For the third straight year, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), an affiliate of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, has been named the top pediatric hospital in the western United States, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals rankings announced June 18.

CHLA also rose one spot from last year in U.S. News’ prestigious Honor Roll of Best Children’s Hospitals to be ranked the No. 5 pediatric medical center in the entire nation. The Honor Roll distinguishes children’s hospitals with the most comprehensive and successful clinical specialty programs.

“The talented doctors, nurses, researchers, technicians and other team members at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles are unparalleled in their commitment to children’s health,” said CHLA President and CEO Paul S. Viviano. “CHLA is always striving to be the gold standard of pediatric care, and I am proud that when U.S. News & World Report looked at what we are doing to heal, protect and innovate, they affirmed our belief that CHLA belongs in the highest echelon of pediatric health care institutions.”

Every year, U.S. News scores nearly every major hospital and health system in the country and ranks them according to performance benchmarks, peer review, certifications, and other data provided by the hospitals as well as third-party measurements of excellence. Children’s hospitals receive separate rankings from other facilities due to the specialized expertise, equipment and facilities required to care for infants, children and youth.

This year, CHLA’s overall score places it fifth in the United States out of 125 pediatric medical centers that submitted data for the survey. CHLA also improved its ranking over last year in five of the 10 pediatric specialty categories evaluated, including top-10 recognition in seven categories:

“Being a top-5 children’s hospital is more than a number to the clinicians and staff at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who strive every day to create hope and build healthier futures for children,” said CHLA Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer James Stein, MD, MSc. “It means that they combine world-class expertise with incredible commitment to provide the highest levels of care for patients from Los Angeles and beyond, some of whom are diagnosed with the most medically complex conditions.”

CHLA is a world-renowned pediatric academic medical center, known for providing high-quality clinical care, leading-edge research and rigorous training for the next generation of pediatric experts. Founded 118 years ago, CHLA now sees more than half a million patient visits annually. The institution provides compassionate and lifesaving pediatric care for patients of all ages, from infants still in the womb to youth on the cusp of adulthood, from all 50 states and more than 50 countries. Clinical care is led by physicians who are faculty members of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Many of the institution’s achievements in care are made possible through a cohesive relationship between clinical experts at the bedside and the basic, translational, and clinical research conducted across the entire campus as a part of the work of The Saban Research Institute. CHLA’s strong culture of research means that science is used to drive innovation. Clinicians who deliver care can do so knowing that their care is informed by the latest scientific and medical advances to provide the best health outcomes for children.

This drive to improve care has resulted in new milestones in pediatric care being set at CHLA and supporting improvements in how care is delivered nationwide. A few examples from the timeframe covered by the U.S. News & World Report survey include:

  • New Nerve-Transfer Surgery: When a mysterious polio-like illness called Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) was afflicting children and making national headlines last fall, Mitchel Seruya, MD, director of the Brachial Plexus and Peripheral Nerve Center at CHLA, developed a novel surgical nerve transfer technique to help restore function in the paralyzed limbs of AFM patients.
  • CHLA-Developed Rapid Genetic Testing Helps in Breakthrough Cancer Treatment:
    The OncoKids® cancer panel developed by CHLA’s Center for Personalized Medicine is helping its Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases pinpoint genetic causes underlying rare tumors. Results from the testing permit doctors to tailor new drug treatments for patients with specific treatment needs with remarkable results.
  • Level I Pediatric Trauma Center Reverification: CHLA has been reverified as the only freestanding Level I Pediatric Trauma Center in Los Angeles County by the American College of Surgeons.
  • Health Network Implements Asthma Action Plan: CHLA worked with Southern California pediatricians who are affiliated with the CHLA Health Network to deliver quality asthma care and empower families with a better understanding of the disease.
  • Virtual Reality Simulation Training: The Division of Emergency and Transport Medicine is using virtual reality to simulate real-life conditions and stresses of pediatric emergencies to help medical students and doctors better train for these scenarios.
  • Unsedated Trans-Nasal Endoscopy with Virtual Reality Pain Management: CHLA’s Divisions of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition; Otolaryngology; and Comfort and Palliative Care successfully completed the first unsedated Trans-Nasal Endoscopy (TNE) on the West Coast, dramatically cutting the time a patient spends in the hospital and eliminating the need for pre-procedure “midnight fasting.” Instead of anesthesia, patients can wear a virtual reality headset and watch a movie or play a game as a distraction.
  • Percutaneous Fetoscopic “Keyhole” Spina Bifida Repair: A multi-institution clinical pilot headed by several CHLA experts affiliated with the hospital’s Fetal and Neonatal Institute and the Neurological Institute was the first in the western U.S. to perform a completely laparoscopic repair of the most severe form of spina bifida on a fetus still in the womb, a technique that minimizes risk to the mother.

U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals list is a collaboration between hospitals and the publication to benchmark the performance of children’s hospitals for the benefit of parents and their children. Research firm RTI International and the magazine collect and analyze data from each of the hospitals surveyed in several categories, including:

  • Clinical outcomes, such as patient survival and surgical complication rates;
  • Quality of hospital resources related to patient care, including staffing, technology and special services;
  • Delivery of care and commitment to patient safety, such as infection prevention and adherence to best practices;
  • Expert opinion among peer physicians nationwide; and
  • Other measurements of excellence, including the number of fellowship programs and how involved families are in their child’s care.

U.S. News Media Group, the parent of U.S. News & World Report, announced the 2019-20 hospital rankings online at 12:01 a.m. EST on Tuesday, June 18. For additional information, please follow the links below:

Best Children’s Hospitals 2019-20 Honor Roll:

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Best Children’s Hospital 2019-20 Profile Page:

— Owen Lei