STOCKBRIDGE >> With only 74 beds, the Austen Riggs Center is much smaller than many other well-known psychiatric hospitals. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in recognition. National recognition.

Austen Riggs was recently named the country's ninth best hospital in psychiatry in U.S. News & World Report's 2016-17 list of the nation's best hospitals.

The hospital is not a stranger to these rankings. It has been consistently ranked among the country's top 10 psychiatric hospitals in U.S. News & World Report's rankings, which are now in their 27th year.

Austen Riggs placed 10th in the 2015 rankings, and in the top 10 in both 2014 and 2013, according to director of communications Janet Hiser.

"I actually think it speaks volumes about the quality of our work, our history, and the excellence of the clinical care that we provide," said Hiser, referring to this year's ranking.

"To be ranked among the top 10 with facilities that have significant university and research affiliations speaks volumes about what we do here," she said.

Austen Riggs Medical Director/CEO Andrew J. Gerber attributed this year's ranking to the hospital's program, staff and unique treatment program "that fosters the development, resilience, and self-direction of adults with complex psychiatric problems in an open community setting."


Austen Riggs is one of three Massachusetts facilities to be ranked in this year's top 10 nationally among psychiatric hospitals — Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital in Belmont are ranked first and second. Two other Boston hospitals, Beth Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham & Women's Hospital are ranked in the top 20 at 17 and 18, respectively. Six New England hospitals are ranked in the top 25.

According to the rankings, Riggs has only six speciality doctors on staff, much lower than any other member of the top 10. Mass. General has 406 specialists, and McLean Hospital, 251.

U.S. New & World Report's rankings are intended to help patients make more informed health care decisions. This year, the magazine compared nearly 5,000 medical centers nationwide in 25 specialties, procedures and conditions. A total of 153 hospitals are ranked in at least one speciality.

Hospitals are evaluated on objective measures that include patient survival, number of patients, and adequacy of nursing staff.

In other business, the Erickson Institute of the Austen Riggs Center will present the 2016 Erikson Institute Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media to three recipients at a colloquy at Austen Riggs at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20.

This year's recipients include: Benedict Carey, a reporter covering brain and behavior topics at The New York Times; Neal Shusterman, a New York Times bestselling novelist, screenwriter and television writer; and Steve Silberman, an award winning science writer.

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at 413-496-6224.