January 23, 2018

To prepare for the opening of Texas Children’s Urgent Care Westgate in Austin, Texas Children’s has opened a Welcome Center adjacent to the future urgent care site on the south side of Austin. The Welcome Center is being used for human resources and philanthropy. It also will serve as a means to create brand awareness for Texas Children’s in the Austin community.

The new office, located at 4477 South Lamar Blvd., opened January 8 and is primarily being used to recruit future employees and on-board staff. The space will not be used for clinical services.

“We are very excited to have this new office in Austin,” said Texas Children’s Executive Vice President Michelle Riley-Brown. “It marks our entrance into the fastest growing city in America with a pediatric population of almost a half a million.”

Texas Children’s Urgent Care Westgate is scheduled to open in March and will be modeled after Texas Children’s other urgent care facilities, all of which are located in the Greater Houston area and offer high-quality, efficient and affordable pediatric care at a convenient location.

Open Monday through Friday, 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m., the clinic will be staffed by board certified pediatricians who diagnose and treat a wide variety of ailments, illnesses and conditions, including: asthma, strep throat, fever, minor burns, influenza, ear infections, allergic reactions and more. Procedures to be provided include: antibiotic injections, breathing treatments, fracture care and splinting, IV (intravenous) fluids, lab services, laceration repair and X-rays onsite.

“Oftentimes, families turn to an emergency center after hours, on weekends or perhaps even during the day, when a significant event occurs with their child,” said Kay Tittle, president of Texas Children’s Urgent Care. “Though the emergency center is the right place for some incidents or ailments, the majority of the time minor illnesses can and should be treated at a pediatric urgent care facility.”

Texas Children’s opened its first urgent care facility in 2014 and has since seen tremendous success in getting pediatric patients where they need to be to receive the proper treatment for their illness or injury, decreasing the number of low-acuity cases at Texas Children’s emergency rooms.

In addition to opening Texas Children’s Urgent Care Westgate, Texas Children’s plans to open additional pediatric urgent care clinics, primary care pediatric practices, pediatric specialty care locations and maternal-fetal medicine practices across Austin over the next five years.

“Making sure women and children have access to exceptional health care close to home is why we have hospitals in Katy and The Woodlands and nearly 80 Texas Children’s primary care and urgent care practices, specialty care centers, maternal-fetal medicine clinics and other health care locations throughout Greater Houston,” Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark A. Wallace said. “And that is why we are bringing Texas Children’s to Austin, Texas.”

Click here to read Wallace’s blog post about why Texas Children’s is moving into Austin.

Get ready, bargain hunters! Big savings on everything from AMC Theatres movie tickets and Nike sneakers to Dell computers and Walt Disney World vacations are now available on BenefitHub, the new and exclusive discounts and rewards marketplace where Texas Children’s employees can find savings on a million different products from more than 10,000 national brands and local businesses.

BenefitHub includes the familiar discounts that Texas Children’s employees already enjoy and more than 200,000 additional offers on items to accommodate every lifestyle – all in an easy-to-use, well organized and comprehensive directory that can be accessed online or via mobile device. Pay for items directly and receive concert, event and attraction tickets immediately by using your smartphone. Tickets and coupons can also be printed.

Employees can even earn 2-20 percent Cashback Rewards on nearly all of their BenefitHub purchases, with no limits on how many times the cashback can be redeemed.

“Our team is always looking for new and innovative ways to live compassionately by taking great care of our employees and offering meaningful programs that add value to their lives,” said Catherine Codispoti, vice president of Human Resources. “That’s why we are so excited to introduce BenefitHub, which gives all Texas Children’s employees convenient access to their favorite discounts and an expanded network of local and national vendors right at their fingertips.”

Visit BenefitHub to start shopping, saving, and earning rewards today! Enter Texas Children’s referral code AH5SYC and complete the sign-up with a Texas Children’s e-mail address to register for a new account.

Browse through 18 different categories for discounts on apparel, auto, beauty, cell phones, electronics, entertainment, food, health and wellness, sports and outdoors, travel and more. Shoppers can also find local deals on their BenefitHub homepage, along with shortcuts to the newest and most popular offerings on the platform.

Questions about the new discount and rewards marketplace? Support is available in both English and Spanish by contacting BenefitHub at 866-664-4621 or customercare@benefithub.com.

Texas Children’s continues to deliver on its mission of providing quality and safe care to our patients. As part of the expansion of the Maternal Fetal Medicine services at the Pavilion for Women, the obstetrics service has partnered with the Texas Children’s Kangaroo Crew to create the Maternal Transport Service.

The Kangaroo Crew transport team has decades of experience in critical care transport. To ensure expertise in high risk obstetrics care, the Kangaroo Crew and the Pavilion for Women labor and delivery (L&D) nursing staff have combined their specialized experience to create a program that supports critically ill obstetrics and gynecology patients. The team consisting of a Kangaroo Crew nurse, L&D nurse, respiratory therapist and EMT can provide specialty care not only to newborns and children, but now to mothers while enroute to the Pavilion for Women.

