(ABC4 UTAH) Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, in partnership with the University of Utah Health, has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals in eight pediatric specialties.

Intermountain Primary Children’s was ranked among the nation’s top children’s hospitals for cancer care, cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, neonatal care, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, urology, and orthopedics, which is a recognition shared with Shriners Children’s Salt Lake City, according to the publication’s 2022-2023 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings published today. 

“We are very pleased to again be ranked as one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, especially as we celebrate 100 years of premier pediatric care and usher in innovations to help children thrive through the next century,” said Dustin Lipson, Primary Children’s hospital administrator.  

U.S. News & World Report ranks the top 50 children’s hospitals in 10 specialties. The annual Best Children’s Hospitals rankings, which include pulmonology, as well as diabetes/endocrine disorders specialties, are designed to help patients, their families, and doctors make informed decisions about where to receive care for challenging health conditions.

“The knowledge, experience, child-friendly manner, ability to explain and comfort, plus the technical ability of the Primary Children’s team — it’s no wonder folks, including myself, bring their children from all over the world,” California parent Jim Scalise said. 

Scalise’s son Nico had been successfully treated for brain cancer in his home state of California when he was a baby. But by age 10, doctors found a potentially fatal complication in his spinal growth.

“Nico’s neck discs were growing inward horizontally towards his spinal column, perilously close to the spinal cord itself, and needed a surgical repair,” Scalise said. “We were again facing life and death ramifications.” 

Nico had been treated by Stanford Children’s Health and Boston Children’s Hospital, in conjunction with Harvard Medical School, with great success. But when choosing the expert to help Nico’s spinal condition, Scalise chose Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. There, neurosurgeon Douglas Brockmeyer, MD, University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, had performed scores of the delicate surgery Nico needed. 

“I’d have gone anywhere in the world for the right doc,” Scalise said. “After a few days of talking directly to Dr. Brockmeyer, I was able to feel strongly that no matter what happened, he was Nico’s best bet and had the most expertise.”

Following a nearly 12-hour surgery at Primary Children’s, Nico had a speedy recovery, and was able to eat, walk, play, and go home in less than a week. He has regained more mobility than his dad had thought possible.  

“When I was a nervous wreck, my favorite moment was at our final zoomed consultation before making my decision, Dr. Brockmeyer looked at me and said, ‘I can fix him up,’” Scalise recalls. “And he did.”

Primary Children’s has been ranked as one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals for several years. Primary Children’s is the pediatric specialty teaching hospital for the University of Utah School

Primary Children’s is the flagship pediatric hospital for Intermountain Healthcare, a nationally recognized nonprofit health system that in 2020 announced a historic “Primary Promise” investment of at least $500 million to create the nation’s model health system for children

The investment will be shared by Intermountain Healthcare and community philanthropic support through an emerging campaign organized by Intermountain Foundation. Support from the Intermountain Foundation is helping Primary Children’s expand its top-ranked neurology and neurosurgery services to more children with the help of five new neurologists this year. 

“Putting ‘The Child First and Always’ is our sole focus and we recognize that we can’t provide great care to children without the trusted teamwork of caregivers and many others who make Primary Children’s the center of excellence that it is today,” said Angelo P. Giardino, MD, Ph.D., chair of the University of Utah School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and chief medical officer at Primary Children’s Hospital.

This year’s Best Children’s Hospital rankings will be published in the U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals 2023” guidebook, available in bookstores in October. Visit the Best Children’s Hospitals website for the full rankings and methodology.


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