March 31, 2018


Texas Children’s Security Services has been informed that an armed robbery of a Texas Children’s employee occurred Saturday, March 31, on the B4 level of Garage 21 at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.

No one was injured, however authorities with the Texas Medical Center, which owns and manages the garage, and the Houston Police Department were notified and are investigating the incident.

At Texas Children’s, the safety and security of our patients, families, employees, providers, volunteers and visitors is of the highest priority. We have increased our security presence in all of our garages and, as always, Texas Children’s Security officers are available to escort employees to their cars. For escorts, call the Service Response Center at 4-5400 or ask an officer for assistance.

Everyone is advised to be extra vigilant, be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity by calling 911 or the Texas Medical Center Police Department at 713-795-0000.

March 29, 2018

While the nation is glued to their TVs watching the NCAA’s “March Madness” college basketball tournament, Texas Children’s is focused on scoring patient access points during MyChart Madness.

On March 19, Texas Children’s launched MyChart Instant Activation and Fast Pass as part of the hospital’s system-wide initiative to improve patient access. MyChart is an online patient portal where patient families can schedule clinic appointments, communicate with their health care providers and access their health records at any time.

“When we implemented MyChart in 2010, one of our goals was to enable parents to become active participants in their child’s health care,” said Julie McGuire, director, Enterprise Systems Clinical, at Texas Children’s. “Through these recent enhancements to MyChart, we are continuing to cultivate a positive experience for our patients, children and women, and their families, while delivering the highest level of care possible.”

MyChart Instant Activation

MyChart Instant Activation essentially pushes out a text or email notification to Texas Children’s patient families that allows them to sign up for a MyChart account. Instead of having to use a computer to sign up, families who receive the invitation can now use a smart phone to activate their MyChart account and download the MyChart mobile app. Clinic staff at Texas Children’s Pediatrics (TCP) and Mark Wallace Tower have seized on the excitement of this new notification tool – and the current excitement around the college basketball tournament – by joining in a collaborative MyChart Madness competition. Other campuses like Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus have been successful in implementing MyChart Mondays where patients and their families can register on the spot.

“Our employees and staff have embraced this friendly and collaborative competition which has had a positive impact on patient access,” said Rachel Norman Brock, manager of Ambulatory Clinics at Texas Children’s. “Instant Activation provides the organization with another way to increase MyChart activation rates across the hospital system, resulting in more patients and their families taking advantage of the benefits of this online patient portal.”

The MyChart Madness teams are grouped in regions – Midwest, West, East and South – and the winner of the entire bracket receives a prize. MyChart Madness originated with TCP. TCP staff and employees launched the push to increase activations on March 1, and within just three weeks, the practices activated 9,003 new MyChart accounts. TCP’s success in promoting MyChart activations across its 51 practices inspired leaders across the organization.

During the first week of instant activation across the Texas Children’s hospital system, we had 3,492 same-day activations, almost half of which resulted from instant activation. This was a significant increase considering that a month ago, prior to the launch of MyChart instant activation, we had only 1,972 same-day activations.

Currently, several of our Texas Children’s Health Centers are doing an outstanding job of increasing MyChart activations. Cy-Fair Health Center achieved 100 percent same-day activations the week of March 11.

Fast Pass

Once families have activated a MyChart account, they have access to features like Fast Pass, which also recently launched with two subspecialties on March 19. Fast Pass creates an electronic waitlist, and automatically offers patients and their families on the waitlist sooner appointments. Patients also have the ability to add themselves to the waitlist via MyChart.

Just last week, a patient who had an April 12 appointment with Allergy/Immunology at the Sugar Land Health Center was seen 21 days sooner than originally scheduled when an opening became available at the Wallace Tower.

“Since Fast Pass went live, there have been seven Fast Pass offers accepted to help families get earlier appointments,” said Julie Barrett, director of Outpatient and Clinical Support Services at Texas Children’s. “We are so proud of our teams and their diligent work in helping us achieve these recent success stories on patient access.”