On December 8, 2017, Texas Children’s had its first maternal fetal transport case where a high-risk pregnant patient was transported to the Pavilion for Women from an outside hospital. The transfer call came in to Texas Children’s Mission Control, the hospital’s state-of-the-art communications hub that houses representatives from the departments of Room Management, Transport Services and Critical Care.

When a transfer call comes into the center, teams across the system work together to assure an efficient transfer occurs that provides the highest quality and safest care possible for high risk maternal patients.

“Whenever safe to do so, transporting a pregnant patient to the appropriate facility before an emergency happens is safest,” said Dr. Karin Fox, medical director of Maternal Transport. ”There is not an incubator yet made that can support an unborn baby and the mother, provided she is stable and a true emergency has not yet occurred.”

Prior to the maternal transport, meticulous collaboration took place before coordinating the patient’s successful transfer to the Pavilion for Women.

“We collaborated with our Maternal-Fetal Medicine and subspecialist teams to determine if this patient would benefit from maternal transport,” said Elizabeth Bolds, assistant clinical director at the Pavilion for Women. ”Intake assessment revealed this would be an ideal candidate for our Maternal Transport program and as such we coordinated the patient’s transfer to the Pavilion for maternal ICU care.”

The Kangaroo Crew staff – Shannon Frost RN, Heidi Allen, RRT, Nathan Martinez, EMT, along with maternal transport nurse, Khanh Nguyen, comprised the pioneering team that transported our first maternal transport.

According to Deb D’Ambrosio, RN, director of Transport Services and Mission Control, and Dr. Jeanine Graf, medical director of the Kangaroo Crew, “we had six successful transports in the first few weeks of starting the program. We anticipated this would be the volume for one month.”

By extending this transfer service beyond the hospital’s pediatric and neonatal populations to our high-risk expecting mothers, the Pavilion for Women continues to bolster its reputation as a primary referral site for patients with high-risk pregnancies.

“When the Pavilion for Women opened five years ago, it was created to care for the most complicated pregnancies and critically ill newborns, as well as serve thousands of normal deliveries each year,” said Cris Daskevich, senior vice president at the Pavilion for Women. “By working with our Kangaroo Crew and Mission Control partners, this transport service allows us to help our partners in the community transport their really sick patients to us where we can improve outcomes for mothers and babies.”

Click here to learn more about high-risk pregnancy care at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. Click here to learn more about our Kangaroo Crew transport team.

Winter is in full swing and so is flu season, which has led to an unprecedented number of flu cases nationwide. Texas Children’s wants you to take precautions to stay healthy. Learn five ways you can protect yourself and your patients from those dreaded bugs that seem to circulate during the cold weather months by clicking the graphic above.

Looking for a way to have some fun and support a great cause? Then look no further than Camp Keep Smiling, a camp for Texas Children’s patients ages 10 to 16 years old with cleft lip and palate.

Hosted by the nonprofit Camp for All, the camp in Burton provides a safe, fun environment for patients between the ages of 10 and 16 to engage in meaningful social interaction and gain self-confidence. Participants can enjoy activities like canoeing, fishing, archery, ropes courses, basketball and arts and crafts.

Texas Children’s Pediatric plastic surgeon Dr. Laura Monson, who helped start the camp, leads the initiative with other team members from the plastic surgery division. Physicians, physician assistants, nurses, OR staff and child life specialists serve as counselors who notice tremendous strides in the campers towards the end of the session.

Admission is free of charge for patients as it is supported directly by donations and the help of generous volunteers like you.

This year’s camp is scheduled for Friday, March 23, to Sunday, March 25. If you are interested in volunteering at the camp, please contact Michelle Roy at mgroy@texaschildrens.org to receive a volunteer application. Applications for patients to attend the camp are available online at this link and are due Monday, March 5.

Want to help build a generation of healthy, active children? Sign them up for the 2018 Houston Texans Kids Triathlon and Texas Children’s Hospital will pay their registration fee.

As the event’s presenting sponsor, the hospital will foot the bill for 50 children of employees to participate in the event slated for April 21 and 22 at NRG Stadium. The complimentary registrations are not retroactive, therefore if you have already signed up for the event, we cannot provide a reimbursement.

Drawing more than 3,000 participants ages 6 to 15, the event is expected to be the largest USATriathlon sanctioned kids triathlon in the world for the fifth consecutive year.

Click here for more information and here to watch a video of last year’s event.

If you are interested in receiving one of the complimentary spots, please fill out this form and submit it to Alexandra Comerota at alexandra.comerota@houstontexans.com. The deadline to use these complimentary registrations is Wednesday, April 18, so don’t delay!

Angela Gooden was recently promoted to director of Acute Care Advanced Practice Providers (ACAPP).

In her new role, Angela will provide strategic leadership for the APPs in multiple departments within the Acute Care advanced practice organizational structure at the Medical Center Campus.

Angela brings broad experience and an extensive awareness of the issues affecting advanced practice to the role. She started her nearly 20-year career at Texas Children’s as a nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit before becoming a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in 2008. While working as an APP for the Cardiology service she attained her Acute Care post-master’s certification and continued to grow the practice of the entire Cardiology APP team. She was promoted to Acute Care APP Clinical Manager in 2014, and under her leadership the Cardiology advanced practice team has grown to one of the largest in the institution.