About Children's Hospitals

When it comes to health care, kids are different

Kids need health care focused on their unique needs; care that involves parents from start to finish and is delivered in child-centric, healing environments.

Children require extra time, monitoring, specialized medications and specially trained health care providers who are compassionate and understand kids of all ages. They also need institutions that champion health care practices and policies to continually improve pediatric care, making it affordable and accountable.

Care for vulnerable children

All children benefit from children’s hospitals, but their services are most important to our nation’s most vulnerable populations.

  • They prevent uninsured and under-insured children from falling through the cracks. Approximately  half of all care at children’s hospitals is devoted to children in Medicaid.
  • Of the 33 million children in Medicaid, approximately 2 million are medically complex, requiring ongoing care for serious, long- term conditions. Children’s hospitals are the primary providers of the highly specialized services necessary to care for children with  medical complexity.


Medicaid dependence.
Source: CHA Annual Survey on Utilization and Financial Indicators of Children’s Hospitals, FY 2012
Distribution of medicaid.
Source: Truven Healthcare Analytics analysis of 2009 to 2011 Truven Marketscan Multi-state Medicaid dataset, commissioned by CHA


Children’s hospitals aren’t just buildings—they are key pillars of the community, providing services available to all children through urgent and emergency care, primary care and wellness, injury prevention and child abuse prevention, community fairs and in-school health services. They also train virtually all pediatric residents and pediatric specialists and they drive pediatric research such as vaccine development.


The average self-governing children's hospital spends $104.3 million a year on community benefit programs, which include abuse prevention, outreach, mental health services, wellness programs and many others. 

Children's hospitals also offer extensive community building programs to protect or improve the community's health and safety.

The average yearly children's hospital's community benefit program consists of...

Community benefits.
Source: CHA analysis of Form 990 Schedule H filings for TY 2011 and TY 2012, obtained from www.guidestar.org


NIH research.

Source: Report of FY 2015 NIH Awards to Children’s Hospitals and Pediatric Departments of Medical Schools, Lisa Lanier Consulting, LLC

Child-centric care

Children’s hospitals are designed with children in mind, and have specialists, services and technology not found in other hospitals. Each stage of a child’s growth and development can require different equipment and expertise to provide safe, effective care. That’s why the vast majority of specialized treatments and complex procedures for children are performed in children’s hospitals.


Children's Hospitals data.
Source: Analyses of CHA Annual Benchmark Report, 2015


Children's Hospitals perform.

Source: National Estimates from HCUP Net HCUP Kids' Inpatient Database, 2012


Trauma services.
Acute care hospitals.

Sources: Analyses of CHA Annual Benchmark Report, 2015, only acute care hospitals included; Analyses from CHA, Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS database), 2014-2016


On average, children are healthier than adults, and are hospitalized less often, so only 1 in 20 hospitals is a children’s hospital. But this also means that children’s hospitals, which number approximately 250, serve much broader geographies than adult hospitals. For families of children with complex medical conditions, this frequently means travelling long distances, often across state lines, to meet their child’s specialized care needs.



Source: Analyses of CHA Annual Benchmark Report, 2015. *Other payors include TRICARE, other government programs, those who self-pay, and other non-government payors.


Specialty children's hospitals.

Source: Analyses of CHA Annual Benchmark Report, 2015

Ronald McDonald partnership with children's hospitals.

That's why all children need children's hospitals

Children's hospitals are the backbone of the nation's pediatric health care infrastructure, training the nation's pediatricians and pediatric specialists, researching cures for diseases that affect children and providing the highest quality care for children who require hospitalization or routine primary care. As regional centers for children's health, they meet the health care needs of children in urban neighborhoods, the suburbs and rural areas.

From healthy kids in need of preventive care to those who are medically complex in need of a specialized medical home, all children benefit from the pediatric training, clinical care, research and child health advocacy provided together only in America's children's hospitals.

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Hospital Directory

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