February 25, 2014

The March of Dimes Texas Chapter has awarded a grant to Texas Children’s Health Plan to support “Becoming a Mom,” a program that delivers prenatal education in a group setting.

Texas Children’s Health Plan is currently offering the “Becoming a Mom – Comenzando bien Program” in Houston and Huntsville locations. The program’s goal is to provide supportive environments that promote healthy behaviors and positive birth outcomes. The “Becoming a Mom” program helps women overcome barriers to care and become informed of prenatal services.

As a managed care organization serving more than 360,000 members, Texas Children’s Health Plan provides Medicaid and CHIP insurance coverage for individuals in 21 counties, including Harris and the surrounding seven counties. Texas Children’s Health Plan supports pregnant women through the provision of “Becoming a Mom” classes, childbirth classes, home visitation programs and community events, spreading awareness of early prenatal visits and the benefits of waiting until after the 39th week of gestation before delivery.

March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.

February 18, 2014

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On February 7, West Campus was awarded the top honor at the Houston West Chamber of Commerce’s 16th Annual Economic Development Summit and Star Awards. Michelle Riley-Brown, president of West Campus, accepted the 2014 Pillar Award which recognizes a business or organization that consistently and tirelessly supports the business community, exemplifies the determined spirit of the Houston West Chamber and promotes a superior quality of life in our community.

“I was truly honored and humbled to receive the highest award on behalf of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus,” said Riley-Brown. “We have grown tremendously since we opened our doors three years ago, and we look forward to continuing to treat children and families in the West Houston community.”

The Pillar Award is voted on by the Star Award Events Committee. West Campus also served as a sponsor of the event.

Watch a video about West Campus.

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We may not see snow in Houston but that’s not keeping patients on different units around the hospital from becoming winter Olympians. Getting into the spirit of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, the Child Life department is bringing the games to the patients.

For two weeks, many units re acting as different “countries” while participating in 10 patient-friendly events. The patients from non-competing units are able to collaborate as a team on the 16th floor so all patients are able to be a part of the fun. Texas Children’s front line staff are acting as Olympic judges and letting the kids compete for gold, silver or bronze medals.

The medal counts for each floor are posted on the 16th floor and being announced daily on Radio Lollipop.

“The kids really enjoy competing and working as a team,” said Child Life Specialist, Alyssa DeMoss. “The Texas Children’s Hospital Olympics has created many opportunities for patients to meet each other and become friends which is making their time at the hospital more enjoyable.”

DeMoss said patients are constantly asking about the next day’s challenge and are excited to prepare together and compete as a team.

A few weeks ago, the hundreds of Texas Children’s staff and employees streaming into the Hornberger Conference Center felt like guests at a premier gala. The room, filled with lush florals, candles and gorgeous linens welcomed and celebrated them. They were among the 376 employees beautifully honored for their years of service to Texas Children’s at the 26th Annual Employee Recognition Celebration on February 4.

“These 376 recipients represent 7,335 years of service to Texas Children’s Hospital – wow!” said President and CEO Mark A. Wallace, addressing the crowd. “What makes this event so special is that we are all here together. We are fully present – our fondest memories hand in hand with our dreams for the future.”

The audience was filled with long-time employees marking 15, 20, 25, 30, 25, 40 and 45 years of service to the organization. Among those honored was Senior Vice President Linda Aldred who typically leads the event from the podium each year but proudly took her seat as a 25-year honoree.

In addition to long-time honorees, recipients of the Mark A. Wallace Catalyst Leadership, Smiles, and Super Star awards were recognized.

Chief of Radiology Dr. George Bisset also addressed the audience, attributing the organization’s success and advancements to the contributions of each person in the room.

“Without a doubt, all of you have played a role in creating a world-class model for educating tomorrow’s health care leaders, solving some of the greatest medical mysteries that we deal with on a daily basis and delivering preeminent care to children and women,” Bisset said.

