April 1, 2019 | (0) Comments

At Texas Children’s, time goes by fast. We move at a quick pace because of the nature of our jobs and our never-ending drive to carry out our mission of creating a healthier future for children and women.

As a result, we often forget to pause and reflect on what we have done to help those who seek our care. Before you know it another year has passed and with it, a host of accomplishments, victories and steps forward.

Fortunately, Texas Children’s produces an annual report each year spotlighting the breadth, depth and growth of our organization. The online report — full of compelling stories, videos and graphics about our patients, staff, clinical programs and expanding facilities — reaches tens of thousands of people across the globe.

I am happy to announce that the 2018 Texas Children’s Annual Report went live this week and is a dynamic representation of our growth and success last year. Titled “We’ve never been better,” this year’s website illustrates in a special section the opening of the Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower — our new home for heart, intensive care and surgery. With more than 640,000 square feet of space, Smith Legacy Tower will help us continue to serve our patients and their families, particularly those who are critically ill and have complex medical needs.

Each section of the Annual Report website — 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. I’ve shared a few of these incredible accomplishments in a video so you can see some of our 2018 highlights.

For me, the Annual Report is a purposeful walk down memory lane that never fails to inspire me with renewed vigor and dedication to our mission. It’s also an opportunity to share the progress Texas Children’s has made over the course of a year with those who might need our care, want to collaborate with us or be part of our team.

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.

As you will see, 2018 was a remarkable year for Texas Children’s. We’ve truly never been better!

May 23, 2018 | (2) Comments

On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, our most critically-ill patients were moved from West Tower to floors nine through 12 of the beautiful new Legacy Tower.

At 7 a.m., seven specially-trained clinical teams began safely transporting more than 45 critically-ill patients to their new, spacious, state-of-the-art critical care rooms. The amount of planning and effort behind this monumental move was almost inconceivable. More than 150 staff were involved, and the careful transfer of our patients took more than 7 hours. Once our patients and their families settled into their new spaces, our staff focused on what they do best – providing the highest quality pediatric care to our patients and their families in a new, family-focused environment.

This phase one opening of our 640,000-square-foot, 400-foot-tall Legacy Tower marks a significant milestone in our 64-year history that will help us continue to serve our patients and their families, particularly children who are critically ill and have complex needs. We are opening with six technologically advanced operating rooms – one with intraoperative MRI – and 84 ICU beds, including dedicated surgical, neuro and transitional ICU beds.

In September when phase two of Legacy Tower opens, it will be the new home of Texas Children’s Heart Center® and will include an outpatient clinic, four catheterization labs with one intraprocedural MRI, cardiovascular intensive care unit, four CVORs, and cardiology acute care beds.

While all of these enhanced clinical amenities will better enable us to care for sick children, the truly special thing about Legacy Tower is that it was built for and with the input of our patient families. During the construction process, we listened to the wants and needs of Texas Children’s patients, families and the staff who cares for them, and we implemented many of their suggestions.

We heard parents when they told us they wanted to be able to sleep in a bed next to their child instead of a chair. That they wanted to be able to take a shower without leaving their child’s room. And that they wanted peaceful places to take a break when needed, without having to leave the hospital.

We also have a therapy dog dedicated to Legacy Tower. Bailey, a lively 18-month-old Golden Retriever, will offer comfort and encouragement to our patients. My wife Shannon and I supported the addition of Bailey for the hospital’s Pawsitive Play Program to enhance the emotional well-being of our patients. Bailey will help patients feel less anxious, reduce their perception of pain and fear of the hospital and will really complement our holistic approach to care.

As a whole, we want our patients and their families to be as comfortable as possible while they are here with us, and we want our clinical teams to have the best environments in which to work and the best tools with which to care for our patients. With Legacy Tower, we will achieve all this, better than ever before.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the realization of the opening of Legacy Tower. The leadership, the collaborative teams, the innovation and ideas from knowledgeable front line staff … all of these elements are what got us here. Together, we have taken another step to fulfill the legacy of Texas Children’s, and I walk these halls today – as should you – with immense pride. Today is a new era and a blessing, to us and to all those we will serve for decades to come. Congratulations Texas Children’s.

