Check out this article on the 2010-2011 Best Hospital Rankings from the U.S. News and World Report. These rankings, which include 152 hospitals of the 5000 considered nationwide, help guide patients who need “high-stakes” care because of the complex and urgent (often life-or-death) nature of their conditions. 16 specialties, from cancer and heart disease to respiratory disorders and urology, were considered. A hospital made it onto the list of 152 if it appeared in the rankings for at least one of the 16 specialties.

As far as ranking overall “best” hospitals, the 14-hospital “honor roll” included in the Rankings may be as close as you can get. Highly detailed criteria were used to determine which hospitals made the list and in which order, which is further detailed in the article. Here, a run-down of the 10 hospitals that are arguably America’s best:

1. John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore
2. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
3. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
4. Cleveland Clinic
5. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
6. New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell
7. University of California, San Francisco Medical Center
8. Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University, St. Louis
9. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
10. Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.