Best Children’s Hospitals 2019-20: Honor Roll and Overview

By Ben Harder for MSN

The annual U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, now in their 13th year, offer guidance to parents seeking the best place for their very sick child. The top 50 medical centers are ranked in 10 specialties, including pediatric cardiology & heart surgery, pediatric cancer and pediatric orthopedics.

In the 2019-20 rankings, 84 hospitals ranked among the top 50 in at least one pediatric medical specialty. Ten of those hospitals earned a place on the Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll by garnering points for being highly ranked in many specialties.

Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll

Rank Name Points*
1 Boston Children’s Hospital 239
2 Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia 228
3** Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center 217
3** Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston 217
5 Children’s Hospital Los Angeles 168
6 Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C. 147
7 Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio 146
8 UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh 137
9 Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore 135
10 Seattle Children’s Hospital 129

*A hospital earned 25 points for a No. 1 ranking in any specialty, 24 points for a No. 2 ranking, 23 points for a No. 3 ranking and so on; hospitals earned 5 points if ranked 21st through 50th. The number of points in each specialty were added together to determine a hospital’s total points.


How U.S. News Produced the Rankings

The 2019-20 rankings were created from data collected through a clinical survey sent to nearly 200 hospitals and a reputational survey sent to about 15,000 doctors who are pediatric specialists. RTI International, a North Carolina-based research and consulting firm that also generates the Best Hospitals rankings, administered both surveys and analyzed the results. More than 100 medical experts on pediatric care provided input on what information to collect and how to analyze the data.

Whether and how high a hospital was ranked depended on how well it performed in three broad arenas of quality: clinical outcomes, such as maximizing cancer survival, minimizing complications from kidney biopsies and preventing infections in the neonatal intensive care unit; efficient coordination of care as demonstrated, for example, by complying with accepted hand-washing protocols and other “best practices”; and providing sufficient care-related resources such as nursing staff and outpatient programs tailored to particular conditions. Each of these three major areas determined about one-third of a hospital’s score in each specialty.

Results from the survey of pediatric specialists contributed up to 15 percent of a hospital’s score, depending on specialty. Doctors were asked to name up to 10 hospitals they consider best in their specialty for children with serious or difficult medical problems. More than 4,500 physicians responded this year. Their responses were combined with those from similar surveys conducted in 2017 and 2018.

How U.S. News analyzed the data and put it together is fully described in the Best Children’s Hospitals Methodology Report, available as a downloadable PDF.

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