Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU earns elite Level 1 verification for children’s surgery
Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU has been verified as a Level I Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons Children’s Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program.
CHoR is one of only 30 verified children’s surgery centers in the country and the 10th on the East Coast to attain this highest level of designation. ACS CSV is valid for three years and recognizes children’s surgery programs that offer all children’s surgery specialties, as well as provide quality improvement and safety processes that prevent complications, reduce costs and ultimately save lives.
“As our community’s children’s hospital, we recognize the unique health care needs of children and their families, which is why our surgeons, anesthesiologists and entire team of compassionate experts are dedicated to programs just for kids,” said Elias Neujahr, CEO of CHoR. “I’m immensely proud of this team, not only for completing the rigorous verification process, but for the relentless passion and expertise they devote to each child, even in the midst of a pandemic. They’re making a monumental difference every day for families throughout our region, and beyond.”
Jessica Stone is one of these patients. Now age 17, Jessica has been coming to CHoR since birth for surgical and ongoing medical care related to a spinal lipoma.
Though it’s been a long and, at times, arduous journey, her family has trusted and depended on the team at CHoR through the years.
“Whether a child is coming to us for something as simple as a hernia repair, or as complex and coordinated as trauma surgery or addressing congenital malformations – whether they’re 2 days or 17 years old – it’s a big deal for us and for their families. No matter what a child’s surgical need, we’re prepared to treat them 24/7/365,” said David Lanning, M.D., Ph.D., co-surgeon-in-chief of CHoR and interim chief medical officer for VCU Medical Center. “It’s a group effort. My peers and I rely on our surgical techs, nurses, child life specialists and colleagues across the hospital to care for patients the best way possible. I’m honored to be one part of this great team.”
After applying, hospitals seeking verification undergo an extensive site visit by an ACS team of surveyors. The surveyor team consists of experienced children’s surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses who review the center’s structure, processes and clinical outcomes data.
To become a verified center, CHoR met essential criteria for staffing, training, facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to appropriately serve patients in need of surgery and associated care. CHoR’s surgical service line also participates in a national data registry that yields semiannual reports on the quality of its processes and outcomes, thus identifying opportunities for continuous quality improvement.
Among the specific strengths the surveyors noted at CHoR were the cooperation among surgical services, nursing education, prompt and appropriate operating room response times, ongoing surgeon involvement in care and effective data collection processes.
Another critical component in pediatric surgery is dedicated pediatric anesthesiology.
“Our anesthesiologists work closely with the pediatric surgeons before, during and after surgery to ensure the safety and comfort for our patients. We have specialty training to care for even the smallest and sickest patients, and we’re available at any point a need arises – day or night,” said James Dore, M.D., chief of pediatric anesthesiology at CHoR.
Support from Children’s Hospital Foundation has also been instrumental in the ongoing development of the surgery program. Through community generosity, the foundation was able to provide a three-year grant to initiate the surgery/trauma registrar, implement a children’s surgery program manager and secure administrative assistance for the program.
Their support is also key in the construction of the new children’s tower that will include inpatient, emergency and trauma care. The new facility will also expand access to surgical care with additional operating rooms and imaging suites.
Scheduled to open in spring 2023, it will connect to the current outpatient Children’s Pavilion, completing an entire city block dedicated to caring for kids and families.