April 15, 2019

Mere months after opening its doors to patients and families for the first time, Texas Children’s Specialty Care Austin earned recognition from the Austin Chapter of the Associated General Contractors for outstanding construction.

The association selected Specialty Care Austin for its Outstanding Construction Award after considering the difficulty of construction, unusual techniques and the quality and appearance of the completed facility, Jill Pearsall, Vice President of Facilities Planning & Development and Real Estate Services, said. The group also praised how quickly and efficiently Texas Children’s and its partners were able to complete such a complex project – particularly as a new entrant in the Austin market.

The clinic currently comprises 26,000 square feet on the MoPac Expressway in the bustling north-central area of the city, with 30 exam rooms and facilities for subspecialty care including cardiology, ophthalmology, pulmonology, and allergy and immunology.

“We are thrilled to have this recognition as it represents the overall work of the amazing Austin project team and the quality of environment that Texas Children’s is bringing to Austin,” said Allison Muth, facilities project manager. “There is so much construction activity happening in the Austin area, and it’s an honor to have the specialty care project recognized as one of the best interior renovation projects in the area. We couldn’t have accomplished this without the support of our design and construction partners: McCarthy, Page and Transwestern.”

Texas Children’s employees also helped to design Specialty Care Austin by providing input on the functional needs of the space from the front-line perspective. Employee feedback was further incorporated into the construction and occupancy processes along the way.

The opportunity to help introduce Texas Children’s to a new city encouraged the project team to think outside the box while also maintaining the classic brand look and feel. They were intentional about partnering with local companies and vendors on the project to forge positive, new relationships.

“It’s pretty significant to be awarded in both the health care arena and construction arena at a facility in Austin, especially for our first time there,” Pearsall said. “You can walk through the clinic and see it is new and fresh with bright, updated colors and natural light; it stands out. We still have a lot of room to grow, but it’s a great location and setting, and our patients and families are in awe. This recognition from the Austin Associated General Contractors is a sign of our success so far.”

January 29, 2019

Texas Children’s is taking convenient pediatric subspecialty care to another level as we rebrand our Health Centers. All eight are now branded as Specialty Care Clinics and are located throughout the Greater Houston area. Our Specialty Care locations provide many of the same pediatric subspecialty services available at our three hospital locations, just closer to patients and their families.

“A few years ago we began rebranding our Health Centers and as Specialty Care Clinics because that more accurately describes the services we provide our families in the community,” said Julie Barrett, director of Outpatient and Clinical Support. “This rebranding is better aligned with Texas Children’s marketing messaging. We really are providing the right care, at the right time, in the right location, and this change more accurately conveys our strategic direction.”

The signage, Epic programming and patient materials now include the Specialty Care name and logo. Texas Children’s has expertise in more than 40 pediatric subspecialties. The name “specialty care” reflects and is more in line with our service offering of specialized care. Many of the same doctors who treat patients at our Medical Center Campus care for patients at specialty care locations. The rebranding of the centers was implemented through a project partnership between IS, Facilities and Marketing.

The seven Houston-area Specialty Care Clinics now include: Texas Children’s Specialty Care Bellaire, Upper Kirby, Eagle Springs, Kingwood, Clear Lake, Cy-Fair, and Sugar Land. And in October 2018, the first Specialty Care Clinic opened in Austin to provide our high quality specialized clinical and diagnostic care to children in the fastest-growing city in Texas. Although each location offers different services, they include a wide range of diagnostic services to accommodate the specific needs identified in the respective communities.

“As we continue to grow in the community and provide exceptional patient care, transitioning from Health Center to Specialty Care clarifies our purpose of creating a healthier future for children,” director of Outpatient and Clinical Support West Campus, Kara Abrameit said. “It renews our commitment to providing world class specialty care close to home for our patients.”

Special provider note:
For providers who would like to put in orders, the order class has changed from Health Center (HC) to Specialty Care (SC).

Click here for more information about Texas Children’s Specialty Care.

