October 21, 2019

Due to a high demand for our expert maternal fetal medicine services and our goal to keep access open to all patients who need our care, Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women has expanded its Maternal Fetal Center.

Located on the fourth floor of the Pavilion for Women, the center serves high-risk obstetrical patients and also bridges access to our pediatric subspecialists for our youngest patients through our Fetal Center program.

“The unit is designed so that the majority of services and partners needed to participate in a pregnancy come to us,” said Assistant Director of Ambulatory Clinical Practices for Women’s Services Aimee Jackson. “We pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop for our patients and families, providing timely, comprehensive, coordinated care in one place.”

Since opening its doors in 2012, the center has seen an 11 percent increase in patient visits. Last year, the center saw 36,000 patient visits and is expected to see 40,000 this year.

To continue to provide this growing patient population, construction on the Maternal Fetal Center began in September and was completed seven months ago at the end of April. The expansion added the following:

  • Three exam rooms bringing the total number of exam rooms in the center to nine. One of the exam rooms was built specifically for fetal intervention total care patients. These patients now can have their ultrasound, clinic visit and antenatal testing visit all in one location at the center. Historically, these patients had to schedule several different appointments in several different places to get these services.
  • Two ultrasound rooms, bringing the total number to 11. One of the new can be used for clinical imaging as well as imaging research and educational training.
  • A second conference room equipped with advanced imaging display capabilities. The room will be used for team and family meetings as well as patient classes.
  • A large multi-person office space to accommodate the center’s expanded nursing and business support teams.
  • In addition, the center’s two existing reading rooms for radiology and cardiology were renovated, expanded and optimized.

“We have needed this for a long time,” said Dr. Manisha Gandhi, the center’s medical director. “Most of our patients hoped they would never need our services, therefore we want to make their stay with us as comfortable as possible. This expansion will help us do that at an even higher level than we are now.”

Dr. Wesley Lee, chief of women and fetal imaging, agreed and said the center’s care team is committed to treating, respecting, and embracing patients with a spirit of hope and perseverance.

“Having the right space to carry out this type of care is key,” Lee said. “We are thrilled to have this extra space and to be able to use it to better serve our patients.”

Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women also is expanding its maternal fetal services at its community locations in the Greater Houston and beyond. Here are some of the latest developments:

Baytown: In April, the Baytown Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic moved to a larger space at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital. The clinic – which offers maternal fetal consulting and ultrasound, as well as nutrition, genetic and psychiatric counseling – opened in 2016 for just one day a week. The number of patients coming to the clinic steadily increased, prompting leadership in 2018 to keep the clinic’s doors open five days a week. Today, the clinic’s team sees 10 to 15 patients a day. The majority of those patients, 70 percent, are seen by clinicians via telemedicine. The remaining 30 percent are seen by in-house medical staff.

Medical Center: In June, the Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic in Houston Methodist Hospital’s Smith Tower in the Medical Center expanded from two ultrasound rooms to three and one non-stress test chair to two. As a result, the clinic can see more patients for Maternal Fetal Medicine services as well as nutrition and genetic counseling.

Lufkin: In November, a maternal fetal medicine clinic is slated to open at CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial-Lufkin. Ultrasound and maternal fetal consults will be offered.

“Our aim with these community clinics is to provide excellent patient care closer to where some of our patients live,” said Jennifer Dalton, patient care manager for the Pavilion for Women Community Clinics. “We don’t want them to have to drive to the Medical Center unless they absolutely have to.”

Akachi Phillips, manager for the Pavilion for Women Community Clinics, said she knows a patient from Louisiana who drove weekly to the Medical Center for her visits during one of her pregnancies. During a subsequent pregnancy, she was able to have her ultrasounds in Baytown, which cut down her travel time and enhanced her overall experience.

“It means a lot to the patients to have a clinic nearby,” Phillips said.

For more information about the Maternal Fetal Center, click here.


It was a cold and rainy morning in 2018 when I saw what customer service really looked like. I pulled into the drive-through at Chick-Fil-A for an order of chicken minis and a cup of coffee.

As I pulled up to the screen, I was greeted by a young lady who was bundled up from head to toe. She held a tablet in her shivering hands and a bright smile was on her face. “Good Morning! What can I get for you?” I was surprised by how positive she was considering how cold she must have been.

