Blessed in a bear market

April 4, 2016 | (19) Comments

It’s difficult to get through a day without seeing or hearing a headline that reminds you of today’s uncertain financial landscape. People are worried about saving for retirement and paying for their kids’ education. We hear about layoffs. And when we see the low gas prices, we’re reminded there’s a shortfall at the company where your neighbor, your church member or your spouse works.

Many of us can’t help but carry the burden of financial concerns these days. We all remember the recession of 2008, but even then, Houston was comparatively unscathed and among the quickest-to-rebound cities. But this time feels different, because it is different.

Now, because the oil and gas industry is primarily impacted, Houston is feeling the brunt of it. And subsequently your friends and family in the oil industry have been or may be impacted. And to some degree, we feel residual effects at Texas Children’s because the families of our patients are impacted.

I understand that many of you carry these concerns with you into work, and then you hear that we, too, are “managing to the margin” – or more pointedly, tightening our belts. You worry about that, and I understand. But I’ve got three things I want you to think about. Three things that are shaping a really promising future for all of us here at Texas Children’s.

First, we are proactively managing our margin right now in response to positive growth. That’s a really good thing. Have you been out to The Woodlands lately? Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands is looking amazing, and it is months from opening its outpatient services. We will spend $360 million to build this 550,000-square-foot facility, which will ultimately house 32 acute care beds, 28 ICU/NICU beds, 25 Emergency Center patient rooms and offer services in 29 medical and surgical pediatric subspecialties.

And if you’ve been to the medical center campus recently, you’ve seen the cranes and the work we’ve begun on our 19-floor, 640,000-square-foot pediatric inpatient care tower. We will spend $575 million on this new tower, opening in 2018, and the renovation of our Emergency Center, to be completed in 2020.

The fact that we can invest in state-of-the-art facilities like these is a testament to our organization’s financial strength and is in response to ever increasing demand for our services. The more exceptional our care, the higher the demand for our services. We are responding to that demand by expanding our clinical programs, facilities and, most importantly, our workforce.

That’s the second thing I want you to think about – our people. To ensure we can fulfill our mission, deliver on the promise of providing the best possible care, we’ve got to have the right people in place. Our team has to be the right size, have the right skills and talents and be the right fit for the culture of our one amazing team here at Texas Children’s. So that means right now our recruitment efforts are very aggressive. Over the next three years, we will hire about 5,000 new people. Currently, we are hiring about 17 new people every single day. But we’re balancing our “growth spurt” with the challenges of an ever-changing health care market.

Which brings me to the third thing – our experience with managing growth spurts. You know, it’s not the first time we’ve grown rapidly. Since 1989, we’ve had four major expansions totaling more than $3 billion. And we’ve grown from about 1,400 employees to about 13,000 in that time. So growth is not unfamiliar to us – or as people like to say: “This is not our first rodeo.”

The leadership team we have in place has been here during volatile bear markets and favorable bull markets. We’ve experienced fluctuations in acuity and demanding patient volumes when we’re short staffed. We’ve endured weather events that closed the doors of other hospitals, and we’ve built expansive new facilities a time or two, or three, and we’ve had to recruit aggressively many times.

This has evolved and matured us as a leadership team and as an organization. Our experience has made us smarter and more agile. It’s why we proactively tweak our budget mid-fiscal-year, if necessary, and it’s why we can confidently continue large-scale capital projects.

Most importantly, it’s why I can assure you that we’re in a good place here at Texas Children’s. We make decisions with all of you in mind, and we are constantly balancing the needs of our patients with those of our people, because we know we cannot take care of one without ensuring the support of the other. So, I know the news you hear all around us isn’t always good, but know that we are moving boldly because we’ve been blessed such that we can, and we’ve prepared such that we know how.


19 Responses to “Blessed in a bear market”

  1. Jackie Ward

    This is an exciting time for Texas Children’s and we are blessed to be in the position we are in to continue to grow and provide high quality services to our community. We are up for the challenge – to manage our margin, care for our staff and the patients. Thank you for your tireless leadership!

