Best children’s hospitals 2021-22: honor roll and overview

The annual U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, now in their 15th year, offer guidance to parents seeking the best place for their very sick child. The top 50 medical centers are ranked in 10 specialties, including pediatric cancer, pediatric cardiology & heart surgery and pediatric orthopedics.

In the 2021-22 rankings, 89 hospitals ranked among the top 50 in at least one pediatric medical specialty. Ten of those hospitals earned a place on the U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll by garnering points for being highly ranked in many specialties.

U.S. News: Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll

1. Boston Children’s Hospital

2. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

3. Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston

4. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

5. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

6. Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora

7. Children’s National Hospital, Washington, D.C.

8. Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

9. UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

10. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Palo Alto, Calif.

Regional Rankings

For the first time this year, U.S. News also ranked children’s hospitals in each state and in seven multi-state regions. These new regional rankings are designed to help families identify high-quality pediatric centers close to home. The multi-state regions, and the No. 1 hospital in each region, are:

Pacific: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Rocky Mountains: Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora

Southwest: Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston

Southeast: Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville (tie)

Midwest: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Mid-Atlantic: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

New England: Boston Children’s Hospital

How U.S. News Produced the Rankings

The 2021-22 rankings were created from data collected through a clinical survey sent to nearly 200 hospitals and a survey sent to thousands of pediatric doctors nationwide. RTI International, a North Carolina-based research and consulting firm that also generates the Best Hospitals rankings, administered both surveys and analyzed the results. More than 100 pediatric medical experts provided input on what information to collect and how to analyze the data. The clinical data used in the rankings reflect a period of time that ended before the coronavirus outbreak became a pandemic.

Whether and how high a hospital was ranked depended on how well it performed in three broad arenas of quality:

Clinical outcomes, such as maximizing survival following complex surgery, minimizing complications from kidney biopsies and preventing infections in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Efficient coordination of care as demonstrated, for example, by complying with accepted hand-washing protocols and other best practices.

Providing care-related resources such as ample nursing staff and outpatient programs tailored to particular conditions.

Each of these three major areas determined about one-third of a hospital’s score in each specialty.

Results from the survey of pediatric specialists contributed up to 15% of a hospital’s score, depending on specialty. Doctors were asked to name up to 10 hospitals they consider best in their specialty for children with serious or difficult medical problems. More than 4,000 physicians responded this year. Their responses were combined with those from similar surveys conducted in 2019 and 2020.

How U.S. News analyzed the data and put it together is fully described in the Best Children’s Hospitals Methodology Report, available as a downloadable PDF.

The Top-Ranked Children’s Hospital in Each Specialty

See complete rankings in all 10 pediatric specialties.

Cancer: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Cardiology & Heart Surgery: Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston

Diabetes & Endocrinology: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Gastroenterology & GI Surgery: Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora

Neonatology: Children’s National Hospital, Washington, D.C.

Nephrology: Boston Children’s Hospital

Neurology & Neurosurgery: Boston Children’s Hospital

Orthopedics: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Pulmonology & Lung Surgery: Boston Children’s Hospital

Urology: Boston Children’s Hospital

U.S. News also evaluates hospitals that treat adults, publishing rankings or ratings for 16 adult specialties and procedures and conditions such as hip replacement and heart failure.

More from U.S. News

Questions Doctors Wish Their Patients Would Ask

11 Items to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

10 Things Pediatricians Advise That Parents Ignore — and Really Shouldn’t

Best Children’s Hospitals 2021-22: Honor Roll and Overview originally appeared on

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