University of Iowa Children’s Hospital makes gains in national U.S. News rankings

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The University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital has ranked among the nation’s top 50 in seven of 10 specialties in U.S. News & World Report’s new 2022-23 “Best Children’s Hospitals” rankings out Tuesday — its best showing since 2016.


And — except for two of its seven ranked specialties that both dipped one spot — UI pediatric specialties made meaningful year-over-year gains in the U.S. News Children’s Hospital rankings, now in their 16th year and meant to help families make informed decisions about where to receive care.


“We are so proud of our entire pediatric team,” UI Children’s Hospital Physician-in-Chief Alexander Bassuk said in a statement. “We are focused on this mission to improve the lives of children in Iowa and beyond, and it is wonderful to see the rankings reflect everyone’s tremendous efforts.”


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In U.S. News’ second year ranking children’s hospitals within states and regions — in addition to nationally — the UI Children’s Hospital maintained its No. 1 spot in Iowa and as the state’s only children’s hospital ranked nationally.


It also improved from No. 15 to No. 12 in the Midwest region, which includes Iowa’s six border states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota, along with Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and North Dakota.


The century-old UI Children’s Hospital — which moved into a new $393 million 14-story building in 2017 — ranked in the following specialties for the 2022-23 U.S. News edition:


  • Pediatric diabetes and endocrinology ranked No. 23, up from No. 41 last year;

  • Neonatology ranked No. 26, down one from No. 25 last year;

  • Pediatric nephrology ranked No. 27, up from No. 42;

  • Pediatric orthopedics ranked No. 36, down one from No. 35;

  • Pediatric neurology and neurosurgery ranked No. 38, up from No. 50;

  • Pediatric cancer ranked No. 38 after going unranked for two years;

  • And pediatric pulmonology ranked No. 50 after being unranked previously.

“Finding ourselves ranked yet again among the nation’s best children’s hospitals is a true honor that points to the exceptional care all of our providers give to all of our patients,” UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Johnson-Carlson said in a statement. “This recognition is a testament to the dedication and commitment our teams bring to work with them every single day.”


The three nationally ranked specialties in which UI fell outside the top 50 include pediatric cardiology and heart surgery, pediatric gastroenterology and GI surgery, and pediatric urology.


The publication’s ranking methodology for Children’s Hospitals considers objective measures like patient outcomes, mortality, infection rates, along with health equity, clinical resources, and best practice compliance. It also weighs in “expert opinion,” or the reputation of a hospital.


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“Rankings in pediatrics were included in the initial ‘America’s Best Hospitals’ rankings in 1990,” according to U.S. News’ methodology summary. “Until 2007, however, the pediatric rankings relied entirely on reputational surveys of board-certified pediatricians and adolescent-medicine specialists.”


Out of 100, U.S. News shares each of its ranked hospitals’ specific scores in each specialty. The UI Children’s Hospital earned its highest overall score in neonatology at 81.


UI Hospitals and Clinics also ranks in the top 50 nationally in four of 15 adult specialties.


RTI International, a North Carolina-based research and consulting firm, helped collect and analyze the data from 119 children’s hospitals, surveying thousands of pediatric specialists.


U.S. News, in addition to its pediatric specialty rankings, crafts an honor roll of the year’s overall best children’s hospitals. This year’s top 10 are:


No. 1 — Boston Children’s Hospital


No. 2 — Texas Children’s Hospital


No. 3 — Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center


No. 4 — Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


No. 5 — Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.


No. 6 — UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh


No. 7 — Children’s Hospital Colorado


No. 8 — Children’s Hospital Los Angeles


No. 9 — Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio


No. 10 — Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif.