San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu has sent a letter to the US News & World Report, requesting information on the magazine’s hospital rankings. The letter also called for the publication to “publicly disclose the payments it receives from the hospitals it endorses, as required by federal regulations.” The move comes at a time when US News’ rankings are facing increased scrutiny and criticism.
Rankings Released Despite Criticism
This year, US News released its “Best Children’s Hospitals” rankings, despite recent controversies surrounding the publication’s rankings. The “Best Medical Schools” list was released last month, and it had undergone substantial changes from an online preview published in April. The delay in rankings came after several medical and law schools publicly announced that they would no longer submit data to or participate in the rankings.
The inquiry from the San Francisco City Attorney marks a further blow to the publication’s reputation.
Top Performers on the List
This year, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center topped the list of US News’ “Best Children’s Hospitals.” The hospital climbed two spots from its third-place finish last year. Boston Children’s Hospital came in second place, while Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston was ranked third. Boston Children’s had topped the list last year, and Texas Children’s was ranked second.
The rankings are increasingly determined by objective measures of hospital quality, according to Ben Harder, chief of health analysis and managing editor at US News. The publication has made “refinements” to this year’s methodology, including less emphasis on expert opinion and increased weight on measures such as commitment to best practices and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Criticism of Rankings
Despite these changes, US News’ rankings continue to face criticism. Chiu’s letter to the publication argues that the rankings are biased towards providing treatment for wealthy, white patients, to the detriment of poorer, sicker, or more diverse populations. He also claims that perverse incentives in the rankings risk warping the healthcare system. Hospitals are treating to the test by investing in specialties that rack up the most points rather than in primary care or other worthy specialties.
In response to Chiu’s letter, a spokesperson for US News provided a statement, noting that the publication “categorically disagrees with the assumptions and conclusions in the City Attorney’s letter.” US News argues that it does not accept or engage in compensation for rankings placement. The spokesperson pointed out that the rankings are based wholly on the data analyzed and detailed in the transparent methodology that is fully disclosed on USnews.com.
US News’ “Best Children’s Hospitals” list is facing criticism from San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu, who called for the publication to disclose the payments it receives from hospitals. The list has faced increased scrutiny and criticism in recent months, with some arguing that the rankings are biased towards wealthy, white patients. Despite these criticisms, US News released its “Best Children’s Hospitals” rankings, with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center topping the list. US News argues that it does not accept any compensation for rankings placement, and its rankings are based entirely on the data analyzed and detailed in the transparent methodology disclosed on its website.