A mission to provide care, a charge to do it well

Three years ago, Jessica Coker of Willis, Texas, gave birth to her son, Christopher. Unbeknownst to Coker during her pregnancy, Christopher would be born with various medical issues requiring comprehensive care for his special needs and diligent health care management.

Three years ago, Jessica Coker of Willis, Texas, gave birth to her son, Christopher. Unbeknownst to Coker during her pregnancy, Christopher would be born with various medical issues requiring comprehensive care for his special needs and diligent health care management.

In a story on Connect last week, you read about one of our precious patients – 3-year-old Christopher – and his mom Jessica Coker. Jessica shared how shortly after giving birth to Christopher she learned he had very complex medical needs and would require a level of care and health care management that, just days before, she could not even fathom. But like most parents, she received the devastating news as a charge to immediately learn all she could to be her child’s most diligent and resourceful health care advocate.

I think about families like the Cokers all the time. These families and their children remind us why we are here,star-kids-2 and they drive the work we do at Texas Children’s. They are why I am so very excited about today – today is the debut of STAR Kids, a new Texas Medicaid managed care program that will provide benefits to more than 180,000 children and young adults who have special health care needs.

Texas Children’s Health Plan is one of three managed care organizations offering the STAR Kids plan in Harris, Jefferson and Northeast service areas. But make no mistake – this is a system-wide interest for Texas Children’s. We expect to enroll thousands of new children in the Health Plan. Many of these children are already receiving some level of care at Texas Children’s, and many more will be new to our system. We have a responsibility to ensure exceptional, seamlessly coordinated health care across our system for all of these children.

Many of the children in STAR Kids will be cared for by a host of specialists. Christopher, for example, sees about 24 specialists within and outside of the Texas Children’s system. Christopher’s well-being and that of thousands of children relies squarely on the support they have in navigating the health care system. These children need primary care, outpatient subspecialty services, diagnostic services and therapies, and we have an incomparable and vast network of care. But the best care in the world will not benefit them if they do not have access to it when they need it. Our involvement in STAR Kids is an opportunity for us to stand in the gap for these children, and our new Complex Care Clinic is one way we are doing that. Our care coordinators – registered nurses and certified social workers – provide individual treatment plans to make sure these children have preventive care and routine well visits, urgent visits and follow-up care.

And while our primary driver is ensuring the right care for the children in the program, understand that we also have a huge financial stake in the success of STAR Kids. Efficiently and proactively managing care for these children – and all of our patients, for that matter – means we not only provide the right care, but we respond to their needs in the right place and at the right time. Getting families connected to appropriate resources, providing planned, well-coordinated care, and having robust home based services will help their children avoid unnecessary emergency room visits and unplanned hospital stays.

As a result, they stay healthier, and they enjoy a better quality of life. That is why we are here at Texas Children’s, and that is success for everyone – our patient families and for us. Our mission is to care for these children. Our charge is to do it well.

Learn more about STAR Kids and Texas Children’s involvement.

Mark H. Wallace

Category: Advocacy/Awareness, Optimization, Outcomes, Partnership, Quality

About Mark A. Wallace

Mark A. Wallace was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Texas Children’s Hospital in 1989 at the age of 36. Under his leadership, Texas Children’s has grown into one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive pediatric and women’s health care organizations, garnering more than 4.3 million patient encounters annually and achieving international recognition as a referral center.

19 thoughts on “A mission to provide care, a charge to do it well

  1. Sarah Maytum says:

    It is another exciting day for Texas Children’s- our willingness to stand in the gap for countless children in Texas is a testament to our steadfast dedication to our mission. Jessica is a wonderful example of how so many families respond to the health challenges of a loved one: with optimism, determination and a commitment to ensuring that their child receives the very best care and service. In Patient and Family Services, we are ready to support Jessica, Christopher and all the other families who have turned to Texas Children’s. Congratulations to our colleagues at TCHP and across the system who have worked so hard to bring STAR Kids to reality. The impact on our patient families will be immeasurable.

  2. Diane Kaulen says:

    I am grateful to work for an organization that prioritizes children with complex medical needs and their families. We are excited to walk this path along side these families to help meet their children’s medical and emotional needs.

  3. Michelle Lawson says:

    What a great opportunity that has been given to Texas Children’s to help our patients and families have the right care at the right place at the right time. We welcome and will rise to the challenge before us to collaborate with families and provide the best and safest care in a way that is meaningful to each one. I look forward to the connections with families that lies ahead-a privilege to share in their journey and care of their children.

