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Children's of Alabama Heart Program is 1 of only 10 Pediatric Hospitals to Join Prestigious Healthcare Colloquium


Children’s of Alabama Heart Program is 1 of only 10 Pediatric Hospitals to Join

Prestigious National Healthcare Colloquium

BIRMINGHAM (June 18, 2014) – Children’s of Alabama is one of only 10 pediatric hospitals in the United States to be named a charter member of The Healthcare Colloquium, a national group of hospitals dedicated to improving heart failure through expert-to-expert collaboration.

In being named to The Healthcare Colloquium, the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center at Children’s is recognized for its state-of-the-art facilities, scientific research and stellar track record in treating heart failure and performing heart transplants. The program moved to Children’s in Oct. 2012 from neighboring UAB following the opening of the $400 million Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children where the entire fourth floor houses the Joseph Bruno Pediatric Heart Center. The unit includes a 20-bed CVICU with all private rooms, two dedicated surgical suites, two heart catheterization labs including a hybrid cath lab, and four dedicated ECMO rooms. It is connected to UAB via a skywalk to provide a single platform of care that allows physicians to easily move between facilities rather than the patients having to be transported back and forth. “Our goals were to have patient- and family-centered care, first and foremost,” Dr. F. Bennett Pearce, the program’s medical director, said.

The CV team includes more than two dozen cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac intensivists and cardiovascular anesthesiologists. More than 450 cardiac surgeries are performed annually, about 700 heart catheterizations and more than 14,000 2-D and 3-D echocardiograms. The Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Team has performed 33 heart transplants in the past five years, including 10 in 2013.

The success rate of these transplant surgeries and other treatment has created a unique need for these young patients who now survive to adulthood: how to transition to adult care. In response, Children’s launched a transitional care program this month that teaches them how to manage their healthcare. At age 14, each patient enters  the structured program with an individualized plan that addresses everything they will need to know as an adult. They learn about the medicines they need, how to make appointments with their medical team, how to communicate with those caregivers, and how to recognize important symptoms that might be related to their heart condition. By ages 18 to 20, they are prepared to transition to adult care.

As a member of The Healthcare Colloquium, the Children’s heart program is poised to build upon its existing strengths. Pearce and his colleagues are hopeful that the program will earn full accreditation later this year.

Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children across the state and throughout the southeastern U.S. since 1911. For the past four years, Children’s has been ranked among the best children’s hospital programs in the nation by US News & World Report. Last year, patients made more than 670,000 outpatient and nearly 14,000 inpatient visits to Children’s from every county in Alabama and from 45 other states and four foreign countries. With more than 2 million square feet, it is the third largest pediatric medical facility in the U.S. Children’s offers inpatient and outpatient services across its Russell Campus on Birmingham’s historic Southside with additional outpatient services provided at Children’s South and Children’s on 3rd. Primary care is provided at more than a dozen medical offices in communities across central Alabama. Children’s of Alabama is the only medical center in Alabama dedicated solely to the care and treatment of children. It is a private, not-for-profit medical center that serves as the primary site of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) pediatric medicine, surgery, research and residency programs. In 2012, Children’s moved much of its inpatient services into a new building named The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. More information is available at