March 9, 2018

One thing I really appreciate about having a blog is that it gives me another place to hear from you. Believe it or not, I read every comment. Sometimes I reach out to employees to address questions and concerns. Other times I reach out to my leaders and ask them to address a concern. But whether you hear from me directly or not, I’m always reading, always listening and thinking about what you’ve shared. So hearing your voice on the blog is invaluable to me.

My last blog post about parking and patient access generated many comments from employees about our shuttle services and employee parking. I took your comments to heart, and I immediately reached out to the leadership that oversees these areas. They were just as concerned about the issues that surfaced and provided some immediate feedback, which I’m sharing below.

In addition, some of your questions and thoughts have immediately set the wheels in motion for us to look into additional solutions. We will follow up with those plans in the weeks to come. But for now, here are some things I’d like you to know:

After-hours parking

  • Garage 16: After-hours employees who work in West Tower, Abercrombie, Feigin or Wallace Tower have access to Wallace Tower/Garage 16 on weekends. You may enter Garage 16 between 6 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Employees will need to exit Garage 16 by 8 a.m. Monday to ensure capacity for our patients and visitors on Monday morning. Garage 16 is not available for after-hours parking on holidays that fall on weekdays.
  • Texas Medical Center garages: After-hours employees have access to Texas Medical Center garages between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays and holidays. You also have access on weekends between 6 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Monday.

Shuttles

  • Additional circulator shuttle: Thursday morning, we reached out to the Texas Medical Center and immediately received approval to add another circulator shuttle during our non-peak hours (approximately 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.). This additional shuttle was added today. We will continue to look at other options for shuttle stops.
  • Shuttle hotline: You can provide feedback about the shuttles at any time by using the shuttle hotline. Simply call 832-824-2666. Our leaders pay attention to the hotline messages, they constantly monitor ridership, delays and route adjustments, and they make every attempt to respond to and/or resolve issues that are brought to our attention.

Signage

We are making improvements regarding signage and wayfinding inside our buildings, and we are also working on exterior wayfinding. You will begin to see additional signage in the coming weeks.

Parking costs

Texas Children’s is one of the last organizations in the Texas Medical Center that still offers paid parking for its employees.

 

I hope you find this information useful, and again, I always appreciate hearing from you. I care about how the decisions we make impact our staff and employees, and hearing from you provides me with insight and other points of view.

By the same token, I do indeed want us to continue keeping our patients and their families in mind. Always consider what simple thing you might do to help ensure our patients have the access and exceptional experience they deserve every time they are with us.

March 6, 2018

So let’s say you take your family out for dinner. You’ve picked a great new restaurant, and the food is delicious, the ambiance is perfect, but the wait staff is a bit rude. Well, no matter how great the food is, what are the chances that you’re going to go back? Probably pretty unlikely – right?

Well, our patients and families choose to seek care at Texas Children’s because they know without a doubt that we provide the best quality of care! We have the best and brightest people in the world taking care of their loved ones. However, once they walk through the doors, patients and families evaluate us based on the quality of the service they receive. A big part of that quality of service begins before they even walk through our doors. For many of our patient families, that experience begins with something that should be relatively simple – convenient parking.

When we design and construct our buildings, we include ample parking for our patient families as well. But lately many of our patient families have been unable to find parking in the garages at our Medical Center Campus. That happens in some part because Texas Children’s employees are occupying spaces that have been designated for patient families or are using the valet services intended for our patient families.

Just two weeks ago, Security turned away 51 employees trying to park in Garage 21. That would have been 51 patient families that would have been frustrated or inconvenienced. This ongoing concern has created an overwhelming burden on our patient families who come to Texas Children’s for their care. A couple of comments from a recent Press Ganey survey:

“Parking is terrible. I almost missed an appointment due to waiting 16 minutes just to get into the parking garage and another 15 to 20 minutes to park, as the garage was full.”

 “Parking our vehicle was a nightmare. We spent over an hour trying to get a parking spot.”

 As part of Texas Children’s Step Up for Patients First initiative, we encourage our employees to live compassionately and put our patients and their families first. A simple way to do this includes giving families priority access to parking to help ensure they get to their children’s clinical appointments on time.

Using the limited parking reserved for our patient families is counter to the experience we are all committed to providing them. It also disregards Texas Children’s Parking Policy, which prohibits employees from parking in Texas Children’s Hospital garages 12, 16 or 21 or using valet services when you are here for work purposes. To ensure employees understand this policy and the desire of Texas Children’s to put patients and families first, Security will continue to conduct random monitoring and take appropriate steps to correct this practice.

Having free, dedicated employee parking garages (garages 14 and 19) at the Meyer Building and a large, frequently circulating fleet of employee shuttles provides all employees with convenient alternatives to the limited parking on the Medical Center Campus, which is the only option for our patient families and visitors. Coming to the world’s largest medical center and navigating a parking garage, especially with the temporary closures due to our current construction, is difficult enough for families. Let’s do all we can to ease the experience.

We can create a better experience for patient families and visitors by parking in the designated employee garages so that finding parking is the least of their concerns. It’s a simple step that will have a lasting impact on a family’s experience with us.