At Texas Children’s, we are so passionate about our work and our mission that it is easy to get swept up in the incredible pace at which we move, build and expand. But for just a moment, about this time every year, I pause to really appreciate what we have achieved together in the span of one short year.
What I am reminded of when I do that is what a powerful element leadership is in our success. Specifically our collective leadership and how well tuned and aligned it must be in order for us to accomplish as much as we do year after year. Our growth is a reflection of the way we – the Board, leaders, physicians and employees – lead here at Texas Children’s.
We are constantly demonstrating the power of the leadership equation I often share with you: leadership = vision + structure + people, with people being the most important element or ingredient in the equation.
At Texas Children’s, we lead decisively and boldly, always focused on the vision we have shared since our founding. Growing our workforce, adding new programs,
recruiting world renowned staff, adding millions of square feet to our facilities and constantly working to make them the most advanced available – all of that is driven by our vision to provide the right care, in the right place and time when our patients need it.
So regardless of the year or the industry trends, our vision is our compass. Our mission-focused vision is at the core of every decision we make for the organization, and vision is in large part why 2016 was another standout year for Texas Children’s.
Structure is key to supporting our vision and actually being able to realize it. Simply saying health care should be available when and where children need it is not enough. We are thought-leaders and action-takers. So when we see a need, we respond to it very tangibly, and we provide the structure to support our response.
At the beginning of fiscal year 2016, we opened a special isolation unit to be extensively prepared to care for children with highly contagious infectious diseases. Yet we designed it strategically so that it supports acute care, enabling us to be agile and responsive to daily patient care needs.
We began construction on our new Pediatric Tower this year, and we have now completed the exterior of 16 of 19 new floors. This space will help us provide advanced care and facilities for our most critically ill patients. We also purchased two buildings in the Texas Medical Center right next door to our campus – another move to make sure we can grow when the time is right. Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands Outpatient Building opened this fall, and within just seven weeks, we’d already had 10,000 patient visits between all of our patient care facilities in The Woodlands. We are without a doubt meeting our communities’ current needs and preparing well for future ones.
And to be clear, structure is not always bricks and mortar. More often it is collaboration, resourcefulness and innovation. One of our brightest moments this year was our involvement in the launch of the state’s STAR Kids managed care program, which provides benefits to children and young adults who have special health care needs.
At the start of FY2016, Texas Children’s Heath Plan had just been selected as a provider for the STAR Kids program, and on November 1, STAR Kids made its debut. To date, we already have 25,000 STAR Kids patients enrolled in the Health Plan. The breadth and depth of our system uniquely positions and resources us to provide an incredibly comprehensive network of care for STAR Kids patients. I’m so proud, because this is exactly why Texas Children’s exists.
The little hospital that once had 1,400 staff and employees now has 14,000, delivering exceptional care to nearly 10,000 children and women every day – yes, we had more than 3.6 million patient encounters in FY2016.
Suffice it to say that none of this is possible without our people. We are immeasurably blessed with the most gifted and dedicated clinical and administrative staff and employees in the world.
One of my favorite moments this year was sitting amongst some of our amazing people at our annual Employee Recognition Celebration honoring Texas Children’s employees for their years of service to the organization. This year’s was our largest celebration yet – we honored about 500 tenured employees who, collectively, have dedicated 8,900 years of service.
I remember how fired up every single one of them was about Texas Children’s. And that’s the thing about our people – so many of you have that same energy and fire for Texas Children’s, whether you have been here a good five days or a fantastic 25 years. I simply love the way our people embrace excellence and constantly seek ways to make strides that improve our care, spark ideas and give our families new answers and fresh hope.
This is the spirit of our culture, and it is why a single year at Texas Children’s looks like a decade. It is impressive what we have created, advanced and grown together this year, yet we are still on the cusp of much more.
Our future is brighter than ever, and our team is beyond amazing. Thank you all for a phenomenal year. And enjoy your holidays, because you know I will be ready to do it all over again in 2017.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a very happy New Year to all!