June 11, 2019

More Texas Children’s Pediatrics patients over the age of 18 will have the opportunity for a smooth shift to adult care as the Transition Medicine program expands to include seven locations: Corinthian Pointe, East, Gulfgate, Gulfton, Kingsland, Palm Center, and Ripley House.

Transition Medicine is the process of educating, organizing and eventually transferring patient care from the pediatric to the adult health care system. During this time the patient and their parent are informed of various ways to optimize the patient’s health moving forward. Texas Children’s is dedicated to helping patients transfer care smoothly without a decline or break in their treatment.

In 2016 Dr. Cynthia Peacock, medical director of Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine’s Transition Medicine Clinic, was awarded the “Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program” 5-year grant from the Health Services Research Administration to increase transition readiness at Texas Children’s Pediatrics.

“I wrote the grant to help the Texas Children’s practices because lots of the referrals within the Texas Children’s family were struggling in the community to find someone to take care of them,” Peacock said. “This was especially prevalent amongst children and youth with special health care needs.”

The grant provides funding that also serves as an incentive to encourage clinics to become involved in the program and begin developing their own transition medicine process by educating their staff and providers.

“As we are providing care for an increasing number of complex care patients, our need to have a well-defined system for transitioning care to adult providers who are capable of continuing to provide the care these patients and their families need has never been greater,” Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Texas Children’s Urgent Care, Dr. Stan Spinner said. “Our partnership with Dr. Peacock is providing us with the education and the tools necessary to help ensure a successful transition for our patients and their families.”

Upon receiving the grant, Dr. Rebecca Laster was selected as the physician leader to work with the clinics and help them identify specific tools that they could use to promote transition readiness and transfer. Her experience as a physician in the community clinics sparked her desire to want to assist these patients during this transition.

“I always think back to a time when one of my patients had a really hard time transitioning to adult medicine. That made me want to learn more about the process so I could better assist them,” Laster said. “Although, we have a lot of patients who’d like to stay with us forever, sometimes that’s not appropriate because we’re not trained in adult care. Therefore, I have the transition conversation with every single one of my patients so they know how important it is to eventually find an adult physician, and if they can start the process of thinking about it early on then everybody’s prepared.”

Many young adults between the ages of 18 to 21 transition their care to adult providers when they leave for college or enter the workforce. But for those with complex chronic pediatric diseases, transitioning is a struggle filled with barriers and challenges that include patient maturity, psychosocial and family needs, coordination and reimbursement issues, and identification of adult providers able to care for unique patient populations.

“Coordination of care is essential to avoiding gaps in care and adverse health outcomes for our patients. This is especially true with our vulnerable populations who have multiple chronic illnesses and complex health and social needs,” Nurse Care Coordinator of Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Pam Brock said. “We help provide support and guidance to our patient/families in navigating this process and by making sure all needs are met prior to transition. This helps to ensure a smooth transfer and avoids disruptions in their care. This program has increased overall fund of knowledge surrounding transition and continues to help improve the transition process for our patient/families.”

Jimmy Garcia is a 20-year-old patient at the Texas Children’s Pediatrics Ripley House location and has recently transitioned to adult care at The Transition Medicine Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine (BMC). Garcia has a global developmental delay, cerebral palsy, scoliosis, an intellectual delay, and is also non-verbal and non-mobile. He has been a patient at Texas Children’s since he was only a few months old, and is one of the many patients who benefit from the Transition Medicine program as they get older. His mother, Cynthia Garcia says that she didn’t know what to expect during the transitioning process, and is thankful for the assistance that their physician provided.

“I still wanted him to continue to see Dr. Wright,” Garcia said. “She was such a great pediatrician to him and our family, and Jimmy just feels so comfortable with her. However, everyone in the office was very positive during the process and prepared and helped us to be comfortable with accepting that Jimmy was eventually going to leave them.”

Texas Children’s academic partnership with BCM allows for an effortless transition for our patients. The goal of the BMC clinic is to prevent urgent health care crisis and to minimize the impact of a shrinking social support network that these patients and families have come to rely on in the pediatric health care system. According to Garcia, transitioning into adult care was just as easy as transferring out of the pediatric system. Their pediatrician, along with the Garcia’s social worker were very instrumental in assisting with paperwork and other aspects of the process.

“When it came time to schedule Jimmy’s first appointment, it was so smooth and easy,” Garcia said. “Our first visit to the transition clinic was also amazing. It was a joy seeing everyone so accepting of Jimmy. When we go to the doctor now, he knows the clinic, and he recognizes the environment. Jimmy is non-verbal so he doesn’t exactly express his words or anything, but the smiles, his reactions, those are things that let us know he’s comfortable and he’s aware of his surroundings. He’s doing really well!”

