Best Hospitals for Kids in the U.S.

U.S. News & World Report has published its list of top children’s hospitals in the country by specialty. No, there’s no ranking of all-around best places for pediatric care, but there’s lots of overlap. Hint: if you live in Boston or Philadelphia you’ve pretty much got it nailed.

Reputation accounted for 35% of the score, outcomes such as surgical survival and avoidance of complications from procedures represented 25%, and care-related indicators such as the ratio of nurses to patients made up 40% of the score in each specialty. The top 30 hospitals in 10 pediatric specialties were identified in the U.S. News & World Report list.

Here are the top three hospitals in each specialty:

Cancer

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Children’s Hospital Boston

Diabetes and Endocrinology

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Children’s Hospital Boston

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

Gastroenterology

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Children’s Hospital Boston

Heart and Heart Surgery

Children’s Hospital Boston

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston

Kidney

Children’s Hospital Boston

Seattle Children’s Hospital

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Neonatology

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Children’s Hospital Boston

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Neurology and Neurosurgery

Children’s Hospital Boston

Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Orthopaedics

Children’s Hospital Boston

Children’s Medical Center – Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Dallas

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Pulmonology

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Children’s Hospital Boston

Urology

Children’s Hospital Boston

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Riley Hospital for Children Clarian Health Partners, Indianapolis

SOURCES: U.S. News & World Report: “U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals 2010-11.”

So what’s a mother to do if you don’t live near one of these Meccas? First, look for volume. The hospital treating the largest number of children is likely to be the best at it.

Look for nurses who’ve had additional training in the care of children. Super-hint: ask a nurse you know … either in your pediatrician’s office or elsewhere … which hospital they’d take THEIR children to. Ditto for your pediatrician.

In most cases, academic medical centers are your best bet. They’re involved in research and have cutting-edge information about children’s health.

Finally, trust your gut. Take a tour of your options. Which feels best to you? Chances are it’s the right choice.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


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