CHOC recognized as one of nation’s best children’s hospitals

CHOC Children’s is one of only 50 pediatric facilities in the nation to earn recognition as a best children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report. The following CHOC specialties are honored in the 2019-20 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings: diabetes/endocrinology, cancer, neonatology, neurology/neurosurgery, pulmonology and urology. Cancer ranked in the “top 20.”

“The national recognition for CHOC’s cancer program is well-deserved. There’s nowhere else I’d rather have gone through treatment than CHOC,” says 17-year-old Sydney Sigafus, CHOC patient and cancer survivor. “Everyone who works at CHOC cares about you as a person, not just a patient. I was included in every decision and conversation about my care.”

The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings were introduced by U.S. News in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening diseases find the best medical care available. Only the nation’s top 50 pediatric facilities are distinguished in 10 pediatric specialties, based on survival rates, nurse staffing, procedure and patient volumes, reputation and additional outcomes data. The availability of clinical resources, infection rates and compliance with best practices are also factored into the rankings.

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“We understand how scary it can be for parents whose children are dealing with life-threatening illnesses or injuries. That’s why we are committed to the highest standards of care, safety and service,” says Dr. James Cappon, CHOC’s chief quality officer. “While we are proud of our accolades, including being named a best children’s hospital, we remain focused on preserving the magic of childhood for all kids, whether they are seriously ill or healthy, or somewhere in between.”

Learn more about the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings.

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Dr. Heidi Stephany Joins CHOC Children’s Urology Team

The urology program at CHOC Children’s, ranked one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report, has grown with the addition of Dr. Heidi Stephany.  A fellowship- trained pediatric specialist, Dr. Stephany most recently served as assistant clinical director for the division of pediatric urology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), where she was also an assistant professor.

Dr. Heidi Stephany, a pediatric urologist at CHOC Children’s.

“The pediatric program at CHOC is a distinguished specialty with a solid reputation. I was drawn to work alongside such remarkable physicians, including Dr. Antoine Khoury, who is world-renowned in the field of pediatric urology,” says Dr. Stephany. “I was also attracted to the opportunity to help educate and train residents and fellows, in addition to working on challenging patient cases.”

Dr. Stephany’s clinical interests include complex reconstructive surgery, specifically hypospadias and disorders of sexual differentiation. Her clinical outcomes research is focused on voiding dysfunction. She hopes to develop a combined urology/gastroenterology clinic for patients suffering from the condition.

A desire to solve problems and help others sparked, during her high school years, Dr. Stephany’s interest in surgery. After shadowing a urologist at the start of medical school, she knew urology—offering the perfect mix of medicine and surgery— was the specialty for her. She was intrigued by the wide array of complex issues and procedures within the specialty.

Working with children is particularly fulfilling for Dr. Stephany.

“In pediatrics, we have the opportunity to identify, address and achieve positive outcomes that will have a lasting impact on our patients’ lives,” she explains.

Since joining CHOC, Dr. Stephany has enjoyed immediate camaraderie with her colleagues and the team approach to care, which she says extends beyond her specialty and benefits patients. “It makes working here a truly fulfilling experience,” she adds.

Dr. Stephany is dedicated to treating patients like her own family members, and communicating complex issues in a compassionate way that is easily understood. She looks forward to becoming an integral part of the medical community in Southern California.

“I am excited to be here and want to be a resource for serving children in the area who need our care. I pride myself on being approachable and am eager to work collaboratively with local pediatricians,” says Dr. Stephany.

Learn more about CHOC's Urology Program

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CHOC Included Among Nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals in U.S. News Survey

CHOC Children’s has been named one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report in its 2017-18 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings.

CHOC ranked in seven specialties: cancer, diabetes/endocrinology, neonatology, neurology/neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology, which earned a top 20 spot on the coveted list.

According to U.S. News, the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings were introduced in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available.

The 11th annual rankings recognize the top 50 pediatric facilities across the United States in 10 pediatric specialties.

The U.S. News Best Children’s Hospitals rankings rely on clinical data and on an annual survey of pediatric specialists. The rankings methodology considers clinical outcomes, such as mortality and infection rates, efficiency and coordination of care delivery and compliance with “best practices.”

“At CHOC Children’s, we are steadfastly committed to delivering high-quality, safe and reliable health care to our patients,” said Dr. James Cappon, CHOC’s chief quality officer. “Recognition from U.S. News of our excellence in these seven subspecialties validates our efforts, but also provides our patients and families with even more assurance of our commitment to excelling in all areas of care.”

“The pediatric centers we rank in Best Children’s Hospitals deliver exceptionally high-quality care and deserve to be recognized for their commitment,” U.S. News Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow said. “Children with life-threatening illnesses or rare conditions need the state-of-the-art services and expertise these hospitals provide every day.”

Learn more about survival rates, adequacy of nurse staffing, procedure and patient volume, availability of programs for particular illnesses and conditions and more. 

