January 29, 2019

The countdown clock is ticking. In less than 24 hours, Texas Children’s Nursing will host its sixth virtual town hall from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. this Wednesday, January 30, 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 an overview of the nursing strategic plan, facility updates, as well as time for Q&A.

“By leveraging new technology at our town halls, we are able to engage with more of our nursing team members – near and far,” Andre’ said. “As our team continues to grow, it will be increasingly important for us to leverage technology and continue to identify innovative ways to enhance communication.”

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

  • Wallace Tower – D.1200.31
  • West Campus – WC.150.20
  • Health Centers – Sugar Land, Cy-Fair, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Clear Lake, Bellaire
  • The Centers for Women and Children – Greenspoint, Southwest
  • The Woodlands Hospital – Conference Room A

Click here for instructions on how to access the livestream.

Forming your own huddles? Please submit sign-in sheet to jcchilds@texaschildrens.org.

January 22, 2019

As a Texas Children’s employee, you have the privilege and the responsibility of representing yourself, your department, and most importantly the Texas Children’s brand consistently and professionally through each and every interaction – including your emails.

The messages we send via email create important lines of communication and touch points with co-workers, business contacts, community representatives, patients and their families, and many others.

To help you better refine this communication channel, a new email signature generator tool has been developed that allows employees of every Texas Children’s entity to create a branded email signature.

Signature instructions and guidelines and a link to the email signature generator tool can be found here. You also can find step-by-step details on how to set up a new signature in the email signature generator tool and how to save the signature in Outlook.

Please note the following email signature guidelines when developing your signature:

  • The tool features an option to include the Baylor College of Medicine logo, if you are affiliated with Baylor.
  • Do not include unapproved elements in your signature such as colored text, irregular fonts or formatting, pictures, or quotes.
  • If you work for two or more hospital entities or for a department that serves multiple areas of the Texas Children’s system, please use the Texas Children’s Hospital logo in your email signature. You can reference both entities in text, for example:

John Smith

Project Manger, Texas Children’s® Pediatrics and

Texas Children’s® Urgent Care

  • You are not required to use a Texas Children’s logo or social media links in the signature of your Texas Children’s email. However, if you choose to use a logo or social media link, you can only use approved Texas Children’s logos found in the email signature generator tool.

Note: When pasting the signature into the Outlook “Signature and Stationery” setting, the formatting might appear altered. However, if you click “Save” then “OK” in the Outlook Mail tab as noted in the instructions, the signature should display correctly in any new emails.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact brand@texaschildrens.org. And, thank you for participating in something aimed at making us all better communicators on behalf of Texas Children’s.

January 15, 2019

On January 11, University Pediatric Association, became Texas Children’s Pediatrics’ latest addition.

Last year Texas Children’s Pediatrics expanded outside of the Houston area opening its first primary care site in Austin, today that expansion has made its way to College Station, marking yet another milestone in Texas Children’s path toward creating a network of quality pediatric care for children and families throughout the state of Texas.

Located at 1602 Rock Prairie Road, Suite 1100 College Station, Texas, Texas Children’s Pediatrics University Pediatric Association has seven board certified physicians, two nurse practitioners, and a host of other employees dedicated to meeting the healthcare needs of infants to teenagers. Our expert physicians offer full-service pediatric care including:

  • Prenatal consultations
  • Well-child visits
  • Care of illnesses
  • Care and treatment of minor injuries
  • Vaccinations and immunizations
  • Preventative health care
  • School and sports physicals
  • Hearing and vision screening
  • Health care and nutrition education

“This is the largest practice that we will have acquired in a long time,” President of Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Kay Tittle said. “We are very excited about moving into a new city and providing quality primary pediatric care to children and their families in the College Station area.”

Click here for more information about Texas Children’s Pediatrics University Pediatric Association.

