Health & Medicine

UC Davis, Shriners ranked among nation's top hospitals for children in annual report

The UC Davis Children’s Hospital has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report for the eighth consecutive year in its annual ranking of Best Children’s Hospitals in the U.S.

The 2018-19 list ranked the Children’s Hospital as one of the nation’s best 50 facilities in five categories, including in pediatric orthopedics, a collaborative effort with Shriners Hospitals.

UC Davis Children's Hospital ranked 26 for neonatology, 35 for pediatric nephrology, 44 in pediatric pulmonology and 49 in pediatric urology. Both UC Davis and Shriners received recognition for ranking 37 in pediatric orthopedics.

“We’re very proud to be ranked in five subspecialties,” said Dr. Satyan Lakshminrusimha, the chair of pediatrics and medical director of UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “It’s very prestigious, not only for UC Davis, but for the Sacramento region, too.”

The pediatric ranking looks at data collected from nearly 200 medical centers throughout the country. Factors such as patient safety, infection prevention and staffing levels are taken into consideration, as are surveys from over 11,000 pediatric specialists who give their opinion on where they would send sick children in need of care in their given specialties.

Local hospitals had prestigious competitors for top rankings. They included Boston Children's Hospital, Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore and, in California, Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Within the five rankings for UC Davis, the children’s hospital was ranked excellent in categories including ability to prevent infections throughout the hospital, nurse staffing, availability of full time specialists, advanced clinical services offered, commitment to best practices and adoption of health information technology.

The hospital’s highest ranking is in neonatology, the care of newborn babies who are born premature or who are born at term but have infections, heart disease or other health complications.

Lakshminrusimha said UC Davis Children’s Hospital excels in neonatology due to the advanced technology and services offered and in its staffing, which is equipped for immediate care with “expertise in pretty much every area.”

He also emphasized the focus on support services. For instance, in certain cases, webcams are placed next to babies so parents who live remotely or need to leave for work can stay with them virtually while they receive care.

“We go out of the way to help parents get used to the fact their baby is in the hospital, sometimes for months,” Lakshminrusimha said.

This is the seventh consecutive year UC Davis and Shriners have ranked in the top 50 in the nation for pediatric orthopedics. The specialty is focused on care for young patients with musculoskeletal issues.

Dr. Michelle James, the chief of orthopedic surgery at Shriners Hospitals Northern California, explained that children may need care for hip, knee or spine problems.

"We have, altogether, a wide range in breadth and depth of care," James said.

Shriners Hospitals provides access to care regardless of a child's family or guardian’s ability to pay. Lakshminrusimha explained that the combination of access to care provided by Shriners and the access to specialists provided by UC Davis allows for greater outcomes for patients.

“This close collaboration has led to a lot of improvement for many of these patients,” he said. “I think having a children’s hospital with Shriners attached to it is a blessing to the community.”

James also said the ranking is a recognition of a collaboration which benefits the community. The partnership, she said, has allowed for “super-specialized care.”

“I’m really proud of our hospital staff,” James said. “We have amazing people who work here and it’s a privilege to work with people who are so devoted to the mission.”

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