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U.S. News Names CHOC One of the Nation’s Best Children’s Hospitals

From treating the most complicated cases of epilepsy and repairing complex urological conditions, to curing cancer and saving premature lives, CHOC Children’s physicians and staff are committed to delivering the highest levels of safe, quality care. That commitment has earned CHOC its most recent accolade:  inclusion on the coveted U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals rankings.   CHOC ranked in eight specialties: cancer, neonatology, neurology/neurosurgery, pulmonology, orthopedics, gastroenterology and GI surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, and urology, which earned a “top 25” spot.

U.S. news

According to U.S. News, the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings are intended to help parents determine where to get the best medical care for their children. The rankings highlight the top 50 U.S. pediatric facilities in 10 specialties, from cancer to urology. Of the 183 participating medical centers, only 78 hospitals ranked in at least one specialty. For its list, U.S. News relies on extensive clinical and operational data, including survival rates, clinic and procedure volume, infection control measures and outcomes, which can be viewed at http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/pediatric-rankings. An annual survey of pediatric specialists accounts for 15 percent of participants’ final scores.

“The Best Children’s Hospitals highlight the pediatric centers that offer exceptional care for the kids who need the most help,” says U.S. News Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. “Day in and day out, they offer state-of-the-art medical care.”

Dr. James Cappon, chief quality and patient safety officer at CHOC, points to the survey as an invaluable tool for him and his colleagues to evaluate programs and services, determining best practices, and making plans for the immediate and long-term future.

“CHOC is certainly honored to be recognized once again by U.S. News. But our dedication to serving the best interests of the children and families in our community is what truly drives us to pursue excellence in everything we do. Our scores, especially in the areas of patient-and-family-centered care, commitment to best practices, infection prevention, breadth and scope of specialists and services, and health information technology, for example, reflect our culture of providing the very best care to our patients,” explains Dr. Cappon. To hear more about CHOC’s commitment to patient safety and quality care—and what parents need to know— listen to this podcast.

CHOC’s culture of excellence has it earned it numerous accolades, including being named, multiple times, a Leapfrog Top Hospital. Additional recent honors include the gold-level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence; Magnet designation for nursing; gold-level Beacon Award for Excellence, a distinction earned twice by CHOC’s pediatric intensive care unit team; “Most Wired Hospital”; and The Advisory Board Company’s 2016 Workplace Transformation Award and Workplace of the Year Award. Inspiring the best in her team, CHOC’s President and CEO Kimberly Chavalas Cripe was recently named a winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the “Community Contributions” category.

Circumcision and Urinary Tract Infections

Some evidence shows that circumcised boys have a lower chance of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs) in their first years of life, but the added protectionCHOC Children's Urology Center  may be miniscule, say Dr. Elias Wehbi, a CHOC Children’s pediatric urologist, and Maryellen Kelly, CHOC Children’s nurse practitioner.

Learn more about circumcision’s possible effects on UTI rates and get answers to other questions about this common ailment in the following Q & A.

Q: Does circumcision help boys reduce the risk of UTIs?
A: One study that looked at the amount and type of bacteria around the penis before and after circumcision found a significantly greater amount of bacteria under the foreskin in uncircumcised boys. These bacteria are precisely the kinds of germs that can make their way into the urinary tract and cause an infection.

Some studies show a three- to ten-fold decrease in UTI rates in circumcised boys. However, because the rates of UTIs are already relatively low in boys, that finding means 50 to 100 boys would need to be circumcised to prevent one UTI in one boy, who might not have otherwise developed an infection.

Considering this, the decision to circumcise boys should be made with both the family and the physician working closely together to evaluate all the cultural and medical issues.

Q: Are UTIs more common in boys or girls?
A: During the first year of life, boys and girls get UTIs at about the same frequency. After age 1, females are more likely to have a UTI because of the channel from their bladder to the exterior, or the urethra, is shorter. Another theory for higher risk of infections in females is that increased moist tissue and folds of females’ genitals might allow bacteria to colonize the area more easily.

Q: What symptoms could indicate a UTI?
A: Identifying a UTI in young children can be difficult because they aren’t vocal. In many infants, a high-grade fever will be their first or only symptom. Older children might complain of abdominal pain; painful urination; burning when urinating; increased frequency and urgency of urination; blood in their urine; or urinary incontinence. These symptoms are the same for boys and girls.

Q: How are UTIs treated?
A: Children with UTIs should be treated with appropriate antibiotics that are specific to the bacterium that has infected their bladder. Following treatment, parents and children should receive education about preventing infections.

Baby boys with a very tight foreskin and recurrent UTIs may be offered a circumcision or a topical steroid cream to try to loosen their foreskin so that better hygiene can be conducted to reduce their risk or a another infection.

Q: How can UTIs be prevented in children?
A: Hydration is important in preventing UTIs. All children should drink at least one 8 ounce glass of water for each year of age until they are 8. For example, a 4-year-old should drink four glasses of water daily.

We also encourage children to urinate frequently, about once every two to three hours. Holding of urine is a major risk factor for more UTIs. Bacteria in a bladder doubles in quantity every 30 minutes, so it is important children don’t hold their urine for extended time periods.

Constipation is another risk factor. Families should focus on eating high-fiber foods and drinking plenty of water to help children achieve daily soft bowel movements that will reduce their likelihood of UTIs.

Learn more about urology services at CHOC.

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