The program began with two clinics during the pilot year and grew through the third year. While currently in its fourth year of the grant, the goal is to identify additional clinics that are willing to participate. At the beginning of the process, clinics sign a memorandum of understanding, then identify the activities they would like to implement and goals they want to achieve to help with addressing transition.

Patients like Garcia represent the hard work that the transition medicine team has put forth, and the success of the program as a whole allows for more practices to be added and even more patients to be helped. Identifying patients who will need help transitioning in the future is key.

“Transition is not an event, it’s a process,” Peacock said. “You can’t drop someone off at the curb. It’s really about making sure that they engage.”

Engaging with the teenager and parent to make sure they have a plan, looking into insurance options, knowing what the next steps will be in advance helps to facilitate the transfer more efficiently. All seven participating practices have done this and more as they recently met their goals for the 2018 grant cycle and are looking forward to celebrating their continued success.

“Texas Children’s Pediatrics is excited to have many locations become a part of the Transition Medicine Program,” President of Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Kay Tittle said. “The goal is that this success continues on past the length of the grant, more practices are added, and we to continue to address transition effectively.”

These clinics are provided with an array of resources in the form of trainings, Epic tools, and supports for developing their own transition initiatives. If you work with TCP and are interested in learning more about Transition Medicine and how you can help support these efforts, please reach out to Pam Brock, RN pmbrock@texaschildrens.org, or Dr. Rebecca Laster, rblaster@texaschildrens.org.

January 15, 2019

On January 11, University Pediatric Association, became Texas Children’s Pediatrics’ latest addition.

Last year Texas Children’s Pediatrics expanded outside of the Houston area opening its first primary care site in Austin, today that expansion has made its way to College Station, marking yet another milestone in Texas Children’s path toward creating a network of quality pediatric care for children and families throughout the state of Texas.

Located at 1602 Rock Prairie Road, Suite 1100 College Station, Texas, Texas Children’s Pediatrics University Pediatric Association has seven board certified physicians, two nurse practitioners, and a host of other employees dedicated to meeting the healthcare needs of infants to teenagers. Our expert physicians offer full-service pediatric care including:

  • Prenatal consultations
  • Well-child visits
  • Care of illnesses
  • Care and treatment of minor injuries
  • Vaccinations and immunizations
  • Preventative health care
  • School and sports physicals
  • Hearing and vision screening
  • Health care and nutrition education

“This is the largest practice that we will have acquired in a long time,” President of Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Kay Tittle said. “We are very excited about moving into a new city and providing quality primary pediatric care to children and their families in the College Station area.”

Click here for more information about Texas Children’s Pediatrics University Pediatric Association.

June 19, 2018

On June 18, Texas Children’s Pediatrics opened its first primary care site in Austin, marking another milestone in Texas Children’s path toward creating a network of quality pediatric care for children and families living in the state’s capital city.

Located at 5625 Eiger Road, Suite 225, in southwest Austin, Austin Pediatrics is managed by Dr. Casey Mulcihy, who has more than 30 years of experience in caring for children. Mulcihy offers a full array of services for children of all ages including well child care or checkups, immunizations, same-day sick appointments, management of asthmas, ADD and/ADHD, and many other common pediatric conditions. He also provides courtesy pre-natal and introductory physician consultations.

Austin Pediatrics is unique because it is a solo pediatric practice, which means patients get one-on-one care with the same doctor at every visit. The office is able to provide 24/7 coverage for after-hours emergencies, through a network of other solo pediatricians in Austin.

“We are very excited about reaching this milestone,” said Kay Tittle, president of Texas Children’s Pediatrics. “It signifies the first step of many more to come in providing quality primary pediatric care to children and their families in Austin and the surrounding area.”

Executive Vice President Michelle Riley-Brown said opening Austin Pediatrics shows Texas Children’s commitment to caring for patients and their families in the Austin area.

“Primary care is extremely important to a child’s overall health and Texas Children’s Pediatrics provides the finest pediatricians dedicated to meeting the health care needs of infants to teenagers,” Riley-Brown said. “We are proud to be offering our expertise to children and families in Austin and are looking forward to being a vital part of their lives.”

Texas Children’s marked its beginnings in Austin on March 6 with the opening of our first Texas Children’s Urgent Care location. Located at 4477 South Lamar Blvd., the office provides high-quality, efficient and affordable pediatric-focused care after hours and on weekends.

Over the next five years, we hope to open more Urgent Care locations as well as continue to build our Texas Children’s Pediatrics network. Additional plans for 2018 include the opening of another Texas Children’s Pediatrics practice in July and the opening of Texas Children’s Specialty Care in Austin.

