Assessment Tool

Heart Institute at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC

US News Best Children's HospitalsWe know how important it is to select the best program for your child's treatment of their heart condition. Many factors are important to consider, including quality, patient safety and care, and convenience.

The Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC would like to help you sort thru information and assist with this sometimes difficult process. Knowing that you have choices, we offer this assessment tool to help you select a heart program that's right for your child.

Below we've provided a list of questions to help you evaluate each facility that you are considering for your child's care. We've also provided responses by Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

If you have further questions, please contact Amy Cashdollar, clinical director of the Heart Institute at 412-692-5411 and let us know how we may help you.

Does the program offer evaluation and counseling of pregnant mothers when there is concern for a birth defect of the heart?

Children’s Hospital has a top rated high risk infant program thru our partnership with Magee Women’s Hospital and provides prenatal assessment for congenital heart disease, including evaluation, diagnosis and counseling. Learn more about our Fetal and Perinatal Cardiology Program.

Does the program offer cardiac care for the adults with congenital heart disease?

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is identified as a regional center of excellence by the Adult Congenital Heart Association. We have a team of dedicated professionals who are experts in providing comprehensive care for the adult congenital heart patient. We follow proven recommendations for care of these complex patients and are able to support the broad range of care needs for not only cardiac needs but also genetic counseling, reproductive considerations and access to financial counseling. Learn more about our Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center.

Is care at this hospital covered by my insurance?

Children’s Hospital accepts most medical insurances, including Highmark. A clincial social worker who is dedicated to the needs of our Heart Institute patients and families is available to discuss financial needs and concerns by phone at 412-692-5190.

How convenient is the facility for treatment and follow-up visits?

The Heart Institute at Children's Hospital sees patients in many locations throughout the Pittsburgh region. In addition to our clinic at the Lawrenceville campus, we see patients in the North and South Hills, Monroeville, Hermitage, Wheeling WV, Johnstown, Altoona, DuBois, Erie, Latrobe, Greensburg, and Chippewa. Learn more about our regional locations.

What is the wait time to see a cardiologist/surgeon for your needs?

As part of the UPMC Health System, Children's Hospital is committed to offering appointments with one of our general cardiologists at one of our many locations within 72 hours for all new patients. 

Is the hospital dedicated to the care of pediatric patients or is it an adult facility that also sees pediatric patients?

Children's Hospital is a dedicated hospital specializing in the care of not only cardiac neonates and pediatric patients, but we also care for adult congenital cardiac patients. We are consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children's hospitals in the country, by U.S. News & World Report. Patient and family-centered care is the care delivery model utilized at Children's Hospital and it represents our belief that in pediatrics, caring for the entire family unit ultimately ensures the best overall care for the patient. Learn more about our approach to family-centered care.

What is the mortality rate for various procedures in the cardiac program being evaluated?

Outcomes data released in 2013 by the Society for Thoracic Surgery (STS) shows that the Heart Institute at Children's Hospital has the lowest mortality rate in the country for mid-high volume centers. In the 2012 data, Children's mortality was <1%. This report includes 110 (out of 120) pediatric cardiac programs in the US. The programs are divided into 3 categories: low, medium and high volumes (Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is considered a high volume program). The report is from July 2008 to June 2012 and it demonstrated that Children's Hospital had an overall 4 year mortality rate of 1.1%, 2012 was even better, the mortality rate of 0.6% was the lowest in the country for sites reporting to the STS. Learn more about pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at the Heart Institute.

Does the site offer a dedicated pediatric cardiac intensive care unit?

Children’s provides a dedicated Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) staffed by specially trained physicians and nurses who are experts in the care of our most critically ill patients. Learn more about our CICU.

What is the experience of the pediatric cardiac anesthesia team?

Children’s has a team of five dedicated pediatric cardiac anesthesiologists who are expert in supporting the unique anesthesia care needs of our pediatric cardiac patients. Learn more about our pediatric cardiac anesthesia program.

What is the experience or the pharmacy team?

Our Heart Institute team partners with a dedicated pharmacist. This person is present for patient care rounds in the CICU and is available as a resource and expert to assist the care team in the medication reviews of all our CICU patients.

What is the experience of the nursing team?

Children’s cardiac nursing team is skilled in the care of congenital cardiac patients across the lifespan. We have dedicated teams of CICU and acute care nurses who are expertly trained to support the needs of congenital cardiac patients in these specialized environments. Learn more about our cardiac nursing team at the Heart Institute.

If you are facing an extended stay, how can the facility support you?

Families can stay near their child: Children’s hosts a Ronald McDonald House on campus. Additionally, our social services team is connected with hotels in the local area to offer discounts for our patient families facing extended stays. For families who are traveling from out-of-state or outside of the United States, we offer a PassportCare program to support the challenges that out-of-town families may face.

What support mechanisms are in place following your hospitalization?

With so many locations in our surrounding communities, Children's Hospital can often support follow-up visits close to your home. With advances in telemedicine, there are also opportunities for follow-up through the use of our state-of-the-art Telemedicine Center.

What was your overall perception of the facilities you evaluated?

Children’s Hospital opened its new 10-acre home in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighborhood in May 2009. Designed with input from physicians, nurses, and families to ensure that patients receive care in a comfortable setting, the hospital is a benchmark for quality care built on five principles including: family-centered care, patient-safety and quality, technological sophistication, green campus and quiet building. It has been named one of the world's most beautiful hospitals by HealthExecNews.com. Learn more about our hospital campus.