U.S. News & World Report’s inaugural metropolitan-area hospital ranking released today recognizes UC Irvine Medical Center as the top caregiver in Orange County and fourth-best out of 44 facilities in the Los Angeles region.

Citing UC Irvine’s excellence in eight specialties, the new roster complements the magazine’s annual list of America’s Best Hospitals, which has acknowledged UC Irvine for 10 consecutive years.

“UC Irvine Medical Center’s mission is based on a commitment to top-notch patient care and excellence in research that translates to better bedside treatment,” said hospital CEO Terry A. Belmont. “Our inclusion on another best-hospitals list is a testament to our outstanding medical faculty, nurses and staff. I congratulate all of them.”

UC Irvine is the only Orange County medical center included among America’s Best Hospitals. In the 2010 ranking, it’s rated 30th for gynecology, 32nd for urology and 46th for ear, nose & throat. Since 2001, the magazine has cited UCI programs in cancer, digestive disorders, kidney disease and ear, nose & throat, with multiple rankings in urology, gynecology and geriatrics.

In its new list, U.S. News & World Report ranks 622 hospitals in or near major cities with a record of high performance in key medical specialties. To be ranked in its metro area, a hospital had to score in the top 25 percent among its peers in at least one of 16 specialties. Orange County was included in the Los Angeles metro area. There are nearly 5,000 hospitals nationwide.

Another sign of excellence is the more than 90 UC Irvine physicians named to the 2011-12 Best Doctors in America list, the most of any hospital in the county. UC Irvine also has more specialties represented, 31, than any other facility in Orange County.

About UC Irvine Medical Center: Orange County’s only university hospital, UC Irvine Medical Center offers acute- and general-care services at its new, 482,000-square-foot UC Irvine Douglas Hospital and is home to the county’s only Level I trauma center, American College of Surgeons-verified regional burn center and National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. U.S. News & World Report has included UC Irvine for 10 consecutive years on its list of America’s Best Hospitals, giving special recognition to its urology, gynecology, and ear, nose & throat programs.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.2 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.