January 14, 2019

As one of the top ranked pediatric hospitals in the nation, many patients come to Texas Children’s to access our high quality care and services. While access to patient care is crucial, providing access to reliable and understandable price and quality information for patient and their families is important too.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a ruling that requires all hospitals to publish an online list of standard charges commonly referred to as a hospital chargemaster beginning January 1 of this year.

The chargemaster is used by hospitals to create a summary of charges and services, which are submitted as claims to health plans. Since the chargemaster only provides hospital charges, it does not help patient understand their out-of-pocket expenses. The chargemaster lists standard charges for procedures, services, supplies, prescription drugs and diagnostic tests, and fees associated with services such as equipment fees and room charges. A hospital’s chargemaster data also tracks service volume, costs and revenue.

When choosing the best children’s hospital for pediatric care, consumers should compare their out-of-pocket expenses coupled with important quality factors – like physician experience/expertise, research conducted, hospital quality and patient outcomes – to help guide them in their health care decisions.

The intent of the new CMS requirement is to make healthcare more like a retail experience when it comes to quality and price shopping. As one of the top five pediatric hospitals in the U.S., Texas Children’s strives to provide the best care possible with rates that are comparable to other pediatric hospitals.

“We are committed to transparency and want to educate our patient families regarding their financial obligations,” said Texas Children’s Director of Managed Care Kabby Thompson. “It is our responsibility to help our patient families understand the difference between cost, charges and payment, and we want them to also know what their out-of-pocket expenses will be before they come in for services.”

Besides making the chargemaster available on Texas Children’s website, the organization has created an online estimator tool to help families better understand what their unique out-of-pocket expenses will be based on their individual insurance/health plan. Texas Children’s began providing estimates to patients prior to their scheduled visits over five years ago, but this is the first time that patients can access this information online.

“We have worked really hard to make sure that our charges are competitive to what other children’s hospitals across the country have in place,” Thompson said. “While many other hospitals provide care to children, the breadth and depth of services at Texas Children’s, coupled with our proven outcomes, is not comparable to the vast majority of hospitals and systems. Texas Children’s has always acted in the best interest of children and families to ensure top quality health care services today and for years to come.”

Texas Children’s chargemaster and price estimator tool can be found on the Texas Children’s website by clicking on Billing and Insurance on the homepage.

On January 10, leaders with Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women cut the ribbon on the facility’s new four-bed OB-GYN intensive care unit.

Located in the Labor and Delivery Unit on the ninth floor, the ICU offers a specialized, private space for high-risk expectant and postpartum mothers with conditions such as:

  • Sepsis
  • Peripartum bleeding
  • Hypertensive disorders
  • Placenta accreta
  • Maternal heart disease
  • Diabetes and other endocrine disorders
  • Cancer
  • Organ transplant

“This beautiful space gives our highly trained clinicians the perfect place to carry out specialized services we’ve offered to our high-risk patients since opening in 2012,” said Lynda Tyer-Viola, vice president of nursing. “Having comprehensive family centered perinatal services in such a setting will help us continue to make a dramatic difference in the lives of expectant mothers with critical complications of pregnancy.”

The Pavilion for Women is home to one of the nation’s few ICUs dedicated solely to obstetric critical care, and the only four-bed maternal ICU in the nation staffed 24/7 by a pulmonary critical care and maternal fetal care team embedded in a hospital’s labor and delivery unit.

The unit’s new space will offer critically ill obstetric patients the latest life-saving equipment and fetal monitoring systems and a dedicated ICU team including 24/7 critical care physicians, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and an ICU-trained and ACLS (advanced cardiovascular life support)-certified nursing staff.

The ICU team collaborates closely with Baylor College of Medicine subspecialties including cardiology, hematology and nephrology, among others. The unit and team is also one of the most experienced in the nation in the care of post fetal surgery mothers. Uniquely, expectant mothers with a history of cancer or a new gynecologic cancer diagnosis, will also benefit from the expert care and the most advanced treatment therapies available through our renowned colleagues in gynecologic oncology.

