June 10, 2019

Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women has been designated a level IV maternal care facility, the highest level of care available. The designation was finalized late last week and followed a rigorous site visit conducted by the EMS/Trauma Systems Office of the Texas Department of State Health Services. A level IV maternal care facility provides comprehensive care for pregnant and postpartum patients, from those with low-risk conditions up to and including the most complex medical, surgical and/or obstetrical conditions that present a high-risk of maternal morbidity or mortality.

“This designation certifies that we offer the highest level of care for the most complex obstetric patients,” said Dr. Christina Davidson, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and chief quality officer at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “It speaks to the expertise of our clinical teams and the processes we have in place to ensure high-quality care and the positive outcomes we strive for.”

With the overall goal of reducing infant and maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States, the designation comes as the result of legislation passed in 2013 requiring Texas to establish and implement neonatal and maternal level of care designations by March 1, 2018. The intent of the legislation is to ensure both neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and maternal care facilities have the resources and expertise to provide high-quality, specialized patient care that leads to the best outcomes for mothers and babies.

Texas is one of the first states requiring maternal care facilities undergo a site visit to verify the level of care provided to patients meets the Maternal Levels of Care classifications as defined in the Texas Administrative Code. Completing the designation process is a requirement to receive Medicaid reimbursement for obstetrical care by August 31, 2020.

“This designation is the fruit of the work we perform daily. It is recognition by the Department of State Health Services of Texas Children’s commitment and investment to maternal health,” said Dr. Nan Ybarra, director of nursing for inpatient services at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. “With over 6,200 deliveries annually, we are committed to serving women in our community and partnering with community hospitals to strengthen their maternal care processes and programs – our singular goal is to improve outcomes for pregnant women across Texas and beyond.”

Texas Children’s announced in January it opened one of the nation’s few intensive care units dedicated solely to obstetrical critical care. It is the only four-bed maternal ICU in the country staffed 24/7 by both pulmonary critical care and maternal-fetal care teams embedded in a hospital’s labor and delivery unit. This maternal ICU offers a specialized, private space for high-risk expectant and postpartum mothers with conditions such as sepsis, peripartum bleeding, placenta accreta, maternal heart disease and other serious conditions.

The hospital also has a nationally known placenta accreta spectrum program, where a team of experts provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for women with this potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication that occurs in approximately 1 in 1,000 to 2,000 pregnancies.

Additionally, in 2017, Texas Children’s obstetrics service partnered with the hospital’s Kangaroo Crew to create the Maternal Transport Service, further bolstering its reputation as a primary referral site for patients with high-risk pregnancies. The team, consisting of a Kangaroo Crew nurse, labor and delivery nurse, respiratory therapist, and EMT, can provide specialty care to mothers while enroute to the Pavilion for Women, helping the hospital’s community partners transport their sickest patients for the most optimal outcomes for mothers and babies.

“It’s crucial for women, especially those experiencing a high-risk pregnancy, to be educated about the level of obstetrical care available in the facility in which they plan to deliver,” said Dr. Michael Belfort, obstetrician/gynecologist-in-chief at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.

May 14, 2019

Texas Children’s Hospital has been recognized by Forbes as one of America’s best employers. Forbes recently released its annual America’s Best Large Employers list and ranked Texas Children’s No. 276 among the best 500 large companies in the nation. Texas Children’s was one of 25 health care organizations on the list, and one of only three in Texas and Houston.

Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to measure the leading employers around the country and the world by asking those in the best position: the workers. Statista surveyed 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees. All the surveys were anonymous, allowing participants to share their opinions openly. The respondents were asked to rate, on a scale of zero to 10, how likely they’d be to recommend their employer to others. Statista then asked respondents to nominate organizations in industries outside their own. The final list ranks the 500 large employers that received the most recommendations.

As you’ll recall, Forbes worked with Statista just last year on its first-ever ranking of America’s best employers for women. Texas Children’s was ranked No. 11 among the best 300 companies in the nation – and the best in Houston.

“Creating a culture not only of excellence but of collaboration and camaraderie has been a mission of ours, and I am so proud of what we have accomplished as One Amazing Team and of what we have built together at Texas Children’s Hospital,” said President and CEO Mark Wallace.

December 3, 2018

A delegation of Texas Children’s physician leadership, executives and experts were recently invited to attend the 6th annual U.S. News & World Report Healthcare of Tomorrow summit in Washington, D.C. There, they met with top hospital leaders, policymakers, insurers, consumer advocates and other industry professionals from across the country to discuss some of the most important topics in health care today.

