Boston Top Doctors 2009: Boston’s Top Hospitals : Boston Hospitals : Boston’s Best Hospitals
THE BIG PLAYERS
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Known for top-notch cardiovascular care and treatment of digestive diseases, the BID sees about 750,000 patients every year, most of them through its main campus at Longwood. It also has a new $30 million complex in Needham, complete with its own ER. And it’s a researcher’s haven, ranking consistently among the top five independent U.S. hospitals when it comes to raking in funding. You may already know some of the BID’s big names, like pioneering cancer and AIDS researcher (and bestselling writer) Jerome Groopman, and CEO Paul Levy, whose blog Running a Hospital is a must-read in medical circles and beyond. The BID also has more down-to-earth celebrity cachet: It’s the official hospital of the Red Sox.
330 Brookline Ave., Boston, 617-667-7000, bidmc.org.
[sidebar]Boston Medical Center
Compared with the city’s “Big Three”of academic medicine (Beth Israel, MGH, and the Brigham), Boston Medical Center is something of an outsider. Created just 13 years ago via a merger of Boston City Hospital and Boston University Medical Center Hospital, it cares for many of the area’s underserved urban poor. That’s its greatest strength, however: The hospital has a panoply of programs aimed at low-income families, the elderly, people with disabilities, and immigrants. Its network of community health centers, called Boston HealthNet, has helped get basic care to thousands of people from Quincy, Dorchester, Mattapan, and roughly a dozen other communities. BMC does some cutting-edge medicine, too (literally, in the case of its CyberKnife program, which targets hard-to-reach tumors using focused beams of radiation), and it has the largest 24-hour Level I trauma center in New England, which sees more than 120,000 people come through its ER doors annually.
One Boston Medical Center Place, Boston, 617-638-8000, bmc.org.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Arguably the best hospital in Boston and maybe the most innovative one in the country (though docs at rival MGH will vigorously dispute both points), the Brigham is the anchor of the sprawling Longwood Medical Complex. It takes in about 44,000 inpatients each year and 54,000 ER patients; another 950,000 people visit annually for ambulatory care. Its obstetrics numbers are even more impressive: The hospital is a veritable baby factory, delivering 9,000 kids per year. The Brigham also features a sparkling new cardiovascular center, staffed with faculty at the top of that field. Whatever ails you, getting it treated at this Harvard-affiliated hospital is a safe bet: Amid all the national debate about hospital errors and mismanagement, the Brigham has kept its nose clean, often appearing at the top of lists that rate hospitals based on patient safety.
75 Francis St., Boston, 617-732-5500, brighamandwomens.org.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Don’t be fooled by the $500 million expansion due to open in 2011 or the glittering windows of the five-year-old Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care. MGH is an old-school kind of place—and by that, we mean it’s steeped in tradition: Founded in 1811, it’s Harvard’s oldest and biggest teaching hospital. The first demonstration of anesthesia was done here, and modern-day MGH docs are still making medical breakthroughs (molecular biologist Jack Szostak won the 2009 Nobel Prize). The hospital’s research program is the largest in the country, with an annual budget of nearly $550 million, and its proton therapy center is one of just a handful nationwide. Virtually every department provides high-quality care, so if you’re hospitalized with one illness and you have an unexpected complication, you’re guaranteed to get another good doc to check it out.
55 Fruit St., Boston, 617-726-2000, massgeneral.org.
Tufts Medical Center
It’s tough to compete with the Harvard-affiliated giants, but in many specialties, Tufts holds its own. Its transplant service is first-class (it vies with MGH to perform the most heart transplants in New England each year), and its liver transplant program is the fastest growing in the region, with more than 700 adult, pediatric, and live-donor transplants performed since 1984. Tufts surgeons also perform the most gastric bypass and gastric band operations in New England. And laparoscopic procedures get their due, too, thanks to a familiar name—the Celtics’ Paul Pierce funded the hospital’s new minimally invasive surgery center. Tufts also houses the full-service, 128-bed Floating Hospital for Children, which has the nation’s first trauma center exclusively for kids. (It’s not literally a floating hospital, but it used to be: It started in the late 1800s as a ship that cruised Boston Harbor, providing childcare and parenting advice.)
800 Washington St., Boston, 617-636-5000, tufts-nemc.org.