“While life threatening illness or medical conditions add to the complexity of any pregnancy, we are fortunate to have a multidisciplinary clinical team and resources that address the needs of both mother and fetus during this very crucial period,” said Dr. David Muigai, medical director of the maternal ICU. “We feel a deep sense of privilege and pride to be able to further contribute to the overall Texas Children’s mission by offering the highest quality and most comprehensive medical services available to expectant mothers and their babies.”

Dr. Manisha Gandhi, chief of maternal-fetal medicine, agreed and said at the ribbon cutting that she was extremely excited about the continued collaboration between disciplines that the new ICU will enable and encourage.

“The need for higher level, specialized care for women has grown exponentially,” Gandhi said. “Having a dedicated space for maternal ICU services will put us in a good place to better serve these patients during this critical time.”

OB-GYN-in-chief Dr. Michael Belfort said the new ICU is an extremely important tool that will help the specially trained clinicians in the unit take care of the sickest of the sick.

“Unfortunately, maternal mortality is increasing in the United States and Texas,” Belfort said. “With this unit, we are better able to care for those who need us the most.”

For more information about the Pavilion’s maternal ICU, the development of which was led by Liz Bolds, assistant clinical director of high-risk nursing, click here.

December 11, 2018

Texas Children’s and the Houston Texans capped off this year’s fun-filled PLAY 60 Week by cheering on the Houston Texas as they played the Indianapolis Colts in the 3rd Annual Texans Kids Day presented by Texas Children’s Hospital.

Texans Kids Day highlights the National Football League’s PLAY 60 initiative, a campaign that encourages kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to reverse the trend of childhood obesity. Texas Children’s Hospital, the local presenting sponsor of PLAY 60, was featured throughout Sunday’s game including signage, TORO headband gate giveaways and kids jobs.

Additionally, GW McMaster, an avid Houston Texans fan and patient at Texas Children’s Hospital’s Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit, served as the Honorary Coin Toss Captain. Before the game began, the 16-year-old and his family spent time on the sideline watching pregame warmups and taking in the incredible experience of his first Texans game. Shortly before the coin toss, GW met his favorite player, DeAndre Hopkins along with Houston Texans legend Andre Johnson and Houston Astros second baseman, Alex Bregman. The smile on GW’s face lit up the whole stadium.

Nine employees recognized by the Texas Children’s Caught You Caring program as well as our 2019 Catalyst Award winners, their guests and leaders got to watch the game as a thank you for their compassion and dedication to the Texas Children’s mission. The tickets to the game are one of the benefits of Texas Children’s Hospital being the official children’s hospital of the Houston Texans football team. To learn more about those Caught You Caring recipients, click here. To learn more about our 2019 Catalyst Award winners, click here.

PLAY 60 Week ran from December 3 through December 9 and was full of fun events aimed at helping further the PLAY 60 message and get children across the Houston moving. The week kicked off with Smith Legacy Tower being lit red, white and blue – the official colors of the Houston Texans. The building’s first and third floor lobby ceilings and east windows stayed lit in these colors throughout the week.

Below is a recap of some of the other events during the week. View photos from all of last week’s events below.

Last week, we hosted a pre-game pep rally at the hospital’s play garden to help get some of our patients excited about the game and remind them about how important it is to PLAY 60. Texans players Greg Mancz and Julie’n Davenport, Texans Cheerleaders and TORO were in attendance and took photos, played games and signed autographs with patients and their families. Texas Children’s Heart Center patient Taylor Berry also was at the pep rally sharing his story of being a three-time heart transplant patient and putting smiles on the faces of patients he sympathizes with so well. Click here to see a video of him interacting with patients.

On December 3, Texas Children’s Hospital and the Houston Texans hosted the 2nd annual PLAY 60 at the Park event at Levy Park Conservancy to kick off PLAY 60 Week in Houston. As the local sponsor of PLAY 60, the NFL-led initiative, which encourages kids to get at least 60 minutes of active play per day, Texas Children’s invited the community to join in an evening of fun and games aimed at keeping kids healthy.

