Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research may determine where and how companies appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Published: Jan 17, 2024 8 min read

Emergency visits aside, Americans often have some choice when it comes to the hospital they stay at – whether it’s to give birth, take a test or undergo a scheduled operation.

Developed with help from the health-care data firm Denniston Data and the nonprofit RAND Health Care, Money’s 2024 list of the best hospitals in the country spotlights facilities that we judge consistently deliver care of the highest quality while also offering a fine patient experience.

Hospital rankings are often dominated by facilities in California, New York and Florida — populous states with some especially prestigious hospitals — along with medically rich Maryland, whose standout institutions include the revered Johns Hopkins Hospital.

These states certainly have a healthy showing on our list of the top 115 hospitals. There’s top-rated Adventhealth in Orlando and eight other Florida hospitals, along with seven facilities apiece in both California and New York. And Maryland indeed punches above its weight with five hospitals, including two Johns Hopkins facilities.

But our 2024 list also identified top-notch hospitals in 27 other states, too, including the likes of Memorial Healthcare System in Tennessee, the Piedmont Hospital in Georgia and Bryan Medical Center in Nebraska.

That diversity stems in part, we think, from how we made our picks. Our selection methodology takes a particularly fair and equitable approach to identifying high-quality hospitals with exceptionally experienced staff in a wide diversity of locales.

Read on more about how and why the hospitals on our list excelled, and how to find a facility that's right for you. (You can read our full methodology here.)

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
You will likely need Long-Term Care after 65
Most people 65+ will require long-term care. A Long-Term Care Insurance policy aims to help you with the cost of this essential care. To find out more, click on your state.
HawaiiAlaskaFloridaSouth CarolinaGeorgiaAlabamaNorth CarolinaTennesseeRIRhode IslandCTConnecticutMAMassachusettsMaineNHNew HampshireVTVermontNew YorkNJNew JerseyDEDelawareMDMarylandWest VirginiaOhioMichiganArizonaNevadaUtahColoradoNew MexicoSouth DakotaIowaIndianaIllinoisMinnesotaWisconsinMissouriLouisianaVirginiaDCWashington DCIdahoCaliforniaNorth DakotaWashingtonOregonMontanaWyomingNebraskaKansasOklahomaPennsylvaniaKentuckyMississippiArkansasTexas
Find Out More

A track record for high-quality care

Our search for the nation’s best hospitals began with a cohort of quality hospitals that received a four- or five-star rating from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Among the 6,000 hospitals nationwide, fewer than 1,300 hospitals made these grades. These facilities stand out for low rates of death, readmission and unnecessary procedures, while also maintaining high ratings for safety and timely and effective care.

In addition, the CMS also considers how patients felt about their experience. Was your hospital room tidy and quiet? Did your physician and nurse listen to your concerns well and explain your treatment and recovery clearly?

However, these metrics of quality — while essential — often don’t tell the whole story. This is why they were merely the starting point for our ranking.

Highly experienced practitioners

Studies show that the more experienced a physician is with a certain procedure, the better the health outcome for the patient — and by a large margin. In other words, a hospital is only as good as the providers who work there.
Our data partner Denniston has developed a novel way to capture this: Its proprietary database tracks and scores more than 1 million health care providers across the country. Our methodology taps this data to reward hospitals whose providers collectively have deep experience, especially in the procedures they perform most often. Each hospital's ranking score is, in large part, a product of how experienced its physicians are.

This approach is more equitable than measures of hospital quality that mostly consider only bad health outcomes. Those negative events tend to be rare. They can also unfairly penalize providers and hospitals that operate in areas where the patient population — due to social or racial inequities, as examples — may be more likely to have poor health outcomes regardless of the quality of care they receive.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Get the care you will need after age 65
70% of people 65+ will require long-term care. A Long-Term Care Insurance policy makes the process easier by helping you pay for the care you need in your golden years.
Find Out More

Transparency about costs

Alas, for most patients, a hospital stay is a financial event as well as a medical one. What your care will actually cost of course depends heavily on the procedure in question, your insurance coverage, if any, and the location of the hospital.

But what patients should expect, if not demand, is transparent pricing — that is, bills that are well-explained and that align with expectations.

Several pieces of legislation, while helpful, haven’t fully erased unwelcome charges from hospitals. The Affordable Care Act requires hospitals to publicly list prices for procedures and services, known as chargemaster prices. And the No Surprises Act, which went into effect in 2022, helps to protect insured patients from unexpected out-of-network bills. For instance, such a bill might result from going into the emergency room of a hospital that’s in your network and being treated by an anesthesiologist who does not work with your insurer — who might then issue you an astronomical bill.

But lots of loopholes remain that keep hospital charges opaque — and expensive. For one, the public chargemaster prices tend to be inaccurate, often wildly so, even among otherwise excellent hospitals.

In a bid to hold hospitals to account — and to highlight ones that do list accurate public prices — Money developed a “price transparency grade” with assistance from experts at Denniston and RAND Health Care.

By comparing a hospital’s chargemaster prices to the final bills for procedures, our grade aims to answer a fairly simple question: Does a hospital’s publicly listed prices reflect what patients actually pay? The answer, our analysis found, is a resounding no in most cases — including for some facilities that score especially well in other respects.

While we did not factor the price-transparency results into our final ranking score for each hospital, we still list each hospital’s transparency grade as a factor for your consideration.

When using this metric, keep in mind that an A-grade in price transparency does not necessarily mean that the hospital is affordable, just that their bills tend to match with their publicly listed prices.

Using Money's Best Hospitals list

Making use of our hospitals list begins with not assuming that its two key scores will be consistent for any one facility. We found little correlation between a hospital's overall grade and its score for price transparency. So, for example, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, which rated A overall, was one of just two hospitals to receive the lowest score, D-, for price transparency. (The other was Cjw Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, which rated A- overall.)

Conversely, two-thirds of the hospitals that received the lowest overall score, of B, received transparency grades in the A range. Maryland may be the state where hospitals are most likely to bill you in line with their price charts; all five Maryland facilities on our list received transparency scores of A+.

If you’re planning for a hospital stay or an outpatient procedure any time soon, our best hospitals list can still help you make an excellent decision about where to receive care.

We also know that not every hospital stay is planned, and that there are lots of factors that can determine which hospitals patients use — from insurance coverage to accessibility to proximity to family. For tips on navigating your stay no matter where you are, you can check out our complete guide to hospitals and your money.

And if you’re looking for more, stay tuned. In the coming months, Money will publish a list of the best hospitals for maternity care, pediatric care, bariatric care and more.

More From Money:

The Best Hospitals

An Expert Guide to Hospitals and Saving Money

The Best Long-Term Care Insurance Companies