Health Care in the Twin Cities

Minnesota’s stellar health care providers can help with everything from prevention to chronic conditions
Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic

Photo by TJ Turner

Traditional drinking toasts in many languages often include “to your health,” and for good reason. Your well-being tops the list of life’s important matters. And in Minnesota, you will be well taken care of, whether you are looking for a primary care physician, a specialist or someone who can help you through life’s unexpected bumps.

The federal Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ) has ranked Minnesota among the best states overall for health care quality in the nation. Plus, WalletHub reported Minnesota as the fourth best state for health care in 2018, and adults statewide are in the 96th percentile for making annual visits to the dentist. We take our health seriously here, to say the least. We’re third in the nation for health care access, quality and outcomes, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation. And for physicians, Minnesota is ranked the fourth best state in which to practice medicine.

Minnesota was also one of only two states rated in the top quartile for all five dimensions measured—access and affordability, prevention and treatment, avoidable hospital use and cost, healthy lives, and equity. The state ranks second in the category of healthy lives, which includes measures that affect people’s ability to stay healthy and live long—like rates of smoking, premature death and obesity.

Staying healthy is easier in a place that has a great range of year-round exercise opportunities. The Dakota fittingly named the land “Minisota,” meaning sky-tinted water, and the state’s nickname of the Land of 10,000 Lakes is an understatement—the state actually boasts 11,842. Add in the Mississippi River, which runs through the Twin Cities, and there will always be outdoor adventures to enjoy.

Take up fishing and canoeing in the heart of the metro or in the vast expanses of northern Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Otherwise, hike, bike, cross-country ski and snowshoe over miles of trails. Minnesotans take close to 90 million bicycle trips annually, and with a park system that covers nearly 20 percent of the Twin Cities, it’s easy to see why. Creating exercise habits by exploring the outdoors helps us keep life-threatening illness rates low—such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and asthma.

After all is said and done, Minnesota is the seventh healthiest state in the nation, according to the 2018 America’s Health Rankings annual report, but when we do need health care, our extensive hospital system shows our commitment to health and well-being. There are 144 hospitals in the state, 34 within urban areas. In fact, the Twin Cities and surrounding metro’s hospitals and health systems lead the nation in patient care, research and safety.

When choosing a doctor or health care facility, residents have a wide variety of options, including top-ranking institutions. For the third consecutive year, Mayo Clinic claimed the No. 1 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s (USN&WR) Best Hospitals Honor Roll. The 2018-2019 edition ranking America’s Best Hospitals compared more than 4,500 medical centers nationwide across 25 specialties, procedures and conditions. Located in Rochester, a 90-minute drive from the Twin Cities, Mayo Clinic is known for its cutting-edge treatment and collaborative patient care, and satellite offices are bringing Mayo’s world-class care to locations such as the Twin Cities and Red Wing.

Mayo Clinic also secured a spot in three Top 5 lists for specialty treatments, including cardiology and heart surgery, cancer, and orthopedics. In total, the hospital is nationally ranked among the top 15 adult specialties and top seven pediatric specialties.

The highest rated hospital in the Minneapolis metro area, recognized as No. 2 in a list of statewide hospitals, is Abbott Northwestern Hospital. This hospital is nationally ranked in eight adult specialties, including cardiology and heart surgery (No. 19), diabetes and endocrinology (No. 23), orthopedics (No. 26), gynecology (No. 27), and neurology and neurosurgery (No. 42).

The University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis contributes to the medical community in Minnesota, too. USN&WR ranked the hospital No. 2 in the Minneapolis metro area, and it received national rankings in one adult specialty, cancer (No. 33), and five children’s specialties—nephrology (No. 33), neonatology (No. 45), gastroenterology and GI surgery (No. 37), pulmonology and lung surgery (No. 31), and diabetes and endocrinology (No. 47). It also has been rated as high performing in adult heart failure, kidney failure, knee replacement, and lung cancer treatment and procedures. The teaching hospital serves thousands of patients annually, optimizing its access to research and innovative technology to maintain the highest standards of care.

Tying for the No. 2 spot on the USN&WR for regional hospitals in the Twin Cities is Mercy Hospital in the northern suburb of Coon Rapids. It was recognized as high performing in five adult specialties and eight procedures/conditions, including gastroenterology and GI surgery, nephrology, orthopedics pulmonology, and lung surgery.

United Hospital in St. Paul was ranked No. 4 on the USN&WR for regional hospitals, and it is nationally ranked in one adult specialty, gynecology (No. 20). It was ranked high performing in seven procedures/conditions, including colon cancer surgery, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery.

Regions Hospital in St. Paul, ranked No. 7 in Minnesota on USN&WR’s list of Best Hospitals, has a Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center and excels, as many of our hospitals do, in multiple fields, including mental health, births, orthopedics and cancer care. The hospital offers many amenities, such as its nearly 300 private rooms, and the hospital’s central location in downtown St. Paul makes it highly accessible to patients around the metro.

The University of Minnesota Medical Center has expertise in treating youth, and moreover, the Twin Cities boast three of USN&WR’s nationally ranked Best Children’s Hospitals. Mayo Clinic Children’s Center is nationally ranked in nine pediatric specialties, University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital is nationally ranked in five pediatric specialties, and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is nationally ranked in two pediatric specialties—pediatric diabetes and endocrinology (No. 42) and pediatric pulmonology and lung surgery (No. 33).

Besides providing excellent health care, the Twin Cities’ hospitals emphasize giving back, concerning themselves with not only the health of their patients but the welfare of their communities. For example, Allina, one of the main health care providers in the state, supports employee volunteerism by giving millions in donations each year to charitable organizations with which its employees are involved. As a not-for-profit health system, they partner with and give back to the community in different ways, focused on improving the health of those they serve. This might help explain why Minnesotans are among the healthiest in the nation: We care about one another—family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers—in addition to ourselves.

University of Minnesota Medical Center
University of Minnesota Medical Center

Patrick O'Leary

By the Numbers

Minnesota Healthcare Report

The Minnesota Hospital Association represents a network of 142 hospitals and health systems out of the 144 hospitals in the state, directly employing more than 127,000 people.

144 hospitals

125 24-hour emergency rooms, all of which treat regardless of ability to pay

78 critical access hospitals, which provide care in rural parts of Minnesota

4.21 days is the average length of inpatient stay related to births, mental health, orthopedic procedures and digestive disorders

536,375 inpatient admissions annually

12.7 million+ outpatient visits annually, including 1.9 million emergency room visits

Top Five Twin Cities Hospitals

Twin Cities hospitals are evaluated and ranked annually on metrics including patient satisfaction, safety, overall reputation and performance in 12 medical specialties. This year’s top-performing hospitals include:

  1. Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis
  2. (Tied) University of Minnesota Medical Center, Minneapolis
  3. (Tied) Mercy Hospital, Coon Rapids
  4. (Tied) Fairview Southdale Hospital, Edina
  5. (Tied) Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital, St. Louis Park

Source: U.S. News & World Report, 2018-2019

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