January 17, 2018

It’s time to lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement! Texas Children’s and the Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run are hosting the West Campus Family Fun Run and The Woodlands Family Fun Run in April and May. Registration is open for both runs and spots are filling up fast. So, sign up today to guarantee a spot for you and your family.

Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus

West Campus will host the sixth annual West Campus Family Fun Run at its campus on Saturday, April 7 with a 9 a.m. start time. The event will include both a 1K and 3K course. Following the run, families can enjoy various activities until noon at the Family Fun Zone.

Registration for the West Campus Family Fun Run will close at 5 p.m. Monday, March 26. Click here to register and learn more about the upcoming event.

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands will host its second annual Family Fun Run event on Saturday, May 5. The event will offer a 1-mile course and will begin at 9 a.m. Post-race activities will follow until 11 a.m.

Registration for The Woodlands Family Fun Run will close at 5 p.m. Monday, April 23 or whenever we reach our maximum event capacity of 1,500 runners. Click here to register and learn more about the upcoming event.

Additional information

Participants – including those who need walkers and wheelchairs – are welcome at both Texas Children’s Family Fun Run events. There will not be prizes given to top finishers as all participants will receive an award for taking part in an event designed to educate and encourage Houston-area families to adopt active, healthy lifestyles.

Good luck and happy running!

Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women has earned the coveted Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care designation for its expertise in the delivery of safe, efficient, high quality care to women and newborns.

As a leader in obstetrics, gynecology and fetal intervention, the Pavilion for Women specializes in high risk pregnancies and provides a continuum of care to women during every stage of their reproductive lives. To become a nationally designated Maternity Specialty Care Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) evaluated the Pavilion for Women on a variety of quality and patient satisfaction measures.

The BCBS noted the Pavilion for Women’s successful implementation of evidence-based breastfeeding practices to ensure our nurses, obstetricians and pediatricians are well trained to teach mothers how to breastfeed and maintain lactation to give newborns a healthy start.

The Pavilion for Women excelled in maternity quality measures including the rate of episiotomies performed and the administration of antenatal steroids, which are medications given to pregnant patients who are at risk for delivering their babies too early. The hospital has consistently exceeded the national target rate of 90 percent or above for antenatal steroid administration.

The Pavilion for Women received exceptional marks in patient satisfaction. The hospital’s improvement efforts are directly related to the feedback received through the patient satisfaction survey. In September 2017, the Pavilion for Women achieved a patient satisfaction score of 92 percent and a 93 percent score for both pain management and care instructions that are given to patients before their hospital discharge and at the end of their clinic visit.

“We are grateful to our team’s collaboration in helping us achieve this designation,” said Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women Senior Vice President Cris Daskevich. “By reaching this milestone, we ensure that we continue to meet the standard of care and excellence that our patient families have come to expect.”

Click here for more information about the Blue Designation Center for Maternity Care designation.

Long-time Texas Children’s Board of Trustees member and former board president Michael Linn has been appointed chairman of the board. Linn will be responsible for partnering with Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark Wallace and our executive leadership team to help ensure the board’s directives, policies and resolutions are carried out, and he will champion the organization and advocate its mission to internal and external stakeholders.

“Mike’s years of dedication and leadership to Texas Children’s Hospital have helped us tremendously, and we are excited about his newly appointed role as chairman of the board,” Wallace said. “Mike and his wife, Carol, actively and tirelessly champion our mission, making personal gifts in support of our priorities, serving as incredible advocates for the hospital, building relationships in the community, and encouraging others to give generously. I look forward to partnering with him in this new role.”

Linn was elected to the Texas Children’s Board of Trustees in 2008, and he served as president of the board from 2016-2017. In addition to his board responsibilities, Linn is currently chairing Promise: The Campaign for Texas Children’s Hospital along with his wife. Under the Linns’ leadership, the Promise campaign has raised millions of dollars for Texas Children’s and its growing need to provide dedicated, specialized pediatric health care in Houston and surrounding communities.

“Texas Children’s Hospital holds a special place in our hearts, and we want to continue to help them any way we can,” Linn said. “My son, Matthew, died at the age of 7 after undergoing surgery in Boston from a congenital heart defect, and Carol and I are dedicated to ensuring that all children receive the care they need.

“We have watched Texas Children’s Hospital care for the sickest kids, and as the new chairman of the board, I want to continue to help the hospital expand on this mission by providing unparalleled access to care for the Houston community and beyond.”

