Hospital staff and administration work hard to earn a place in the U.S. News and World Report ‘s Best Hospital rankings each year, but those same hospitals then pay the publication if they want to use the “Best Hospitals” logo in advertising, according to WDAF-TV in Kansas City, Missouri. One hospital system in Missouri reported paying $42,000 per year to use the logo. The hospitals emphasize that they do not pay for U.S. News to rank the hospital, they only pay to use the logo in their advertising. Other hospitals confirm that they pay to use the logo, but refuse to disclose the amount because of contractual obligations.
Even if the money has no influence on rankings, perception is everything and can raise doubts among those relying on the rankings. A consumer should never rely on just one rating, and should always be familiar with the criteria that goes into the rating. Consulting multiple ratings sources is likely to provide the most complete picture of an institution or provider.