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.

May 15, 2018

The 2017 Texas Children’s Annual Report website highlighting last year’s growth and success with compelling stories, videos and graphics about our patients, staff, clinical programs and expanding facilities is here! This is the second time the Texas Children’s annual report has been released in a website format offering a dynamic representation of the breadth, depth and growth of our organization.

Titled Texas Children’s Strong, this year’s website illustrates in a special section how Texas Children’s successfully weathered Hurricane Harvey with strong leadership, a unified culture and fierce determination. It also includes an archive page that houses previous Texas Children’s annual reports, giving readers a centralized location to find such rich information about our organization.

Each section of the site – news, notes and numbers – gives readers an opportunity to experience how and why Texas Children’s health care system continues to set records organization wide. You also can hear directly from our President and CEO Mark Wallace in a video address about our accomplishments and what’s to come.

“I’m pleased to share some of the amazing work and triumphs that happened last year at Texas Children’s,” Wallace said. “We were incredibly busy in 2017.”

Read all about it at texaschildrensannualreport.org. Share the link to the online report with friends and colleagues, and encourage them to do the same.

February 6, 2018

Just in time for Heart Awareness Month, Texas Children’s Hospital’s No. 1-ranked Heart Center by U.S. News & World Report launched its very own Facebook page!

Packed with information about the Heart Center’s roots, expertise and exciting future in providing top notch care, the page will provide an avenue for Heart Center medical staff and leaders to share information with various audiences, including former, current and future patients and families. The page also will allow members to provide feedback about their experiences at the Heart Center and ask questions about our level of care.

“We are excited about having a new way to reach people who want to know more about who we are and how we do things at the Texas Children’s Heart Center,” said Dr. Wayne Franklin, a cardiologist with Texas Children’s Heart Center and director of Texas Children’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program. “It’s also a great opportunity to help more children and families who are dealing heart problems and are looking for information.”

With more than half a century of experience in caring for children’s hearts, Texas Children’s Heart Center combines cutting-edge technology with compassion and a family-centered approach to pediatric cardiac care.

The Heart Center has a team of world-renowned leaders in pediatric cardiology, congenital heart surgery, cardiovascular anesthesiology, and cardiac critical care, performing more than 1,000 surgical procedures, 1,200 cardiac catheterizations, and having more than 26,000 patient encounters annually.

Texas Children’s is ranked No. 1 nationally in cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News and World Report, and is also one of only four pediatric hospital’s with heart programs that are named as a Pediatric Heart Failure Institute in Texas by The Healthcare Accreditation Colloquium. The Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Program is also just one of 13 programs in the country to be a Comprehensive Care Center for ACHD.

Later this year, the center will move into Legacy Tower, allowing clinical staff and leaders to serve even more children with critical heart conditions from the Houston community, across Texas and throughout the nation. The 19-floor vertical expansion will house eight floors dedicated just to the Heart Center, including four new cardiac operating rooms, four cardiac catheterization labs, 48 cardiovascular intensive care unit beds, and a cardiac acute care floor.

All of this and more can be found on the Heart Center’s new Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/texaschildrensheartcenter.

“We encourage you to like the page on Facebook and share with your family and friends,” Franklin said.

December 12, 2017

For the fourth year, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus has been named one of the 10 top children’s hospitals in the nation by The Leapfrog Group, an independent hospital watchdog organization. The award recognizes achievements in patient safety and quality and is widely acknowledged as one of the most competitive and exclusive honors an American hospital can receive.

“We are honored to again be recognized as a top performing children’s hospital by The Leapfrog Group,” said Michelle Riley-Brown president of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and executive vice president of Texas Children’s Hospital. “Our entire team of physicians, nurses and employees strive to provide a safe environment where we can deliver the highest quality care possible for our patients and their families. We applaud our team for their tireless work and the incredible care they provide for the children in our community every day.”

In the survey, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus received a Top Children’s Hospital distinction and was recognized nationally alongside 45 Top General Hospitals, 18 Top Rural Hospitals, 36 Top Teaching Hospitals and only nine other Top Children’s Hospitals.

“We are proud to recognize Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus as a 2017 Leapfrog Top Hospital,” said Leah Binder, president and Chief Executive Officer of Leapfrog. “This demonstrates extraordinary dedication to patients and the local community. The entire staff and board deserve praise for putting quality first and achieving results.”

The Leapfrog Group is an organization that provides the only national, public comparison of hospitals across safety, quality and efficiency dimensions. Performance across many areas of hospital care is considered in establishing the qualifications for the award, including infection rates, maternity care, and the hospital’s capacity to prevent medication errors.

To see the full list of institutions honored as 2017 Top Hospitals, visit www.leapfroggroup.org/tophospitals.

April 11, 2017

We’ve all heard the saying, “Hard work pays off.”

That old adage certainly rings true for Texas Children’s Newborn Center leadership and staff. On April 7, Texas Children’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) became the first hospital in the state to achieve Level IV NICU designation by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

“As a Level IV NICU, our neonatal team has the resources and expertise to deliver the highest level of care available for premature and critically ill newborns,” said Texas Children’s Chief of Neonatology Dr. Gautham Suresh. “This designation helps ensure our neonates, who require highly specialized resources and 24/7 multidisciplinary care, are treated in the right level of NICU to achieve the most optimal outcomes.”

The designation process comes as a result of legislation passed in 2013 requiring Texas to establish and implement neonatal and maternal level of care designations by March 1, 2018. Texas is one of the first states requiring NICUs to undergo a site visit to verify they meet the Neonatal Levels of Care classifications as defined in the Texas Administrative Code. Completing the designation process is a requirement in order to receive Medicaid reimbursement for neonatal services by September 1, 2018.

Reaching this milestone was no easy task. The process required tremendous collaboration among NICU leadership, staff and employees, as well as various support services that help the neonatal team care for these critically ill babies including pharmacy, respiratory, physical therapy, lactation, nutrition and social services.

“In June 2016, we started a weekly work group that included members from neonatology and various ancillary departments across the organization,” said Project Manager Sohail Azeem. “We led them through the Neonatal Level IV designation guidelines impacting each area and gathered all of the necessary materials and documentation to prepare for the 2-day site visit and for the application process that followed.”

Several key requirements for Level IV NICU designation included the development of a Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement (QAPI) committee and a program plan outlining the Newborn Center’s breadth and depth of services, policies, procedures and structure for prioritizing quality improvement initiatives. While the Newborn Center already had an active quality and safety program, it was incorporated into the QAPI program.

In addition to meeting these Level IV designation requirements, Texas Children’s also participated in a rigorous survey site visit conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics NICU Verification Program in November 2016.

“The 2-day site visit included interviews with NICU nursing and physician leadership among others, as well as reviews of our policies, medical records and credentialing process,” said Newborn Center Director Heather Cherry. “Surveyors also toured all of our level NICUs and other hospital areas that support neonatal services.”

As the largest NICU in the nation, Texas Children’s is proud to receive this designation. As a Level IV NICU, Texas Children’s Newborn Center meets all level III capabilities plus has the ability to care for infants born earlier than 32 weeks gestation and weighing less than 1,500 grams, provide life support, perform advanced imaging including MRI and echocardiography and provide a full range of respiratory support, among many other criteria.

“A lot of hard work went into achieving our Level IV NICU designation and I am so proud that our teams pulled together,” said Newborn Center Vice President Judy Swanson. “This collaborative milestone solidifies our reputation in providing the highest level of neonatal care to our tiniest, most fragile patients and their families.”