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Best Hospitals 2006


Who Chose the Hospitals?

The winning hospitals noted in the Overall Best Hospitals chart and the charts for the best hospitals in the ten broad care areas covered in these pages (cancer; ear, nose, and throat; emergency care; gastrointestinal disorders; heart disease/heart surgery; neurology/neurosurgery; OB/-GYN; orthopedics; pediatrics; and psychiatry) were selected through a survey conducted exclusively for New York Magazine by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. For the “Best Hospitals” survey, Castle Connolly polled a randomly selected database of more than 30,000 physicians from the city and a number of surrounding suburbs and asked them to choose the top-ten hospitals (from a list of 199) in each of the areas noted above.

More than 1,000 physicians responded (a 3 percent response rate is typical for this type of survey). Each time a hospital received a No. 1 vote, it was awarded ten points; a No. 2 vote earned a hospital nine points, and so on down to a No. 10 vote, which was worth one point. The total points received by a hospital are noted in the chart next to the hospital’s name and ranking. (A note on the Overall Best Hospitals rankings: Voters were instructed by Castle Connolly, publishers of the annual guidebook Top Doctors: New York Metro Area and the group that helps New York compile its annual “Best Doctors” listings, to vote for the hospital that best fulfilled its mission. Hospitals that offer care in a broad number of areas, like New York–Presbyterian and Mount Sinai, therefore appear among the top ten along with more-specialized hospitals like Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.)

It bears noting that all surveys of this kind have limitations. Some doctors who declined to participate said they didn’t know enough about hospitals outside their specialty to make an informed judgment. And because large hospitals employ the most doctors, the survey is likely weighted in favor of those institutions.

To select the hospitals rated the best in the fifteen subspecialties listed in these pages (Alzheimer’s disease, back surgery, birthing centers, breast cancer, colon cancer, fertility treatment, heart surgery, hip replacement, HIV/AIDS, knee surgery, lung cancer, prostate cancer, migraines, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke), a team of New York reporters canvassed leading doctors in each field and asked them, “If you or a loved one were in need of this kind of care, what hospital would you choose and why?” The winning hospitals (and the runners-up) reflect the physicians’ consensus choices.

Surveys and lists of this sort, it’s worth pointing out, should be used as one tool in evaluating hospitals, and not as a substitute for conducting thorough research on any given case for any given condition.

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