St. Dominic Hospital has been ranked the No. 1 hospital in the Jackson metro area in the U.S. News Media & World Report’s 2011-12 Best Hospitals rankings, available online at St. Dominic’s shares the No. 1 ranking with only one other hospital in the metro area.

St. Dominic’s was also ranked as “high-performing” in the specialties of neurology and neurosurgery, diabetes and endocrinology, and urology.

The rankings, annually published by U.S. News for the past 22 years, will also be featured in the U.S. News Best Hospitals guidebook, which will go on sale August 30.

The latest rankings showcase 720 hospitals out of about 5,000 hospitals nationwide. Each is ranked among the country’s top hospitals in at least one medical specialty and/or ranked among the best hospitals in its metro area.

“St. Dominic’s is proud to be ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals list,” said Claude W. Harbarger, President of St. Dominic Hospital. “It is St. Dominic’s mission of Christian healing that provides our focus for the rendering of all hospital services.”

“We are able to fulfill our mission because of our knowledgeable and skilled physicians, nurses and caregivers,” Harbarger said. “Our medical staff, of nearly 500 leading primary care physicians and specialists, makes St. Dominic’s one of the most comprehensive hospitals in Mississippi. Through 65 years of service, St. Dominic’s has remained true to its vision of being a Christian healing community called to provide quality, compassionate care and an Exceptional Experience Everytime.”

The core mission of Best Hospitals is to help guide patients who need an especially high level of care because of a difficult surgery, a challenging condition, or added risk because of other health problems or age. “These are referral centers where other hospitals send their sickest patients,” said Avery Comarow, U.S. News Health Rankings Editor. “Hospitals like these are ones you or those close to you should consider when the stakes are high.”

Covering 94 metro areas in the U.S., the regional hospital rankings complement the national rankings by including hospitals with solid performance nearly at the level of nationally ranked institutions. The regional rankings are aimed primarily at consumers whose care may not demand the special expertise found only at a nationally ranked Best Hospital or who may not be willing or able to travel long distances for medical care. The U.S. News metro rankings give many such patients and their families more options of hospitals within their community and in their health insurance network.

“These are hospitals we call ‘high performers.’ They are fully capable of giving most patients first-rate care, even if they have serious conditions or need demanding procedures,” Comarow said. “Almost every major metro area has at least one of these hospitals.”

Hard numbers stand behind the rankings in most specialties—death rates, patient safety, procedure volume, and other objective data. Responses to a national survey, in which physicians were asked to name hospitals they consider best in their specialty for the toughest cases, also were factored in.

The rankings cover 16 medical specialties and all 94 metro areas that have at least 500,000 residents and at least one hospital that performed well enough to be ranked.