, including its pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program (12th), diabetes and endocrinology (22nd) and pulmonology (27th). The combined 12 ranked specialties in the adult and children’s hospitals is the most of any medical system in Florida.
In addition to the nine ranked specialties, neurology and neurosurgery were rated a “high-performing” specialty, which means it ranked in the top 10% of all hospitals scored in that specialty across the United States.
A strong ranking had been expected in pulmonology and lung surgery, where UF Health Shands leaders say the lung transplant program has achieved outstanding patient outcomes that place it among the top echelon of programs in the United States.
It also is the first time since 2008 that orthopaedics was ranked in the Top 50 nationally and the first time since 2009 for ear, nose and throat.
“Patients travel from across Florida and the nation to tap the deep expertise and commitment of our physicians, faculty and staff,” said UF Health Shands CEO Ed Jimenez. “It’s always nice to garner national recognition for innovative and excellent care, but we don’t rest on our laurels. We’re excited about the future and the innovations and advancements our physicians and researchers will continue to make so that UF Health Shands remains the place to go for the finest health care available.”
Urology’s ranking at No. 17 is its highest since the department’s inception in 1958. Li-Ming Su, M.D., chair of the UF College of Medicine’s department of urology, said he is extremely proud and excited for the department and its residency program. He said the department’s superb staff works tirelessly and places patients first.
“Each individual in our department, clinic and operating rooms has contributed to our mission of providing the highest-quality experience for each patient who visits our center at UF Health,” Su said. “We are committed to remaining highly accessibly by providing timely, consistent and superb care for the patients referred to our center by physicians locally, regionally and nationally. To be recognized as a Top 20 urology program in the nation is a testament to the program’s culture of compassion and dedication to excellence that each member of our team lives by. ”
Cancer jumped nine spots from the 2019-20 U.S. News survey, while pulmonology and lung surgery, in addition to urology, both moved up seven places.
“I’m very gratified that the U.S. News survey has recognized how the UF Health Cancer Center has increased its impact though expansion of clinical services, enhanced clinical trials offerings with an emphasis on refractory tumors and a signature program on brain tumors, and augmented community engagement and community-oriented research,” said Jonathan D. Licht, M.D., director of the UF Health Cancer Center.
“We are making real differences in the lives of cancer patients and their families in North Central Florida,” he added. “Our U.S. News ranking is a recognition of our efforts to elevate all aspects of cancer care and research at the University of Florida.”
In the procedures and conditions ratings, UF Health Shands was ranked high performing in seven out of nine areas, up from five last year. They are abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, colon cancer surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement, lung cancer surgery, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
“We all understand the important role we play both in our local community and in the region, and with that comes great responsibility,” said Joseph A. Tyndall, M.D., M.P.H., interim dean of the UF College of Medicine. “I thank our faculty and staff for their unwavering dedication to the best possible care in every patient encounter, from the most routine to the most complex. It is teamwork and this commitment to excellence that brings such national recognition to UF Health’s premier clinical care, education and research programs.”
The Best Hospitals rankings are based on measures such as survival rates, patient safety and specialized staff across 16 adult medical specialties at nearly 5,000 medical centers. U.S. News also analyzed survey responses from thousands of physicians as part of the rankings.
Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville tied with UF Health Shands as the top Florida hospital in 2020-21.