The Johns Hopkins Hospital has been ranked the nation's best hospital for the fifth consecutive year in U.S. News & World Report's annual survey of medical centers. The magazine has been rating hospitals for only six years.
Besides receiving top honors overall, Hopkins was rated best in four specialties: ophthalmology, gynecology, urology and otolaryngology -- the field involving disorders of the ear, nose and throat.
Additionally, it ranked second in AIDS, rheumatology, gastroenterology and neurology. The hospital was among the best in 15 of 16 specialties examined by the national news magazine.
In a congratulatory letter to his staff, Hopkins Hospital President James A. Block said: "This 'Honor Roll' ranking is a wonderful affirmation by our peers around the nation of the work that you do on behalf of the people who matter most -- our patients."
The ratings, which will appear in the magazine next week, were determined with the help of the National Opinion Research Center, a research firm that polled 2,400 physicians representing various specialties and all geographic regions. The independent firm is located at the University of Chicago.
Using a mathematical model, U.S. News combined the results of the "reputational survey" with more objective measures of hospital quality. These include death rates, technological sophistication, the percentage of doctors certified by specialty organizations and nurse-to-bed ratios.
In some ways, Hopkins received even higher consideration than it did last year, when it earned a top rating in only one specialty -- gynecology -- while rating best overall. This year, three more specialties merited the highest rating.
"I'm delighted that our department has been recognized as No. 1," said Dr. Charles W. Cummings, chairman of the department of otolaryngology. "I think that is actually due to the superb faculty that we have, and also to the traditions that have been established in the past."
He added, "I think we have to regard this as a nice thing to happen, but this doesn't mean that there aren't a number of other superb programs in the country. It's nice to be singled out as No. 1 as long as we recognize there are many others that are very good and equal, I would say, to us."
Dr. Cummings said the department is considered premier in lTC several different areas. These include otology, the study of the ear, as well as otoneurology, the study of dizziness and nerve-related hearing loss. It has also distinguished itself in the management of head and neck tumors.
Hopkins is inviting its employees to gather for a celebration next Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. on the lawn in front of the Broadway entrance.
BEST MEDICAL CENTERS
The nation's top medical centers, according to U.S. News & World Report's 1995 survey:
1. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore
2. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
3. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
4. UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
5. Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.
6. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland
7. University of California San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco
8. Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston
9. University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
10. Barnes Hospital, St. Louis, and University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle (tie)
12. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, and Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, Calif. (tie)
14. New York University Medical Center, New York, and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City (tie)
16. University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor
17. New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center, New York
18. University of Chicago Hospitals