Health & Medicine

UC Davis-Shriners ranked among top hospitals for children’s orthopedics in U.S. News survey

Sacramento’s UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospital for Children — Northern California ranked among the top 10 medical institutions in the United States for children to get orthopedic care, according to an annual survey released Tuesday by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

Shriners and UC Davis ranked at No. 8 on the 2019-2020 list, but they have consistently ranked in the top 50 hospitals on the U.S. News list for eight consecutive years. The two health providers share physicians. Their facilities sit side-by-side on Stockton Boulevard, separated by X Street.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized as one of the top 10 providers of pediatric orthopedic care in the entire United States,” said Margaret Bryan, Shriners’ chief executive officer. “As a regional pediatric medical center, our hospital stands ready to serve families throughout Northern California who want the very best for their children.”

Dr. Lor Randall, chair of the UC Davis Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, said: “The rankings reflect UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s communal commitment to work with Shriners Hospital and the broader UC Davis Health mission to provide the very best in pediatric and adolescent musculoskeletal care, not just to Northern California, but to the nation as a whole. We are grateful to be part of a world class team.”

The UCD-Shriners team treats thousands of children annually with conditions such as scoliosis, limb deficiencies, sports injuries, joint malformations, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy. The two partners also participate in clinical trials and scientific research to advance orthopedic care.

U.S. News also chooses 10 children’s hospitals for its honor roll, recognizing their competence in many specialties. Only one children’s hospital in California made that list: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles at No. 5.

Ranked above it were Boston Children’s Hospital; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; and Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston. Below the L.A. hospital were Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio; UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh; Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Baltimore; and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

In addition to the orthopedics ranking, UC Davis Children’s Hospital also shared a No. 20 ranking with Shriners for its work in pediatric urology. Dr. Eric Kurzrock, chief of pediatric urology surgery, said his work involves performing surgeries to correct medical issues such as kidney blockages, hernias or undescended testicles in children.

“The U.S. News rankings have changed for our field,” Kurzrock said. “When they started out, there was more of a focus on volume, so the large programs in the country ranked higher. There’s two of us in our program, and there’s some programs that have five to 10 pediatric urologist.”

Today, he said, the ranking places more of an emphasis on outcomes – the incidence of complications and re-operations, for example. Volume still affects the rankings, however, Kurzrock said, so he doesn’t think the UCD-Shriners program will ever get into the top 10.

On its own, UC Davis Children’s Hospital also secured top 50 rankings in three other specialties: neonatology, 30; nephrology, 33; and pediatric diabetes and endocrinology, 47.

In the prior year’s ranking, UCD Children’s Hospital had ranked No. 44 in pediatric pulmonology and lung surgery, but it was not ranked in this category this year. In all, U.S. News scores pediatric hospitals in 10 specialties that also include pediatric cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and GI surgery, and neurology and neurosurgery.

The magazine recognized 84 hospitals in at least one specialty in the rankings.

To be considered for the ranking, the pediatric hospitals either had to request to be considered, be nominated by a team of expert advisers or be a member of organization known now as the Children’s Hospital Association. While a quarter of the hospitals considered have free-standing facilities, most are hospitals within hospitals.

U.S. News works with the consulting firm RTI International to collects and analyzes data to measure the success of each hospital’s program, looking at data such as clinical outcomes such as patient survival, infection rates and complications as well as the quality of patient care such as staffing, technology and special services.

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