Linn is currently a senior advisor with Quantum Energy Partners and president and CEO of MCL Ventures LLC, an oil/gas/real estate investment firm. He is also the founder and former chairman, CEO and president of LINN Energy, LLC.

In his role of chairman of the board, Linn will guide the hospital as we complete Legacy Tower, our new pediatric tower at the Texas Medical Center campus.

January 15, 2018

Inclement weather update no. 3: Resuming normal operations

As of this afternoon, normal operations have resumed throughout the Texas Children’s system. Our clinics and primary care offices are now seeing patients during our regular hours and accommodating appointments that had to be rescheduled.

We want to thank all of you for carefully braving the weather to come into work yesterday and today. Your efforts to be here and your dedication to our patients ensured that we provided them safe, seamless care, and further demonstrate that we are an organization of staff and employees who think and act quickly and thoughtfully during times of challenge.

As we prepare for another deep freeze tonight, please be careful as you return home to your families. We encourage you to exercise caution when navigating roadways as some areas may still be wet or icy from earlier precipitation.

Judy Swanson
Administrator On Call

James Mitchell
Emergency Management

Inclement weather update no. 2: Tuesday, 2:15 p.m.

As expected, much of the Houston area is experiencing rain and below freezing temperatures. As we continue to monitor local reports, Texas Children’s leadership throughout the day has been assessing the needs and staffing of both patient care and non-patient-care areas within the hospitals, clinics, practices and health centers.

New information

  • Inpatient operations. At this time, we are continuing operations as normal throughout the Texas Children’s system. Leaders will continue to assess staffing needs and will make adjustments accordingly. Staff who want to come in early prior to their shift should contact their leader.  If you choose to spend the night, bring an overnight bag. Cots will be available for staff if you are unable to return home.
  • Outpatient operations. We are planning to suspend outpatient services by 3 p.m. today. Outpatient clinics will open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday to allow patients and staff more time to arrive to their destination.
  • Shuttles services from Garage 19 and Meyer to the Medical Center  Campus are running on schedule.
  • One-to-one handoff will occur in the inpatient areas at shift change

Medical Center campus retail food service
Food Court: closing early at 3 p.m.
Fresh Bistro:  normal hours 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Coffee Corner: closing early at 9 p.m. (sandwiches, paninis, salads and soup) – usually stays open until 11pm

*This is the plan for now, although staffing could affect opening times
Coffee Corner: 6 a.m. – midnight
Fresh Bistro: 6:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. (will evaluate station closures based on staffing and volumes)
Food Court: 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (will evaluate station closures based on staffing and volumes)

West Campus Retail Food Service
DOTS Kitchen – will remain open until 6:30 p.m., Deli window in DOTs will remain open until 8pm (EXTENDED HOURS).
Coffee Spot: Closes at 2:30 p.m. per normal operations.

*Planned to maintain normal hours, given that staff can arrive tomorrow morning safely.
Coffee Spot: will open at 6:30am
DOTS Kitchen: will open at 7am

Sleet and freezing rain are expected to create hazardous road conditions especially during the afternoon/evening commute. We encourage staff to exercise caution when navigating roadways especially on bridges and overpasses as water can freeze very quickly with a sudden drop in temperatures. Please plan for additional travel time, and be sure to communicate with your leaders should your arrival to work be delayed due to the inclement weather conditions.

We will continue to monitor the weather and assess any possible impacts to you, our patients and their families. and will send additional global alerts as needed. For more information, including the latest weather, traffic and road conditions, go to the Emergency Management Connect site and the National Weather Service website.

Judy Swanson
Administrator On Call

James Mitchell
Emergency Management

Inclement weather expected tomorrow: Monday, 9:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service is forecasting rain and below freezing temperatures across much of southeast Texas. Light rain is expected to begin at 2 a.m. on Tuesday. The morning commute is not expected to be affected. However, as temperatures begin to drop during the mid-morning hours, sleet and freezing rain could create hazardous road conditions especially during the afternoon commute.

We are monitoring local reports and will continue to do so throughout tonight and tomorrow morning. As of now, Texas Children’s is expected to remain fully operational. This includes both patient care and non-patient-care areas within the hospitals, clinics, practices and health centers. However, leaders are assessing the needs and staffing of their respective areas and will subsequently provide any further information or instruction.

