2 decades later: 50 best cancer hospitals in 2000 and 2020

While Houston-based University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and New York City-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have consistently battled for the No. 1 ranking over 20 years, U.S. News & World Report's list of best 50 hospitals for adult cancer has varied greatly in the last two decades.

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. Now the rankings factor several other patient safety indicators, including pressure ulcers and postoperative respiratory failure. For the most recent ranking, listed hospitals had to treat at least 227 Medicare inpatients in 2015, 2016 and 2017 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 in 20 years.

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 2020, and vice versa.
  • Ties are included. 

Here are the top 50 spots, then and now:

No. 1

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

2020: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston) 

No. 2

2000: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York)

2020: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York) 

No. 3

2000: Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore)

2020: Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.)

No. 4

2000: Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.)

2020: Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore)

No. 5

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

2020: Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (Boston)

No. 6

2000: University of Chicago Hospitals

2020: Cleveland Clinic 

No. 7

2000: Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)

2020: UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside (Pittsburgh)

No. 8

2000: UCLA Medical Center (Los Angeles)

2020: H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center (Tampa, Fla.)     

          Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) 

No. 9

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

2020: N/A due to the tie for No. 8

No. 10

2000: Clarian Health Partners (Indianapolis)

2020: Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Chicago)

No. 11

2000: University of Washington Medical Center (Seattle)

2020: City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center (Duarte, Calif.)

No. 12

2000: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

2020: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles) 

          UCSF Medical Center (San Francisco) 

No. 13

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

2020: N/A due to the tie for No. 12

No. 14

2000: Fox Chase Cancer Center (Philadelphia)

2020: Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (Buffalo, N.Y.)

No. 15

2000: University of Michigan Medical Center (Ann Arbor)

2020: Seattle Cancer Care Alliance/University of Washington Medical Center

No. 16

2000: UPMC (Pittsburgh)

2020: University of Maryland Medical Center (Baltimore)

No. 17

2000: Cleveland Clinic

2020: Siteman Cancer Center (St. Louis) 

No. 18

2000: University of Kentucky Hospital (Lexington)

2020: Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian (Philadelphia)

No. 19

2000: University of Virginia Health Sciences Center (Charlottesville)

2020: NYU Langone Hospitals (New York City)

No. 20

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

2020: Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital

No. 21

2000: Allegheny General Hospital (Pittsburgh)

2020: UCLA Medical Center (Los Angeles) 

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

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

2020: Jefferson Health-Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals (Philadelphia)

No. 24

2000: Barnes Jewish Hospital (St. Louis)

2020: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (Boston)

No. 25

2000: Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston)

2020: Stanford (Calif.) Health Care-Stanford Hospital 

No. 26

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

2020: University of Virginia Medical Center (Charlottesville) 

No. 27

2000: Vanderbilt University Hospital and Clinic (Nashville)

2020: University of North Carolina Hospitals (Chapel Hill) 

No. 28

2000: University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (Madison)

2020: UC Davis Medical Center (Sacramento)

No. 29

2000: Yale New Haven (Conn.) Hospital

2020: New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell (New York City)

No. 30

2000: Fairview-University Medical Center (Minneapolis)

2020: University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center (Cleveland) 

No. 31

2000: Henry Ford Hospital (Detroit)

2020: University of Chicago Medical Center

No. 32

2000: University Hospitals of Cleveland

2020: MUSC Health-University Medical Center (Charleston, S.C.)

No. 33

2000: University of Cincinnati Hospital

2020: University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital (Lexington)  

No. 34

2000: New York Presbyterian Hospital

2020: University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine (Ann Arbor)

No. 35

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

2020: Nebraska Medicine-Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha)

No. 36

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

2020: Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center (Houston) 

No. 37

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

2020: Montefiore Medical Center (New York City)

          UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital (Aurora)

No. 38

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

2020: N/A due to the tie for No. 37

No. 39

2000: North Carolina Baptist Hospital (Winston-Salem)

2020: Houston Methodist Hospital 

No. 40

2000: University Hospital of Arkansas (Little Rock)  

2020: Duke University Hospital (Durham, N.C.)

No. 41

2000: University of North Carolina Hospitals (Chapel Hill)

2020: Emory University Hospital (Atlanta)

No. 42

2000: Cook County Hospital (Chicago)

2020: UF Health Shands Hospital (Gainesville)

No. 43

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

2020: Mayo Clinic-Phoenix 

          University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (Iowa City)

No. 44

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

2020: N/A due to the tie for No. 43

No. 45

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

2020: Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven (Conn.) 

No. 46

2000: St. Louis University Hospital

2020: OHSU Knight Cancer Institute (Portland, Ore.)

No. 47

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

2020: University of Kansas Hospital (Kansas City)

No. 48

2000: Providence Hospital (Southfield, Mich.)

2020: OU Medical Center (Oklahoma City) 

          University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (Madison)

No. 49

2000: Temple University Hospital (Philadelphia)

2020: N/A due to the tie for No. 48

No. 50

2000: Summa Health System (Akron, Ohio)

2020: University of Minnesota Medical Center (Minneapolis) 

More articles on oncology:
Memorial Sloan Kettering posts $62M operating loss in Q1
New blood test can identify 50 types of cancer, study shows
79% of cancer patients report care delays, survey shows

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