Southern Regional Medical Center has ranked in the top 2.5% of all hospitals nationally on the Lown Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility, the only ranking to include equity as a major category. Out of more than 3,000 hospitals, only 75 achieved Honor Roll status by earning “A” grades in equity, value, and outcomes, the three metrics used to determine overall social responsibility – and Southern Regional is one of them.

“For more than 50 years, Southern Regional has worked to provide exceptional healthcare to the communities we serve,” stated Charlotte W. Dupré, President and CEO of Southern Regional Medical Center. “We are honored to be recognized among the leading hospitals in the U.S. for our commitment to social responsibility.”

Health equity has become a top priority for American hospitals amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and movements for racial justice. Yet relatively few hospitals earn top scores across the Lown Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility – the only ranking to include equity as a major category. Major teaching hospitals and hospitals in urban locations stand out on the Lown list, which was first published last year. The Index includes 54 metrics across the equity, value, and outcomes categories. The index is the first ranking to assess the social responsibility of U.S. hospitals by applying measures never used before like racial inclusivity, avoidance of overuse, and pay equity.

The organization noted that half of the hospitals that appeared on this year’s U.S. News and World Report Best Hospitals list failed to place within the top third of the Lown list. While US News and World Report’s Best hospitals generally achieved high grades on outcomes and value, the Institute noted, every hospital with the exception of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore received a “C” or “D” grade on equity.

“It’s not enough for hospitals to say they’re committed to social responsibility. They need to put their commitment into action,” said Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute, a nonpartisan think tank advocating for changes in the healthcare system. “Doing well on the Lown Index is one way they can demonstrate progress.”

Factored into the ranking this year is a new measure of cost efficiency that evaluates how well hospitals achieve low mortality rates at a low cost. Performance varies widely, even among similar-sized hospitals in the same cities.

Southern Regional ranked 2nd in the state of Georgia for social responsibility.

“Our hospital is dedicated to delivering the highest-quality, most advanced healthcare available to our patients as we continue to be a committed partner within the communities we serve,” Dupré said.