We know staff and employees may be concerned about the impending weather conditions. Please remember that we all are here to take care of our patients, and ensuring that their care is safe and seamless is our priority. Please plan to get an early start tomorrow so you can make a thoughtful assessment of the current weather situation and your plans for reporting to work safely. We encourage you to exercise caution when navigating roadways and plan ahead in case there is an interruption to any city services or school closures.

For more information, including the latest weather, traffic and road conditions, go to the Emergency Management Connect site and the National Weather Service website.

Judy Swanson
Administrator On Call

James Mitchell
Emergency Management

January 9, 2018

The countdown clock is ticking. Texas Children’s Nursing will host its fourth virtual town hall from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16, at the Pavilion for Women Conference Center.

Nursing has partnered with the Corporate Communications team to organize this event to engage our team of more than 3,000 dedicated nurses that make up Texas Children’s largest employee population.

Hosted by Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jo Andre’, the town hall will include a discussion of FY17 nursing accomplishments, system updates, and readiness for the January 22 – 24 Magnet site visit, a crucial step in the hospital’s journey toward Magnet re-designation. The town hall will also include time for Q&A. Nurses watching the livestream remotely will be able to participate in the Q&A session thanks to our use of virtual technology.

“By leveraging new technology at our first town hall, we were able to engage more nurses in a town hall than we ever had before,” Andre’ said. “As our team continues to grow, it will be increasingly important for us to identify and leverage opportunities to make communication easier and more effective.”

For nurses who cannot attend the live event, there will be several gathering locations to view the live stream:

Wallace Tower (for Ambulatory Services) – D.0800.39 (eighth floor)
West Campus – WC.150.10 and WC.150.20 (first floor)
The Woodlands Hospital [Conference Rooms A, B (second floor)] Health Centers – Sugar Land, Cy-Fair, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Clear Lake
The Center for Children and Women (Greenspoint and Southwest)
Forming your own huddles? Please submit sign-in sheet to jcchilds@texaschildrens.org.

As always, patient care is our first priority, and we know not all nurses will be able to attend the live event or view the live stream. However, those nurses will still be able to participate by viewing the event on-demand at their convenience.

Click here to pre-register for the Nursing Town Hall.

When Autum Garcia was just 13 years old, she went to her pediatrician for a back-to-school checkup and left with something way more serious than a Band-Aid from a routine immunization – a recommendation from her doctor to visit the emergency room due to extremely high blood pressure.

Shortly after being seen by staff at Texas Children’s Emergency Center in the Medical Center, Garcia was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta, a narrowing of the major artery that carries blood to the body, causing high blood pressure and minimal blood flow to the legs.

“It was a shock to say the least,” Garcia said. “I had no idea anything was wrong.”

Soon after her diagnosis, Garcia underwent a procedure with former Texas Children’s cardiologist Dr. Frank Ing to receive a stent implantation, which ended up solving the teenager’s blood pressure issues and increased blood flow throughout her body. The only follow-up care Garcia needed was routine echocardiograms, a procedure that paved the teenager’s way to a future career at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

“I really wanted to work at Texas Children’s,” Garcia said. “This place saved my life; it was the least I could do to say thank you.”

With the encouragement of Ing and Texas Children’s Cardiologist Dr. Wilson Lam, Garcia entered the Diagnostic Cardiovascular sonography program at Alvin Community College and within two years earned an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science. She also passed her registry exam and is now a Registered Congenital Cardiac Sonographer.

As part of the sonography program, Garcia did a rotation at Texas Children’s with the very people who had administered her echocardiograms. She also was involved in two case studies following her procedure. Shortly thereafter, Garcia got a job as an echo technologist at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

Now, and for the past year, Garcia has been administering echocardiograms to people like herself, offering those who are nervous, scared, or apprehensive about the procedure, or their condition in general, comfort and reassurance by telling them and their families her story.

“As soon as I mention that I’ve been through the same thing and made it out just fine, they are immediately relieved,” Garcia said. “It really helps them to have someone to talk to who has been through the same thing.”

Dr. Wilson Lam said he remembers Garcia well and is happy to know that he was able to have such a positive impact on her and her career path.

“It’s great that she is able to give back in such a personal way,” he said. “I have no doubt that patients will benefit from her care.”

The 18th Annual Reba Michels Hill Memorial Grand Rounds were held recently. Awards were given to Neonatology non-physicians who have made a significant contribution to advancing the quality to which Dr. Hill was dedicated: compassionate commitment to education, patient care, research and family.