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Bascom Palmer still No. 1 in eyes

No Florida hospitals were ranked in the very top tier in U.S. News & World Report's annual hospital rankings, released this week, but a dozen hospitals in the state fared respectably for certain medical specialties.

The report, which ranks nearly 5,000 hospitals across 10 specialties from cancer treatment to urology, ranked Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., as the best all-around in the country.

Cleveland Clinic came in fourth, followed by the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Two of those top-five hospitals have satellite centers in Florida -- Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and Cleveland Clinic in Weston.

In addition, Johns Hopkins recently inaugurated a pediatric fellowship at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, and Mass General has ongoing affiliations with Lee Memorial in Fort Myers and Holy Cross in Fort Lauderdale.

Death rates, patient safety, and hospital reputation were a few of the factors considered. Only 140 hospitals were nationally ranked in one or more specialties.

Among those were Shands at the University of Florida, Jackson Memorial at the University of Miami, Miami Children's Hospital, Tampa General Hospital, Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida Hospital in Orlando, Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, Mount Sinai Medical School in Miami Beach and Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. 

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami was recognized as No. 1 in opthalmology for the eighth year in a row; it is the only Florida hospital to earn that ranking in any specialty.

Jackson Memorial ranked within the top 40 for the adult specialties of ear, nose & throat, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery and urology.

In pediatrics, Jackson was recognized for its treatment of cancer, cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes & endocrinology, gastroenterology, neonatology, nephrology and urology.

Shands at the University of Florida received high scores in seven adult and six pediatric specialties. The hospital was ranked among the nation's top 40 in cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, pulmonary and urology.

In pediatrics, the hospital was recognized for cardiology & heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology & neurosurgery, and pulmonology.

Rankings from U.S. News & World Report are widely respected, but many experts say the ranking process favors academic hospitals.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.