Making tough decisions typically is not fun. But leaders must have the discernment to make tough calls every day, and as President and CEO of Texas Children’s I am no exception. Yet what I’ve learned in my 25 years here is that if I make decisions that remain focused on what’s best for our patients and their families, we usually land on the right track and success follows.
That’s exactly what happened 20 years ago when Texas Children’s Physician-in-Chief Dr. Ralph D. Feigin and I were grappling with whether to start a network of pediatricians affiliated with Texas Children’s. It was the mid-90s, a time of great change for the health care industry. Several Houston-area pediatricians approached Dr. Feigin to talk about the challenges they were facing managing the business end of their practices while keeping up with what they do best – caring for patients. Hospitals across the country responded to similar concerns by creating pediatric primary care group networks. Many of them, however, did not do so well. They didn’t seem to have the appropriate leadership, business model or commitment to high quality care and service.
Knowing this, Dr. Feigin and I were apprehensive about starting a group practice affiliated with Texas Children’s. But we knew it was the right thing to do for our patients. We knew we needed to create a way for families to access high quality primary care to compliment the comprehensive pediatric subspecialty care provided at Texas Children’s.
By forming Texas Children’s Pediatrics, we gave families in the Greater-Houston area the opportunity to receive pediatric primary care from leading pediatricians associated with one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation. We also allowed physicians to focus on medicine while business leaders and support staff at Texas Children’s handled their practices’ billing, payroll and other back-office responsibilities.
Texas Children’s Pediatrics has helped us take better care of the kids in our community, strengthened our ties to the best pediatricians in the Greater-Houston area and helped us nurture a pipeline of gifted young physicians trained at Baylor College of Medicine to our practices.
Doing what was best for our patients and families was the impetus for Texas Children’s Pediatrics. It is now the largest pediatric primary care network in the nation with more than 200 board-certified pediatricians and 50 practice locations. Each year, the group sees nearly 400,000 patients and has more than 1 million patient encounters. That’s a long way to come in just 20 years and a great reason to celebrate a milestone anniversary.
As part of my One Amazing Team tour, I am visiting all of our practice sites. This week, I stopped by Texas Children’s Pediatrics Ashford, our first practice, which, at that time, was owned by the four Rosenthal brothers – Drs. Morris, Paul, Ben and Harry Rosenthal. Drs. Ben and Harry Rosenthal are still caring for patients with the same zest and zeal they had when they started their careers. And now Dr. Ben’s daughter, Dr. Rachel Rosenthal Bray, has become part of the family’s legacy of dedication to and passion for pediatric primary care.
All of the Texas Children’s Pediatrics staff and employees I’ve visited during the tour thus far share this same passion. They are extremely talented people who are dedicated to meeting the Texas Children’s mission of creating a healthier future for children. Pursuing that common goal creates a network of expertise like no other.
Over the past two decades, I’ve been reminded time and again what a solid decision Texas Children’s Pediatrics was for our patients and families, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together. Congratulations to all of the staff and employees at Texas Children’s Pediatrics for 20 years of work extremely well done. I know there is much more success to come.