116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — University of Iowa Health Care’s century-old children’s hospital — which got a new name and new $392.7 million building in 2017 — again has placed in the top 50 nationally in five of 10 ranked specialties, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2021-22 Best Children’s Hospitals report released Tuesday.
In addition to its national children’s hospital rankings, U.S. News for the first time this year debuted state and regional children’s hospital rankings — like it does for general acute-care hospitals, including the UI Hospitals and Clinics.
The UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital in the publication’s first localized pediatric rankings placed first in Iowa and No. 15 in the Midwest region, which includes its six border states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota, plus Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and North Dakota.
The top placers in the Midwest include Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center at No. 1, with top-tier rankings in all 10 ranked specialties; Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, at No. 2; and the Children’s Hospital of Chicago, both of which also ranked in all 10 specialties.
The UI Children’s Hospital, like last year, placed among the top 50 in five of the 10 ranked specialties — gaining ground in three and slipping in two.
- Neonatology earned the hospital’s highest ranking this year at No. 25, an improvement from last year’s No. 32 but not yet on par with 2019’s No. 16;
- Pediatric orthopedics also improved slightly to No. 35 from last year’s No. 37 — although shy of its No. 29 ranking in 2019;
- Pediatric diabetes and endocrinology lost ground at No. 41, down from last year’s No. 38 and its No. 21 ranking in 2019;
- Pediatric nephrology improved to No. 42 from last year’s No. 49, although still below 2019’s No. 39;
- And the university’s pediatric neurology and neurosurgery ranking slipped to No. 50 from No. 49 last year.
After ranking nationally for years in pediatric cancer care, the UI Children’s Hospital still didn’t rank in the top 50 this year. It also remained unranked in pediatric urology, in which it ranked No. 26 in 2019.
U.S. News — in breaking down its decisions, which follow a methodology involving objective measures like patient outcomes, clinical resources and also national reputation — publishes a score card showing why each hospital earned its specialty rankings.
The UI Children’s Hospital earned above average or excellent scores in many pediatric cancer considerations, but was average in its ability to prevent infections and its reputation with other physicians, for example.
It fell short in similar categories in its urology score card but achieved high reputation marks in categories like neonatology and nephrology.
In formulating this year’s rankings, U.S. News gathered relevant data from children’s hospitals in early 2020 and from pediatric physicians and other health care organizations in 2021. Due to COVID-19, however, U.S. News did not repeat its data collection for children’s hospitals in 2021, according to the publication.
“To continue to be ranked among the nation’s best children’s hospitals, particularly following a year in which the nation and the world faced a monumental health crisis, is a testament to the dedication of our exceptional team,” UI Children’s Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Johnson-Carlson said in a statement. “This is a true honor and really points to our commitment to providing the top-quality care our patients and families have come to expect from this team.”
The I Stead Family Children’s Hospital building includes 14 floors and 507,000 square feet of new construction. It is home to more than 200 pediatric physicians, surgeons and dentists and last year cared for over 77,000 children from all 99 Iowa counties, plus 46 states and 20 other countries.
In a statement, Interim Physician-in-chief Eva Tsalikian — also serving as interim chair and department executive officer of the Stead Family Department of Pediatrics — praised the campus’ “extraordinary team of physicians, nurses, researchers, and staff.”
“To continue to be included on this list of best hospitals is a point of pride for all of our staff and sets the bar consistently high for future residents and staff,” she said.
U.S. News, which touts its rankings as helping families make health care decisions, cited COVID-19 in explaining its decision to debut state and regional pediatric lists.
“We have grown to appreciate the value regional rankings could have for families seeking hospital-based pediatric care,” according to a news release. “Such care often requires long-term follow-up, and extended travel affects the whole family. Not surprisingly, parents tend to seek pediatric hospital care close to home, often within the state where they reside and occasionally in a neighboring state.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed unprecedented complications to travel, adding to the reasons for many families with sick children to seek care close to home.”
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