Do Some States Have Better Hospitals?

Several states have numerous hospitals that are consistently among the most highly rated in the nation. The 2015 U.S. News and World Report list of the Best Hospitals in the country names 18 hospitals in California and nine in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas as "nationally ranked." While hospitals in Baltimore and Boston top the list year after year, a "medical hub" of the best hospitals exists in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago.

According to the 2015 Hospital Safety Score published by The Leapfrog Group, Maine is the state with the highest percentage of its hospitals receiving an "A" grade. The top grade was given to 61.1 percent of Maine's hospitals. Massachusetts, Virginia, Florida and New Jersey also received high marks for their hospitals. Illinois, California and Wisconsin scored above 40 percent. The group states the score is a measure of patient safety or "freedom from harm," which is an indicator of quality of patient care but not necessarily the same as hospital quality.

In April 2014, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported in its Scorecard on State Health System Performance that the best overall states for health care are Minnesota, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, while Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas were the lowest rated. The Commonwealth Fund found similar results in 2014. Minnesota had the best-performing health care system, with Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire the next highest rated states. The worst rated were Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas.