MUSC Health keeps No.1 ranking in S.C. as more of its specialty programs hit national top 10%

July 28, 2020
Hearing loss specialist Dr. Ted Meyer is part of the ear, nose and throat team, one of the highly ranked specialties. Photo by Brennan Wesley

As the coronavirus pandemic challenges hospitals across the country to rise to the occasion, U.S. News & World Report has named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. “It’s a nice reminder, in the middle of everything else, that the work you did before is coming to fruition. And to me, it’s a great recognition of our team,” said MUSC Health CEO Patrick Cawley, M.D.

Nine specialty programs at MUSC Health-Charleston placed among the top 10% in the country. Of those, three are in the top tier, meaning they are ranked among the 50 best, and six are high-performing, meaning they aren’t ranked in the top 50 but scored high enough to be in the top 10% nationally.

Patrick Cawley, M.D. CEO, MUSC Health 
Dr. Patrick Cawley

MUSC Health hospitals in Florence and Lancaster also had two high performing specialties each: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, and heart failure.

To put things in perspective, the annual rankings consider more than 4,600 hospitals across the country. They’re designed to help patients make good choices when they need health care.

“U.S. News is probably one of the more comprehensive ranking systems,” Cawley said. “It measures many things, including reputation, quality and different safety elements. Patients should be doubly assured that MUSC Health is doing the right things, and they should feel good about coming to see us.”

Ranked MUSC Health specialties:

  • Ear, nose and throat (No. 13).
  • Gynecology (No. 35).
  • Cancer (No. 39).

High performing MUSC Health specialties:

  • Gastroenterology and GI surgery.
  • Nephrology.
  • Neurology & neurosurgery.
  • Orthopedics.
  • Rheumatology.
  • Urology.

Ear, nose and throat

The ear, nose and throat team’s No. 13 ranking is a welcome development at an unprecedented time for the program. Its leader, Paul Lambert, M.D., chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at MUSC, explained why. 

“The COVID epidemic has been especially challenging for us given the fact that we instrument and operate where the viral loads are the highest – the nose, oral cavity/pharynx, and sinuses,” he said.

“We greatly appreciate the many individuals and entities throughout MUSC that have provided a high level and quality of testing, infectious disease guidance, and PPE allowing our team – especially our head and neck cancer surgeons – to continue patient care.”


The gynecology team’s No. 35 ranking reflects its success in treatments and procedures ranging from routine screenings to complex care. It also offers 3-D mammograms, specialized diagnostics and, when needed, counseling and support from psychiatrists who specialize in women’s health.

Dr. Donna Johnson and Dr. David Soper 
Doctors Donna Johnson and David Soper are gynecologists at MUSC Health. Photo by Sarah Pack

Donna Johnson, M.D., serves as chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at MUSC. “We have an outstanding gynecology team and I am ecstatic they have been recognized for their expertise and their compassionate patient care,” she said of her team’s U.S. News ranking.


MUSC Hollings Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in South Carolina, maintained its presence among the ranked programs, coming in at No. 39.

The ranking comes at a time of new leadership for the program. College of Medicine Dean Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., becomes the center’s director in mid-August. He’s an international leader in the cancer community. DuBois will lead the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in the state.

To learn more about how U.S. News & World Report establishes its rankings, see its methodology description.

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