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U.S. News Ranks VCU Medical Center No. 1 in State and Metro Area

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U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals edition today ranked the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center the No. 1 hospital in Virginia and in the Richmond metropolitan area, reflecting four programs — nephrology, pulmonology, orthopaedic surgery and urology — in the top 50. 

Specifically, the Division of Nephrology jumped from the No. 49 spot to No. 28; Pulmonology moved from its former ranking of “high achieving” into the 36 spot; the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery moved from high achieving to 39th; and the Division of Urology moved from high achieving to 45th in the country.

This year’s Best Hospitals showcases more than 720 of the nation’s roughly 5,000 hospitals. Fewer than 150 are nationally ranked in at least one of 16 medical specialties.

The hospital rankings are like a GPS-type aid to help steer patients to hospitals with strong skills in the procedures and medical conditions that present the biggest challenges, said U.S. News Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow,

“All of these hospitals are the kinds of medical centers that should be on your list when you need the best care,” Comarow said. “They are where other hospitals send the toughest cases.”

Sheldon Retchin, M.D., CEO of the VCU Health System and vice president for VCU Health Sciences, said the No. 1 ranking in the commonwealth “is a fantastic endorsement of our commitment to excellence in patient care.” He added that it also reflects “our goal of bringing the latest and best therapies, treatments and cures to our patients and to the community.”

John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals, said, “the VCU Medical Center's continued ranking as one of America's best hospitals affirms that our investments in physicians, staff and technology, along with our goal of becoming the safest hospital in the country, are showing results.”


Patients Benefit from Top-Ranked Programs

When Zane Wright went in for his annual physical nearly three years ago, the husband and father of three never thought that it would be the beginning of a fight to save his life.  Doctors diagnosed Zane with IgA nephropathy, a kidney disorder in which antibodies called IgA build up in kidney tissue, leading to permanent damage. 

“I was worried and freaked out that I wouldn’t be able to see my children grow up,” said Zane.

Two years after being diagnosed, Zane began receiving care at the Hume-Lee Transplant Center, which is part of the Division of Nephrology at the VCU Medical Center. Nephrology is one of four VCU medical center programs that U.S. News & World Report ranked among the top 50 in the country. The magazine also ranked the VCU Medical Center as the best hospital in both Virginia and the Richmond area. The rankings highlight the multitude of stories like Zane Wright’s that can be found at VCU.

“All of the nurses were fantastic,” Zane said.  “They were all very positive, accommodating and very aware of the situation.”  

Zane received a kidney eight months after beginning treatment at the center. Both he and his wife, Victoria, received treatment at the center—since she chose to donate a kidney.    

“I knew it wasn‘t a match but I wanted to donate it anyway to save someone else’s life and have the opportunity to move my husband’s name up on the transplant list,” said Victoria. “We really appreciate the support and experience we had at the Hume Lee Transplant Center. I can’t say enough about VCU.”

The Division of Nephrology provides specialized care of patients with a variety of kidney disorders and hypertension. The goal of the division is to serve central Virginia’s clinical nephrology needs while educating future physicians and remaining at the forefront of kidney disease research. The medical center is among the nation’s most active and successful kidney-transplant hospitals, with one of the best patient and graft survival rates in the United States. The VCU Hume-Lee Transplant Center has performed more than 2,500 kidney transplants, 13 pancreas transplants and 120 combined kidney-pancreas transplants.

“The care of patients with kidney diseases requires coordinated treatment from a diverse group of health care professionals,” said Todd Gehr, M.D., chairman of the Division of Nephrology. “Although Nephrology has been singled out for its excellence by U.S. News, the entire VCU Health System actively participates in many aspects of the care of patients with kidney disease. The program that best exemplifies this excellence is the Hume Lee Transplant Center under the direction of Anne King and Marc Posner.”

The Division of Pulmonology provides evaluation for adult diseases such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, occupational lung disease, sarcoidosis, interstitial lung disease, tuberculosis, pulmonary arterial hypertension and evaluations for lung transplantation.

“Our program is growing and we have brought on some of the smartest and talented doctors in the field,” said Alpha Fowler, M.D., division chairman of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine. “The recognition comes at a good time, as we are expanding our involvement with new technologies, such as interventional pulmonology.”

The VCU Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is recognized as one of the most comprehensive and experienced programs in the country. Physicians and nurse managers help patients regain and maintain their active lifestyles and participation in their favorite sports, recreational activities and job tasks. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the orthopaedic team provides patients with the most appropriate and responsive treatment available.

“I am proud that the department has been recognized for its accomplishments,” said Robert Adelaar, M.D. chairman of the VCU Department of Orthopaedics. “We are the busiest orthopedic hospital in the region, and we are now noted for our quality metrics and patient satisfaction in delivering specialty musculoskeletal care.”

The Division of Urology has subspecialty expertise in the areas of urologic cancer, incontinence and voiding dysfunction, urologic trauma, minimally invasive urology and pediatric urology. The urology program is adding faculty physicians this summer, including one with fellowship training and expertise in treating prostate cancer using the Da Vinci robotic surgery system. In conjunction with the VCU Massey Cancer Center’s Radiation Oncology department, patients with prostate cancer will have access to the most comprehensive and advanced treatments available in the region.

“With our hard work and extremely high level of patient care in multiple areas including robotic surgery, oncology, neurourology and pediatric urology we have been placed alongside the highest and most prestigious institutions in the United States,” said Lance Hampton, M.D., chairman of the Division and Director of Robotic Urology. “We are extremely proud of this ranking, which will allow us to increase our exposure in the mid-Atlantic region and to continue to attract the best and brightest urology faculty, residents and medical students.”

The VCU Medical Center ranked as high-performing in:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiology & Heart Surgery
  • Diabetes & Endocrinology
  • Ear, Nose & Throat
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatrics
  • Gynecology
  • Neurology & Neurosurgery
  • Rehabilitation

The complete rankings and methodology are available at http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.