UK HealthCare

Kentucky Children's Hospital Nationally Ranked in Heart Care, Orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report

Photo of mother and young children walking out Kentucky Children's Hospital
U.S. News & World Report ranked KCH's pediatric heart and orthopedics programs among the best in the country.

LEXINGTON, KY. (June 16, 2020) — UK HealthCare's Kentucky Children's Hospital is ranked nationally in two specialties in the 2020-21 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings published online today by U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in hospital rankings and consumer advice.

KCH and Cincinnati Children’s Joint Pediatric Heart Program is ranked 14th in the country in pediatric cardiology & heart surgery. This ranking also includes patients treated through the adult congenital heart program, a partnership with UK HealthCare’s Gill Heart and Vascular Institute for adult patients who were born with congenital heart defects.

The Joint Pediatric Heart Program is a one program, two-sites model that began in 2017 to provide a full spectrum of heart care to families across Kentucky, close to home. It recently welcomed pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Carl Backer as the chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery to KCH. Dr. Backer was previously the surgical director of the pediatric heart transplant program at the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

KCH, in association with Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center — Lexington (SHCMC), is ranked 40th in the country for pediatric orthopaedic care. While they are separate entities, they work closely together to provide seamless pediatric orthopedic care. A staff of board-certified pediatric orthopaedic surgeons and anesthesiologists have cared for children at both institutions for over 35 years. “The patients benefit tremendously when two excellent institutions share common values and provide advanced pediatric orthopaedic care,” said Dr. Henry Iwinski, chief of staff at SHCMC.

“These rankings reflect the dedication of our physicians, nurses and staff to the children of the Commonwealth,” said Dr. Scottie B. Day, physician in chief at KCH. “Our strong partnerships with Cincinnati Children’s and Shriners allow us to provide the best specialty care possible, close to home.”

The 14th annual Best Children’s Hospitals rankings recognize the top 50 pediatric facilities across the U.S. in 10 pediatric specialties: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and lung surgery, and urology.

“Even in the midst of a pandemic, children have health care needs ranging from routine vaccinations to life-saving surgery and chemotherapy,” said Ben Harder, Managing Editor and Chief of Health Analysis at U.S. News. “The Best Children's Hospitals rankings are designed to help parents find quality medical care for a sick child and inform families’ conversations with pediatricians.”

U.S. News introduced the Best Children’s Hospitals rankings in 2007 to help families of children with rare or life-threatening illnesses find the best medical care available. The rankings are the most comprehensive source of quality-related information on U.S. pediatric hospitals. The rankings rely on clinical data and on an annual survey of pediatric specialists. The rankings methodology factors in patient outcomes, such as mortality and infection rates, as well as available clinical resources and compliance with best practices.

Kentucky Children's Hospital, part of the University of Kentucky's UK HealthCare system, is committed to providing the best care possible, for children as well as families. With the region's only Level I pediatric trauma center and Level IV neonatal intensive care unit, and more than 30 advanced subspecialty programs such as pediatric oncology and pediatric surgery, KCH is equipped to provide the highest level of care to young patients, close to home.


The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.