The same scene would repeat itself as I pulled up to the window to get my food and not one—but two—friendly faces met me. One employee was inside the restaurant and one was standing outside the drive-through window on the curb. “Thank you for coming!” the young man said as he handed me my bag. Right at that moment a gust of icy wind cut across our faces. I rolled up my window even more impressed.

I thought to myself – “These people are dedicated.”

But it wasn’t over. Only a few feet away at the end of the lane, the third and final encounter with an employee took place. This young lady also had a friendly bundled-up face. She was standing outside next to a table of condiments – ketchup, jams, sauces, etc. “Would you like some ketchup?,” she said. “My pleasure,” she continued.

From start to finish, an event as simple as getting my breakfast reminded me that I was a valued customer. Valuable enough to have multiple employees outside in the cold with a smile and an aim to please.

I reflect on this rainy morning each time I’m in a meeting at Texas Children’s Health Plan and our senior leaders use the phrase “customer obsessed.” I think to myself, I know exactly what that looks like.

Building a customer obsessed culture at The Health Plan

The work that we do at Texas Children’s Health Plan is much more important than hot breakfast and coffee –it’s health care. It’s health care for families who are low-income and dealing with all the challenges that come with living at, or around, the poverty line. Our members and their families are our customers.

But one of the things that raises the expectations for Health Plan employees is that we have more than one kind of customer. In addition to our members as customers, our providers are also our customers. (Our providers are the physicians, specialists, therapists and other medical professionals that take care of our members.) And finally, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (known as HHSC) is our third customer. The HHSC provides financing to our organization for every member that we serve.

So in our efforts to become customer obsessed, there are several projects taking place to help us meet that goal. Just a few of these are:

  • A provider onboarding flowchart, which helps to navigate the start of a provider’s relationship with us
  • A newly launched “Strike Team”, which operates like a special ops task force to deal with high-level provider issues.
  • The re-configuration of Q-Next, one of our databases that informs our claims process.
  • A brand new claims processing dashboard project that provides real-time information on how we are managing our claims.
  • Intense and hands-on customer service training for our Member Services and Provider Services call center employees.
  • The revitalization of our Healthy Rewards Program, formerly known as Value Added Services. Our Healthy Rewards Program provides members with access to family-oriented activities and incentives.
  • The introduction of Epic Tapestry, an electronic medical record system that will eliminate the need for multiple databases and duplication of many processes.
  • And many others!

Putting the needs of our customers first is the number one priority at The Health Plan and we are off to a strong start. Detailed stories about each of these efforts will be featured in Connect in coming weeks. Are you a Texas Children’s employee who is involved in helping The Health Plan become customer-obsessed? I’d love to hear from you! Send me a note at eehayes1@texaschildrens.org.

Erika Alvarez (pictured above) is one of the highest performing Member Services Representatives. She goes above and beyond to meet the needs of Texas Children’s Health Plan members.


To read all about “Hayes on The Health Plan” and the top 10 things you should know about Texas Children’s Health Plan, read more at https://texaschildrensnews.org/hayes-on-the-health-plan/.

October 15, 2019

Stop for a minute and let’s go back in time. Let’s travel back to 1989. Where were you? What were you doing? What were you planning and hoping for?

It may take you some time to remember; but for Mark Wallace, our president and CEO, the memories are vivid. That was the year he took leadership of our organization and started living out his destiny to make Texas Children’s one of the best hospitals in the nation.

In celebration of that year, we thought it would be fun to flash back and relive what was going on in the world. Reading these fun facts might trigger a few memories of your own.

