U.S. News ranks UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital as one of nation’s best

Published: June 12th, 2013

Category: Announcements, General, InsideUF, Top Stories

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Health Shands Children’s Hospital has been recognized as one of the nation’s best hospitals for children in six medical specialties, including, for the first time ever, cancer care.

In its annual Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked the following six UF Health pediatric programs among the nation’s best: diabetes and endocrinology (17th nationally), nephrology (26th nationally), cardiology and heart surgery (32nd nationally), gastroenterology (34th nationally), pulmonology (40th nationally) and cancer (46th nationally).

“These rankings show that for a program our size, we are one of the top pediatric programs in the U.S.,” said Dr. Scott Rivkees, chairman of the department of pediatrics in the UF College of Medicine. “We are now seeing more children than ever before. We see children from not only Florida but from across the U.S. and around the world. These children come to our organization because of the specialized care that we, and only a handful of other programs, can provide.”

Among Florida hospitals, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital was ranked highest in diabetes and endocrinology.

“Over the next year, we will continue to build upon our strengths and make our department even better for the boys and girls we care for,” Rivkees said.

In this year’s Best Children’s Hospital rankings, UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital was recognized for the quality of its pediatric cancer program for the first time. Several changes and improvements in recent years likely led to this recognition, said Dr. William Slayton, chief of the division of hematology and oncology in the department of pediatrics.

During the past two years, significant efforts have been made to improve the bone marrow transplant unit, specifically, Slayton said. As a result, patient outcomes after transplant have improved. In addition, staff members have improved palliative care efforts and the division has become more closely aligned with the UF Proton Therapy Institute, which supplies targeted radiation to tumors, sparing healthy tissue. Because children are still growing and susceptible to side effects from radiation, this technique is particularly beneficial, Slayton said.

“This recognition is a reflection of the teamwork and the great work that the individuals in this division have been doing,” Slayton said. “We have really great people here and they really are focused on providing the highest quality care and experience for our patients and their families.”

U.S. News’ Best Children’s Hospitals rankings list the top 50 hospitals in each of 10 specialties, including: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology. UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital was one of 87 hospitals across the country that U.S. News ranked in at least one of these specialties.

To obtain the rankings, U.S. News & World Report collects survey information about patient data and outcomes directly from hospitals and also queries doctors to factor in each hospital’s reputation. A total of 150 physicians from each specialty were surveyed. The reputation score counts for 25 percent of each hospital’s ranking.

The full rankings and methodology are available at www.usnews.com/childrenshospitals.

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