Riley earns top marks from American College of Surgeons

Patient Care |


Riley surgery 01 md CRAFT

Level 1 children’s surgery verification signifies Riley’s “commitment to continuous improvement and to quality outcomes.”

By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist,

Riley Hospital for Children received news last week of yet another honor that demonstrates its leadership in pediatric healthcare.

Riley at IU Health was awarded Level 1 verification from the American College of Surgeons, one of fewer than three dozen children’s hospitals in the country to achieve the designation and the only one in the state, according to Dr. R. Cartland Burns, medical director of children’s surgery.

“It’s a big deal. It shows our commitment to continuous improvement and to quality outcomes,” Dr. Burns said. “Really it’s a demonstration of the degree of commitment and effort that the hospital puts into making sure that we are providing the best possible care.”

The distinction is analogous to the Level 1 trauma designation Riley holds in terms of prestige, except it’s for the entire hospital, he said.

As such, it requires “tremendous support” from everyone in the hospital, Dr. Burns said, adding the infrastructure has to be in place to demonstrate the hospital’s commitment to the program.

Dr. Douglas Barnhart working in surgery

In announcing the top-tier verification achievement, Dr. Douglas C. Barnhart, chairman of the ACS Verification Committee, said this:

“Children’s surgery verification formally acknowledges your commitment to providing and supporting quality improvement and patient safety efforts for children who require surgical services. As a verified program, you have demonstrated that your center meets the needs of your patients by providing multidisciplinary, high-quality, patient-centered care.”

The verification program is fairly new, born out of a recognition that many children were being cared for in hospitals that did not have all of the resources necessary to care for the sickest and most complex patients.

ACS sought to perform a review of hospitals, focusing on the optimum resources for a child being treated in the surgical setting.

“It looks at all aspects of hospital services – transport, outreach, education, ability to manage emergency surgical patients, our relationship with the Emergency Department, the PICU and NICU and how the surgical services work together in the whole hospital environment to support the most comprehensive children’s surgical care,” Dr. Burns explained.

In its verification report, the ACS said Riley has a strong presence in the state and region with multiple outreach clinics that improve access to Riley’s specialty services.

“Riley Hospital for Children is a premier pediatric hospital providing a full range of pediatric medical and surgical care,” the report said. “The faculty are collaborative and collegial and committed to providing high-quality care. The hospital has a strong commitment to nursing education and role development. There is a robust surgical research program and funding, (and) the children’s surgery team is experienced and deeply committed to surgical quality.”

Riley also provides leadership in various arenas, including multiple appointments to the Indiana State Trauma Care Committee, educational offerings, involvement in the Midwest Pediatric Surgery Research Consortium, multiple pre-hospital protocols (including for traumatic brain injury) and several satellite locations to provide care, the report said.