October 23, 2018

On October 19, Texas Children’s leaders cut the ribbon to our health system’s newest addition – Texas Children’s Specialty Care Austin.

The clinic, at 8611 N. Mopac Expressway, Suite 300, officially opens Thursday, October 25, and will offer services in cardiology, and ophthalmology. Pulmonology services will begin in mid-November and Allergy and Immunology will begin in December. Scheduling for cardiology, ophthalmology, and pulmonary is now open, and schedules for Allergy & Immunology services will open in November.

“Our goal is to supplement the great health care options already available to Austin-area families and improve access to specialty care in a convenient location,” Executive Vice President Michelle Riley-Brown said.

The 26,000 square foot clinic has 30 exam rooms including five eye lanes. This exam area is the comprehensive site where patients have their vision checked and ophthalmic professionals conduct exams and meet with patients. Each specialty has two to four dedicated rooms depending on the number of providers. There is an additional 26,000 square feet of shell space on the second floor available for future expansion.

Outpatient Radiology services are available for internal and external patients. For cardiology, EKGs are available to record heart activity, echocardiogram to capture images of the heart, and a portable device called holter monitors that also measures and records heart activity. There is also a pulmonary diagnostic laboratory available to perform a number of pulmonary tests such as spirometry, bronchodilator response evaluations and oxygen saturation.

“We have recruited the best and brightest,” Physician-in-Chief Dr. Mark W. Kline said. “We did it at West Campus, The Woodlands and we are doing it again here in Austin.”

Staff at the clinic provide specialized clinical and diagnostic care. Several specialties expected to be provided at the clinic in the future are:

  • Allergy & Immunology
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Neurology
  • Optometry
  • Plastic surgery
  • Urology

“At Texas Children’s, we are extremely proud to be in Austin,” Vice President Ivett Shah said. “Being here is an extension of our mission — so that we can provide the very best care to even more children who need it. We are honored to have everyone respond so positively and we are so grateful to be here, serving you.”

Click here to visit the website for more information, or call 737-220-8200 to schedule an appointment.

April 3, 2018

Candice Gardemal can calm the most nervous patient visiting Texas Children’s Specialty Care Cy-Fair for an eye exam. The certified ophthalmic technician wins over patients of all ages with her warm, bubbly personality and an endless amount of tricks up her sleeve, some of which are so effective they have been published in medical journals.

“She’s phenomenal,” said Dr. Mary Kelinske, an optometrist at the center who has been working with Gardemal for the past five years. “I couldn’t do my job as effectively without her.”

Gardemal’s role at the center is to get the vitals of a patient’s eye before Kelinske walks into the exam room. Most of the time, this includes patients reading various charts containing letters, numbers, and sometimes, pictures. And, almost always, it requires a patient’s eyes being dilated, a process adults, much less children, find unsettling.

Gardemal’s stealthy moves and methods of distraction, however, are magical, allowing her to get the job done quickly and usually with no fuss. From the moment she walks into the exam room, she is smiling, talking and pulling out toys from various drawers and cabinets around the room.

“Look right here,” she said energetically while pointing to a silver, shiny pinwheel that lights up in the dark. “There you go! You did it! You are so smart!”

For some of her tougher cases, Gardemal puts on a super hero mask just to get a laugh. Other times she points to one of the colorful, sea-themed murals she has painted on the exam room walls.

“Ms. Gardemal is an exceptional artist,” said Chief-of-Ophthalmology Dr. David Coats. “She combines her charisma and her art to enhance the appeal of our clinics and to put our children as ease. Her work includes small paintings and huge murals, some of which hide instruments that can be frightening to children.”

When dilating a patient’s eyes, Gardemal uses a technique she developed that involves a pile of tissue, the patient’s belly button and a tall tale that goes something like this:

“OK now, hold these tissues real tight over your belly button so that none of these eye drops can get inside,” Gardemal enthusiastically tells her patients. “If the drops get inside your belly button, hair will start sprouting up around it!”

