Best Children's Hospitals: Top 3

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Top three childrens hospitals

Check ranking to find the best facility for your child's needs. Credit: Getty Images


When your child is sick, only the very best care is good enough. So, we're highlighting the nation's top children's hospitals and their achievements in research, innovation and, most importantly, patient care. This is the first in the series on best children's hospitals in the United States.

Every year, more than 3 million children are hospitalized in the United States, and one in 10 children has a chronic illness that needs ongoing medical care. For these children and their parents, finding the right medical institution is key.

In recent years, a number of children's hospitals across the country have emerged as leaders in pediatric medicine, drawing patients from distant cities. Many of these pediatric centers have found niches in various specialized fields, ranging from diabetes to traumatic brain injury. As in many other industries, children's hospitals are surveyed and ranked by a handful of organizations that are widely known for providing these insights.

In the process of looking for the top children's hospitals in the country, we identified three leaders who emerged at the top of the list of the major organizations that rank America's best hospitals -- Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Children's Hospital Boston and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. All have also received myriad other awards for excellence in children's hospitals.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia,
Philadelphia, Pa.
The longest-standing pediatric hospital in the country, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855. It is responsible for many of the dramatic firsts in pediatric medicine and innovations that have improved pediatric health care and saved the lives of countless children. With a track record of more than 150 years, CHOP shows up in almost every ranking for its ongoing commitment to pediatric care, and boasts high survival rates for childhood cancer, pediatric heart disease and other critical conditions; quick waiting times in the emergency department; and rapid response in meeting the emotional needs of sick children and their families.

Both U.S. News and Parents/NACHRI ranked CHOP No. 1 in their 2009 rankings. CHOP has been ranked first in cancer, diabetes and endocrine disorders, neonatal care, respiratory disorders and urology in U.S. News Media Group's edition of America's Best Children's Hospitals, and was featured in the August 2009 issue of U.S. News & World Report. CHOP ranked the highest across the board in 10 pediatric specialties, earning the highest combined score. In addition, CHOP was named "No. 1 Pediatric Hospital in the U.S." by Parents magazine and NACHRI in a February 2009 survey of more than 100 children's hospitals.

Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, Mass.
Founded in 1869 as a 20-bed hospital for children, today the 396-bed pediatric and adolescent patient hospital is the primary teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School. It houses the world's largest pediatric research center, with more than 600 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 13 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Children's Hospital Boston has been ranked No. 1 in heart surgery, neurology, neurosurgery and orthopedics in the U.S. News report and is one of only two hospitals to rank in the top five in all 10 specialties. Since the magazine began ranking hospitals 20 years ago, Children's has always ranked as one of the top pediatric facilities in the country. In 2009, Children's Hospital Boston was named a top hospital in The Leapfrog Group's Hospital Survey for the second consecutive year. The Washington, D.C.-based group measures safety, quality and efficiency of hospitals. In addition, Children's Hospital Boston was rated second overall among the more than 100 pediatric facilities surveyed in the Parents/NACHRI report.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, CIncinnati, Ohio
The hospital is ranked the No. 3 children's hospital by the U.S. News report and is ranked No. 1 for digestive disorders. It also ranked highly for its expertise in respiratory diseases, cancer, neonatal care, heart care, neurosurgery, diabetes, orthopedics, kidney disorders and urology. One of the three largest children's hospitals in the country, Cincinnati Children's is affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. In 2009, President Barack Obama cited Cincinnati Children's as "an island of excellence in health care."

For its achievements in transforming health care, Cincinnati Children's is one of six U.S. hospitals since 2002 to be awarded the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize for leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care. It's also one of eight pediatric hospitals and 45 hospitals of any kind in the nation named in the Leapfrog Group's 2009 survey.

Related: Best Children's Hospitals: Digestive and Liver Disorders

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