Click here for a video of our staff and employees sharing their thoughts about the big move!


December 22, 2017 | (1) Comments

I love this time of year – not simply because of the wonderful holiday spirit that surrounds us (although I do enjoy that too!). But I always appreciate the time to reflect on the year we’ve had. And this has been a year that tested our leadership, showcased our culture, and most of all, demonstrated our determination.

If you felt especially busy this year, it was not just a feeling, it is a fact. We had an incredible year that set records across the system, including:

  • 33,659 surgeries
  • 227,985 patient days
  • 126,112 Emergency Center visits
  • 87,242 Urgent Care encounters
  • 438,501 Health Plan members
  • 3.7 million patient encounters

I know this is a really busy time, and we may not even realize the tremendous work we have done as an organization over the past several months. So I want to share a few of the hallmarks of a pretty awesome year.

  • Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands – Last Decemb122217OTMEOYsurgery225er, we opened the Outpatient
    Building at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, and we followed in April with the opening of inpatient services. There was an immediate response from the community. Within the five months remaining in fiscal year 2017, we had 991 admissions, 2,078 surgeries, 5,204 patient days and more than 12,000 EC visits. The families in North Houston were ready and waiting for Texas Children’s Hospital.
  • Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus – Now in our seventh year, we continued to see strong growth and expansion at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. In FY2017, we had 3,707 admissions, 6,934 surgeries, 15,004 patient days and more than 43,000 EC visits. And can you believe we now have over 1,000 employees and more than 200 faculty at the West Campus? It’s just amazing.
  • CareFirst – Our CareFirst initiative continues to unfold with our progress on Legacy Tower at our medical center campus. We celebrated our topping out of the tower in February, and we officially named it Legacy Tower in May. We’ve completed the exterior of the tower and the interiors of floors 8-10. Excitement is definitely building as we get closer to the May 2018 phase I opening. Also, as part of our CareFirst initiative, we opened Texas Children’s Mission Control in July. Located on the third floor of Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, this suite is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and sharp employees from Room Management, Transport Services, Critical Care, Security and Facilities. The opening of Mission Control immediately improved the transfer process of our critically ill patients to and from Texas Children’s. Just months after the opening, we had reduced the time from dispatch to pick-up by 20 critical minutes.
  • Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women – On March 26 we celebrated five years of delivering 122217OTMEOYhappyfive230high quality and comprehensive care to women and newborns. In fiscal year 2017, we had 5,719 births and a 21% transfer rate to our NICU. The results at the Pavilion remind us what a sound strategy it was to move into the obstetrics space, giving us the ability to help secure our NICU volumes and, more importantly, to ensure the best possible outcomes for expectant mothers and their babies.
  • Austin expansion – In May we announced our plans to expand our pediatric and OB/GYN services into Austin, beginning with the opening of a welcome center in January 2018, followed by a Texas Children’s Urgent Care clinic in March 2018 and a Texas Children’s Specialty Care practice in October 2018. Over the next five years, we plan to expand our network in Austin to include four pediatric urgent care clinics, 18 pediatric primary care practices, three pediatric specialty care locations and two maternal-fetal medicine practices.
  • U.S. News rankings – The 2017 U.S. News and World Report Best Children’s Hospital 122217OTMEOYheartcenter225rankings were announced in July, and Texas Children’s shined again. Eight of our pediatric subspecialties ranked in the top 10, and the other two are very close and steadily climbing. Perhaps most exciting this year was that we had another specialty to rise to the very top spot – Texas Children’s was ranked No. 1 in the nation in cardiology and heart surgery.
  • The Promise Campaign – We reached a significant milestone in Promise: The Campaign for Texas Children’s. By the end of September, donors had contributed $408.9 million, pushing the organization ever closer to its $475 million fundraising goal. The amount raised during fiscal year 2017 alone – $124.7 million – is a new annual high for the hospital’s fundraising team.