This simple technique is so effective, Gardemal published an article about it in the Journal of American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology. She got another article published in the same journal about a technique Gardemal came up with called the pinch patch. The technique uses a pinch in the fold of an eye patch to make what is typically a flat surface over a patient’s eye convex and therefore much more comfortable.

“Ms. Gardemal routinely dreams up and implements innovative ways to improve patient comfort,” Coats said. “One of the best innovations she has developed is the pinch patch. This is a simple modification to an eye patch that makes wearing an eye patch much more comfortable, which has been great news for our young patients who often must wear an eye patch several hours a day for many months or even years.”

Most recently, Gardemal has been working with Kelinske to provide a better clinical experience to patients with a range of physical, developmental and behavioral differences, including ADHD and Autism. Through exams geared toward the unique requirements of these patients, Gardemal and Kelinske have modified their approaches, as needed, to keep patients as comfortable as possible, both physically and emotionally, and to help get information and deliver care as accurately and efficiently as possible.

“My goal is to distract my patients with fun and leave them with a good memory of the eye doctor,” said Gardemal, who as a child had to visit the ophthalmologist frequently due to a condition called strabismus. “My childhood doctor always gave me a high five and a smile to make me feel more comfortable and it worked. I want to do the same for my patients. I want them to leave the clinic feeling like they had a good time.”

Click here to learn more about the Texas Children’s Special Needs Eye Clinic.

May 16, 2017

Texas Children’s joined forces with community leaders on May 5 to celebrate the opening of Specialty Care at Eagle Springs.

The clinic at 5514 Atascocita Road, Suite 190, in Humble is Texas Children’s newest pediatric specialty care clinic, offering convenient services to children and families in Humble and surrounding areas.

Services offered at the Eagle Springs location include:

  • Audiology
  • Otolaryngology (ENT)

Both services are available five days a week.

To make an appointment for Specialty Care at Eagle Springs, please call 281-666-5006.

Texas Children’s will continue to offer world-class care in the areas north of Houston at the health system’s Kingwood Glen location at 19298 West Lake Houston Parkway in the Kroger shopping center.

Services offered there are:

  • Cardiology
  • Full-Service Orthopedics
  • Sports Medicine
  • Pulmonology
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Allergy and Immunology
  • Urology
  • X-rays, EKG, ECHO, Ultrasound

To make an appointment for Kingwood Glen, please call 281-812-0280.

April 11, 2017

One of the newest additions to Texas Children’s health system is Texas Children’s Specialty Care Bellaire.

The clinic at 6330 West Loop South opened April 3 and offers services in otolaryngology, orthopedics, X-ray and audiology.

“This is an exciting day for us as we have wanted to be in Bellaire for quite some time,” said Kara Abrameit, assistant director of ambulatory services at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. “Being here provides an opportunity to area children and their families to access health care that will make a difference in their lives.”

Six of the exam rooms at the clinic near Bissonnet Street are dedicated to otolaryngology services and the other six are for orthopedic care. There also are five rooms – two sound booths, an auditory brainstem response (ABR) room and a hearing aid fitting space – for audiology, a cast room and two radiology areas.

The radiology space can be used for patients at the specialty care location or for patients referred to the clinic for X-rays by other providers within the Texas Children’s system. Additional space in the office building where the clinic is housed is available for future expansion.

Chief Surgical Officer at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Dr. Allen Milewicz said the new clinic is a great example of how Texas Children’s continues to expand access to its high-level of pediatric care. “We will be able to deliver a level of convenience we weren’t able to previously provide,” Milewicz said. “It’s perfect for people living in this area and beyond.”

Staff at the clinic provide specialized clinical and diagnostic care.

“Everyone here has a passion for what they do and a desire to create a comfortable and caring atmosphere for our patients and their families,” said April Martin, manager of Texas Children’s Specialty Care Bellaire. “The new team has come together quickly with the goal of providing the highest quality of pediatric care.”