UC Davis Children’s Hospital only ‘level one rated’ children’s surgery center in state

UC Davis Children’s Hospital only ‘level one rated’ children’s surgery center in state

Photo Credits: COPYRIGHT UC DAVIS REGENTS

UC Davis Children’s Hospital achieves reverification after meeting necessary qualifications 

The UC Davis Children’s Hospital, located in Sacramento, has been recertified for the next three years as a level one children’s surgery center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The ACS children’s surgery verification program rates children’s hospitals and gives certifications on a scale of three, with a level one distinction being the highest. UC Davis received this verification, which lasts until Sept. 1, 2022, after the hospital met essential criteria for staffing, training, facility infrastructure and protocols for care, according to a press release from UC Davis Health Public Affairs. 

ACS is a science and education association which strives to improve the quality of care for surgery patients by setting high standards for surgical practice and education. Through their verifications, ACS aims to improve children’s surgical care, according to a press release. 

“Children are not just small sized adults; their biology and anatomy and diseases are different than in adults and to get the best care for kids one needs people who are specially trained and who focus exclusively in children,” said Diana Lee Farmer, a distinguished professor in the department of surgery at the UC Davis School of Medicine, via email.

The criteria needed to receive the distinction of a level one rating includes having specially trained children’s surgeons in every discipline that can help children of all ages, providing readily available pediatric anesthesiologists and dedicating 24/7 operating rooms to children. These centers must also participate in a national data registry that creates reports on the center’s quality of services, train future leaders in health research and education and lead the way in outreach and community service, according to the press release.

“Verification as a ‘Level One Childrens Surgical center’ allows the public to know that if they bring their child to UC Davis, they will receive the highest level of surgical care for children available,” Farmer said. “It means they will get the same level of support that they would get at any of the major freestanding children’s hospitals.” 

The verification process also helps the children’s hospital stay up to date and have the highest level of equipment and resources available for all children, Farmer said.  

“Children’s surgery is unique and requires a focused quality and safety construct that optimizes patient care and this verification solidifies our program and the excellent care we provide to kids,” said Karen Lynn Semkiw, the children’s surgery program manager at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital, via email.

The UC Davis Children’s Hospital was the first hospital on the West Coat to receive a level one distinction when it first received the rating in 2016, according to the press release. At this time, a team from ACS comprised of children’s surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses reviewed the hospital’s structure, processes and data from patient experiences. 

“Hospitals are assessed during a site visit if they are compliant with the standards,” said Catherine Grant, ACS’s children’s surgery program manager, via email. “Standards benefit patients, consumers, and the general public. Standards ensure the hospital has the right resources to care for a child undergoing surgery [and] ensure that the right people are at the bedside caring for the patient. With standardization of care there is potential to improve surgical outcomes.”

The ACS program has been endorsed by multiple special societies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Pediatric Surgical Association and the Society of Pediatric Anesthesiology, Grant said.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital is currently the only California hospital with this designation — 21 hospitals total have received level one verification as of Oct. 21, Semkiw said. 

“This is a relatively novel program and many hospitals nationally are scrambling to meet the standards which are not easy and very detailed,” Semkiw said. “UCSF and Stanford are both seeking this verification in the coming year.”

Even though the UC Davis Children’s Hospital was verified as a level one hospital in 2016, high-quality services were offered long before then, said Eric Kurzrock, a urology professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine, in an email.

“The ACS verification is just that, a ‘verification’ of what we have been doing,” Kurzrock said. “Families should feel comfortable and confident that they have a superb, comprehensive children’s hospital in their region when their children need care. Many of our programs rank in the Top 50 nationally.”

Future goals for the children’s program include ensuring that any hospital services a child might need will be offered in Sacramento, according to Farmer. The hospital does not want families with sick children to have to leave the area because certain services are not offered. 

“It’s just too hard to drive, and park and stay in the Bay Area anymore if you have a sick child,” Farmer said. “Sacramento is large enough and growing fast enough, and serves such a diverse geographic region that it’s a moral responsibility to provide all the care that any child might need-from emergency trauma care-to cancer care for children-to fetal surgery for babies still in the womb. UC Davis, together with our partners at Shriners children’s hospital, does indeed provide the highest level and most complete array of surgical care in the region.” 

Semkiw emphasized the excellent care provided by nearby hospitals.

“Families do not need to go to the Bay for pediatric subspecialty services,” Semkiw said. “The Children’s Surgery Program elevates children’s surgical care which our Bay Area colleagues cannot compete with at this time.”

Written by: Margo Rosenbaum — science@theaggie.org

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