Top 15 hospitals for spina bifida visits

Spina bifida is a rare condition affecting the development of a baby’s spine. It can be tested for and operated on when the baby is in-utero. Testing for spina bifida usually involves ultrasounds, blood tests, and amniocentesis.

Using data from the Definitive Healthcare ClaimsMx product, we analyzed hospitals by patient visits for spina bifida in 2021. This list shows the top hospitals by their share of total patient encounters for spina bifida.

Top U.S. hospitals with the most outpatient visits for spina bifida

Rank Definitive ID Hospital Location Hospital type Share of spina bifida patient encounter
1 5576 Cincinnati Children's Burnet Campus Cincinnati, OH Children's hospital 5.1%
2 2096 University Hospital Ann Arbor, MI Short term acute care hospital


3 582173 RiverValley Behavioral Health Owensboro, KY Psychiatric hospital 4.0%
4 360 Children's Hospital Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA Children's hospital 3.1%
5 6386 Texas Children's Hospital Houston, TX Children's hospital 2.6%
6 5783 Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Chicago, IL Children's hospital 2.0%
7 6170 Kennedy Krieger Institute Baltimore, MD Children's hospital 1.9%
8 3567 Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Philadelphia, PA Children's hospital 1.8%
9 5413 Gillette Children's Specialty Health St. Paul, MN Children's hospital 1.6%
10 1979 Boston Children's Hospital Boston, MA Children's hospital 1.6%
11 3120 Cleveland Clinic Main Campus Cleveland, OH Short term acute care hospital 1.5%
12 586 Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford Palo Alto, CA Children's hospital 1.3%
13 5163 Nemours Children's Hospital - Delaware Wilmington, DE Children's hospital 1.0%
14 7157 Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health Indianapolis, IN Children's hospital 0.9%
15 5966 Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus, OH Children's hospital 0.9%

Fig. 1 Data is from the Definitive Healthcare ClaimsMx product for the calendar year 2021. Claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States and is updated monthly. Data accessed September 2022.

Which hospital has the most patient encounters for spina bifida?

Cincinnati Children’s is a nationally ranked children’s hospital and its Burnet Campus had the most spina bifida patient encounters in 2021 at 5.1% of all encounters. University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan also has a pediatric spina bifida clinic and saw 5.0% of the 2021 spina bifida patient encounters.

Since spina bifida is usually diagnosed during pregnancy or soon after a baby is born, the majority of the hospitals on the list are children’s hospitals. Two are short-term care acute hospitals and one is a psychiatric hospital; RiverValley Behavioral Health had 4.0% of spina bifida patient encounters in 2021, likely related to the importance of mental health for patients with spina bifida.

What are the different types of spina bifida?

There are three main types of spina bifida:

  • Meningocele – A rare type of spina bifida that presents as a sac of spinal fluid bulging through an opening in the spine. Nerves are not affected and the spinal cord is not in a fluid sac.
  • Myelomeningocele – The most severe type of spina bifida characterized by membranes and spinal nerves that push through spinal canal openings, creating a sac on the baby’s back. The exposed tissues can lead to infections and paralysis.
  • Spina bifida occulta – Also known as “hidden” spina bifida, patients with this variation have a small gap in their spine, but the spinal cord and nerves are unaffected. This condition only has a limited association with disability and thus may not be discovered until later in the patient’s life.

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