All Articles in the Category ‘Announcements’

New Patient Education Handouts Are Now Easy to Find On Our Website

It’s easier than ever to find health education materials on our website. Seattle Children’s new Patient and Family Education webpage links you to hundreds of handouts and other resources designed for families that cover a range of topics. Many are offered in multiple languages. We hope our community provider colleagues will find it helpful to have this information compiled in one place and easily searchable.

You can search for a specific condition or topic, ­­or click on any clinic name — from Airway and Esophageal to Vascular Anomalies — to access a full list of resources.

Seattle Children’s Ranks Among Top Children’s Hospitals, According to U.S. News & World Report

We’re honored to share that U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) has again named Seattle Children’s among the best children’s hospitals in the nation for 2023–2024. USNWR has recognized Seattle Children’s as a top children’s hospital every year since it began ranking medical facilities more than 30 years ago.

Seattle Children’s is the top pediatric hospital in Washington and the Pacific Northwest and ranked third by USNWR in the Pacific region, which includes Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and Hawaii.

“It’s an honor to work with such phenomenal teams of providers and staff who are laser focused on providing the highest quality of safe and equitable care for our patients and families,” said Dr. Ruth McDonald, vice president and associate chief medical officer (hospital operations).  “It is through their dedication that Seattle Children’s is again recognized by USNWR as a leader in pediatric health care.”

USNWR ranks the top 50 pediatric hospitals in 10 specialty areas. For more than a decade, Seattle Children’s has been nationally ranked in every area, and for 2023, 4 specialties are in the top 10:

  • Urology: #5
  • Pulmonology: #7
  • Nephrology: #8
  • Neurology and Neurosurgery: #9
  • Cancer: #13
  • Gastroenterology and GI Surgery: #18
  • Cardiology and Heart Surgery: #19
  • Neonatal Care: #25
  • Diabetes and Endocrine Disorders: #20
  • Orthopedics: #37

“Our rankings — which we’re thrilled are continuing to rise — reflect the outstanding care we provide for our patients. To be recognized once again this year as a top pediatric hospital is a tribute to the commitment and expertise of our outstanding health care providers and staff,” said Dr. Paul Sharek, vice president, chief quality and safety officer and associate chief medical officer (quality/safety).

The 2023–2024 rankings were created from data collected through a clinical survey sent to nearly 200 hospitals and a peer reputation survey sent to thousands of pediatric doctors nationwide. Although there are many pediatric specialties, USNWR only ranks 10 of them. Eighty-eight of the 199 surveyed hospitals ranked in the top 50 in at least one specialty.

USNWR is the most comprehensive source of quality-related information on pediatric hospitals in the United States. The Best Children’s Hospitals methodology is based on objective measures such as patient outcomes, including mortality and infection rates, as well as available clinical resources, compliance with best practices and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Rankings also factor in each specialty’s reputation, as assessed by thousands of pediatric specialists at peer institutions around the country.

Surgery Center Excellence: Seattle Children’s Again Receives Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center Designation

Seattle Children’s was awarded reverification as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center this month. Seattle Children’s is the only children’s hospital in Washington, and one of only 55 in the nation, to achieve this highest level of certification for pediatric hospital surgical programs.

New This Year

New standards this year are focused on multidisciplinary care, opioid stewardship, antimicrobial stewardship and our perioperative risk assessment program. Seattle Children’s initially received the Level 1 designation four years ago when it was first given.

We are honored that the survey team found Seattle Children’s to be an ‘exemplary’ children’s hospital and specifically recognized the robust support from senior leadership for our quality and safety initiatives, and our effective institutional structure that prioritizes and strives to deliver high quality and equitable care in all clinical areas,” said Dr. Andre Dick, senior vice president and surgeon-in-chief.

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Dr. Todd Cooper Appointed to Children’s Oncology Group Committee Chair

Dr. Todd Cooper, Oncology section chief and director of Seattle Children’s Pediatric Leukemia/Lymphoma Program, as well as principal investigator in the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research, has been appointed to chair the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Myeloid Committee, effective May 1.

The COG is the largest consortium of pediatric hospitals providing oncology services in the world. It unites more than 10,000 cancer experts at about 250 hospitals across North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Cooper, who is also a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Evans Family Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer, will be responsible for setting COG’s vision and priorities for clinical/translational research and clinical care for pediatric and young adult malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute myeloid leukemia of Down syndrome (AML-DS), chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and other myeloproliferative neoplasms.

He will work with experts throughout COG institutions to develop and conduct blood cancer clinical trials and protocols, as well as working with other international AML consortia to ensure COG’s clinical/translational priorities are synchronized and complementary. Read full post »

Dr. Shaquita Bell Receives Award for Major Contributions to Native American Child Health

From Seattle Children’s On the Pulse


Senior Medical Director of Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC), Dr. Shaquita Bell, has been awarded the 2023 Native American Child Health Advocacy Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Native American Child Health (CONACH).

Dr. Shaquita Bell

The esteemed award is presented each year to an individual who has made significant contributions toward promoting the health and well-being of Native American children and exemplifies a lifelong commitment to Native American children and their communities.

“It is an absolute honor to be given this award,” Dr. Bell shared. “I was nominated by my mentor Dr. Joey Bell, the first Native doctor I ever met. I remember first hearing him speak about his oral health work in the tribal community of Lumbee and hoping that one day, I too could make an impact as big and important as he did. Fast forward almost 20 years, it feels unreal to be receiving this award because of his nomination.”

