For the fourth consecutive year, St. Francis Hospital was top among Long Island hospitals in rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

The magazine, in its 26th annual survey of close to 5,000 hospitals released Tuesday, ranked the Flower Hill hospital 13th for cardiology and heart surgery nationwide. Last year it was rated ninth nationally for cardiology and heart surgery.

It also was ranked among the top 50 hospitals in the country in gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, geriatrics and orthopedics.

Ruth Hennessey, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at St. Francis, attributed the hospital's continued national ranking to "an unbelievable culture of excellence. We have long-term employees happy to work here who are completely focused on patient care and safety."

Asked why the hospital fell from ninth to 13th place, she said "we haven't done the analytics on it yet."

Although the U.S. News ranking is just one of many that rates hospitals, she said St. Francis pays close attention to it.

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"I can tell you that if we didn't get it [national ranking], there would be a lot of disappointed people," she said. "It's our reputation, and it's very important to us from both a business and ego perspective."

Nationally, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston was named the top hospital. Two Manhattan hospitals also made the magazine's "honor roll" of best 15 hospitals: NewYork-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell was ranked seventh, and NYU Langone Medical Center was 12th.

St. Francis was rated sixth overall among hospitals in the metropolitan area, which includes New York City, Long Island, Westchester County and northern New Jersey. Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola was ranked 10th overall and North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset was ranked 12th. Glen Cove Hospital was ranked 16th and Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park and Southside Hospital in Bay Shore were both ranked 18th. Huntington Hospital was 24th and Stony Brook University Hospital was 26th.

Among the seven children's hospitals ranked in the metro region, the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Hospital in New Hyde Park was ranked second and Winthrop's Children's Medical Center was sixth.

In the magazine's ranking, hospitals that deliver complex care are grouped into 16 medical and surgical specialties, including cancer, geriatrics and urology. Twelve of the 16 rely primarily on objective data, looking at death rates for patients who represent especially challenging cases, on patient safety and other measures of performance. Surveys asking doctors to name hospitals they consider the best in their specialty for difficult cases also are factored in.


In the other four best hospitals specialties, hospitals are ranked by reputation alone, based on the latest three annual physician surveys.