Primary Children’s Hospital ranked as one of nation’s best children’s hospitals

Jun 14, 2022, 11:00 AM | Updated: 5:32 pm

Primary Children's Medical Center has canceled some scheduled surgeries and other procedures this w...

FILE: Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City is pictured on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. With a shortage of children's medicine, even experts at Primary Children's Hospital have had to get creative in how they treat sick children. Photo credit: Kristin Murphy/Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY– Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, was named one of the best children’s hospitals in eight pediatric specialties in the United States. 

U.S. News & World Report ranked the hospital as one of the nation’s top in eight pediatric specialties: cancer care, cardiology and heart surgery, gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, neonatal care, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, urology and orthopedics, which is a recognition shared with Shriners Children’s Salt Lake City.

“We are very pleased to again be ranked as one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, especially as we celebrate 100 years of premier pediatric care and usher in innovations to help children thrive through the next century,” said Primary Children’s Hospital Administrator, Dustin Lipson.

National rankings

According to U.S. News, the rankings report helps patients decide where to receive care.

U.S. News generates hospital rankings by evaluating data on nearly 5,000 hospitals. To receive a top national ranking in a specialty, the hospital must excel in caring for the “sickest, most medically complex patients.”

U.S. News & World Report ranks the top 50 children’s hospitals in 10 specialties.

“The knowledge, experience, child-friendly manner, ability to explain and comfort, plus technical ability of the Primary Children’s team — it’s no wonder folks, including myself, bring their children from all over the world,” California parent Jim Scalise said.

One patient’s story

When Scalise’s son Nico was a baby, he underwent successful treatment for brain cancer in his home state of California.  At age 10, doctors discovered complications in his spinal growth. They suspected the issue may be fatal. 

“Nico’s neck discs were growing inward horizontally towards his spinal column, perilously close to the spinal cord itself, and needed a surgical repair,” Scalise said. “We were again facing life and death ramifications.”

Stanford Children’s Health and Boston Children’s Hospital, along with Harvard Medical School, treated Nico with great success. 

When the time came to pick a doctor to treat Nico’s spinal condition, however, Scalise chose Primary Children’s Hospital. 

Scalise chose Douglas Brockmeyer, MD, who is a neurosurgeon at University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. Brockmeyer performed many of the complex surgery that Nico needed.

“I’d have gone anywhere in the world for the right doc,” Scalise said. “After a few days of talking directly to Dr. Brockmeyer, I was able to feel strongly that no matter what happened, he was Nico’s best bet and had the most expertise.”

“When I was a nervous wreck, my favorite moment was at our final [Zoom] consultation before making my decision, Dr.  Brockmeyer looked at me and said, ‘I can fix him up,’” Scalise recalled. “And he did.”


Nico underwent a 12-hour surgery. He was walking, playing, and going home in less than a week.

Primary Children’s Hospital has been recognized as one of the nation’s best for multiple years and is also the pediatric specialty teaching hospital for the University of Utah.

“Putting ‘The Child First and Always’ is our sole focus and we recognize that we can’t provide great care to children without the trusted teamwork of caregivers and many others who make Primary Children’s the center of excellence that it is today,” said Angelo P. Giardino, MD, Ph.D., chair of the University of Utah School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and chief medical officer at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Visit the Best Children’s Hospitals website for the full rankings and methodology.

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Primary Children’s Hospital ranked as one of nation’s best children’s hospitals