St. Christopher's Hospital for Children's burn center is the recipient of a national designation for quality of care, hospital officials announced Wednesday.

The Stuart J. Hulnick Burn Center at St. Christopher's has earned Burn Center Verification by the American Burn Association (ABA). That makes it the only pediatric burn center with ABA recognition in the Philadelphia area, and only one of nine verified pediatric burn centers in the country, the hospital said.

"This verification is a reflection of the high-quality care we strive to provide to all patients that need to seek care at our hospital," said George Rizzuto, interim chief executive at St. Christopher's.

Burn Center Verification, a joint program of the ABA and the American College of Surgeons, is a voluntary process that involves in-depth review of a center's medical care services, personnel qualification, facilities and organization.

St. Christopher's burn center was established in 1984 and treats hundreds of children a year. It provides acute burn care, outpatient rehabilitation and reconstructive surgery. The center gets referrals of severe burn patients from other area children's and general hospitals.

Two other centers in Pennsylvania are ABA verified. The Lehigh Valley Health Network Regional Burn Center in Allentown is verified for pediatric patients, as well as adult burn victims. The Nathan Speare Regional Burn Treatment Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland is verified for adult patients.

"Burn care for pediatric patients requires special training, extreme attention to detail and a multidisciplinary approach. Our specialists have been specifically trained to work with these types of patients," said Paul Glat, director of St. Christopher's burn center.

The verification is a welcome honor in a hospital that is eyeing changes in the near future. The American Academic Health System purchased St. Christopher's and Hahnemann University Hospital last winter from the Tenet Healthcare Corporation.

Health System officials said they are looking at establishing St. Christopher's presence at Hahnemann, including 50 to 100 pediatric beds. Hahnemann is located at Broad and Vine Streets in Philadelphia.