PRESS RELEASE: Equity is the missing piece for elite hospitals to be truly socially responsible

Innovative ranking identifies the most socially responsible hospitals in America — and you’ve probably never heard of them

NEEDHAM, MA — Health equity has become a top priority for American hospitals amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and movements for racial justice. Yet relatively few hospitals earn top scores across the Lown Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility, the only ranking to include equity as a major category. Many well-known hospitals struggled to achieve top grades on the Index due to weak equity scores.

Out of more than 3,000 hospitals, only 75 achieved Honor Roll status by earning “A” grades in equity, value, and outcomes, the three metrics used to determine overall social responsibility. Major teaching hospitals and hospitals in urban locations stand out on this list. One third of all hospitals on the Honor Roll are in either California or Ohio. Hospitals in New Jersey, Maryland, and Tennessee are also well-represented. Though for-profit hospitals perform worse than average on the Index, two for-profit hospitals — both in Northern NJ — top the list.

Top 10 Most Socially Responsible Hospitals in America

  1. Carepoint Health-Christ Hospital (Jersey City, NJ)
  2. Saint Michael’s Medical Center (Newark, NJ)
  3. Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (Baltimore, MD)
  4. Oroville Hospital (Oroville, CA)
  5. University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus (Baltimore, MD)
  6. UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center (Rio Rancho, NM)
  7. Mercy Hospital Clermont (Batavia, OH)
  8. Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center (Gresham, OR)
  9. Banner-University Medical Center South Campus (Tucson, AZ)
  10. East Liverpool City Hospital (East Liverpool, OH)

“It’s not enough for hospitals to say they’re committed to social responsibility. They need to put their commitment into action,” said Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute. “Doing well on the Lown Index is one way they can demonstrate progress.”

The Johns Hopkins Hospital was the best-performing hospital (#147) that also appears on the US News & World Report list. As a group, half of the US News hospitals failed to place within the top third. While these hospitals generally achieved high grades on outcomes and value, every hospital besides Johns Hopkins received a “C” or “D” grade on equity.

The Lown Institute, a health care think tank, is the first to publish a national ranking of hospital social responsibility. Now in its second year, the Index includes 54 metrics across the equity, value, and outcomes categories. The primary data source is Medicare fee-for-service claims from 2016-2018. A full methodology is available. 

Factored into the ranking this year is a new measure of Cost Efficiency that evaluates how well hospitals achieve low mortality rates at a low cost. Performance varies widely, even among similar-sized hospitals in the same cities.  


Join the creators of the Lown Hospitals Index on September 21 at 1 p.m. ET to discuss these findings, the methodology, and what’s coming up next.


Founded in 1973 by Nobel Peace Prize winner Bernard Lown, MD, developer of the defibrillator and cardioverter, the Lown Institute believes that a radically better system of health is possible and generates bold ideas towards that goal. The Lown Hospitals Index, a signature project of the Institute, is the first ranking to assess the social responsibility of U.S. hospitals by applying measures never used before like racial inclusivity, avoidance of overuse, and pay equity.


Tyler Williams, or (434) 329-0940

Aaron Toleos, or (978) 821-4620