As much as I have shared above, there are still many more stories of triumph and resilience across Texas Children’s. Take a look at Texas Children’s Health Plan. We had a tough year, but we’re on the right path, and we’re responding to the tremendous needs of the children who depend on access to exceptional heath care. What we’re already seeing as a result of the challenges we faced this year with STAR Kids and in caring for a huge population for medically dependent children is that we’re learning quickly, right sizing appropriately, and we are thinking like a system. That bodes well for the Health Plan, and it makes for a healthier future for all of Texas Children’s.

Last, I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention Hurricane Harvey. Together, we weathered this historical storm that devastated the Houston area, and together, we came out on the other side of it stronger. The resolve, determination and courage of our staff and employees were inspiring. I was simply in awe of you, and the way you supported each other, our patients and their families. It was a shining moment for us that showcased incredible strength and kindness.

And that was Texas Children’s in 12 months. Wow! It is quite a lot to reflect on and appreciate. With each passing year, we continue to get better and better. We take challenges, and we create opportunities. We encounter problems, and we recalibrate swiftly. And we prove time and again that we are one amazing team.

I’ll see you back here in 2018 for the next chapter of this remarkable story. Until then, happy holidays!

June 28, 2017 | (8) Comments

Our U.S. News & World Report rankings were released yesterday, and I’m proud to say that Texas Children’s again made an impressive showing in this annual survey. Eight of our pediatric subspecialities are ranked in the top 10, and the other two are very close and steadily climbing. Most exciting, however, is that we have again had another specialty rise to the very top spot – Texas Children’s is now ranked No. 1 in the nation in cardiology and heart surgery.

This is pretty amazing, and I’m thrilled to celebrate this tremendous accomplishment with the entire leadership team, staff and employees at Texas Children’s Heart Center. The Heart Center has held the No. 2 spot on the U.S .News list for the past two years and had consistently been ranked among the top pediatric heart programs since the pediatric subspecialty rankings began in 2008. This year, the Heart Center steps into the No. 1 spot, surpassing Boston Children’s Hospital, which had held the top ranking in this subspeciality for the past 19 years.

The Heart Center’s accomplishment is built on a rich history of expert and innovative pediatric heart care, exceptional leadership, partnership and focus on doing what’s best for our patients. Led by the late Drs. Denton Cooley and Dan McNamara, Texas Children’s Hospital started performing heart surgery on children in 1956. Dr. Cooley, a pioneer heart surgeon, and Dr. McNamara, a patriarch of pediatric cardiology, were among the first to demonstrate that small children could safely undergo heart surgery.

Since then, the Heart Center has continued to grow, push the envelope and pave the way to become a highly sought and respected center of excellence. Much as it was in the beginning, the Heart Center today is led and staffed by world-renowned pediatric cardiologists and surgeons: Surgeon-In-Chief and Chief of Congenital Heart Surgery Dr. Charles Fraser Jr., Chief of Cardiology Dr. Daniel Penny, Chief of Cardiovascular Anesthesia Dr. Emad Mossad, Chief of Critical Care Dr. Lara Shekerdemian and Anesthesiologist-In-Chief Dr. Dean Andropoulos. It is because of their leadership that the entire Heart Center team remains dedicated to developing innovative cardiac interventions and surgical treatment options to treat the tens of thousands of children with heart defects who seek our care annually.

Our U.S. News rankings are a testament to the amazing leadership we have here at Texas Children’s. This recognition is not just about any one person being exceptional. This is about each and every member of the team operating at a level that is second to none. You know one of my maxims is “Leadership applies to everyone.” Everyone is a leader at Texas Children’s. This recognition is about the leadership that is demonstrated by everyone from the frontline to the executive team every single day. I know that a big part of our success is due to our culture of exellence, which challenges each of us to be our best, to think creatively and, most importantly, to consistently exceed our patients’ expectations.

Congratulations Texas Children’s Heart Center. We are beyond proud of your accomplishments.

Watch this video to see and hear people’s reactions when they learned about Texas Children’s No. 1 ranking in cardiology and heart surgery.