MyChart Instant Activation and Fast Pass are both tactics in Texas Children’s strategy to improve patient access. In just three short weeks since Texas Children’s launched the patient access initiative on March 1, the hospital has added 10,000 new patient appointments annually into the system. After evaluating appointment templates for over 200 providers, additional slots were found where physicians could see patients in four hour blocks.

“We must ensure that all patients have access to the amazing clinical programs offered at Texas Children’s,” said Texas Children’s Assistant Vice President Carrie Rys. “Our Patient Access Committee has identified many system-wide solutions that will enhance patient experience across the system. These will be implemented in phases over the next several months. Improving patient access at Texas Children’s is our focus and priority.”

March 27, 2018

Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy program has received accreditation from the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission (URAC) and Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). This accreditation helps the Specialty Pharmacy position itself and demonstrate its value in delivering specialized clinical services.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment and will allow us the opportunity to gain access to care for patients with commercial payers,” said Jeff Wagner, Director of Pharmacy.

Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy opened in September of 2016, and was established to handle convenient plan of care management, and other services specific to patients with serious illnesses.

The pharmacy is an outpatient service, available to any eligible patients at Texas Children’s Main Campus and West Campus. More specifically, to patients and international patients who are seen by Texas Children’s providers and who have Medicaid/Medicare, TCH Health Plan, and CHIP as their health plan. It allows families to fill their specialty medications (and other retail medications) at the hospital, through free mail delivery, or in-person pick-up which is solely located at the Mark Wallace Tower Outpatient Pharmacy.

“Many of the patients in our care face challenges in medication access in the community,” said Wagner. “Ultimately, we are ideally positioned to address this gap in access and care with the Specialty Pharmacy.”

To differentiate from other pharmacies, there are Specialty Pharmacists embedded within Texas Children’s Hospital outpatient clinics to counsel patients taking specialty medications. They also provide ongoing monitoring of their specialty therapy and coordinate pharmacotherapy needs with physician/clinic teams. There is also a call center that provides proactive refill management for specialty pharmacy patients.

Recently the pharmacy staff created a patient satisfaction survey that resulted in positive data that reaffirms how the Specialty Pharmacy continues to be efficient and accessible, all while meeting patient needs in the most effective way possible.

“I love having the medications delivered to our home,” said one survey participant. “It just makes things simpler when I forget to pick my meds up or just can’t go get them.”

Along with productivity and being able to provide the necessary medications, patients also expressed the high level of professionalism and customer service that comes from the staff throughout the department.

“I have a great team of passionate people who strive to provide the best care possible for our patients! They are a joy to work with on a daily basis, said Stephen Davis, Specialty Pharmacy Manager. “They challenge and inspire me at the same time. I provide support, guidance, and leadership to my team. I empower them to make informed decisions and assist them with troubleshooting and problem-solving.”

Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy has expanded into almost a dozen clinics since it opened and has positively impacted hundreds of patients in that short time.

“The Specialty Pharmacy has supported Texas Children’s Hospital’s mission, and the impact this service has had over 1,000 patients is breathtaking,” said Wagner. “The engagement of families in the planning of these services, and the feedback we have received to date has been absolutely remarkable.”

The accreditation covers all clinics supported by Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy and is a major ingredient in its success moving forward. The pharmacy will have to be reaccredited again in another three years.

“Accreditation will help in our ability to offer this service to all patients of Texas Children’s Hospital, and even beyond,” Wagner said. “The ultimate goal is to be able to offer Specialty Pharmacy Services for all patients, regardless of payer.”

As of 2018, the pharmacy has currently rolled out into the following 11 clinics within Main Campus:


As well as the following four clinics within West Campus:

Cancer Center

In 2018, Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy will expand services to include the Complex Care clinic and the Allergy and Immunology clinic. Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands will receive specialty pharmacy services during the summer of 2018. The Specialty Pharmacy is currently working towards acquiring additional contracts in order to serve more patients with commercial insurance.

“In order to ensure that Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy is able to continue to serve our patients, we are actively working towards acquiring additional space in order to support the anticipated growth,” said Davis. “In the future, I envision Texas Children’s Specialty Pharmacy providing mail-order service to all patients within the state of Texas and outside the state of Texas.”

