reflection MUSC SJ Childrens Hosp.jpg

The Courtney Drive Garage is reflected in the new windows of the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital, which is currently under construction. Wade Spees/Staff

The Medical University of South Carolina is the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina for the fourth consecutive year, according to the latest ranking by U.S. News & World Report

The report, which is in its 29th year, ranks 4,500 medical centers nationwide. It also highlights about two dozen specialties, pointing patients to the best of the best in each specific field. 

MUSC ranked among the top hospitals in the country in five specialties: Cancer; ear, nose and throat; gynecology; nephrology; and orthopedics.

Its best-performing specialty was ear, nose and throat, at 12th in the country. 

Only one other hospital in the state, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital in West Ashley, was ranked in any specialty. The Roper St. Francis facility ranked 35th in diabetes and endocrinology. 

In South Carolina, second and third place in the rankings went to McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence and Spartanburg Medical Center. Local Roper Hospital moved up in the standings from sixth to fourth since last year's report. Trident Health is not ranked.

Though there are many hospital rankings, executives tend to hold the U.S. News & World Report report in high regard. 

MUSC President Dr. David Cole mentioned the report to university trustees during a Friday meeting in a year review presentation. Cole also said MUSC is the leading biomedical research center in South Carolina.

"There is no exception," he said during the meeting. 

No South Carolina hospital made the "honor roll." That distinction is awarded to 20 hospitals in the country. The top three spots went to the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Experts consider a wide range of factors when deciding the rankings. Patient experiences and outcomes had more emphasis this year, according to a press release from U.S. News & World Report. 

Dr. Pat Cawley, MUSC's CEO, said in a statement that rankings "aren’t why health care providers do what they do every day, but I would say that they provide further validation of how hard we are working to put patients and their families first."

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.