Scheduled to open in October, Texas Children’s Specialty Care brings subspecialty pediatric care and services into the community where it’s easy for children and families to access it. Our center will be staffed by Texas Children’s board-certified physicians, surgeons, therapists and clinical staff.

“When we say we’re coming to Austin, it means we’re bringing our unique brand of care to your community,” said Melissa Fischer, Texas Children’s Pediatrics director of community business development. “At every Texas Children’s location, children are seen and treated by experts trained to care for them.”

For more information about the new Austin Pediatrics location, click here. For more information about our long-term plans in Austin, click here.

May 8, 2018

Texas Children’s Pediatrics Cypresswood recently opened its doors for the first time since torrential rains from Hurricane Harvey flooded the practice’s first floor with six feet of water.

Wearing “Cypresswood Strong” T-shirts and pinned with mums, Cypresswood staff celebrated the reopening as a homecoming. After the storm while the practice located at 8111 Cypresswood Drive in Spring was being rebuilt, staff saw their patients and families at various other Texas Children’s locations throughout the area, including Texas Children’s Urgent Care The Vintage, Texas Children’s Pediatrics FM 2920 and Texas Children’s Pediatrics Rayford.

“We are so happy to be home in our beautiful new office,” said Dr. Carolina Placenia, the lead physician at Cypresswood. “There is no place like home.”

Julie Laake, Cypresswood’s clinical supervisor, agreed and said the past eight months provided an opportunity for everyone in the practice to learn, grow and develop an even greater appreciation for one another and the support they have organization wide.

“I am greatly appreciative of all of our fellow Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Texas Children’s Urgent Care offices that welcomed us in and housed our physicians and employees during this time,” Laake said.” This allowed our Cypresswood practice to continue providing care for our patients, which could not have been done without this amazing teamwork.”

Hannah Conley, Cypresswood’s non-clinical supervisor, said everyone at Cypresswood has grown closer because of what happened during Hurricane Harvey.

“I have a new-found respect for all Texas Children’s employees and how wonderful they were during this,” Conley said. “Everyone has really done an amazing job at keeping us all afloat.”

A handful of other Texas Children’s Pediatrics were damaged during the storm but none as badly as Cypresswood, which closed its doors for the longest of any Texas Children’s Pediatrics due to Hurricane Harvey.

“We are extremely thankful no one else received substantial damage, and that we were able to continue caring for our Cypresswood patients and families while the practice was being repaired,” said Kay Tittle, Texas Children’s Pediatrics president. “It is a testament to our dedication to our patients, families, colleagues and Texas Children’s mission as a whole.”

February 27, 2018

The American Board of Lifestyle Medicine (ABLM) announced that Dr. Tiffany Nguyen, is among the 204 physicians and 43 PhD/Masters-level health clinicians who have become the first medical professionals globally, to be certified as Diplomates of the ABLM/American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) and the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine.

The ABLM was formed in November, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee, by a group of visionary physicians who saw the need to: educate physicians and allied health professionals about Lifestyle Medicine; set a common standard/language for Lifestyle Medicine protocols globally; differentiate between evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine professionals and non-evidence based Lifestyle Medicine practitioners; set a global Lifestyle Medicine benchmark; and attract health insurance funding for evidence-based Lifestyle Medicine by requiring that any fund receivers be formally certified.

“Gone are the days of diagnosing the ill, prescribing the pill and sending the bill, which has worked so well in combating communicable disease, but is hopelessly inadequate in the fight against chronic disease,” said ABLM Executive Director Stephan Herzog. “Nourishment, movement, resilience and social connectedness will become the focal point of physicians in addressing the underlying causes of chronic disease, with increasing numbers of medical schools starting to train their students in the principles of lifestyle medicine.”

Each clinician took an exam October 26 in Tucson, AZ, following the American College of Lifestyle Medicine’s 2017 conference.

“For the patient, having health care providers not only look at the symptoms, but also at the underlying cause of disease,” said ACLM President George Guthrie. “It will help them take charge of their health and prevent, arrest and reverse chronic disease, thus returning years to their life and life to their years.”

Dr. Nguyen practices at the Texas Children’s Pediatrics Kingwood location, where she continues to uphold the core values of ALBM as well as Texas Children’s.

February 6, 2018

Texas Children’s Pediatrics acquired its first practice site in 1995. Two decades later, 50 more have been added and as of December 2017, all practices, hold the highest Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

NCQA Recognition Programs allow employers, patients and consumers to make quality informed health care decisions. This prestigious distinction celebrates patient care organizations that have demonstrated a strong commitment to improving quality care for their patients.