  2. Judy Swanson

    Mark, thanks for your leadership and commitment to the children of this community! What TCH has accomplished under your leadership is truly amazing. Thanks for all you do for our community! I am so proud to be a part of your leadership team.

  3. Christy Brunton

    Thanks for this blog post and the reassurance it brings. I feel so blessed to be part of an organization that is proactively facing the downturn. I appreciate your leadership and the strong commitment the hospital has to its employees and the families and patients we serve. #oneamazingteam

  4. Jennifer DiPrisco

    We are very fortunate, as an organization, to be in the position we are in. We are all up to leading through a bear market. Thank you for your leadership and the encouraging words. #peoplefirst #oneamazingteam

  5. Perry Ann Reed

    It is very reassuring to hear such a true and positive message from our CEO. Despite the difficult times in Houston and the region, TCH will remain a pillar of quality leadership while providing the best care to our patients and families. Continued growth while being prudent will once again set TCH apart from many other institutions and industries. #oneamazingteam

  6. Janet Winebar

    Thank you so much for such an inspiring message. Your great leadership will serve our employees and our community well as we maneuver through the bear markets and the growth periods!

  7. Cris Daskevich

    We are truly blessed to be part of such an AMAZING organization and team that is able to proactively lead in shaping our future. Thanks for your extraordinary leadership and inspiration, Mark!

  8. Alma Sanchez

    I am very proud and honored to be part of this great organization. This organization not only has our patients and our community in mind but the staff as well. This is why 19 years later I am still here and feel as excited about working here as I did when I was first hired.

  9. Ashley McLean

    An important thing is that it actually feels like the leadership team has us, employees, in mind. This unified spirit is reassuring, and helps us know that management is operating in a way that has everyone’s best interest in mind. Thank you for your devoted leadership! #oneamazingteam

  10. Ketrese White

    We are blessed to be a part of such a phenomenal organization! Your leadership has been instrumental in our success and our financial stability. We are all up for the challenge so that we can continue to provide access & exceptional care to our patients. I agree, The Woodlands is looking amazing! Thank you for your leadership. #oneamazingteam #opening2017TCHTheWoodlands

  11. Dulce Palomo

    Dear Mr. Wallace,
    The International Office totally agrees with you. We are working very hard to bring in more International Patients (and revenue) to help the hospital grow and reach out to many more kids in need. It would be our pleasure to have you come visit us!
    thank you for all you do.

  12. Dianne Woodard

    MR Wallace I thank God for you, and I appreciate everything you do for us, and thankful for all you do for this hospital, I just want you to know you are loved.

  13. Francisco Javier Blanco Rais

    After 9 years and 4 months, of belonging TCH at CCC Building in the Houston area(TMC), and right now I’m working for TCH at The Woodlands area, I’m so thankful with Dr. William A. Phillips who was my Chief last 8 and half years ago, God bless you Dr. Phillips.
    And today this environment it is GREAT and the people here are terrific and respectful a lot.
    Thank to Julie Barrett, Marian E. Jackson and Shawnda Kelley they are wonderful. I’m feel like my own home here, because my co-worker Patty Flores is really great.
    Thank you Texas Children’s Hospital to do the best for the CHILDREN’S

  14. Doris M. Blocker

    Mr. Wallace, I believe that the TCH family supports your distinguished leadership and the very difficult decisions that make you accountable in maintaining the highest potential for this institution’s survival!
    Texas Children’s Hospital has a very defined mission and to honor our mission, we should as a family, recognize and embrace the blessings that this Institution brings to so many lives and maintain the course!

    The waves will remain, to survive- one must learn to surf!

  15. Angela Doyle

    WOW! Thank you for the encouraging words. A person who cares about the job they do and the wellbeing of their employees takes the time to give reasurance to the employees. Thank you! TCH is really a place you love to say you work for.

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