The 20 Best Hospitals in America

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monkeybusinessimages/iStock via Getty Images

If you happen to suffer an injury or need treatment for a health condition, you want to be sure the hospital you choose for treatment offers the highest quality care. U.S. News & World Report has released its annual ranking of America's best hospitals by specialty and, as reported by Healio, presented its "honor roll" of the overall top 20 hospitals in the U.S.

After evaluating nearly 5000 hospitals across the country, U.S. News & World Report found that 158 hospitals ranked in at least one of the 25 specialties, procedures, and conditions it evaluated. In comparison to last year’s methodology, this year the outlet incorporated new measures of patient-centered care and other criteria.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota continues to be ranked at the top, coming in first in five different specialties including diabetes, endocrinology, and nephrology. It also ranked in the top five for cancer and cardiology. The Cleveland Clinic, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery came out on top in specialized care for cardiology and heart surgery, cancer, and orthopedics, respectively.

Here are America’s 20 best hospitals.

  1. Mayo Clinic // Rochester, MN

  1. Massachusetts General Hospital // Boston, MA

  1. Johns Hopkins Hospital // Baltimore, MD

  1. Cleveland Clinic // Cleveland, oh

  1. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell // New York, ny

  1. UCLA Medical Center // Los Angeles, ca

  1. UCSF Medical Center // San Francisco, ca

  1. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center // Los Angeles, ca

  1. NYU Langone Hospitals // New York, ny

  1. Northwestern Memorial Hospital // Chicago, il

  1. University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine // Ann Arbor, mi

  1. Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital // Stanford, ca

  1. Brigham and Women's Hospital // Boston, ma

  1. Mount Sinai Hospital // New York, NY

  1. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside // Pittsburgh, pa

  1. Keck Hospital of USC // Los Angeles, ca

  1. University of Wisconsin Hospitals // Madison, wi

  1. (Tie) Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian // Philadelphia, pa

  1. (Tie) Mayo Clinic-Phoenix // Phoenix, az

  1. (Tie) Houston Methodist Hospital // Houston, tx

  1. (Tie) Yale New Haven Hospital // New Haven, ct

Pandemic vs. Epidemic: What’s the Difference?

If scientists can't develop a vaccine for a new virus quickly enough, an epidemic can turn into a pandemic.
If scientists can't develop a vaccine for a new virus quickly enough, an epidemic can turn into a pandemic.
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As the new coronavirus continues to spread around the world, the words epidemic and pandemic are showing up in news reports more often than they usually do. While the terms are closely related, they don’t refer to the same thing.

As the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) explains on its website, “an epidemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads rapidly to many people.” Usually, what precedes an epidemic is an outbreak, or “a sudden rise in the number of cases of a disease.” An outbreak can affect a single community or several countries, but it’s on a much smaller scale than an epidemic.

If an epidemic can’t be contained and keeps expanding its reach, public health officials might start calling it a pandemic, which means it’s affected enough people in different areas of the world to be considered a global outbreak. In short, a pandemic is a worldwide epidemic. It infects more people, causes more deaths, and can also have widespread social and economic repercussions. The spread of the Spanish influenza from 1918 to 1919, which killed between 20 and 40 million people around the world, was a pandemic; more recently, the H1N1 influenza created a pandemic in 2009.

Here’s where it gets a little tricky: There’s no cut-and-dried classification system for outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics. Based on the definitions above, it might seem like the current coronavirus disease, now called COVID-19, falls into the pandemic category already—according to a map from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 80,000 confirmed cases in 34 countries, and nearly 2700 people have died from the disease. It’s also beginning to impact travel, stock markets, and the global economy as a whole. But WHO maintains that although the situation has the potential to become a pandemic, it’s still an epidemic for now.

“It really is borderline semantics, to be honest with you,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN earlier this month. “I think you could have people arguing each end of it. Pandemics mean different things to different people.”


Scotland Could Become the First Country to Provide Universal Period Products to Citizens

emapoket, iStock via Getty Images
emapoket, iStock via Getty Images

Fears over where to find—and how to afford—sanitary products before their next menstrual cycle may no longer be an issue for people in Scotland. Earlier today, as the BBC reports, Members of Scottish Parliament passed the first part of a bill that would make items like pads and tampons free to the public.

The Period Products Bill was first put forth in 2017 to address period poverty, which affects people who are unable to afford essential menstrual hygiene products. Pads, tampons, and some reusable menstrual items are currently available to students in primary schools and universities in the country. The Scottish government has also expanded the program to include additional public places and sports clubs, but this new bill goes even further. If passed, Scotland would become the first country to provide free period products to citizens on a universal scale.

Ministers in the Scottish Parliament were initially concerned about the bill's £24 million ($31 million) annual price tag, but earlier this month, members of all parties in the government came out in support of the legislation. Though the bill passed through the first stage of parliament today, February 25, the BBC wrote that "The government is expected to put forward a raft of amendments to address their 'significant' concerns about the legislation," including the aforementioned cost.

Period poverty is an issue that's felt around the world. In America, many lawmakers are fighting to end the "tampon tax": a sales tax that's added to sanitary products and waived from other hygiene products deemed essential in many states, like dandruff shampoo.

[h/t BBC]