“NCQA has become the gold standard for quality of care amongst primary care physicians around the country,” said Dr. Stanley Spinner, Texas Children’s Pediatrics chief medical officer and vice president.

All 51 of the Texas Children’s Pediatrics practice sites submitted documented evidence to demonstrate data requirements for the distinction. All clinics are structured to follow the six required PCMH 2014 Standards:

  • Patient Centered Access
  • Team Based Care
  • Population Health Management
  • Care Management and Support
  • Care Coordination and Care Transitions
  • Performance Measurement and Quality Improvement

“Achieving this high level of quality of care has led to improved outcomes, often at a lower cost,” Spinner said. “Texas Children’s Pediatrics is extremely proud of the work that has been done throughout all levels of our organization during the past three years. This offers us a distinct advantage in our current managed care market.”

To date, Texas Children’s Pediatrics has achieved three successful cycles of PCMH Level III recognition, signifying organizational commitment to excellence by working together at every level across the system.

“This is an opportunity for our organization to show and prove that we only want the best care for our patients and their families,” said Natasha Fields, Texas Children’s Pediatrics Nanes Practice Manager. “Moving forward I believe it will continue to display our dedication, passion and integrity for all. It’s a special occasion and we all should celebrate.”

April 25, 2017

On April 20, Texas Children’s leaders and staff joined community members in the Third Ward to celebrate the relocation and renaming of two Texas Children’s entities that have the unified goal of building a community of healthy children and are dedicated to providing the highest quality pediatric care to the children and families they serve.

The two celebrated entities are: Texas Children’s Hospital Primary Care Practice at Palm Center, formerly the Residents’ Primary Care Group located in the Texas Medical Center, and Texas Children’s Pediatric Palm Center, formerly known as Texas Children’s Pediatrics Cullen.

Both practices are now located in the heart of the Third Ward at 5400 Griggs Road.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to better and more conveniently meet the needs of underserved children and their families in the Third Ward,” said Texas Children’s Pediatrics President Kay Tittle.

Texas Children’s Pediatric Palm Center is a community-based collaborative health and wellness project that provides an accessible medical home to children and families. Its staff of four health care providers offers ongoing community and organizational support for family-focused health services that address the broad social, health, educational and spiritual needs of children.

As part of its goal to build a community of healthy children, Texas Children’s Pediatrics Community Cares Program provides trusted, high-quality pediatric medical services for children who otherwise would seek care from emergency rooms or possibly go without care or treatment due to low family incomes and/or lack of health insurance. Regardless of the family’s financial situation, the Community Cares Program provides health care to children from birth to age 18 and offers the opportunity to develop a trusting, long-term relationship with a board certified pediatrician.

When the doors to Texas Children’s Pediatric Palm Center first opened in 2000 at its original location, it was the first Texas Children’s Pediatrics Community Cares practice and was the vision of Dr. Robert Austin.

“Dr. Austin is the founder of and was the first pediatrician at Texas Children’s Pediatrics Cullen and believes, as we do, that we have an obligation to take care of any child who needs us and help ensure their future is healthy,” Tittle said. “Thank you, Dr. Austin, for your vision and for your continued dedication to this program.”

Resident’s Primary Care Group Clinic

The Texas Children’s Hospital Resident’s Primary Care Group Clinic recently moved from the Clinical Care Tower to the Palm Center at 5400 Griggs Road, Suite 101. The clinic also was renamed to Texas Children’s Hospital Primary Care Practice at Palm Center.

Texas Children’s Hospital Primary Care Practice at Palm Center provides comprehensive routine and preventive health care including well child check-ups, sick visits, sports physicals, immunizations and management of chronic pediatric medical conditions.

The medical staff at the clinic remains the same and will continue to be actively engaged in medical education. Texas Children’s Hospital Primary Care Practice at Palm Center will serve as the largest Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine practice that provides primary care experience for pediatric medical students and residents.

“Moving this clinical practice to the Palm Center neighborhood in Houston’s Third Ward offers a great opportunity to serve the community while modeling best practice to the next generation of pediatricians,” said Clinic Chief Dr. Teresa Duryea. “We are excited to build collaborations within the community and advocate for the needs of the children.”

The clinic’s new location offers free parking and is conveniently located at the Palm Center Station on the MetroRail’s Purple Line. Please call 346-227-7275 to facilitate transfers. Referrals can be made in Epic to Primary Care Practice (TCH Resident Continuity Clinic). Appointments can be made through Central Scheduling at 832-822-2778.

For more information on Texas Children’s Hospital Primary Care Practice at Palm Center click here. For more information about Texas Children’s Pediatric Palm Center click here.