Duke Children’s Hospital Receives National Designation for Top Surgical Program

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DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center is one of only five centers in the country designated a top-level performer under a new certification program by the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

The Level 1 designation from ACS recognizes Duke’s commitment to providing the safest and highest-quality surgical care for pediatric patients.

“Duke has made a strong and continuously growing commitment to providing specialized surgical care for children,” said Allan D. Kirk, M.D., Ph.D., surgeon-in-chief for Duke Health. “This rigorous review process provides tangible validation of our commitment to children, and our unique capacity to deal with the many specialized needs that children and adolescents have. We are well prepared to deliver care from the routine to the most complicated, with a special ability to treat each child in the manner dictated by their unique circumstance. I am very proud of the exceptional teamwork that has made this possible.”

The ACS certification and accompanying standards stem from the organization’s new Children’s Surgery Verification Program, which was developed in collaboration with the Task Force for Children’s Surgical Care. The program is the nation’s first multispecialty standards for children’s surgical care.

The program establishes three levels of certification for children’s surgical centers, and defines the resources necessary to achieve optimal patient outcomes. Each level covers criteria for pediatric surgery and anesthesia, pediatric nursing, perioperative care, intensive care services, radiology and specialty pediatric services, emergency department, data collection, and performance improvement and patient safety.

To achieve Level 1 certification, centers must offer multiple medical and surgical specialties, with procedures for major congenital anomalies and complex diseases, including those that are uncommon or require significant multidisciplinary coordination.

“This is a significant milestone not only for Duke Children’s Hospital & Health Center but also for Duke University Health System,” said Jeffrey R. Marcus, M.D., chief of surgery at Duke Children’s. “It is a designation similar to when the American College of Surgeons first began verifying trauma centers and the public became aware of the distinction among centers and why that was important. This designation underscores our ongoing commitment to providing the finest possible care to all of our patients -- from the very youngest to the very oldest. Although the work to achieve this designation began two years ago, the transformation of the surgical programs at Duke began several years prior. It is a source of great pride for our entire team, but the true winners are the children who will benefit from the changes that were required to reach this goal.”

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