Robb Murray, The Free Press, Mankato, Minn. –
MANKATO — Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato has been named a top regional hospital by U.S. News and World Report.
The magazine has been ranking metropolitan-area hospitals for 20 years, but this is the first year they’ve ranked hospitals in rural non-metropolitan areas.
Mankato’s hospital is one of six in the state to be on U.S. News’ list of Best Regional Hospitals, and one of only two in its so-called “southern region” (the other is the Mayo Clinic in Rochester).
Kevin Burns, regional director of public affairs at Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, said the rankings were compiled based on publicly available data, and that the hospital was not asked to submit additional data.
“We were not even aware of us being under consideration,” Burns said. “The first we heard about it was when U.S. News and World Report informed us this week. That speaks positively to the integrity and credibility and consistency of how these hospitals are looked at are listed.”
The Mankato hospital is one of 247 in the nation to make the list. To do so, it had to have met criteria in 16 different specialties and be shown to be “high performing” in one of them. Burns said the Mankato hospital met that higher standard in two areas: orthopedics and urology.
In addition to that, physicians’ responses to a national survey, in which specialists are asked to name hospitals they consider best in their specialty for the toughest cases, also are factored in.
Mayo Clinic has been included in U.S. News’ annual list of “Best Hospitals” for 22 years. Hospitals included in the Honor Roll, such as Mayo Clinic, are part of a small group recognized for “breadth of excellence,” according to the magazine.
But how important are the rankings?
Burns said they are significant, but they’re not the most important factor.
“Clearly, we’re very pleased, and it’s an honor to be included. But we do not base our care and how we treat patients and their families based on a magazine ranking,” Burns said. “Feedback from patients still trumps everything.”
But a ranking such as this helps, he said.
“Patients are relying more and more on external sources to help them make choices,” Burns said. “The most powerful form of marketing is word of mouth. If a neighbor or someone at church has had a positive experience — or a negative one — that’s important information for (a consumer) to have.”