Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), an affiliate of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, is the top-ranked pediatric hospital in California again, based on the latest rankings announced by U.S. News & World Report. CHLA was also named to the publication’s Honor Roll of Best Children’s Hospitals, a designation bestowed on elite pediatric academic medical centers that excel in multiple specialties.

CHLA is the only pediatric hospital on the West Coast to be named to the Honor Roll this year, finishing sixth nationwide in the 2017-18 assessment of the best pediatric health care facilities in the United States. CHLA has made the Honor Roll every year since its inception nine years ago.

“This distinguished recognition reflects the collaborative efforts of our world-class physicians, nurses, researchers, technicians and clinical staff,” said CHLA President and CEO Paul S. Viviano. “We continually strive to provide the highest-quality care and best outcomes for the patients treated at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and we are honored that U.S. News & World Report has once again acknowledged the work that we do to achieve our mission of creating hope and building healthier futures.”

This year will mark the 75th anniversary of a successful partnership between the Keck School and CHLA. The convergence of missions with regards to education, research and clinical care between the two institutions has grown considerably in recent years.

“The dedicated physician-scientists at CHLA are committed to providing compassionate and personalized care for our youngest and most vulnerable patients, many of whom suffer from some of the most complex medical problems,” said Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, dean of the Keck School and a member of CHLA’s board of trustees. “I am delighted that U.S. News has recognized this exceptional national performance again this year. We, at the Keck School are proud of our longstanding partnership with CHLA and will continue to foster cutting-edge basic and translational research, educating the next generation of pediatricians, and providing the most complex clinical care that will positively impact the quality of life of children — and their families — for generations to come.”

U.S. News scores children’s hospitals as a distinct group because caring for children and youth requires specialized expertise, equipment and facilities designed to meet pediatric patient care needs. Ultimately, the hospitals with the 10 highest scores are placed on an Honor Roll after being assessed and ranked in 10 pediatric specialties. For the 2017-18 rankings, CHLA’s comprehensive score placed it No. 6 overall in the United States out of a field of 113 pediatric medical centers that qualified for inclusion in the survey, with seven of the hospital’s clinical specialty areas scoring in the top 10 among their peers nationally.

“The magazine’s rankings are based on an assessment of complex data from each hospital surveyed, including metrics for health outcomes, national stature, signature programs and level of expertise,” said James Stein, MD, associate professor of clinical surgery at the Keck School and chief medical officer at CHLA. “As a result, the Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll rankings are considered to be a global measure of a hospital’s ability to provide the very best care for children and a reflection of the commitment and compassion you will find here at CHLA.”

Overall, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ equaled or improved its national ranking in eight categories compared to last year’s survey results. For 2017-18, CHLA’s programs in orthopaedics, gastroenterology and GI surgery, and cardiology and heart surgery moved up two spots each to No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. Diabetes and endocrinology advanced three places to the No. 5 slot; neonatology moved up one place to No. 6; and neurology and neurosurgery jumped six spots to No. 10. Cancer finished at No. 9 and urology came at No. 16. Both pulmonology and nephrology each ranked 18th in the nation, with the former program gaining one place and the latter gaining six. CHLA earned top-20 recognition in each of the specialty areas evaluated.

“The staff at CHLA has much to be proud of in light of this news,” said Robert Shaddy, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Keck School, who officially joined CHLA as pediatrician-in-chief and senior vice president of Academic Affairs on June 1. “I am very excited to be joining such an accomplished and dynamic team of health care providers and look forward to helping to continue to improve the excellent care we’re able to give our young patients.”

CHLA has been providing high-quality pediatric care to the children of Southern California for 116 years. CHLA also is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive, freestanding pediatric research facilities in the United States. Since the 2011 opening of CHLA’s inpatient tower, the Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion, the hospital has achieved Magnet® re-designation for nursing.

CHLA’s efforts to provide innovative clinical care are complemented by the translational research performed by the hospital’s scientists, physician and nurses:

  • In 2016, CHLA was recognized by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as a Level 4 epilepsy center, providing the highest-level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.
  • The hospital was recently selected as one of 21 members of the National Cancer Institute-sponsored prestigious Children’s Oncology Group Phase 1 consortium, acknowledging CHLA’s depth and breadth of experience with cancer and clinical trials at CHLA.
  • The Fetal and Neonatal Institute is home to a unique neuro-protective program that pairs the latest pharmacological treatments with imaging research to minimize the long-term impact to neonates’ fragile developing brains.
  • The Children’s Orthopaedic Center has developed an innovative treatment plan that helps children go home post-surgery in half the time of other institutions, allowing them to get back to school and to sports more quickly.
  • The Heart Institute is world-renowned for its life-saving interventions for children born with congenital heart disease and fetal surgeries to correct heart defects in the womb, including the use of 3-D printed models that aid in precise modification of customized stents.
  • Last year, CHLA researchers, along with academic partners at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, were awarded $36.6 million to support continuation of the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the hub for community engagement at both campuses.
  • And in early 2017, the hospital celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first kidney transplant with patient Thomas Hoag, now 56 and thriving thanks to the life-saving procedure he received as a child.

According to U.S. News, the intent of the Best Hospitals list is to help patients and families identify hospitals “suited to someone whose difficult procedure, underlying condition or other medical issue calls for an especially high level of skilled care.” U.S. News collects and evaluates measures in three major categories:

  • Structure: Hospital resources directly related to patient care, such as nurse-to-patient ratio, specialized clinics, notable third-party certifications.
  • Process: Overall rendering of diagnosis, treatment, prevention and patient education (also factors in best practices compliance and other patient safety issues)
  • Outcomes: Includes survival rates, functional success rates and adverse events (i.e. organ failure or bloodstream infections)

U.S. News Media Group, the parent of U.S. News & World Report, announced the 2017-18 hospital rankings at 12:01 a.m. EST June 27, online. For additional information, go to:

Best Children’s Hospitals 2017-18 Honor Roll

Children’s Hospital Specialty Rankings

— Lorenzo Benet