Memorable events of 1989

  • The Berlin Wall came down
  • The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Toyota launched its luxury brand – Lexus
  • The World Wide Web was born
  • The Nintendo “Game Boy” personal gaming device came out

The cost of living in 1989

  • Average income per year – $27,450.00
  • Average monthly rent – $420.00
  • 1 gallon of gas – 97 cents
  • US Postage Stamps – 25 cents

Most popular movies of 1989

  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • Coming To America
  • Good Morning Vietnam
  • Crocodile Dundee II
  • Big
  • Three Men and a Baby
  • Die Hard
  • Cocktail
  • Moonstruck
  • Beetlejuice

Most popular television shows of 1989

  • The Cosby Show
  • Roseanne
  • Cheers
  • A Different World
  • America’s Funniest Home Videos
  • The Golden Girls
  • 60 Minutes
  • The Wonder Years
  • Empty Nest

Top 10 Songs of 1989 (Billboard Hot 100)

  • Look Away – Chicago
  • Every Rose Has Its Thorn – Poison
  • Straight Up – Paula Abdul
  • Miss You Much – Janet Jackson
  • Cold Hearted – Paula Abdul
  • Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
  • Girl You Know It’s True – Milli Vanilli
  • Baby, I Love Your Way / Freebird – Will To Power
  • Giving You the Best That I Got – Anita Baker

Quotes/Sayings that entered pop culture in 1989

  • “If you build it, they will come.” – Field of Dreams
  • “I’ll have what she’s having.” – When Harry Met Sally
  • “This is your brain. And this is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” – Partnership for a Drug Free America commercial

It was a busy year and these are just a few snapshots of what happened. Did you enjoy your trip down memory lane? To learn what was going on at Texas Children’s in 1989 and all the ways we’ve grown since, check out the special microsite honoring Mr. Wallace at https://www.markawallace30years.org/

Make sure to visit the Guest Book and post a note of congratulations!

Anesthesiologist-in-Chief Dr. Dean Andropolous is routinely one of the first people in line at the earliest scheduled Employee Health flu vaccine event, and this year was no different. A short time after the Employee Health team started giving out flu shots on The Auxiliary Bridge, Andropolous rolled up his sleeve and stepped up to the plate to get his vaccine.

“I come down every year and get my shot so that I can protect our patients and myself from getting the flu, an illness that for anybody is a really bad experience, but for many of our patients, can be life threatening,” Andropolous said, adding that Texas Children’s makes it extremely easy for employees to get the flu vaccine. “It took me less than three minutes, and it didn’t hurt a bit.”

More than 5,000 employees have taken the lead in getting their flu shots so far this year. Employees who receive their flu vaccine by November 1, 2019, will be entered into a drawing to win one of 25 Nutri Ninja Pro Blenders. Employee Health will notify the winners via email on Friday, November 8. To view the Employee Health flu vaccine event schedule, click here.

Flu program overview

Employee Health will administer flu vaccines at no cost to Texas Children’s employees; Baylor College of Medicine employees working at Texas Children’s facilities; Morrison, Crothall, or Compass contract employees; and volunteers at Texas Children’s. Upon vaccination at Texas Children’s, staff will receive a 2019-20 flu season sticker to affix to their badges.

To reduce wait times at the flu vaccination events, employees are recommended to complete their Flu Vaccine Consent Form online via the Employee Health & Wellness Portal prior to attending the event.* Click here to view a quick video tutorial on how to access the Flu Vaccine Consent Form online. Click here for instructions on how to log in to the portal or click here to view step-by-step instructions.

Employees at Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Texas Children’s Urgent Care, and Texas Children’s Specialty Care Centers may be vaccinated at their respective practices, please speak to your leader for more information. Employees who work remotely may be referred to a designated occupational health clinic by Employee Health, or can receive their vaccine covered at 100 percent through Texas Children’s medical plan when administered by an in-network pharmacy under medical coverage.

View photos of your colleagues getting their flu shot below.

Employees who receive their flu vaccine outside of Texas Children’s must submit their attestation and proof of vaccination via this online form.

Employees who decline the flu vaccine for approved exemptions may be required to use protective medical equipment, such as gloves and masks, when providing direct patient care services for the duration of the flu season. For more details, see Required Influenza Vaccination Policy #317 and Procedure #4218.

If you have questions about the Flu Program, contact Employee Health at 832-824-2150, option 2.

Texas Children’s has a new website that recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and successes of our dedicated team of more than 3,500 nurses across the organization.

In collaboration with Nursing, Texas Children’s Marketing Team designed a microsite that features compelling articles, pictures, videos and graphics that spotlight how our nurses go above and beyond to spearhead system wide initiatives to improve patient care, safety and outcomes.

