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U.S. News gives University hospital high ranking

The 10th annual guide to "America's Best Hospitals" in U.S. News and World Report has listed 10 medical specialties of the University's Health System as each being one of the top 50 departments in the nation.

The issue, which came out on newsstands Monday, included two newcomers to the list-cardiology and heart surgery and geriatrics.

"I think this reflects our commitment to patients and the quality of care we deliver," said Dr. Jonathon Truwit, Associate Director of Internal Medicine. "It helps to solidify U.Va.'s position as a leader in health care."

The full list of University departments and divisions ranked in the new guide is: endocrinology (hormonal disorders), 5; cancer, 12; otolarynology (ear, nose and throat), 16; neurology and neurosurgery, 17; urology, 19; gastroenterology (digestive tract), 22; cardiology and heart surgery, 25; pulmonary medicine (respiratory disorders), 28; and gynecology, 30.

This year, U.S. News and World Report ranked the Top 50 hospitals in 12 specialties. These specialties were assessed using a three-part model combining reputation, mortality rate, and a set of other data such as technology and nursing care.

"The reputational component reflects the evaluation by specialists in that area on a national basis, and counts for a lot," said Dr. Michael Thorner, Professor of Internal Medicine.

Thorner said he also felt that the exposure would help the University.

"I hope the hospital and Medical School will receive the appropriate recognition by the public, the Board of Visitors, our patients and also by our students, staff and faculty," Thorner said.

Physicians chosen by U.S. News and World Report name the five hospitals they consider the best in their specialty, regardless of location or expense.

Truwit said the rankings reflect the hard work and care supplied by his co-workers.

"We have worked very hard to excel in patient care, patient access and referring physician communication while excelling in teaching of medical students and residents as well as in the research arena," he said.

To be eligible for a ranking, a hospital first must meet at least one of three standards: membership in the Council of Teaching Hospitals, affiliation with a medical school, or having at least nine items of medical technology from a master list of 17.

The current model for the rankings was created in 1993 at the National Opinion Research Center, a social-science research group at the University of Chicago.

"We're delighted that our departments continue to receive such national recognition," said Dr. Robert Cantrell, vice president and provost for the Medical Center.

"We also feel that many of our departments provide the quality of care exemplified by these listings," Cantrell said. "All of this reaffirms our focus on giving the best possible care to those we serve."

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