Midwest Fetal Care Center team of doctors

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Children’s Minnesota certified as Level I Children’s Surgery Center by American College of Surgeons

Just the thought of having surgery can be scary. That can be especially true for children – and for the parents of those kids – even more so.

That’s why when it comes to surgical procedures, it’s paramount for parents to not only choose a good doctor and hospital, but have peace of mind knowing that their child’s surgery will happen in a place that has the of stamp of approval from some of the best practitioners in the healthcare field.

Children’s Minnesota recently received this top designation from the American College of Surgeons (ACS), which verified Children’s as a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center through its Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program. Children’s is the first and only hospital system in Minnesota and the thirteenth center in the nation to earn Level I verification, which applies to the Minneapolis and St. Paul hospitals, as well as the outpatient surgery center in Minnetonka.

With more than 20,000 surgeries a year across three surgery centers, Children’s Minnesota performs the most pediatric operations in the region – so it’s critical that patients and their families know that Children’s meets the highest standards and that they are in the best hands.

“This proves we have the surgical experts and systems in place to handle any scenario and provide the highest level of care for children in our region,” said Dr. Patricia Valusek, director of surgical quality at Children’s Minnesota, who led the ACS application process alongside Andrea Balzer, DNP, RNc, LSSBB, surgery verification program manager.

ACS requires that hospitals meet a number of stringent guidelines to attain the certification, including rigorous criteria for staffing, training, and facility infrastructure and protocols. It also requires that hospitals have access to a comprehensive portfolio of medical and surgical specialists on staff who are readily available 24/7 to provide bedside care.

Simply put: ACS tasks its certified hospitals to be there for pediatric patients at all times and for their most complex medical needs.

“This is the highest level of distinction for health systems that perform complex surgical procedures in newborns, children and teens,” said Dr. Marc Gorelick, president and chief executive officer at Children’s Minnesota. “Achieving this verification means we’ve met national quality and safety standards for surgery and 30-days of post-surgery care.”

To become a verified center, Children’s Minnesota went through an extensive site visit by an ACS team of surveyors, including experienced pediatric surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and a quality expert.  This new verification is valid for three years.

“By joining this elite group of Level I Children’s Surgery Centers, we are contributing to the innovation of pediatric surgery and post-surgery care for children,” Valusek added.

Children’s is also the only multi-site hospital in the nation to attain this certification from ACS.

ACS is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the quality of care for surgical patients. Its achievements have placed it at the forefront of American surgery and have made the College an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information on ACS and its Children’s Surgery Verification program check out their website. 

Laura Stokes