  4. Kenneth Martin says:

    Preparing for the STAR Kids program has been an amazing team effort. It’s always so encouraging to see the Texas Children’s family come together for a unified goal. Providing planned, well-coordinated care to the patients and families of the STAR Kids program demonstrates our strong commitment to the children of Texas.

  5. Gay Matthews says:

    What a great opportunity we have been afforded to work with our most precious patients and their families in a way that is so needed. This is another step in helping them get the collaborative care they need and deserve. We are set to help in any way needed to support this great program.

  6. Katie Daggett says:

    This is why I love being part of our mission at Texas Children’s! Time and time again we choose to do the right thing – the best thing – for children across the community. Congratulations to everyone who has helped get us to today – we stand with you to ensure the success of this most important milestone.

  7. Aileen Rago says:

    A tremendous responsibility and opportunity for Texas Children’s to truly coordinate care in a meaningful way for families in our community. STAR Kids is a very real example of leadership from across our system at every level- partnering with families in this complex world of healthcare and advocating on their behalf.

  8. Mary Tietjens says:

    Another milestone in our Texas Children’s history is unfolding today! It is so exciting to think about this “stepping stone” and how the incredible work accomplished today will impact children and families for years to come. I look forward to partnering with STAR Kids in providing the outstanding care these patients and families deserve.

  9. Hasti Taghi says:

    It is amazing to see us always “skate to where the puck will be!” Care coordination is an extraordinary responsibility for these parents and it will make a world of difference to assist them in their needs. All of our patient families deserve the best and with STAR Kids, we are proving to them that we are dedicated to continuing our mission to be the best.

  10. Tangula Taylor says:

    It is hard to believe that this day is finally here. After extensive months of preparation, the STAR Kids product is now live. The opportunity and responsibility we have to provide outstanding care management and care coordination to support the families of children with medical complexities is great and I can think of no better institution to rise to the occasion than Texas Children’s. This is definitely another milestone day for us and it warms my heart to know what a difference we will make to enhance the quality of life for many families.

  11. Laura Hardy says:

    This truly represents a new era for Texas Children’s and healthcare as a whole for children in the state of Texas. Watching work teams from all over the Texas Children’s system unite to prepare for STAR Kids has been inspiring. It is this culture of unity, which we have demonstrated time and again, that will ensure success as we work together to better care for these patients across our system.

  12. Janta Rainey says:

    I am proud to be a part of an organization that sees making a deference in the lives of others as a standard operating procedure. Families depend on us to care for the most precious gifts that they will ever have! STAR KIDS is a wonderful opportunity to create and develop a partnership that will reach families that are in need of and will benefit greatly from all the resources and care coordinated team work that we are able to provide through out our system!

  13. Diane Scardino says:

    I am so proud to be part of this amazing endeavor that will greatly impact the lives of children and families that need Texas Children’s the most. Caring for the most complex kids in our state is what we do! I can’t wait to see how leading the way in better partnerships and care coordination will ultimately result in better outcomes for this vulnerable population.

  14. Alene Whitesides, RN, CPN says:

    We have an opportunity to light up their lives during their most vulnerable moments. Parents are so appreciative to find out they are not alone with the challenges they face. This makes a world of difference. So proud to be a part of the process as I serve the kiddos prior to obtaining their STAR KIDS status if eligible.

  15. Kristi A Lemmert, LCSW-Manager STAR Kids NE says:

    The day we have all been waiting for finally arrived. It was like waiting for Christmas…so much anticipation and excitement! The first member I scheduled an appointment for I thought I would bust! It was amazing to put into action all that we have been learning, organizing and creating. I am so very proud to be a part of this wonderful product and to give a voice to the children and families in our service area.

  16. Rebecca White says:

    So excited to be on the inside, both to see this beautiful organization blossom and meet families needs from the professional aspect, as well as to recognize the work being done as a the mother of a patient with complex needs. No words have been more important to what is felt by STAR Kids families than those said above; the seizing of the opportunity to be there, in the gap, where these families easily fall, so we can create the net that catches them. What a deal! So excited, honored, and especially grateful for the work done by the people of this organization for these precious families.

  17. Cody Ford - IS TCHP says:

    The hard work and dedication of the TCHP team is coming to fruition. We are excited to expand our services to these additional children, and will continue to provide them the best support available. Serving our children is what our daily work is all about – at every level.

  18. Theadis Smith says:

    Wooo … What a highlight this year for Texas childrens Hospital with the expandsion of the PFW, and being able to discover new innovative medical properties for the star kids an their trauma and critical needs.

    1. Theadis Smith says:

      WOW…What a highlight this year for Texas Hospital with the upgrade of the PFWand being able to discover new innovative medical properties for the Star Kids and their traumas and critical needs.

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