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Not one Utah hospital lands on the top tier of the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital Rankings released Tuesday. But eight are ranked in the second tier and considered "high-performing."

The 24th annual report ranks hospitals nationwide based on performance in each of 16 medical specialities, including cancer treatment, cardiology and heart surgery, gynecology, neurology, orthopedics and others. About 147 hospitals performed well-enough to earn a national ranking in one or more specialities. Another 591 were ranked "high-performing" in respective states and regional areas.

The rankings are designed to help patients and families find the best sources for high-quality medical care in their communities.

Salt Lake City's LDS Hospital earned a national "best" ranking in 2012-2013 for its gynecology care and was first among Utah hospitals. But in 2013-2014 rankings, the hospital missed being labeled "best" for any speciality and slipped to third among Utah facilities behind its sister-hospital, Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, and the University Hospital, which was second.

Intermountain Healthcare spokesman Jess Gomez on Monday said he had not yet seen the scores behind the rankings and couldn't speak in any detail about the report.

"But we are very proud that Intermountain hospitals are consistently ranked among the best in the nation, and in the state, each year by numerous rankings services," Gomez said.

"This recognition is a tribute to all of our employees and physician partners who strive to provide the highest-quality of patient care possible."

U.S. News health rankings editor Avery Comarow also could not pinpoint a specific reason for the change in the LDS Hospital ranking.

"A hospital might be high-performing in six or eight or 10 specialties one year. But the lower you go, the more scores tend to cluster," Comarow said in an email. "If the hospital's scores were toward the lower part of the range in some number of those specialties, then it is entirely possible that the next year it might be pushed out by other hospitals with improved performance, or drop out on its own if its performance falls off just a little."

Metro and state rankings in the report are based strictly on the number of specialties in which a hospital is nationally ranked and/or high-performing and "it's not surprising to see a fair degree of shift year to year," Comarow said.

The best hospitals are chosen according to a matrix that takes into account such things as nurse staffing levels, patient volume, patient survival, safety data and the availability of clinically proven technologies. That statistical data are drawn from federal health care agencies and professional associations. The results of a physician survey also were considered.

To earn the top spot in the state rankings, Intermountain Medical Center was labeled high-performing, in eight speciality areas, including cardio and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology.

Utah hospital rankings

2 • University Hospital, Salt Lake City

3 • LDS Hospital, Salt Lake City

4 • Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, Provo

5 • (tie). McKay-Dee Hospital Center, Ogden

5 • (tie) St. Mark's Hospital, Salt Lake City

7 • Timpanogos Regional Hospital, Orem

8 • Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George

Source: U.S. News & World Report

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