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New hospital rankings released by US News and World Report this morning contained mixed news for Lakeland Regional Health: The hospital dropped from 11th in Florida last year to 23rd this year, but it was lauded as highly performing in three areas.

The three procedures/conditions that got high rankings for LRH were:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Colon cancer surgery
  • Heart failure

LRH shared a No. 23 ranking with 10 other Florida hospitals, including Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center in Davenport. The only other Polk institution in the top 50 was Winter Haven Hospital, which tied for 16th.

Top 50 Florida hospitals in nearby counties include:

In addition to the three highly performing ratings, LRH was ranked average in the six other procedures and conditions that U.S. News looks at: abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, aortic valve surgery, heart bypass surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery.

U.S. News also rates hospitals in 16 specialties, giving a numerical score. LRH was rated in 10 of the specialties:

  • Urology, 55.6/100
  • Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, 52/100
  • Pulmonology, 46.7/100
  • Nephrology, 44.5/100
  • Gynecology, 39.7/100
  • Geriatrics, 37.9/100
  • Diabetes & endocrinology, 37.3/100
  • Orthopedics, 35.7/100
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery, 33.0/100
  • Cancer, 26.6/100

U.S. News gave LRH a patient experience score of 3 stars out of 5, based on post-discharge surveys.

From the U.S. News overview of LRH:

Lakeland Regional Health is a general medical and surgical hospital in Lakeland, FL, with 794 beds. Survey data for the latest year available shows that 212,744 patients visited the hospital’s emergency room. The hospital had a total of 43,222 admissions. Its physicians performed 8,981 inpatient and 7,343 outpatient surgeries.

LRH released two statements in response to the new ratings:

From Elaine C. Thompson, Lakeland Regional Health President and CEO:

“We are honored to be ranked among Florida’s top hospitals by U.S. News and World Report. Lakeland Regional Health is steadfast in our commitment to deliver nationally recognized healthcare, placing our patients and their families at the heart of all we do.”

Timothy J. Regan, MD, Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center President/Lakeland Regional Health Chief Medical Officer:

“In very transparent and innovative ways, our leaders, team members and clinicians collaborate to focus on patient safety and quality of care for those we serve. We are dedicated to providing the best outcomes and safest care to our patients.”

One hospital that dropped in the U.S. News ranking said a change in the magazine’s methodology caused the fall.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital told the Boston Globe that a change in the weight given a specific nursing care ranking caused it lose the top 20 national spot it’s held for 24 years.

In another national rating, Lakeland Regional has received two B grades in a row following three consecutive A grades from the Leapfrog Group, which assesses hospital safety.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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