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Changes Coming to U.S. News Rankings

Conquering CHD advocacy efforts affected change at U.S. News & World Report. Read on for changes coming to their Best Children’s Hospitals Rankings program.

When parents learn their child has something wrong with their heart, they report feeling blindsided and overwhelmed. With the devastating news that their child will need life-saving treatment, usually in the first weeks or months of life, parents are plagued with serious and terrifying questions. Will my child survive surgery? Will my child grow up? Will my child be able to run and play like other kids?

Getting the information you need. The answer to these questions depends upon how well a center can care for a child. Every case is different. Not all centers are the same. However, there is very little information available about quality or outcomes for a congenital heart center. U.S. News and World Report’s Best Children’s Hospital Rankings has been a longstanding source of such information.

Advocacy works. In recent years, Conquering CHD has advocated to improve the ability for patients and families to find and understand quality and outcome data that matters to them. We are pleased to see this advocacy is resulting in important changes and appreciate that U.S. News and World Report is working to improve their reporting strategies to better meet the needs of the patients and families.

“Over the past several years, I’ve had the privilege of learning directly from many congenital heart parents in forums like Conquering CHD’s annual Transparency Summit. Thanks to their stories and comments, I’ve come to better understand their informational needs and the choices they’ve had to face.

One thing they helped me understand is the importance of geography and proximity when they are figuring out which children’s hospital is the best fit for their child and their family as a whole. I remember, for example, one mother explaining during a Q&A that as a Nevada resident, she decided to choose among three children’s hospitals, each located in a different—but nearby—state. Another mother considered seeking care for her child in her home state of Alabama before deciding to go to a hospital in a neighboring state.

These and other personal stories that parents have generously shared with me helped me and my team make the decision to add a regional lens to our public reporting on the nation’s best children’s hospitals.”

– Ben Harder –
Managing Editor and Chief of Health Analysis
U.S. News & World Report

Finding care close to home. Most families can not, and do not, want to travel across the country to receive care. Following one of our core principles of public reporting, U.S. News will now share their data by State, as well as geographic regions.

U.S. News is sharing their process for how the regional rankings are applied. This is an important step in helping one understand what the rankings mean. It is hard to capture all the details of what goes into a ranking, and we caution parents to be careful when using the rankings on their own to compare two hospitals. We strongly encourage parents to ask questions about what a center’s data means specifically for their diagnosis, like those found in our Guided Questions Tool.

The work continues. These important changes at U.S. News indicate our voices are being heard. They are an important step to improving how parents access information about hospitals close to them. If you would like to join our advocacy efforts, sign-up for our email list on Transparency and Public Reporting. Be the first to receive news on the annual Summit, in addition to calls to action.

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