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Prestigious ACS surgical verification earned by Children’s Wisconsin once again

Children’s Wisconsin was reverified as a Level I Pediatric Surgical Center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). As the only Level I pediatric surgery center in Wisconsin, this achievement reflects the highly specialized care and quality assessments in surgical services at Children’s Wisconsin. The specialized people and infrastructure create a highly specialized surgical environment for pediatric patients.

Caroline Frahm, manager of the Surgery Quality Programs at Children’s Wisconsin, said, “Children are not just tiny adults. They have intricate needs, and having all these resources available to encompass the care of continuum for the child and their family is crucial.” 

The ACS verification process recognizes a facility’s readiness and expertise to give children the specialized care they need. The process includes evaluations of outcomes, quality improvement work, and best practice sharing. 

In order to achieve this verification, Children’s Wisconsin met the following criteria:

  • 24-hour pediatric-trained specialists in all surgical specialties, anesthesia, critical care, emergency medicine, and the full spectrum of surgical and medical specialist availability, every day of the year

  • Nurses and other hospital staff that specialize in pediatric care

  • Facilities that are specifically designed for children and able to provide any level of care a pediatric patient would need, from the most basic to complex. This includes a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to provide the highest level of critical care for newborns and children

  • A commitment to report and benchmark clinical outcomes against peers nationally, ensuring the team provides the very best care

  • A transport service staffed by pediatric specialists and equipped with appropriate equipment for pediatric and neonatal patients 

  • Demonstrated commitment to perform research and education that enhance the health of children in the state and region

Children’s Wisconsin is grateful to have the ACS verification process as it highlights strengths and emphasizes the culture of commitment and continuous improvement. 

“The Children’s Wisconsin surgical staff dedicates their lives to taking care of kids and we appreciate having this program to set the standard of excellence,” said Caroline. “Everyone in the system works together to give the best care possible to kids and make our surgical center worthy of the ACS verification.”

The ACS verification status means having the right people at the right place at the right time. Pediatric-trained staff include surgeons, radiologists, anesthesiologists, nurses and more. They deliver an incredibly high level of care to the most vulnerable patients when their needs arise. 

Additionally, Children’s Wisconsin was granted Level I Pediatric Trauma Center status and verified by ACS. While trauma and surgery are two separate components, there is overlap and synergy between the two departments. Both work to recognize the strengths and contributions of each other to ensure quality improvements are being implemented in each individual child’s care plan.

The American College of Surgeons also highlighted the commitment of Children’s Wisconsin to: 

  • The people, culture and collaboration

  • Child life services

  • Mental and behavioral health care

  • Pediatric imaging provider expertise and availability 

Aligning with the core values of Children’s Wisconsin, the ACS verification process helps identify environments that may need improvement throughout the hospital. After receiving feedback, the Surgical Team embraced curiosity and change through an open exchange, helping the team grow. 

Children’s Wisconsin was a part of the Pilot Phase of the Children’s Verification Program in 2015, and was one of the first hospitals in the country to achieve Level 1 status in 2016. Children’s Wisconsin was then reverified as a Level 1 Center in 2019 and now 2023. Children’s Wisconsin continues a commitment for surgical excellence for the patients and families they serve.