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Phoenix Children’s Earns Top Rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Again recognized as a Best Children’s Hospital and a top Pediatric Cardiology and Heart Surgery program by U.S. News and World Report, Phoenix Children’s has earned the top rating of three stars from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for the sixth consecutive year.

Of 117 participating congenital cardiothoracic surgery programs in North America, the Heart Center at Phoenix Children's is one of just 10 programs—and the only pediatric cardiac surgery group in Arizona—to receive a three-star rating. It signifies that Phoenix Children’s congenital cardiothoracic surgery outcomes are among the best in the country.

“The rating validates the efforts of our team to provide patients and their families with the very best heart care,” said Daniel Velez, MD, division chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Phoenix Children's. “It’s rare for a large program with a high percentage of highly complex cases to achieve such positive outcomes, and we’re enormously proud of our work. Still, we’re committed to raising the bar even higher.”

STS ratings compare benchmarked outcomes throughout the U.S. and Canada. Ratings are released every six months and measure outcomes for the prior four years. The latest rating is based on congenital cardiothoracic surgery outcomes data from January 2015 to December 2018. Considered one of the most sophisticated and well-regarded measures of quality in health care, Phoenix Children’s has received three stars with each bi-annual report since STS introduced its congenital cardiothoracic ratings in June 2014 – a total of eleven reports over the course of six years.

“To participate in the STS rating system, hospitals must voluntarily report their surgical outcomes,” said Robert L. Meyer, CEO, Phoenix Children’s. “There are health systems that do not publicly report their data, but it’s a critical part of our mission at Phoenix Children’s. Parents need this information in order to make the best decisions about their child’s care. Accountability is the only way we can achieve the best outcomes for our patients.”

STS ratings measure the overall risk-adjusted observed-to-expected operative morality ratio for all patients undergoing pediatric and/or congenital cardiac surgery. One-star ratings are designated to programs with statistically higher operative mortality rates than expected. Two stars are given to programs with as-expected mortality rates, and a three-star rating is earned by programs that have lower-than-expected mortality rates. Programs with no stars have incomplete data. More details on STS star ratings are available here.

About Phoenix Children’s

Phoenix Children’s Hospital is Arizona’s only children’s hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For 35 years Phoenix Children's has provided world-class inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care to children and families in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. As one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country, Phoenix Children’s delivers care across more than 75 pediatric specialties. Recognized specifically for its patient-focused innovation, medical education, growth and research, Phoenix Children’s was named Business of the Year and Exceptional Innovator by the Greater Phoenix Chamber in 2018. For more information about the hospital, visit

About The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Founded in 1964, The Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a not-for-profit organization representing more than 7,500 cardiothoracic surgeons, researchers, and allied health care professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. The Society’s mission is to enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality patient care through education, research, and advocacy.

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