UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital nationally ranked in six medical specialties for 2018-19

University of Florida Health Shands Children’s Hospital The University of Florida Health Shands Children’s Hospital once again ranked among the nation’s best pediatric hospitals in six medical specialties for 2018-19, moving even higher in pediatric cardiology and heart surgery and in pulmonology, according to the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings released today by U.S. News & World Report.

The hospital ranked among the nation’s elite in the same six specialties as it did a year ago. But UF Health’s pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program moved up two places from last year to 19th nationwide, the highest-ranked specialty at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. That also is a historically high ranking for the program.

Additional rankings included pulmonology, which moved up 11 spots from last year to 22nd, also a historically high ranking. The other ranked specialties were diabetes and endocrinology (27nd), neonatology (39th), cancer (49th) and neurology and neurosurgery (50th).

 “I take great pride in the tireless work by our physicians, nurses and staff whose excellence is reflected in these rankings,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., UF senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health. “Patients choose UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital because they expect the best patient experience possible. They entrust us with the health of a loved one because they know we will do everything we can to deliver on that promise.”

The hospital’s pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program was the highest-rated in Florida for the third consecutive year. Also ranked highest in Florida were pulmonology, and diabetes and endocrinology. 

“The rankings by U.S. News & World Report confirm that UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital continues to be viewed as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country,” said Scott Rivkees, M.D., chair of the UF College of Medicine’s department of pediatrics and physician-in-chief of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.

“We are especially gratified that several of our divisions have achieved even greater recognition than in the past. Most importantly, these rankings reflect our continued commitment to children and their families, who travel near and far to see us for our expert care,” Rivkees said.

Mark Bleiweis, M.D., the director of the UF Congenital Heart Center and the chief of congenital cardiothoracic surgery, said it was a great honor to once again see the pediatric cardiology and heart surgery program recognized for its excellence.

“The families who entrust their children to UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital in their time of crisis expect the very best of us,” Bleiweis said. “Our team of the country’s leading specialists and researchers takes great pride in meeting and exceeding those expectations by utilizing the most innovative treatments and the latest research findings in our work. Our children’s hospital continues to be one of the best in the nation because of our dedication to these most vulnerable of patients.”

Michael Light, M.D., the chief of the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital pediatric pulmonary division, said his division’s historically high ranking is a result of its robust growth in recent years.

“It has been a multidisciplinary team effort as we have expanded the pediatric pulmonary subspecialty areas,” he said. “These include tracheostomy and chronic ventilator care, neuromuscular disorders, interstitial lung disease and sickle cell disease, among others. Additionally, there is a severe asthma clinic, and the pediatric lung transplant program has expanded and is Florida’s busiest.

“The program has solidified and come together quite significantly and we have an increased volume of patients both inpatient and outpatient as the referrals come to our programs because our outstanding care is recognized," Light said.

Ed Jimenez, chief executive office of UF Health Shands, said these rankings show a pediatric hospital performing on all cylinders.

“These rankings are a reflection of the hard work and dedication to excellence by our physicians, nurses and staff,” said Jimenez. “Providing great health care begins and ends with them, and their commitment to our patients is why parents and others choose UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital when a child faces a health challenge.”

The U.S. News Best Children’s Hospital rankings are compiled from clinical data and an annual reputational survey of pediatric specialists across the country who were asked where they would send the sickest children. Other factors that determine rankings include survival rates after surgery, adequacy of nurse staffing, procedure and patient volume and other information.

The rankings, online at https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/pediatric-rankings, will be published in the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals 2018” guidebook, available on newsstands in September.

Adult hospital rankings will be released later this summer. Last year, UF Health Shands ranked in more adult and pediatric specialties than any other hospital in Florida for the third year in a row — a total of 12.

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Bill Levesque

Science Writer

Bill Levesque joined the UF Health staff in May 2017 as a science writer covering the Institute on Aging and research of faculty physicians in the College of Medicine. He...Read More

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