2+ decades later: 50 best cancer hospitals in 2000 and 2021

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Houston-based University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been named the No.1 cancer hospital in the U.S. for 2021, according to U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News & World Report's list of best 50 hospitals for adult cancer has varied greatly over the past 20-plus years. 

Though the rankings have always focused on a patient population in need of complex care, the methodology has evolved over the years. Before 2009, mortality was the sole outcome measure in the analysis. More recent rankings factor several other patient safety indicators, including pressure ulcers and postoperative respiratory failure. For the 2021 ranking, listed hospitals had to treat at least 197 Medicare inpatients in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to be eligible.

The below comparison of rankings does not provide a comprehensive picture of where hospitals ranked year over year, but it does present some interesting observations and reminders of how much has changed over time.

Some things to note:

  • The rankings from 2000 were calculated before U.S. News & World Report recognized National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center as an indicator of hospital structure. ("Structure" refers to hospital resources related to patient care, such as nurse staffing, availability of certain technologies and recognition from external organizations like NCI and the American Nurses Credentialing Center).
  • Magnet recognition was added as an indicator of structure in 2004. 
  • Some hospitals named in 2000 are no longer recognizable today, such as Clarian Health Partners in Indianapolis, which is now known as Indiana University Health or IU Health Academic Health Center. Others have expanded their names through affiliations or new clinical relationships since 2000, such as Seattle Cancer Care Alliance/University of Washington Medical Center, which in 2000 was only listed as University of Washington Medical Center.
  • Some hospitals made the list in 2000 but were not ranked in 2021, and vice versa.
  • Ties are included. 
  • This story ran initially as a comparison between 2000 and 2020, and has been updated to reflect the 2021 U.S. News ranking.

Here are the top 50 spots, in 2000 and 2021:

No. 1

2000: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston)

2021: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston) 

No. 2

2000: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York)

2021: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York) 

No. 3

2000: Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore)

2021: Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.)

No. 4

2000: Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.)

2021: Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore)

No. 5

2000: Duke University Medical Center (Durham, N.C.)

2021: Cleveland Clinic 

No. 6

2000: University of Chicago Hospitals

2021: Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (Boston)

No. 7

2000: Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)

2021: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles) 

No. 8

2000: UCLA Medical Center (Los Angeles)

2021: Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Chicago)

No. 9

2000: Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Buffalo, N.Y.)

2021: Seattle Cancer Care Alliance/University of Washington Medical Center

No. 10

2000: Clarian Health Partners (Indianapolis)

2021: UCSF Medical Center (San Francisco) 

No. 11

2000: University of Washington Medical Center (Seattle)

2021: H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center (Tampa, Fla.)

          Siteman Cancer Center (St. Louis) 

No. 12

2000: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

2021: N/A due to the tie for No. 11

No. 13

2000: Stanford (Calif.) Health Care-Stanford Hospital

2021: UCLA Medical Center (Los Angeles) 

No. 14

2000: Fox Chase Cancer Center (Philadelphia)

2021: Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (Buffalo, N.Y.)

No. 15

2000: University of Michigan Medical Center (Ann Arbor)

2021: City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center (Duarte, Calif.)

          UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside (Pittsburgh)

No. 16

2000: UPMC (Pittsburgh)

2021: N/A due to the tie for No. 15

No. 17

2000: Cleveland Clinic

2021: Houston Methodist Hospital 

No. 18

2000: University of Kentucky Hospital (Lexington)

2021: Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)

No. 19

2000: University of Virginia Health Sciences Center (Charlottesville)

2021: Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Hospitals (New York City)

No. 20

2000: F.G. McGaw Hospital at Loyola University (Maywood, Ill.)

2021: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell

No. 21

2000: Allegheny General Hospital (Pittsburgh)

2021: Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian (Philadelphia)

          Stanford (Calif.) Health Care-Stanford Hospital 

No. 22

2000: H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center (Tampa, Fla.)

2020: N/A due to the tie for No. 21

No. 23

2000: University of Alabama Hospital at Birmingham

2021: Mayo Clinic-Phoenix 

No. 24

2000: Barnes Jewish Hospital (St. Louis)

2021: University of Chicago Medical Center

No. 25

2000: Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston)

2021: University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital

No. 26

2000: Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital (Columbus, Ohio)

2021: USC Norris Cancer Hospital-Keck Medical Center of USC (Los Angeles)

No. 27

2000: Vanderbilt University Hospital and Clinic (Nashville)

2021: Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center (Houston) 

No. 28

2000: University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (Madison)

2021: Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals-Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center (Philadelphia) 

No. 29

2000: Yale New Haven (Conn.) Hospital

2021: University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital (Lexington)  

No. 30

2000: Fairview-University Medical Center (Minneapolis)

2021: Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital

No. 31

2000: Henry Ford Hospital (Detroit)

2021: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston)

No. 32

2000: University Hospitals of Cleveland

2021: UT Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas)

No. 33

2000: University of Cincinnati Hospital

2021: UF Health Shands Hospital (Gainesville)

No. 34

2000: New York Presbyterian Hospital

2021: Nebraska Medicine-Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha)

No. 35

2000: Shands Hospital at the University of Florida (Gainesville)

2021: University of Maryland Medical Center (Baltimore)

No. 36

2000: University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics (Salt Lake City)

2021: UC Davis Medical Center (Sacramento)

No. 37

2000: Lutheran General Healthsystem (Park Ridge, Ill.)

2021: University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center (Cleveland)

No. 38

2000: University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (Iowa City)

2021: University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine (Ann Arbor)

No. 39

2000: North Carolina Baptist Hospital (Winston-Salem)

2021: MUSC Health-University Medical Center (Charleston, S.C.)

No. 40

2000: University Hospital of Arkansas (Little Rock)  

2021: Emory University Hospital (Atlanta)

No. 41

2000: University of North Carolina Hospitals (Chapel Hill)

2021: Duke University Hospital (Durham, N.C.)

          Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (Salt Lake City) 

          University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (Iowa City)

No. 42

2000: Cook County Hospital (Chicago)

2021: N/A due to the tie for No. 41

No. 43

2000: Rush-Presbyterian - St. Luke's Medical Center (Chicago)

2021: N/A due to the tie for No. 41

No. 44

2000: Strong Memorial Hospital-Rochester (N.Y.) University

2021: UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital (Aurora)

No. 45

2000: Georgetown University Hospital (Washington, D.C.)

2021: Mayo Clinic-Jacksonville (Fla.)

No. 46

2000: St. Louis University Hospital

2021: Montefiore Medical Center (New York City)

No. 47

2000: University Hospitals and Clinics (Columbia, Mo.)

2021: UC San Diego Health-Moores Cancer Center (La Jolla)

No. 48

2000: Providence Hospital (Southfield, Mich.)

2021: Rush University Medical Center (Chicago)

No. 49

2000: Temple University Hospital (Philadelphia)

2021: Mount Sinai Hospital (New York City)

No. 50

2000: Summa Health System (Akron, Ohio)

2021: Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute (Charlotte, N.C.)

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