Texas Children’s had a major presence throughout the event. Not only did we sponsor key discussion sessions, but every attendee had their event credentials on a Texas Children’s-branded lanyard, Additionally, a raffle of four sets of Rudolph’s Pediatrics, the landmark pediatric health care reference, of which Physician-in-Chief Dr. Mark W. Kline is editor-in-chief, was extremely well received at our conference booth.

Kline and Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Larry Hollier also represented Texas Children’s as featured event speakers.

Taking compassionate care into the global community

In his keynote address, “Global Child Health at the Tipping Point: Lessons from the Field,” Kline stressed that though significant progress has been made to improve child health and mortality rates worldwide, challenges still remain, especially in resource-limited countries. He also said that through increased awareness, partnership and active engagement, those challenges can become opportunities for health care providers to improve the lives of the world’s poorest and least fortunate.

To illustrate this point, Kline highlighted the successes and lessons learned of the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) at Texas Children’s Hospital in helping stem the tide of the AIDS pandemic, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The network, which Kline founded in 1996, has grown from a single pilot HIV clinic in Romania into a comprehensive global health network – the largest HIV/AIDS network in the world – that includes 16 centers and clinics in 14 countries, providing care for hundreds of thousands of children and families, education for nearly 90,000 health care professionals, and research into pediatric health.

Kline also explained how leveraging the BIPAI network’s infrastructure has enabled Texas Children’s to extend its global reach and to offer care for many other diseases and disorders, including pediatric cancer, sickle cell anemia, OB/GYN care, tuberculosis, malaria, malnutrition and other conditions.

“For too long, children have been on the outside looking in, and it’s particularly true for the poor children of the world, who’ve not had the same access to life-saving therapies as American and European children,” Kline said. “The HIV/AIDS pandemic certainly challenged the world’s commitment, and our compassion, for these children. But our success in the fight against HIV/AIDS has opened the door to treatments for a host of other serious diseases that have threatened the health and well-being of children and families for generations.”

Using partnership to drive patient experience

At a discussion session entitled “The New Patient Experience Era: Focusing on the Consumer of Tomorrow,” Hollier and other panel members addressed how enhancing the patient experience can lead to improvements in quality and safety and to increased consumer and caregiver satisfaction.

Hollier discussed the crucial role that partnerships have played in improving patient experience at Texas Children’s.

“We believe strongly that partnerships – with our providers and employees, with our families, and with experts inside and outside of health care – are a critical component of driving an exceptional experience,” Hollier said. “As families’ expectations evolve, we continue to explore more innovative solutions to help us meet them where they are in their care journey, and to ensure they feel supported at every step along the way.”

One such solution was an initiative to improve communication and interaction between providers and patients and families. Partnering with experts at Press Ganey and Academy of Communication, and drawing information from provider and patient/family surveys, we developed a communication training curriculum for caregivers that elevates the level of engagement for families. Providers now feel empowered to manage interactions between both patient and parent, and are better equipped to communicate important information in a way that families will understand.

Texas Children’s also relied on partnership with families during the development of Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower. A 20-member Family Advisory Board worked for three years, from initial planning to the go-live date, to ensure that families’ needs were kept at the center of important decisions. Their input was essential for room and facility layouts, in simulation exercises, and for the development of family support resources during the move into the new building.

For Texas Children’s Department of Surgery, partnerships have been integral in enhancing tech processes, which has led to several improvements across the Texas Children’s system, including streamlined and transparent data sharing, consolidation and standardization of our and our providers’ online presence, and more frequent updates and scheduling information for families during surgery through the EASE app.

Hollier also highlighted Texas Children’s recent partnership with Disney, a $100 million initiative that has the potential to transform the patient experience in children’s hospitals across the globe. Initial concepts for development include allowing children to customize their hospital visit with their favorite Disney stories and characters, reimagining spaces through augmented and virtual reality experiences, and creating themed treatment and patient rooms with interactive elements.

October 4, 2018

According to a recent Physicians’ Choice survey conducted by Medscape, Texas Children’s Hospital was recognized as one of the nation’s top three hospitals for the treatment of pediatric conditions.

