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June 16, 2021

U.S. News names the 'Best Children's Hospitals' of 2021

Daily Briefing

    U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday released its "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings for 2021, naming the 10 best children's hospitals in the country as well as the top 50 children's hospitals in each of 10 pediatric specialties.

    Cheat sheets: How hospital quality ratings work


    For the 15th annual "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings, 118 facilities submitted sufficient data to be considered for ranking in at least one of the 10 assessed specialties, which are:

    • Cancer;
    • Cardiology & heart surgery;
    • Diabetes & endocrinology;
    • Gastroenterology & GI surgery;
    • Neonatology;
    • Nephrology;
    • Neurology & neurosurgery;
    • Orthopedics;
    • Pulmonology & lung surgery; and
    • Urology.

    Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, U.S. News did not ask participating hospitals to complete U.S. News' standard Pediatric Hospital Survey, but instead "reused" the data hospitals submitted in the prior year's survey. However, U.S. News said the data it used from sources other than the children's hospitals, such as information from credentialing organizations and U.S. News' annual pediatric specialist survey, were updated.

    The publication based its hospital scores on:

    • Outcomes data—including survival, infections, and surgical complications—which accounted for 33.3% of the overall score in every specialty except cardiology/heart surgery, where it accounted for 38.3%;
    • Structure, meaning resources related directly to patient care, such as specialized clinics and nurse-patient ratios, which accounted for 33.3% of the overall score in every specialty;
    • The hospital's reputation among experts, based on a survey of pediatric specialists and subspecialists, which accounted for 15% of the overall score in every specialty except cardiology/heart surgery, where reputation accounted for 8.5% of the score;
    • The hospital's adherence to best practices within specialties, which accounted for 9.2% of the score in every specialty except cardiology, where it accounted for 9.9%; and
    • Infection prevention, which accounted for 9.2% of the score in every specialty except cardiology, where it accounted for 9.9%.

    Overall, U.S. News recognized 89 hospitals in this year's rankings. This year, for the first time, U.S. News included rankings by state and by seven multi-state regions to "help families identify high-quality pediatric centers near home."

    The Best Children's Hospitals

    U.S. News named 10 hospitals to its Honor Roll, which denotes the 10 hospitals that garnered points for being highly ranked in multiple specialties. 

    The Honor Roll includes:

    1. Boston Children's Hospital (Boston);
    2. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Philadelphia);
    3. Texas Children's Hospital (Houston);
    4. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (Cincinnati);
    5. Children Hospital Los Angeles (Los Angeles);
    6. Children's Hospital Colorado (Aurora, Colorado);
    7. Children's National Hospital (Washington, D.C.);
    8. Nationwide Children's Hospital (Columbus, Ohio);
    9. UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh); and
    10. Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford (Palo Alto, California).

    This is the eighth consecutive year that Boston Children's has taken the top spot on the honor roll.

    Across U.S. News' 10 specialty rankings, the No. 1 children's hospital for:

    • Pediatric cancer, pediatric diabetes/endocrinology, and pediatric orthopedics is Children's Hospital of Philadelphia;
    • Pediatric cardiology and heart surgery is Texas Children's Hospital;
    • Pediatric gastroenterology and GI surgery is Children's Hospital Colorado;
    • Neonatology is Children's National Hospital; and
    • Pediatric nephrology, pediatric neurology/neurosurgery, pediatric pulmonology/lung surgery, and pediatric urology is Boston Children Hospital.

    ("Best Children's Hospitals," U.S. News & World Report, 6/15; U.S. News & World Report methodology, accessed 6/15; Harder, U.S. News & World Report, 5/20; U.S. News & World Report FAQ, 6/15).

    Cheat sheets: How hospital quality ratings work


    Download our newly updated cheat sheets for easy-to-read summaries of some of the most widely promoted hospital rating programs, including:

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