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Children's Heart Program One of First Pediatric Cardiovascular Centers in Nation Awarded Accreditation

BIRMINGHAM – Children’s of Alabama has earned accreditation as a Pediatric Heart Failure Institute by The Healthcare Colloquium, a national group of hospitals dedicated to improving patient outcomes through expert-to-expert collaboration. The accreditation is the highest level available and makes Children’s the first pediatric facility in Alabama, and one of only nine in the nation, to be awarded this distinction.

“We are pleased to announce that Children’s of Alabama has received accreditation as a Pediatric Heart Failure Institute by The Healthcare Colloquium,” said Dr. F. Bennett Pearce, the program’s medical director and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). “Accreditation and maintenance of accreditation from The Healthcare Colloquium places the Children’s of Alabama Heart Failure and Transplant team in a position to lead and collaborate with the top pediatric centers across the country in the advancement of the care of children with heart failure and heart transplantation.”

The accreditation is recognition of a successful heart failure and transplant program that was established by Drs. Pearce and James K. Kirklin over the last two decades and enhanced by its move to Children’s of Alabama in 2012.

“The Healthcare Colloquium is delighted to announce the accreditation of Children’s of Alabama,” said Dr. John Lynn Jefferies, director of advanced heart failure and cardiomyopathy services at The Heart Institute of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, who reviewed the work done by Children’s of Alabama and was involved in the site visit. “Their dedication to advancing care for children with heart failure is exemplary, and we look forward to a productive relationship with their group.”

Children’s of Alabama is one of only 10 U.S. pediatric hospitals to be charter members of The Healthcare Colloquium. In being named to The Healthcare Colloquium, the Pediatric and Congenital Heart Center at Children’s was recognized for its state-of-the-art facilities, mechanical circulatory support program and scientific research as well as its track record in treating heart failure and performing heart transplants. The process of accreditation involved development, completion, and documentation of milestones that were reviewed during a recent visit. During this site visit a team of experts reviewed the Children’s milestones through presentations, toured facilities and met with many of the personnel that provide heart care to children.

The Healthcare Colloquium is the only accrediting body offering Pediatric Heart Failure Accreditation. The unique accreditation process builds on the member hospital’s prior improvement experience, leading to initial heart failure accreditation. Member hospitals work within four established domains of heart failure -- community, hospital, clinicians and science -- using The Healthcare Colloquium’s continuum of care model. Results include an integration of heart failure care, streamlined processes across the entire continuum of care, patient enablement and active collaboration with other Colloquium member hospitals nationwide.

Children’s cardiovascular team includes more than two dozen cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiac intensivists and cardiovascular anesthesiologists. Children’s is home to more than 450 cardiac surgeries performed annually, about 700 heart catheterizations and more than 14,000 2-D and 3-D echocardiograms.

The Heart Failure and Transplant program moved to Children’s in October 2012 after more than 20 years of service at UAB and following the opening of the $400 million Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children. Members of the team were participants in the design and implementation of the cardiac areas. The entire fourth floor of the facility houses the Joseph Bruno Pediatric Heart Center. The center includes a 20-bed cardiovascular intensive care unit (CVICU) with all private rooms, two dedicated surgical suites and three heart catheterization labs, including a hybrid cath lab, and four dedicated ECMO (heart-lung bypass) rooms. The center is connected to UAB via a skywalk to provide a single platform of care that allows physicians to move easily between facilities rather than the patients having to be transported back and forth. Making use of this single platform of care, the team has developed a formalized process of transition from pediatric to adult care that begins in early adolescence. The Healthcare Colloquium team reviewed this process as one of the milestones.

Since 1911, Children’s of Alabama has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children. Ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the nation by US News & World Report, Children’s provided care for youngsters from every county in Alabama, 42 other states and 10 foreign countries last year, representing more than 653,000 outpatient visits and nearly 14,000 inpatient admissions. 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 specialty services provided at Children’s South, Children’s on 3rd and in Huntsville and Montgomery. 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 UAB pediatric medicine, surgery, psychiatry, research and residency programs. More information is available at or on social media at or