Wednesday, June 12, 2024

North Carolina’s 2018 Best Hospitals

Photo courtesy of UNC Rex Health Care

The medical center earning the highest marks in this year’s annual checkup came as no surprise: Asheville’s Mission Hospital has scored first or second each year since Business North Carolina introduced the Best Hospitals list in 2012. The list ranks the state’s adult, acute-care hospitals with at least 50 beds based on performance in 25 metrics. Most important, we look at information provided by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, including patient-satisfaction surveys, infection rates, and readmission and death rates for common conditions and procedures. We also consider criteria from insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield, U.S. News & World Report and The Leapfrog Group, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that grades hospitals based on patient-safety records. Specialty and psychiatric hospitals are excluded. Separately, we list the best-performing hospitals for certain specialties and procedures as determined by Blue Cross and Blue Shield and U.S. News.


1 Mission Hospital

Beds: 730 | 2017 rank: 1
CEO: Ronald Paulus

Mission is the flagship of western N.C.’s largest health system, which employs about 12,000 people. Construction is underway on a $400 million, 12-story medical tower, and the hospital recently launched a telemedicine partnership with InTouch Health and Philadelphia-based Jefferson Health. Mission, with a largely rural market, will partner with the California technology company and the 937-bed urban hospital system to develop new programs for stroke, sepsis, heart failure and other conditions.

2 UNC REX Healthcare

Beds: 660 | 2017 rank: 7
President: Steve Burriss

After opening its $235 million North Carolina Heart & Vascular Hospital a year ago, UNC Rex now has its eye on Holly Springs, where it has two medical office buildings and is planning a 50-bed hospital. Construction is expected to begin this summer, with an opening planned for 2020. UNC Rex employs more than 6,000 people.

3 Carolinas Medical Center

Beds: 1,080 | 2017 rank: 11
President: Spencer Lilly

The flagship hospital of Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas HealthCare System) is doubling the size of its Levine Cancer Institute, with construction on the 260,000-square-foot expansion slated for completion later this year. The $150 million project was aided by a $25 million gift from the foundation of Family Dollar Stores founder Leon Levine. The original cancer center opened in 2012.

Includes Carolinas Medical Center (907 beds) and Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy (173 beds)

(tie) CarolinaEast Medical Center

New Bern
Beds: 350 | 2017 rank: 3
CEO: Raymond Leggett III

Opened in 1963 as the 100-bed Craven County Hospital, CarolinaEast now employs more than 2,500 people. The 80,000-square-foot SECU Comprehensive Cancer Center, named after the state’s biggest credit union, is under construction and is expected to open in 2019.

4 (tie) Cone Health

Beds: 843 | 2017 rank: 4
CEO: Terry Akin

The flagship Moses H. Cone Memorial was one of six N.C. medical centers on IBM Watson Health’s list of Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospitals in the U.S. The IBM division, which uses machine learning to solve health care challenges, bases the list on survival and readmission rates for heart patients, among other factors. In October, the hospital opened four new operating rooms, reflecting a $10 million investment.

Includes The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital (Greensboro, 529 beds), Wesley Long (Greensboro, 204 beds) and Annie Penn Hospital (Reidsville, 110 beds)

6 CaroMont Regional Medical Center

Beds: 435 | 2017 rank: 5
CEO: Chris Peek

Peek, a former Mecklenburg County deputy manager, took the reins in May after Doug Luckett resigned after four years as CEO. Formerly Gaston Memorial Hospital, CaroMont completed a $24 million upgrade of its emergency department in fall 2016 and a 38,000-square-foot medical center with a freestanding ER in Mount Holly in 2015.

7 (tie) Carolinas HealthCare System (Atrium Health) Pineville

Beds: 235 | 2017 rank: 10
President: Christopher Hummer

About 10 miles from downtown Charlotte, the Carolinas Medical Center sibling serves patients in the Queen City’s southern suburbs. Expansions have more than doubled its size since it opened in 1987. CHS Pineville was the only Charlotte-area hospital to receive an “A” safety grade from The Leapfrog Group in 2017.

7 (tie) High Point Regional UNC Health Care

High Point
Beds: 351 | 2017 rank: 8
CEO: Ernie Bovio

Acquired by UNC in 2013, High Point Regional soon will have a new owner: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center plans to buy the 351-bed hospital and its affiliates this summer. With a staff of more than 2,500, High Point Regional serves more than 300,000 patients a year.

9 (tie) New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Beds: 769 | 2017 rank: 9
CEO: John Gizdic

In September, the 7,000-employee hospital opened its renovated Zimmer Cancer Center, named after the family that owns Reeds Jewelers Inc. The project more than doubles the center’s square footage and more than triples the number of infusion stations from 15 to 48.

9 (tie) Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Beds: 885 | 2017 rank: 25
CEO: Julie Ann Freischlag

Leaping 16 spots on this year’s list, Wake Forest Baptist last year entered into a 30-year lease and management agreement with 130-bed Wilkes Regional Medical Center in North Wilkesboro. Last month, it acquired Sparta’s Alleghany Memorial Hospital through a 50-50 joint venture with Hugh Chatham Hospital in Elkin.

11 (tie) Carolinas HealthCare System (Atrium Health)Northeast

Concord  |  Beds: 457 | 2017 rank: 16

11 (tie) Duke University Hospital

Durham | Beds: 957  | 2017 rank: 1

11 (tie) FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital

Pinehurst | Beds: 489 | 2017 rank: 5

Includes FirstHealth Moore Regional (Pinehurst, 390 beds) and FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital (Rockingham, 99 beds)

14 Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center

Charlotte | Beds: 597 | 2016 rank: 12

15 UNC Hospitals

Chapel Hill | Beds: 929 | 2017 rank: 16

16 Duke Regional Hospital

Durham | Beds: 369 | 2017 rank: 12

17 (tie) Cape Fear Valley Medical Center

Fayetteville | Beds: 666 | 2017 rank: 12

17 (tie) WakeMed Raleigh Campus

Raleigh | Beds: 726 | 2017 rank: 15

19 Duke Raleigh Hospital

Raleigh | Beds: 185 | 2017 rank: 25

20 (tie) Carolinas HealthCare System (Atrium Health) Cleveland

Shelby | Beds: 241 | 2017 rank: 20

20 (tie) Vidant Medical Center

Greenville | Beds: 909 | 2017 rank: N/A

22 (tie) Frye Regional Medical Center

Hickory | Beds: 355 | 2017 rank: 18

22 (tie) Novant Health Matthews Medical Center

Matthews | Beds: 146 | 2017 rank: N/A

22 (tie) Pardee Hospital

Hendersonville | Beds: 222 | 2017 rank: N/A

25 (tie) Johnston Health

Smithfield| Beds: 199 | 2017 rank: 25

25 (tie) Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center

Winston-Salem | Beds: 971 | 2017 rank: 19

Includes Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center (921 beds) and Kernersville Medical Center (Kernersville, 50 beds)

Click here to see a PDF of the section

Click here to see a PDF of patient picks

Click here to see a PDF of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Blue Distinction Centers

Click here to see a PDF of U.S. News & World Report top-performing Tar Heel hospitals


Cathy Martin
Cathy Martin
Cathy Martin is the managing editor at Business North Carolina magazine. She can be reached at

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