Between May 17 and August 13, Medscape surveyed more than 11,000 U.S. physicians to get their opinions on which hospitals they would send family members to for specialty care. Texas Children’s ranked in the top three for pediatric care along with Boston Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Medscape identified 10 clinical conditions or procedures and asked, “Suppose you or someone in your family were diagnosed with a complex or difficult case of (condition). Assuming no barriers to treatment at the hospital you prefer, what hospital would you choose for treatment?”

Based on this survey, doctors felt the most important part of choosing a hospital was expertise followed by a hospital’s reputation among other physicians. Additional factors in choosing a hospital included: having leading technology available, low error and infection rates, and treatment and studies published in respected medical journals.

“We are honored that our hospital was recognized by physicians as one of the best pediatric hospitals in the nation,” said Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark Wallace. “This is a testament to the exceptional quality of work we do across our system every day, and indicative of our hospital’s reputation in pediatric care.”

July 10, 2018

Texas Children’s Transplant Services has hit another milestone – the completion of 200 lung transplants and 400 heart transplants, making the program one of the highest volume pediatric heart and lung transplant centers in the nation.

The milestone continues to solidify Texas Children’s position as one of the most active pediatric transplant programs in the country, per the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

“This type of volume has only been accomplished in a handful of pediatric programs across the United States,” Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Larry Hollier said. “We are proud to add Texas Children’s Hospital to this distinguished list.”

Transplantation began at Texas Children’s in 1984 with a pediatric heart transplant. Since that time, liver, kidney and lung have been added and countless lives have been saved. Just last year, Texas Children’s Transplant teams performed 112 solid organ transplants, the most in the history of Texas Children’s Transplant Services.

“I’m proud to be working with a team so dedicated to providing the best possible outcomes for our patients,” said Dr. John Goss, medical director of Transplant Services. “This milestone demonstrates that Texas Children’s continues to earn its reputation as one of the best pediatric transplant programs in the country, and is a testament to the skill and commitment of our multidisciplinary team.”

Texas Children’s Transplant Services draws on numerous medical, surgical and support specialties, including transplant coordinators who play an essential role in connecting recipients with prospective donors, who ultimately made the transplant process possible.

“Without our donor families, our patients would not be given the gift that provides them a second chance at life,” said Dr. Jeff Heinle, surgical director of the Heart and Lung Transplant Program. “We can never forget to acknowledge the selfless decisions they make during the most difficult times of their lives.”

The recipients of Texas Children’s 200th lung transplant and 400th heart transplant are both doing well. Read more about their stories below as well as information about Texas Children’s Transplant Program and how to become an organ donor.

Brandon Cliff
Twelve-year-old Brandon Cliff has Cystic Fibrosis, a progressive genetic disease that causes lung infections, makes breathing difficult, and affects the pancreas, liver and other organs. The disease eventually leads to lung failure. Due to such complications, Brandon had been under consideration for a transplant for more than a year before receiving a double lung transplant on June 21. Performed by Dr. Iki Adachi, the transplant went well. Brandon was discharged from the hospital on July 3 and is ready to play with his brothers, cousins and friends as well as golf and basketball. Watch Fox 26’s news story about Brandon here.

Anacecilia Ortiz
Anacecilia Ortiz turned 14 at the beginning of July, just days after receiving her second heart transplant. The teenager got her first transplant at a children’s hospital in Colorado when she was 7 months old. Doctors there told her a transplant was necessary after finding a tumor inside her heart that was growing and could not be operated on. Over the years, Anacecilia’s body began to reject her new heart, causing it to develop scar tissue and not beat as hard as it should. A few serious dizzy spells earlier this year led Anacecilia’s physician in Brownsville to send her to Texas Children’s, where she was placed on the transplant list after trying medication. A month and a half later in mid-June, Anaceclila received her second heart transplant. Since then, she’s been doing extremely well and is currently recovering at her Pearland home.

June 26, 2018

Texas Children’s Hospital has once again been named as a national leader among pediatric institutions by U.S. News & World Report in their recently published 2018-19 edition of Best Children’s Hospitals.

Ranked fourth among all children’s hospitals nationally and one of only 10 hospitals to achieve the Honor Roll designation for the tenth straight year, Texas Children’s is the only hospital in Texas – and the entire Southern region of the U.S. – awarded this coveted distinction.

“Each year, our Texas Children’s team exhibits incredible strength and kindness, as well as passion, caring for the inspirational children and families we serve,” said Texas Children’s President and CEO Mark Wallace. “I believe this is one reason why we continue to maintain the respect and reputation as one of the best hospitals in the nation, and the destination for pediatric care in Texas.”