Through this new digital communication platform, website page views can be measured and nursing stories and data can be updated more frequently. The Nursing microsite also provides another tool for nursing engagement that complements the Voice of Nursing blog, which was launched in 2014.

Each section of the site – patient care, professional development, research, awards and honors, Voice of Nursing blog and feature stories – demonstrates our nursing team’s continued dedication and hard work, their leadership and the compassion that goes into the work they do at Texas Children’s.

“More than 3,500 nurses across Texas Children’s are touching the lives of our patients and families every day,” said Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jo Andre. “Our nurses have such an integral role making decisions and directing the care for our patients. I am excited about this new website and the opportunity it provides to showcase the contributions our nurses are making to enhance patient experience and outcomes. I encourage everyone to check it out.”

Read all about our nursing team’s achievements at www.texaschildrens.org/nursing. Share the link with family, friends and colleagues, and encourage them to do the same.

Click here for recent feature stories of Nursing in 2019.

From November 14 to 15, Texas Children’s Hospital will host the 7th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Pediatric Wound Care (ISPeW), one of the premier societies in the world devoted to education, collaboration and the state of the art in pediatric wound care.

The two-day conference will be held in the beautiful new auditorium at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital, and will feature experts in basic science, surgery and nursing discussing the latest advancements in the care, prevention and research of pediatric wounds. These will include Texas Children’s own Shannon McCord, director of Advanced Practice Providers and Nursing Clinical Support Services, Community; MaryAnne Lewis, wound ostomy nurse; and Dr. Sundeep Keswani, pediatric surgeon, surgical director of basic science research, immediate past president of ISPeW, and the event’s local chair. Also from Texas Children’s are Chief of Plastic Surgery Dr. Edward Buchanan and Texas Children’s Director of Surgical Advanced Practice Providers Ryan Krasnosky, who are serving on the conference’s Program Committee.

ISPeW meetings receive abstracts from wound care providers all around the world, a testament to the advancement of the society and to the importance of the field in wound care. New to the conference this year will be three keynote sessions, led by:

  • Dr. Steven Wolf, a leader in the field of pediatric burn care and a Professor of Surgery at Shriners Hospital in Galveston
  • Dr. Paul Bollyky, an immunologist and infectious diseases expert from Stanford, who will talk about his innovative work in biofilms
  • Sandy Quigley, Judi Stellar and Cathy Caillouette, three nurses who will be speaking about their work with the Braden QD pressure injury prevention scale and its implementation
Becoming the epicenter

The field of wound care in the United States, particularly for children, is not as mature as it is in Europe. Until the upcoming ISPeW meeting, there will not have been a meeting of this kind in the U.S. It has been a goal to form a coalition for pediatric wound care in the U.S. with Texas Children’s at the epicenter. A key step toward recognizing that vision was the launch of the Wound Care Clinic – one of only a few in the country, and the first and only one of its kind in Texas. Hosting one of the world’s premier pediatric wound care societies on our home turf is an important opportunity for Texas Children’s.

“Texas Children’s is proud to support the International Society of Pediatric Wound Care annual meeting,” said Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Larry Hollier, who will also deliver welcome remarks to open the conference. “We’ve spent a lot of time together building Texas Children’s into the magnificent place that it is today. We see the amazing things that are happening here every day because we live it. But others around the country don’t fully appreciate what is happening here. When we host conferences, not only is our expertise on display, but it becomes apparent to anyone who steps through our doors that this place is special. That helps spread the word, builds referrals and strengthens our reputation in our peers’ eyes.”

Surgical leadership and Nursing leadership are also strongly supporting the conference. Thirty complimentary surgical physician assistant (PA) registrations were generously provided and have already been filled.

Nursing leadership has arranged for any interested Texas Children’s nurses to attend the conference at no cost. In addition, continuing nursing education (CNE) units may be earned.

“PAs and nurses are leading the charge in wound care in the United States,” said Keswani. “We have free registrations available for our nursing and PA colleagues, and want to get the word out that this is an amazing opportunity for Texas Children’s nurses to learn about advancements in pediatric wound care, and to also earn CNEs in the process.

If you are a Texas Children’s Hospital employee and interested in attending the ISPeW meeting, please contact Linda Cao at llcao@texaschildrens.org.

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