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54 Hospitals Get Top Marks for Social Responsibility and Care Quality

The Lown Institute’s social responsibility rankings integrated concepts of health equity into rankings for value and patient outcomes.

The Lown Institute has released its rankings for hospital social responsibility, naming Duke Regional Hospital a top performer in health equity, value, and patient outcomes.

The Massachusetts-based think tank honored another 54 organizations with A ratings in those categories. Notably, none of the hospitals that received 2022-2023 US News Honor Roll status were among those 54 As.

This is the fourth year of the Lown Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility, which the organization says assesses not just hospital performance but also racial inclusivity, community investment, and pay equity.

“Good hospitals make their patients healthier, but socially responsible hospitals make their communities healthier too,” Vikas Saini, MD, president of the Lown Institute, said in a statement about this year’s rankings. “These are the hospitals America needs right now—hospitals that can set and achieve ambitious goals for serving their entire community.”

This year, the Lown Institute also included Medicare Advantage claims as part of its analysis, which it said will help separate out its ratings from others in terms of “scope and validity.”

Duke Regional Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, came in as the most socially responsible hospital in the United States. Other top performers included:

  • UC Health Greeley (Greeley, Colo.)
  • Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas (Austin, Texas)
  • UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies (Loveland, Colo.)
  • Tristar Horizon Medical Center (Dickson, Tenn.)
  • St. Luke's University Hospital - Bethlehem Campus (Bethlehem, Pa.)
  • Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Pflugerville (Pflugerville, Texas)
  • Denver Health & Hospital Authority (Denver, Colo.)
  • Saint Alphonsus Medical Center – Ontario (Ontario, Ore.)
  • Mission Hospital McDowell (Marion, N.C.)

All said, the Lown Institute awarded 54 of the nearly 3,600 hospitals it assessed with an A rating, meaning these organizations are exemplars in achieving quality outcomes, heath equity, and value.

Achieving such is possible without high CEO pay, the analysis stated. At Duke Regional Hospital, for example, CEO pay was around $700,000 in 2020. That compares to $1.24 million for the CEO of neighboring UNC Health Southeastern, which ranked 3,350th out of 3,600.

This trend prevailed when looking at other top-performing, A-rated hospitals. Seven in 10 A-rated hospitals that provided CEO pay data paid their executives less than average compared to hospitals of similar size.

The Lown Institute indicated that its rankings stand out from other healthcare industry hospital rankings because of the inclusion of health equity and social responsibility factors. In fact, when considering issues of health equity and social responsibility, it skews how quality rankings shake out, the organization suggested.

For example, the Lown Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility looks differently from other hospital ranking systems, like the US News Honor Roll hospitals. Lown rated most of these top 10 US News Honor Roll hospitals with As for value and outcomes, but their scores for equity tanked their overall ratings.

For example, Mayo Clinic Hospital is a leader in the 2022-2023 US News Honor Roll, and it got an A for outcomes and value from Lown. But when looking at health equity, the hospital received a D, keeping it off Lown’s honor roll.

Overall, none of the hospitals on the US News list cracked the honor roll for Lown.

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