Shands Children’s Hospital takes top spot in Florida

UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital stands as the Best Children’s Hospital in Florida and is ranked No. 7 nationally for its pediatric cardiology program, according to the 2021-22 rankings U.S. News & World Report released this week.

The hospital gained rankings nationally, in a field of over 250 children’s hospitals, in five additional specialties over last year for a total of eight: cardiology (No. 7), pulmonology (No. 21 and highest ranked in Florida), diabetes and endocrinology (No. 12 and highest ranked in Florida), neurology and neurosurgery (No. 45), cancer (No. 45), urology (No. 46), neonatology (No. 47) and nephrology (No. 48).

“It is an incredible accomplishment to move up the rankings in so many specialties, especially during an uncertain and turbulent pandemic year,” Dr. Desmond Schatz, the hospital’s physician-in-chief, said in a statement. 

The pediatric cardiology program, the highest ranked specialty in Florida for the past six years, earned Shands its first top 10 national ranking.

In a virtual press conference Wednesday, Ed Jimenez, CEO of UF Health Shands, also drew attention to the hospital’s regional ranking: No. 5 in the Southeast.

“It’s pretty common that patients come in from out of state, that they specifically seek out the doctors and the programs here for their medical care,” Jimenez said. “So it’s not a surprise that in the Southeast we’re one of the best.”

In the same meeting, Schatz said the quality, expertise and experience that Shands provides is through group effort.

“We can’t do this alone,” Schatz said. “We do this as a team.”

Schatz’s department of pediatrics secured a nearly $1 million federal grant last June from the Federal Communications Commission’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program to expand its telehealth offerings during and after the pandemic.

“We have really outstanding not only leadership, but we have outstanding physicians who provide state-of-the-art care, and that every child who comes to see us can be assured that they’re going to be getting outstanding clinical care delivered by a team,” Schatz said.

Shands Children’s Hospital completed 8,425 pediatric surgeries last year along with 66,111 outpatient visits and 34,646 ER visits.

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