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Doctors in France have raised concern over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the mental health of children. The country’s busiest pediatric hospital has seen double the number of children needing treatment after attempted suicides. (March 12) AP Domestic

U.S. News & World Report published its 2021-2022 ranking of the country’s best children’s hospitals Tuesday, featuring hospitals by state and region for the first time.

The publication surveyed 193 facilities analyzing clinical outcomes, the level and quality of hospital resources, delivery of health care and expert opinions among pediatric specialists and ranked the top hospital across seven regions:

  • Mid-Atlantic: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Midwest: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
  • New England: Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Pacific: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Rocky Mountains: Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Southeast: Children’s Hospital of Atlanta and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital of Vanderbilt
  • Southwest: Texas Children’s Hospital

Ben Harder, chief of health analysis and managing editor at U.S. News & World Report, said the publication chose to include state and regional rankings this year so families could find hospitals closer to home as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact travel.

“Parents are looking at a ranking of the top 50 hospitals in the country and for them, some of them are not actionable,” he said. “We wanted to give them information that would be relevant to the actions they’re trying to take.”

The list also ranks the top 50 centers in 10 specialties: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and lung surgery, and urology.

Eighty-nine of the 193 surveyed hospitals were ranked among the top 50 in at least one specialty.

Ten hospitals earned a place on the report’s “Honor Roll,” which is awarded to pediatric centers that deliver high-quality care across multiple specialties.

Boston Children’s Hospital topped the list for the eighth year in a row and landed the No. 1 spot in four specialties: pediatric nephrology, pediatric neurology and neurosurgery, pediatric pulmonology and lung surgery, and pediatric urology.

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“I’m enthusiastic and proud of what these rankings say about Boston Children’s and our commitment to our patients and families and children,” said Dr. Kevin Churchwell, president and CEO of Boston Children’s Hospital. “Excellence is something we don’t take lightly. We see this as one of our important missions in pediatrics – to work to provide the best standard of care that is looking out to the future for our children.” 

Some information from this year’s ranking comes from the 2019 ranking as U.S. News & World Report was unable to send hospitals the normally detailed survey collecting over 1,500 points of data due to the pandemic, Harder said. Some clinical registries, certifying and credentialing organizations also had a “data collection freeze” throughout the pandemic.

But instead of waiting another year, Harder said it was imperative to publish a report this year even with limitations on data.

“When a child is sick and a family needs to make a decision where they need to seek are, they can’t wait a year,” he said. “No ranking is ever perfect… There is always going to be going to be some retrospective aspect to data collection.”

Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT. 

Health and patient safety coverage at USA TODAY is made possible in part by a grant from the Masimo Foundation for Ethics, Innovation and Competition in Healthcare. The Masimo Foundation does not provide editorial input.


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