Lurie Children’s Hospital misses U.S. News top 10 list again, ranks 3rd in Midwest among children’s hospitals

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Lurie Children’s Hospital again fell short of the U.S. News & World Report’s top 10 list of best children’s hospitals, but tied for third in the Midwest in new regional rankings.

The top-rated Illinois children’s hospital, Lurie had 10 specialties ranked among the best in the nation, but narrowly missed a top 10 spot for the third consecutive year.

“Lurie Children’s Hospital was once again close to being in the ten-hospital honor roll,” Ben Harder, chief of health analysis and managing editor at U.S. News, said in an email. “It’s one of just 22 hospitals in the country that ranked among the best in all specialties we evaluate, and 6 of those 22 are located in the Midwest.”

Boston Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Texas Children’s Hospital topped the annual national ranking for 2021-22. Lurie made the national top 10 list for seven consecutive years before falling off in 2019.

University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital was tied for 19th place in the Midwest, while Advocate Children’s Hospital and Peoria-based OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois were tied for 23rd.

The survey includes data from 193 children’s hospitals. To be ranked regionally, a hospital had to be in the top 50 in at least one specialty. The 2021-22 list ranks 96 children’s hospitals by region.

The regional and state rankings, introduced this year, were designed to help families identify “conveniently located” hospitals as the pandemic continues to affect travel, U.S. News said in a news release.

Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago was tied for third in the Midwest behind Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. It was among the top children’s hospitals nationally in 10 specialties, ranking 7th in urology, 9th in both cardiology and neonatology, and 11th in both nephrology and neurology.

“We’re pleased to be ranked #1 in Illinois and recognized by U.S. News once again for the excellent care we provide,” Derek Wheeler, chief medical officer at Lurie, said in an email.

In January, Lurie and Rush University System for Health announced an affiliation agreement to share facilities, physicians, treatment and research.

University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, which ranked second in Illinois, was tied for 19th in the Midwest, with two specialties among the best in the U.S. It ranked 34th in gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, and 46th in diabetes and endocrinology.

“We’re very excited about being second in the state, and obviously, we want to be first in the state,” said John Cunningham, Comer’s physician-in-chief. “That would be our goal.”

At the same time, Cunningham said the rankings don’t fully reflect the value of the care at Comer, which draws patients from across the Midwest.

“There are many other measures of success other than U.S. News and World Report,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said the U.S. News methodology this year did not reflect advances in other specialties at Comer, citing the hospital’s neurology and pediatric cancer care as deserving of national recognition.

Because of the pandemic, the ranking this year included updated surveys of pediatric physicians, but did not use a new survey of children’s hospitals, relying on data collected in early 2020, U.S. News said.

“While many hospitals responded that they did not have the capacity to complete the extensive pediatric survey this year while dealing with COVID, U.S. News used the full pediatric survey data from last year along with the annual physician survey and outside data to calculate the 2021 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings,” Harder said.

Advocate was ranked 25th in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery, while OSF HealthCare was ranked 47th in nephrology.