When I first began researching information on various hospitals across the United States, I came across many hospitals that offered a variety of Centers of Excellence. I was curious as to what constituted a Center of Excellence as opposed to just listing a program as a specialty service, so I decided to research this as well.
What I found out was that a Center of Excellence essentially means that a hospital specializes in the treatment of a certain illness or specializes in particular treatments. Centers of excellence can be anything from heart or cancer care to neurosurgery or organ transplants. Some hospitals offer a variety of Centers of Excellence whereas other hospitals might just offer one or two.
It was more difficult to find out how a hospital was able to claim the distinction of having a Center of Excellence. From what I could gather, each individual program and treatment has particular criteria that needs to be met in order for the hospital to state that their program is a Center of Excellence. They might require that the treatments be performed by a certain type of doctor or that a certain amount of treatments are performed annually.
I also found that different health care programs and health insurance programs will also designate a program of a hospital as a Center of Excellence based on their own criteria. This might mean that they are more likely to recommend this hospital as opposed to another hospital. They do this as a service to the patients who have their insurance to help them make an informed decision about which program is right for them. If you have a question about a particular hospitals Center of Excellence designation, you should ask them about how they received the designation and who gave it to them.