March 6, 2018

On March 1, close to 340 golfers played colorfully and raised more than $500,000 at the 20th annual Bad Pants Open golf tournament at the Clubs of Kingwood, benefitting Texas Children’s Newborn Center.

Each year, organizers of the golf tournament set out to raise hundreds of thousands to support the hospital’s level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that cares for the smallest and sickest babies. To celebrate Bad Pants’ 20th anniversary, the tournament also honored Texas Children’s NICU patient families from the last 20 years, many of whom attended the annual event.

“It was uplifting to see these children, now much older doing so well after going through a tough NICU course, and it was moving to see the pride and joy on the faces of the families of these children,” said Texas Children’s Chief of Neonatology Dr. Gautham Suresh. “It reminded me of what a privilege it is to serve as a physician and have the opportunity to take care of NICU patients in such a wonderful place as Texas Children’s Hospital.”

The event featured a post-play awards ceremony and dinner where players were awarded plates painted by Texas Children’s patients for both the best golf scores and baddest pants. Allyson Johnson, a NICU nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, was presented with the Nurse of the Year award, a special recognition awarded at each tournament. While it is an honor to receive this award, she says seeing former patients thriving and happy is a reflection of the great work we do.

“It made me feel proud to know and hear from several families there how much we make a difference in their time spent in the NICU,” Johnson said. “It really warms my heart to see good outcomes from the attentive care we proudly provide in the Newborn Center at Texas Children’s.”

Proceeds from The Bad Pants Open support continued innovation and excellence in the research, treatment and care of critically ill and premature infants at Texas Children’s Newborn Center. Over the past 20 years, The Bad Pants Open has provided nearly $6.5 million in support of our Newborn Center – the nation’s largest NICU and one of only two Level IV NICUs in the greater Houston area. Their support has helped the Newborn Center provide programs and services to our NICU families including Family Support Groups, NICU Reunion, Parking for Patients Program as well as the work being carried out through Neonatal Family Advisory Committee.

“The Newborn Center is very fortunate to have the Bad Pants Open Committee raising money for the patients we care for and their families, as well as for the nurses and for medical research,” Suresh said. “I think of the committee as the “Bad Pants-Good Deeds” Committee and I am immensely grateful for their volunteer efforts.”

The next Bad Pants Open golf tournament is scheduled for October 11. More information is available at www.badpantsopen.com

February 13, 2018

The countdown has begun! February 11, marked 100 days until the first phase of Legacy Tower officially opens at Texas Children’s Hospital Texas Medical Center campus.

Through this 408-foot vertical expansion, Texas Children’s is adding 657,000 square feet. When Legacy Tower opens its doors to patients and families on Tuesday, May 22, the tower will house new operating rooms with one intraoperative MRI, as well as a new pediatric intensive care unit (ICU), which will span four floors and open with six ORs and 84 ICU beds, including dedicated surgical, neuro and transitional ICU beds.

When the second phase of the Legacy Tower opens in fall 2018, the tower will be the new home of Texas Children’s Heart Center® – ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in cardiology and heart surgery. The Heart Center will have an outpatient clinic, four catheterization labs with one intraprocedural MRI, cardiovascular intensive care unit, four cardiovascular operating rooms and cardiology acute care beds. The tower will also have a helistop, allowing for even greater access to Texas Children’s most critically ill patients.

Texas Children’s Legacy Tower team and its external partners have made significant progress to date, including some of our most recent construction, staffing and activation milestones listed below:

  • Completion of mid-construction simulation-based clinical systems test for the OR/MRI. Detailed simulation and training planning to support the opening of Phase One.
  • Garage 21 enhancements and reconfiguration to serve both the Pavilion for Women and Legacy Tower to improve traffic flow and wayfinding, increase public parking capacity and create clear access to the Pavilion and Legacy Tower elevators.
  • Recruitment efforts have been progressing well. Nearly half of the 871 positions for Legacy Tower have been filled. The remaining positions are being actively recruited.
  • Furniture as well as medical and technology equipment deployment is underway in Legacy Tower.

Texas Children’s also launched a new Legacy Tower website (www.legacytower.org) that features a countdown clock to opening day. The newly designed site provides highlights of all of the services housed in the new tower including a timeline of the phase one and phase two openings of Legacy Tower.

Other exciting milestones on the horizon include the delivery of our intraoperative MRI for Legacy Tower on February 18 and the anticipated arrival of our new Legacy Tower therapy dog, thanks to a generous gift from Texas Children’s CEO Mark Wallace and his wife Shannon in memory of their beloved dog, Cadence.

January 24, 2018

On Monday, President Trump signed legislation extending funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years as part of the continuing resolution passed earlier in the day by Congress. This extension will ensure access to a range of pediatric services — from preventative visits to life-saving treatments — for millions of children in working families.

This is especially good news for health care organizations like Texas Children’s. More 71,000 of our patients are covered by the program.

“Since 1997, CHIP has provided essential health care to children of working families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to afford private health insurance,” said Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark Wallace. “Texas embraced this program in 1999 and has seen it help improve the lives of millions of Texas children. This extension will continue to ensure strong, stable funding for state CHIP programs and the children and families it supports.”

The budget for CHIP ended on September 30 without lawmakers having reauthorized it as they had done intermittently several times within the past two decades since the program’s inception. The spending bill that the Senate and House adopted Monday provides six years of federal money for CHIP to fund coverage for nearly 9 million children and 375,000 pregnant women across the U.S. More than 430,000 children in Texas are covered by CHIP.

Before Congress created CHIP 20 years ago, 14 percent of American children simply went without health insurance. Nationally, the number of uninsured kids has been cut in half since Congress created CHIP.

“CHIP plays a critical role in health care coverage for kids,” Wallace said. “It has dramatically reduced the number of kids without health insurance, and it has given so many families access to the right care at the right time for their children. Monday’s legislation provides peace of mind, and that’s a win for our children.”

January 23, 2018

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!

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
Tuesday
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

Wednesday
*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
Tuesday
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.

Wednesday
*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