In June, we told you about Consumer Reports’ list of best hospitals in Illinois, but when it comes to your health, it never hurts to get a second opinion. U.S. News & World Report has released their 2014 list of the top hospitals around the country, and it varies from the Consumer Reports list.

The all-around star hospital in Illinois, according to U.S. News, is Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. It is ranked number one in the state and Chicagoland, and is listed on several national rankings, too. It is ranked number 10 on the national hospital “Honor Roll” for 2014-2015 for overall excellence, based on its 10 high-ranking specialty areas. It also cleared the top 10 in other, more specialized national lists: number 10 for neurology and neurosurgery, number eight for diabetes and endocrinology and number 9 for urology. Other Illinois hospitals also were nationally ranked as top 10 hospitals in specialized fields: Rush University Medical Center was named number six for orthopedics and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago was named number one for rehabilitation. (The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. was most consistently listed as number one in the specialty area lists and was ranked as the number one overall hospital nationally.)

Here are the best hospitals in Illinois, according to U.S. News and World Report (some are tied which is why you see multiple numbers repeated):

Best Hospitals in Illinois

In case you are having issues viewing the image above, here is a plain-text version of the list:

1. Northwestern Memorial Hospital–Chicago

2. Rush University Medical Center–Chicago

3. Advocate Christ Medical Center–Oak Lawn

3. Loyola University Medical Center–Maywood

5. St. Alexius Medical Center–Hoffman Estates

6. University of Chicago Medical Center–Chicago

7. Advocate Lutheran General Hospital–Park Ridge

7. Alexian Brothers Medical Center–Elk Grove Village

9. Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center–Chicago

9. Cadence Health-Central Dupage Hospital–Winfield

9. NorthShore Evanston Hospital–Evanston

The top-ranked hospital in East Central Illinois is Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana (14 in Illinois), the best hospital in Northwestern Illinois is UnityPoint Health-Methodist Hospital in Peoria (20 in Illinois), the best hospital in Southern Illinois is the Good Samaritan Regional Health Center in Mount Vernon (34 in Illinois) and the top-ranked in West Central Illinois is Memorial Medical Center in Springfield (29 in Illinois).

Unlike the Consumer Reports list, the U.S. News rankings list most of Illinois’ top hospitals in the Chicago area. The first hospital to appear on the list that is not in Chicagoland is Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, ranked at number 14 in the state. Some hospitals do overlap high on the best-of lists: Cadence Health-Central Dupage Hospital, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and St. Alexius Medical Center all appear in both rankings. But mostly, hospitals mentioned by one list are not mentioned by the other. 

The U.S. News and World Reports list ranks the best hospitals in the state, while the Consumer Reports list ranked the safest. According to U.S. News, they compiled their list of best-of hospitals:

based mostly on death rates for patients who represent especially challenging cases, on patient safety and on other measures of performance that can be assessed using hard data. An annual reputational survey of physicians, who are asked to name hospitals they consider the best in their specialty for difficult cases, is also factored in.

The hospitals are also rated on number of specialty areas and their reputations. The criteria section of the rankings explanations points out that just because a hospital may be top-ranked overall in a speciality area, they may not be the best hospital for a particular condition within that area.

This list ranked the largest hospitals in the country (with 100 or more beds) or hospitals that were teaching hospitals/affiliated with medical schools. Statistics that informed the rankings came from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ MedPAR data and the American Hospital Association and was based on criteria such as death rates, general patient safety number of patients at any one time and the balance of nurses and patients, reputation among specialists and availability of proven technologies. Patient safety was weighted highest in the rankings.

The report acknowledges that the ranking list is a place to start to gather information about making the right choices for getting the best care. Every patient is different and must consider different factors when choosing a hospital. Taken together, the U.S. News and World Report and Consumer Reports lists might offer an even more comprehensive view than only one of them alone. From the U.S. News report:

Patients have to do their own research. We also appreciate that families have to consider the stress and expense of traveling to another city, as well as the willingness of an insurer to pay for care at a hospital outside its network.

Children’s hospitals were ranked separately as there are far fewer in the nation. The Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago was listed as the top children’s hospital in Illinois.

NEXT ARTICLE: Ouch! What are the safest hospitals in Illinois?

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