About Our 2012 Top Doctors List

The doctors on this list are not necessarily all of the area's "best" physicians, and they certainly are not the only good ones.

Many first-rate physicians aren't on the list, and there are reasons for this. Doctors tend to be known within the medical "villages" in which they practice and make referrals. These are usually grouped around hospitals and communities. Doctors in one "village" often don't know doctors in others. This can work to the disadvantage of physicians in out-of-the-way places and in "closed" organizations in which outside referrals are limited.

Some excellent doctors have such narrow subspecialties that they're not singled out. Many physicians who practice in--and even head--hospital departments aren't part of normal referral networks and therefore often go unnamed. Some younger physicians haven't been in practice long enough to establish their reputations widely. And physicians in group practices often are thought of collectively; sometimes only one or two of the "name" physicians in a group make the list while their associates, perhaps equally qualified, don't get enough votes.

The Top Doctors list does include many of the area's medical all-stars, but it's designed to be extensive enough to be useful to readers throughout the region.

Although the doctors on the list are respected by their colleagues, a physician's listing here is no guarantee that you'll be satisfied, nor should the list be a substitute for your own judgment. Almost every physician has difficult outcomes in the course of a career, and there are few who haven't had some dissatisfied patients. If you feel uncomfortable with a doctor, no matter his or her credentials, find another.

If you have good relationships with doctors you see now, it makes a lot of sense to maintain those relationships, whether or not the doctors are on this or any other list. When you need the services of specialists, consult your current physicians. This list is designed to be a resource in helping you make informed decisions. We hope it helps keep you in good health.

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