Texas Children's Hospital ranks #2 nationally in neonatology among nation's best pediatric institutions by U.S.News World Report


HOUSTON - (July 24, 2012) - Texas Children's Hospital has been recognized as a national leader in neonatology among pediatric hospitals in U.S.News World Report's 2012-13 edition of Best Children's Hospitals. By continuing to improve outcomes, substantially improving survival rates and keeping a strong focus on research and preventing complications associated with prematurity, Texas Children's neonatology program was ranked #2 overall among children's hospitals nationally, moving up three spots from its #5 place ranking in 2011. To learn more about Texas Children's Newborn Center please visit www.texaschildrens.org.

"Babies who are born prematurely or who are critically ill have the highest demands for specialized resources and require outstanding interdisciplinary teams to care for a multitude of issues that a premature infant can face," said Dr. Stephen Welty, chief of neonatology at Texas Children's Hospital and head of the section of neonatology in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. "This is why our focus is to treat each baby collaboratively with teams of specialists that can deliver the highest level of care available."

Advances Texas Children's has made to improve neonatal outcomes and deliver the best possible patient care include:

  • The development of an interdisciplinary group of pediatric gastroenterologists and surgeons who treat babies in need of intestinal rehabilitation, an issue that affects a significant portion of neonates.
  • Offering body cooling treatments, a therapy that is proven to have long term benefits for newborns who are oxygen-deprived at birth.
  • Following a protocol of feeding 100 percent breast milk to all babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) weighing less than 3.3 pounds, which studies show reduce incidences of developing an often fatal intestinal disease called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and other complications in preterm infants. Since implementing this feeding protocol in 2009, Texas Children's reports that NEC rates in its NICU have decreased from the national average of 10 to 12 percent to just 2 percent in this high risk group.
  • Developing a donor breast milk program so that babies in the NICU have access to donor breast milk if mother's milk is unavailable. Texas Children's Newborn Center also houses a Milk Bank and lactation support programs for mothers.
  • Following a family-centered care model which promotes bonding and recognizes that families are an integral part of a child's care team. Families are encouraged to have an unlimited presence in the NICU, participate in daily rounds to discuss their baby's progress and care plans, have access to breastfeeding support and nutrition counseling and much more. Also, the Newborn Center Family Advisory Committee was created to promote and enhance family-centered care practices and encourage partnerships between family members and health care professionals, ensuring that the "family voice" is heard and included.

Working closely with Texas Children's Fetal Center, the hospital's Newborn Center places a high priority on offering an integrated perinatal care model. Welty also notes that advances in fetal medicine have allowed the hospital to offer therapies not previously available to patients with conditions such as congenital diaphragmatic hernias, spina bifida and previously fatal heart diseases.

One of only two level-3C NICUs in the greater Houston area, Texas Children's Newborn Center and the hospital's new Pavilion for Women together house 173 NICU beds, making the hospital the largest level-3 NICU in the nation. Texas Children's Newborn Center cares for nearly 2,500 babies each year and offers the most complete and complex level of care available, with 24/7 access to neonatologists and pediatric subspecialists.

"An important factor that impacts the outcomes of our tiniest and most critically ill babies is the excellence of our neonatal nursing staff who are highly trained to deliver exceptional care and are focused on creating a safe environment for our patients so that they can flourish," said Lori Armstrong, chief nursing officer at Texas Children's Hospital.

In addition to its ranking as #2 in the nation for neonatology, Texas Children's has also held Magnet status, a national designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, since 2003. A recent study showed that hospitals who have earned recognition for nursing excellence have better outcomes for very low birth weight infants (weighing less than 1,500 grams, or 3.3 pounds), which account for nearly 10 percent of the babies treated at Texas Children's Newborn Center each year.

The 2012-13 edition of Best Children's Hospitals is available online at www.usnews.com/childrenshospitals and will be featured in U.S. News' annual guidebook of Best Hospitals 2013, which will ship in mid August.

About Texas Children’s Hospital

Texas Children’s Hospital, a not-for-profit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas, and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The hospital includes the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute; the Feigin Center for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, a second community hospital planned to open in 2017. The organization also created the nation’s first HMO for children, has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country and a global health program that’s channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, go to www.texaschildrens.org. Get the latest news by visiting the online newsroom and Twitter at twitter.com/texaschildrens.