Smile Politely

A look into Carle: The Good

This article marks the first in a four-part series cataloging Carle Hospital, and what it does, both good and bad, for the Champaign-Urbana community. Stay tuned to Smile Politely Opinion for the following parts.

My wife and I have been going to Carle Clinic and Hospital for nearly 50 years. Overall we are very satisfied with the medical care we have received. Of particular note, my primary care physician (since 1978) has been excellent.

Both of our children were born there with great results, in spite of the fact that our son came six weeks early and spent his first two weeks in neonatal intensive care. Later, he had so many visits to the ER, we thought they should name a room after him.


“We (family) are with Christie, but in the past year, a member of our family had to/ wanted to consult with a Carle specialist and has since remained in this doctor’s care. The experience has been excellent.”

“From a medical standpoint, Carle’s been…fine. Not great, not terrible. There have been some individuals who were great, and some who have made mistakes….but I have had medical issues that were difficult to pin down.”

“I’ve gone to Carle for all my care and had Health Alliance for the past 14 years, as has my husband. Both my kids have had all their care at Carle. I’ve had 2 babies at Carle, have had one surgery, my husband has been in for a 3-day stay for a one-time treatment of an ailment. All of our experiences have been good…”

“Of course I am irked with Carle’s refusal to pay its property taxes. However, my family has been a member (until recently) of Health Alliance for many years, and now of United Health Care, and our experience with the care at Carle has been nothing but positive.”

“My family has had excellent service from many Carle doctors and nurses for multiple family members over four decades…. They are one of the top-rated hospitals in the country, their doctors are excellent, and we are lucky to have them in our community.”


In writing this article I consulted two websites to permit a more informed and objective opinion regarding Carle’s reputation. These are U. S. News and World Report and Becker’s Hospital Reviews.

U. S. News and World Report includes Carle in its summary of the 100 best hospitals nationally. Ratings are listed alphabetically with no head-to-head comparison between the honorees.

Their  analysis of national hospitals includes data from nearly 5,000 centers across multiple clinical specialties, procedures and conditions. Scores are based on a variety of patient outcome and care-related factors.

For comparison, I also present data from two additional hospitals accessible within a three-hour drive from C-U, Northwestern Memorial in Chicago and Barnes-Jewish in St. Louis. Scores are out of 100 possible points.

My neighbors with extremely serious complaints about the quality of medical treatment at Carle unanimously prefer the other two. The Mayo Clinic is also a common destination and is VERY highly rated.

The Becker’s Hospital Review editorial team selected hospitals for their list based on rankings and awards from numerous reputable sources, including U.S. News & World Report, Truven Health Analytics, Healthgrades, the American Nurses Credentialing Center and The Leapfrog Group, among others.

In their synthesis of information from all these sources, Carle retained its place in the list of 100 hospitals considered overall healthcare leaders in the nation.

As with any ranking of large, complex organizations one must keep in mind that these surveys are bound to reflect some unintentional bias in category selection and weighting. Also, the rated facility may focus on efforts to improve its standing in these rating criteria in the future.

In summary, I conclude that from a medical standpoint Carle is a very good hospital with a respected staff of physicians representing many specialities. They serve a large and diverse population in the surrounding area. In this regard, we are lucky to have them here.

More Articles