In addition to ranking children’s hospitals overall, U.S. News & World Report also ranks the top 50 pediatric hospitals in 10 major sub-specialty areas. To be considered for the honor roll distinction, a hospital must have high rankings in at least three sub-specialties. For the second straight year, Texas Children’s Heart Center ranks No. 1 in the nation for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery. Texas Children’s Pulmonology ranks as the best program in the country for children with lung diseases.

Texas Children’s has 8 subspecialties ranked in the top 10, and the hospital improved outcomes across all sub-specialties. There are approximately 190 children’s hospitals in the U.S. and this year, 86 of the 189 surveyed hospitals were ranked among the top 50 in at least one sub-specialty. The 2018-19 Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll recognizes the 10 hospitals with the highest rankings across all sub-specialties. Here are a few highlights of this year’s rankings for Texas Children’s:

  • Cardiology and Congenital Heart Surgery is again no. 1 in the nation and received the top score in externally reported risk-adjusted operative mortality for congenital heart surgery.
  • Pulmonology, which first debuted in the top spot in the 2016 rankings, is now again ranked no. 1 in the nation. We received the top score in several asthma outcomes and structure metrics, such as mean LOS for asthma patients.
  • Neurology and Neurosurgery moved from no. 4 to no. 3, receiving the top score in several outcomes metrics, such as 30-day readmissions for craniotomy and Chiari decompression and complication rate for epilepsy surgical procedures.
  • Nephrology also moved from no. 4 to no. 3, with the top score in one-year kidney transplant graft survival and hemodialysis catheter-associated bloodstream infections.
  • Urology moved from no. 6 to no. 4, propelled by the top score in unplanned hospital admission for urologic issues within 30 days of surgery, as well as significant improvements in hypospadias and revision surgeries.

Texas Children’s, working closely with our academic partner Baylor College of Medicine, continues to pioneer advancements in pediatric health care and earns the U.S. News honor roll distinction by being ranked among America’s best in:

  • #1 Cardiology and Congenital Heart Surgery
  • #1 Pulmonology
  • #3 Neurology and Neurosurgery
  • #3 Nephrology
  • #4 Gastroenterology and GI surgery
  • #4 Urology
  • #6 Cancer
  • #6 Diabetes and Endocrinology
  • #15 Orthopedics
  • #21 Neonatology

This year’s rankings are the results of a methodology that weighs a combination of outcome and care-related measures such as nursing care, advanced technology, credentialing, outcomes, best practices, infection prevention and reputation, among others.

“From a measurement perspective, our survey results demonstrate how hard we’re working as an organization to deliver high quality care to our patients,” Wallace said. “The more consistently we deliver high quality care and the safer we deliver that care to our patients, the better their outcomes are, and the better our overall numbers are.”

Our results continue to reflect the diligent efforts of a solid structure focused on the U.S. News survey. The process of compiling and refining our data is an ongoing challenge, which will continue to improve under the excellent leadership of Trudy Leidich, Elizabeth Pham and the entire USNWR team.

The 2018-19 edition of Best Children’s Hospitals is available online at www.usnews.com/childrenshospitals.

Staff with Texas Children’s Heart Center and Texas Children’s Pulmonology celebrated Tuesday after learning they were ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report in their respective specialties.

Heart Center staff gathered in a conference room on the fourth floor of Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women to learn their ranking and cheered in delight when they found out they remained No. 1 in the nation in cardiology and congenital heart surgery.

“The Texas Children’s Heart Center team displays an unparalleled commitment to our patients each and every day through the exemplary care we provide from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up,” said Dr. Daniel Penny, chief of pediatric cardiology. “We are honored to once again be recognized as the best place for children with heart diseases to receive care.”

In a conference room on the 10th floor of Wallace Tower, the Pulmonology team gathered to laud their well-deserved milestone. Pulmonology, which first debuted in the top spot in the 2016 rankings, is now once again ranked No. 1 in the nation.

“At Texas Children’s, we built our program to serve the needs of children with all types of lung disease, from common ailments to the most complex, and we have become the best program for children in need of pulmonary care,” said Dr. Peter Hiatt, chief of pulmonary medicine. “Our relenting commitment to providing life-changing and life-saving treatments to children is what motivates us every day.”

Click here for more information about the Heart Center and here to learn more about our pulmonology program.