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Hospital Capacity Update From Seattle Children’s

Updated Masking Policy

Seattle Children’s is continuing to require masking in all clinical areas and public-facing areas of the hospital and our clinics, following the April 3 conclusion of Washington state’s order requiring universal masking in healthcare facilities. Seattle Children’s, along with many of our healthcare peers, signed onto a letter from the Northwest Healthcare Response Network in support of continued masking.  Seattle Children’s masking requirement applies to patients, families, visitors and workforce members. Masking will be optional in Seattle Children’s nonclinical buildings and non-public-facing areas of our clinical buildings.

Our visitor policies were updated effective April 3 to allow more visitors at the bedside. Details are available on our website.

Code Yellow Deactivated

Seattle Children’s deactivated its Code Yellow for high census and hospital capacity constraints, effective March 15, 2023. This is the first time in years that Seattle Children’s is not in active Code Yellow.

Very High Patient Volumes in the ED

Despite having little to no RSV/flu activity, the Emergency Department (ED) continues to see high patient volumes and broke previous all-time records for March.  We are continuing to see very high mental/behavioral health volumes in the ED. We also continue to experience fluctuations in inpatient census. We are using the processes and operational improvements established during the Code Yellow period to manage patient flows.

ED Communication Center Is Now Part of Mission Control

Seattle Children’s recently formed a new Mission Control office that brings together multiple teams, including the former ED Communication Center, to improve and streamline our processes for patient admissions, discharges and transfers.

When sending patients to the ED or requesting direct admission to the hospital, please continue to call first: 206-987-8899 (formerly the ED Communication Center; now Mission Control). Your call will help us anticipate staffing needs and plan for your patient’s arrival.

New Airway and Esophageal Center Offers Coordinated, Multidisciplinary Team Care That Is Unique in the Northwest

Seattle Children’s is proud to announce the opening of a new Airway and Esophageal Center serving babies, children and teens through age 20. The center provides seamless, multidisciplinary care from a highly experienced team of experts for patients who have complex conditions affecting their airway, breathing and swallowing.

“Due to these patients’ complexity and need for care from many different specialists throughout their childhood, it’s essential they receive well-coordinated care from experts who are working as an integrated team and communicating regularly,” says Dr. Jake Dahl, an otolaryngologist at the center. “We have created the Airway and Esophageal Center expressly for that purpose, with care coordination and wraparound services built in to ensure our patients don’t just survive, they thrive.”

This highest level of continuous, comprehensive specialty care for children with challenging airway and esophageal issues is unique to Seattle Children’s regionally and hard to find even nationally.

Multidisciplinary Care

The Airway and Esophageal Center team includes experts from many Seattle Children’s specialties: otolaryngology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, sleep medicine, maxillofacial surgery, pediatric surgery, anesthesiology, speech and language pathology, nutrition, feeding therapy, social work, nursing, newborn critical care and pediatric intensive care. Read full post »

GI Has 3,000 Referrals in Scheduling Queue; Please See Patients With Constipation in Primary Care Whenever Appropriate

Gastroenterology (GI) has approximately 3,000 referrals waiting to be scheduled, with limited appointment slots available to see new patients. This means nonurgent general GI referrals without red flags, including constipation (which is one of the more common referrals received by GI), are currently scheduling three to five months out.

While GI is continuing to accept patient referrals for constipation at this time, program leaders are encouraging PCPs to manage their patients with constipation in primary care whenever possible and appropriate to ensure the most timely care. This also helps Seattle Children’s maintain access for patients who most need specialty care.

To assist PCPs in caring for patients with constipation, Seattle Children’s offers a detailed functional constipation clinical protocol and algorithm on our website. In addition, the GI Refer a Patient webpage offers:

Patients with constipation who have red flags (see protocol and/or algorithm) or who have attempted the treatment protocol without success are appropriate to be seen by GI and should be referred. Please clearly describe the treatment that has been tried already to help us properly triage and schedule your patient.

The Seattle Children’s GI team acknowledges the excellent work of PCPs in the community who are managing constipation in primary care and encourage you to let us know if there are ways we can improve the resources we are providing (above) in support of your care.

Wait Times in Otolaryngology Have Risen to 2 to 3 Months; Please Partner With Us to Help Preserve Access to Specialty Care

The large number of referrals to Otolaryngology in recent months has lengthened the wait times for new patient visits to two to three months. Otolaryngology is actively triaging referrals. To help reduce wait times and ensure patients can be seen in a timely manner, we may redirect some patients back to their PCP if that is a more appropriate setting for their care.

Algorithms are available to assist community providers in managing patients with many of the conditions commonly referred to Otolaryngology, including:

Otolaryngology’s referral guidelines are located on our website. They offer additional details about referring to Seattle Children’s when your patient is experiencing conditions such as ear infection, sinusitis, strep throat, sore throat, and hypernasal resonance.

Hospital Capacity and Other Important Updates

Hospital capacity

Seattle Children’s is beginning to experience some relief from the extremely high capacity constraints of recent months. We do, however, continue to see high winter volumes.

  • Overall hospital census remains high, and the Emergency Department (ED) is still seeing extremely high patient volumes.
  • The wave of patients experiencing mental and behavioral health crises is not slowing down.
  • Seattle Children’s remains in active Code Yellow status, although at a lower level of response; we continue to monitor the situation and enact solutions to address the challenges we are facing.

Other important updates from Seattle Children’s