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DFW Is Home to Texas’ Most Equitable Hospitals

U.S. News and World Report's newest honor recognizes hospitals that provide quality care to vulnerable populations.
Courtesy: Parkland Hospital

Parkland Health and JPS Health Network are the only Texas hospitals on the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Regional Hospitals for Equitable Access list. The two safety net providers are recognized for providing quality care while treating high percentages of uninsured and Medicaid patients.

The two hospitals have been previously recognized for their ability to provide high-quality care to vulnerable patients. JPS was once named the best hospital in the country by Washington Monthly magazine, which honors hospitals for the access they provide to all populations. Parkland Health also finished in the top 10 of that list.

The U.S. News report honored 53 hospitals nationwide for their equity contribution. However, despite having the second-largest population in the country, Texas only had two hospitals on the list, both in North Texas. California had seven hospitals on the list, and Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and South Carolina all had more hospitals on the list than The Lone Star State.

U.S. News’ Best Hospitals list has been criticized for focusing on the most elite hospitals with the highest quality specialists without recognizing the hospitals that care for more vulnerable patients with more complex health needs and the added burden of adverse social determinants of health like housing, education, access to quality food, and transportation. The equitable access list takes an approach similar to Washington Monthly’s list of best hospitals “for America.”

“At JPS Health Network, it is our mission to provide equitable and the highest quality of care to the communities we serve. Through our many community clinics, our Street Medicine program, and even our long-tenured Level I Trauma Center, JPS team members provide exceptional care to every patient who walks through our doors,” says Dr. Karen Duncan, president and CEO of JPS Health Network. “Ensuring that our patients have access to the care they need continues to be a priority, and we are honored to be named a Best Regional Hospital for Equitable Access by U.S. News & World Report.”

This list aims to honor the hospitals that do just that. The list recognized hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods, Medicaid beneficiaries, and racial and ethnic minorities. The hospitals treating those patient populations while maintaining quality care earned them recognition on U.S. News’ Best Regional Hospitals list.

While most high-performing hospitals are located in privileged neighborhoods, 38 percent of all U.S. hospitals are located in socially vulnerable neighborhoods. However, those facilities are less than 25 percent as likely to outperform hospitals in nicer neighborhoods in quality rankings because they serve a sicker, poorer, and less insured patient population. These patients have difficulty accessing quality care and are sicker to begin with, creating additional challenges for safety-net hospitals compared to other facilities with different patient populations.

According to Parkland’s 2023 annual report, nearly 35 percent of the care provided was charity care, meaning patients who were uninsured and unable to pay. More than a quarter of patients were on Medicaid, 16 percent were on Medicare, and less than 10 percent of patients had commercial insurance. At JPS, more than 63 percent of patients are either uninsured or insured by government programs.

“The structure of the U.S. healthcare system breeds inequities in healthcare access and outcomes. At Parkland we believe your access to necessary healthcare should not be determined by your occupation or income,” said Dr. Fred Cerise, president and CEO of Parkland Health. “Health equity is central to our mission. We are fortunate to have the support of Dallas County and our partners at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission providing the resources critical for us to carry out this work.”


Will Maddox

Will Maddox

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Will is the senior writer for D CEO magazine and the editor of D CEO Healthcare. He's written about healthcare…