Special guests included Texans running back Alfred Blue and Texans linebacker Dylan Cole, Texans Ambassador Kevin Walter, TORO, the Texans Mascot, Houston Texans Cheerleaders and more.

Last week, PLAY 60 Kid of the Month winners met for their special NRG Stadium experience which included Houston Texans prize packs, surprise visit with TORO, stadium tour, radio interview with the voice of the Houston Texans, Marc Vandermeer, and a walk on the field. Thank you to everyone who applied to be a PLAY 60 Kid of the Month by showing us how you get your 60 minutes of play each day.

Texas Children’s Hospital and the Houston Texans are two winning teams that share one goal – keeping Houston kids healthy and encouraging them to be more active. To learn more about our partnership, visit: texaschildrens.org/Texans.

On December 3, a multidisciplinary surgical team at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands became the first to perform a spine surgery at one of our community hospital locations. The 17-year-old patient was able to go home just two days later, a testament to the expertise and precision of the surgical team.

“This is a milestone for Texas Children’s and our patients,” said Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Larry Hollier. “We have one of the largest teams of pediatric spine surgeons in the United States. We have the capacity in terms of expertise. Now we’re excited to expand that capacity to accommodate the growing demand in the areas surrounding Houston.”

Greater Houston is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country. As the communities around Houston continue to grow, so do the needs of our patients – including the need for spine surgery, specifically for idiopathic scoliosis (the most common form of the spine abnormality). A review of comparative patient data and geographic analysis by teams at Texas Children’s revealed that a large number of patients with idiopathic scoliosis were coming to us from The Woodlands and other communities outside Houston.

“For the past couple of years, our patients and families from The Woodlands were traveling down to our medical center campus for all pre-operative visits and surgeries – and our teams were traveling there as well,” said Dr. Jeffrey Shilt, chief surgical officer at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. “We decided the best thing for our patients was to offer the same spine surgery expertise they would get at the medical center campus at our community hospital locations.”

Hospital leaders began laying the groundwork to grow Texas Children’s spine surgery capacity, first in The Woodlands and then at West Campus (March 2019). A team in The Woodlands led by Ketrese White, director of Patient Care Services in The Woodlands, Ramon Enad and Roxanne Vara, Assistant Clinical Directors, and Valencia Gant, Assistant Director of Ambulatory Services, began developing an expansion plan to ensure seamless work flow processes and to improve the patient experience.

“Previously, access to this kind of care was limited outside of the Texas Medical Center,” Enad said. “With increased surgical capacity, we will be able to schedule patients in a timely fashion and offer world-class surgery that’s closer to where they live.”

The expansion process has required multidisciplinary collaboration at every step and has included personnel from: Surgery, Anesthesia, Blood Bank, Nursing (perioperative and acute care), Admissions, Physical Therapy, Pediatric Radiology, Business Operations, and leadership from all hospital campuses.

Once the necessary infrastructure was in place in The Woodlands, including new surgical personnel and equipment, it was time to start testing the new system via Texas Children’s Simulation Center, which uses various scenarios to assess surgical space, processes, equipment and resources, and personnel roles.

The simulations followed the patient throughout the surgical journey, from check-in to the operating room to recovery, which is crucial for gauging needs and building capacity. Simulations provide a full picture of capabilities and allow teams to review lessons learned, and to see if any adjustments or enhancements need to be made to the process flow.

“This simulation and the first surgery were the culmination of months of meticulous planning, preparation and testing, with all stakeholders engaged across the organization,” said White. “This really was a multidisciplinary effort borne out of a commitment from everyone involved.”

The spine surgery expansion is just the latest effort in Texas Children’s ongoing mission to improve access for patients and families, to boost the patient experience, and to provide the best possible care for all who need us.

“It is our mission to provide our care and services in the safest, most convenient way possible,” Hollier said. “Bringing more complex procedures out of the Texas Medical Center and closer to home for thousands of our patients and families is, and will continue to be, a central focus for us.”