Hundreds of children recently gathered with hospital staff at Texas Children’s Main, West and The Woodlands campuses to participate in one of the medical system’s most popular events – the annual Teddy Bear Clinic.

During the clinic, children are given the opportunity to act out the roles of various health care staff such as doctors, nurses, therapists and technicians. Children pretend to perform a variety of tests, exams and therapies to diagnosis their Teddy bear’s symptoms and heal its body.

Hosted by Child Life to celebrate national Child Life Week, the event celebrates our patients and families and how the intimate world of play is used to encourage children’s learning and support children’s coping.

This was the first year for the Teddy Bear Clinic to be held at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. On March 24, employees from more than 20 departments and units filled the hospital’s main lobby with medical equipment, games and activities. About 250 bears were handed out to children, who learned about each of the hospital’s departments. Members of the community, including Kona Ice provided by The Junior League of The Woodlands, chick-fil-A College Park, and Aon employees, joined in on the fun.

Drs. Muralidhar Premkumar (from left), Melissa Carbajal, Neonatology faculty, and Gautham Suresh, section chief (right), congratulate third-year fellow Dr. Erynn Bergner, as the 23rd annual Arnold J. Rudolph Memorial Grand Rounds award recipient. The award recognizes third-year fellows in neonatal-perinatal medicine for outstanding teaching, patient care, scientific inquiry and professional integrity. Eduardo Salas, PhD, professor of Psychology and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Rice University, was this year’s invited speaker at the recent grand rounds.

The Arnold J. Rudolph Memorial Grand Rounds was established in 1996 by the Section of Neonatology, in the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, in memory of its late Section Chief, Dr. Arnold J. Rudolph, who died in 1995. Dr. Rudolph was a well-respected clinician and educator, recognized internationally as a leader of neonatology.

Dr. Susan Blaney, deputy director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, recently received a Director’s Service Award from the National Cancer Institute for her outstanding and dedicated service to the Institute and the Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee from 2015 to 2017.

Blaney is the vice chair of the Children’s Oncology Group, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) supported clinical trials group and the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to pediatric cancer research.

Blaney served as the co-director of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at Texas Children’s Cancer Center where she performs pre-clinical and clinical studies of new antineoplastic agents. A primary focus of her research is the development of new drugs for the treatment of central nervous system tumors in children with a particular emphasis on the development of new agents for intrathecal administration.

For more information about Dr. Susan Blaney, visit

Texas Children’s marked the beginning of an exciting chapter in its history this month with the opening of Texas Children’s Urgent Care Westgate, the first Texas Children’s location in Austin. In preparation for the grand opening, welcoming and onboarding new members of our One Amazing Team in the capital city was a top priority.

Our new team members in Austin experienced Texas Children’s Hi for their first day on February 15, learning about the organization’s mission, core values and unique culture.

All materials at Texas Children’s Hi were presented with a celebratory feel, highlighting our distinct history and significant achievements, as well as Texas Children’s innovative future. At the end of their day, our new employees graduated from orientation with a sense of pride about being part of our one-of-a-kind organization.

“Part of the infinite passion you saw at Texas Children’s during the interview process is nothing compared to what you’ll see and experience here every single day. I know this first hand because I am a returning Texas Children’s employee,” said Hannah Pataky, Manager of Human Resources in Austin and Texas Children’s Hi facilitator. “We are an organization that truly lives its values, and our people are front and center in everything we do.”

Now, we are looking for top talent for our specialty care clinics opening in Austin in October of this year. Nearly 40 specialty-care positions will open throughout this fiscal year – from outpatient staff RNs, ambulatory service representatives and medical assistants, to radiology and ultrasound specialists, a social worker, clinical dietitian and more. All job openings will be posted internally before being announced to external candidates, giving Texas Children’s employees the first opportunity to apply.

“Our employees at Texas Children’s are our strength,” said David Wykes, director of Employee Relations. “That’s why we really encourage the internal transfer option. You know the organization, and you know our great culture we want to translate to Austin.”

A full list of available positions can be found on the Austin Careers page, along with answers to frequently asked questions and other resources.