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Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder, up for re-election Nov. 6, 2012, recently sought the support of The Plain Dealer’s editorial board.
During an endorsement interview on Sept. 18, 2012, the subject turned to healthcare in Ohio and the Medina Republican, among other things, noted the state’s impressive network of children’s hospitals was worth bragging about.
For example, Ohio is the only state with a "flagship, world-class children’s hospital within two hours of every child living in the state," according to the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association.
During the interview, Batchelder noted that "We (Ohio) have more hospitals that are children’s hospitals than any other state in the union."
That got Politifact Ohio’s attention.
The Buckeye State is large, but not as populous as, say, California, New York or Texas. So, could it really have more children’s hospitals than any other state?
PolitiFact Ohio asked Batchelder’s office where the speaker got this information. The speaker’s spokeswoman, Shannon Boston, directed us back to the website of the Ohio Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety, a non-profit organization that works to align the vision of all of Ohio’s children’s hospitals.
And how many hospitals does it list? Eight.
Boston contends that Ohio is tied with Texas and California, which also each have eight children’s hospitals according to organizations in those states similar to the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association — the California Children’s Hospital Association and the Children’s Hospital Association of Texas.
But a closer look found that the hospitals listed on those websites to which we were directed for hospitals in California and Texas only represent a portion of all children’s hospitals in those states. These state hospital associations are member-based organizations and not every hospital is necessarily a member and listed on the websites.
In fact, Angela Krile, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, when asked about Batchelder’s claim, said: "I have never heard that we have the most children’s hospitals but we do have the highest rated system of children’s hospitals in the country."
The second part of her comment, about Ohio’s hospitals being highest rated, would indeed be noteworthy. But it is the first part of her comment that PolitiFact Ohio is checking for this article.
PolitiFact Ohio checked with the National Association of Children’s Hospitals. Spokeswoman Gillian Ray directed us to a state-by-state list of children’s hospitals on its website.
By its count, Ohio hardly has the most children’s hospitals in the country.
Not even close. Here’s what we found:
The site includes the Shriners Hospitals for Children-Cincinnati and the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation, two hospitals that are not members of the Ohio Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety or the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, which lists just six member hospitals.
Ray said that the national list is all-inclusive, meaning it lists all the children’s hospitals according to their primary mission or duty: free-standing children’s hospitals, like Akron Children’s, specialty hospitals like Shriners in Cincinnati (which focuses on burn patients), or teaching hospitals, such as, Rainbow Babies and Children’s in Cleveland, which is affiliated with the medical school at Case Western Reserve University.
For what it’s worth, Batchelder did get that endorsement from The Plain Dealer’s editorial board.
But the organizations referenced by the speaker’s staff in support of his claim were not umbrella organizations that represent all children’s hospitals and their lists were far from complete. Even the two Ohio-based children’s hospital associations do not list the same number of hospitals, and neither lists every children’s hospital in the state.
As an aside, there clearly appears to be a strong network of children’s hospitals in Ohio which draws the state high rankings in several areas of care, accessibility and amount of research taking place at the various institutions. But all that does not add up to having the most available hospitals of their kind as compared to other states, as Batchelder claimed.
On the Truth-O-Meter, the claim rates False.
Email from Shannon Boston, spokeswoman for Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder, Oct. 16, 2012
Phone interview with Ohio Children's Hospital Association spokeswoman Angela Krile, Oct. 16, 2012
Bill Batchelder endorsement interview with The Plain Dealer editorial board, Sept. 18, 2012
Phone interview with National Association of Children's Hospitals spokeswoman Gillian Ray, Oct. 4, 2012
National Association of Children's Hospitals, website accessed Oct. 3, 2012
Ohio Children's Hospitals' Solutions for Patient Safety, website accessed Oct. 16, 2012
Ohio Children's Hospital Association, website accessed Oct. 4, 2012
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