Where Are the Nation's Best Children’s Hospitals?

By: Neomi Heroux
By: Neomi Heroux

Just the thought of their child in a hospital can cause parental nightmares. No one wants to have their child in the hospital for any reason, and particularly if they are facing a long life-threatening illness or recuperating from serious injury. If a child must be hospitalized parents would like to know the best place for treatment for their child and Parents magazine can tell you where they are.

Parents magazine just released the biennial rating of children’s hospitals in the United States. The last survey was published by Child magazine in 2007. Meredith Corp. owned both publications and when Child ceased operations early in 2008, Parents magazine took over the rankings.

The purpose of the survey is to give parents the information they need concerning decisions about their child’s health, particularly when a child is facing a serious illness. Dana Points, editor-in-chief of Parents, said in a press release, “We created this guide with the hope of making the difficult process of choosing the right hospital a little easier.”

Hospitals were ranked according to a survey of 250 questions which asked about such things as survival rates for childhood cancer, pediatric heart disease, and other critical conditions. They were also rated on performance of certain complex procedures, safeguards against medical errors, ratio of staff to patients, emergency department response times, community outreach, and meeting the emotional needs of sick children and their families. Additionally Parents ranked hospitals in pediatric specialty areas.

Parents reviewed the surveys returned and scored the hospitals from the information furnished. There was a possible outcome of 1500 points, and the scores for the individual hospitals ranged from 563 to 1344. The top 10 hospitals had scores from 1106 to 1344. The top 10 hospitals were outstanding for treating all common conditions and some unfamiliar to the average person. Parents compiled a lot of information on breakthrough procedures and for keeping kids healthy.

The hospitals in order of ranking are:

1. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
2. Children’s Hospital, Boston
3. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
4. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
5. St. Louis Children’s Hospital
6. Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
7. Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
8. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
9. Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Cleveland
10. The Children’s Hospital, Denver

The complete rankings as well as specialties of certain hospitals can be viewed at www.parentsmag.com and in the February 2009 issue of Parents magazines on newsstands in January.

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