After an emotional story about his son – electrocuted as a child and cared for at Texas Children’s – Texas Children’s Board of Trustee member Merrell Athon thanked the employees for his son and the many, many children they’ve helped through the years.

“I’ve been a trustee at Texas Children’s Hospital for 26 years,” Athon said. “And I have never been more enthusiastic about the care we are providing for the children and women in our community and the wonderful teams and the fabulous facilities we have in place to heal sick children for generations to come.”

Congratulations to all of the honorees!

Click here for the Employee Recognition Celebration event program.

In celebration of our 60th birthday, we’re throwing it way back – to the 1950s – on Facebook throughout the month of February. Stop by Texas Children’s Facebook page for a walk down memory lane. And if you or someone you know has photos from the early days, share them with us. Your stories are a part of Texas Children’s fascinating story!

By Emily Klein

We’re getting ready to celebrate Audrey’s 2nd birthday and what a wonderful ride it has been! We’ve gone from a quiet easygoing baby who just wants to be held, to an energetic, curious and thriving two year-old. Her outdoor slide is often moved inside so she can burn some energy if the weather is bad or if it’s nighttime. She loves to read, and it’s usually the same book over and over. Every Saturday after breakfast she goes to the back door because she knows it is activity day and we have something fun in store. The zoo, aquariums, trains, boats, and eating out in restaurants are her favorite things. There really never is a dull moment, and it’s shown us a whole new side of life.

Having a 2 year old is a wildly different experience from the infant stage, but it has all been a great deal of fun. She started her “terrible twos” a few months early, so we’re more than prepared for her actual birthday.

Choosing a pediatrician

We’re very fortunate that she has been happy and healthy throughout. Choosing a pediatrician was a bit scary, but you couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with to seek advice. Through a recommendation of a colleague we chose Texas Children’s Pediatrics Houston Pediatric Associates in Bellaire, and the shared practice of Dr. Schlegel and Dr. Lasics.

The interview

We wanted someone we were comfortable with and who we knew would be there to answer our questions. As a new parent you have and ask lots of questions. We interviewed them to see what our gut reaction was, and they were chosen on the spot.

Location, location, location

The location also mattered since our work and her daycare are around the area. We needed to be able to move quickly in case of an emergency.

The Texas Children’s care

Texas Children’s was always going to be our choice because we know we have the finest physicians offering the best care.

Advice to new parents

My advice would be to gather referrals. Knowing our colleagues have used the same pediatrician throughout their children’s lives made us more comfortable. Always interview the candidates with your child so you can see how you feel about them and how they are with your baby.

The office has always been responsive to phone calls and same day appointments. They’ve always walked us through any concerns day or night and are wonderful with understanding new parent worries and questions. The doctors and staff are very good with her, and have even caught her sitting in “timeout” when they are ready to see her. Like we said, terrible twos started early. We’re grateful for the care and attention she receives, and most of all grateful for a wonderful healthy 2 year old.

Relish every minute with your curiously active 2 year old – even if they do act up from time to time. They really do show you how to be young again!

A new eight-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at West Campus is now open. The unit will allow the hospital to accommodate patients with higher acuity and meet the needs of the community. The PICU will be staffed 24/7 with experience, board-certified critical care physicians, PICU nurses and support staff.

“We want to provide a higher level of care here at West Campus after seeing the needs of the community,” said Shannon McCord, director of West Campus Patient Care Services. “This allows even more patients to receive their care closer to home.”

West Campus is now able to care for patients with conditions including but not limited to:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Meningitis
  • Respiratory failure
  • Seizures
  • Shock

And neonates (<30 days) diagnosed with:

  • ALTE
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Hyperbilirubinemia
  • Suspected sepsis

Patients in need of care that is outside of the scope of care for West Campus will still be transported to Main, but this new expansion will impact the ability of the West Campus facility to do more surgical procedures and admit more patients from the Emergency Center who before were triaged to Main Campus.