Icing on the Cake

Thanks to Clara Driscoll's vision, Driscoll Children's Hospital became the first children's hospital in South Texas. For the last 60 years, we have continued to strive for excellence with accomplishments and many firsts for children, and 2013 was no different. As we celebrated our 60th anniversary, these awards and recognitions were just "Icing on the Cake" to cap off a banner year.

Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen has much to celebrate

In February, staff at Driscoll Children's Quick Care - McAllen celebrated the clinic's four-year anniversary and a record number of patients seen in the month of December. The 2,900-square-foot clinic, located in Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, opened on Feb. 23, 2009 and offers outpatient, non-emergency medical care for patients from birth to 21 years old.

Rio Grande Valley families appreciate Quick Care's hours of operation - 6 to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 2 to 11 p.m. on weekends - because they fill the gap when their children's primary physicians' offices are closed. Quick Care's physicians typically see approximately 9,500 patients per year, averaging approximately 790 per month. In December 2012, a record 1,114 patients were seen.

Laura Cortez, executive director of Driscoll's Rio Grande Valley clinics, attributes Quick Care's success to a local staff and Driscoll's legacy of excellent pediatric medical care.

"We're proud to say that our staff and physicians are from the Rio Grande Valley and they understand the needs of the community," she said. "We care for children with all the experience that Driscoll Children's Hospital has to offer."

Driscoll's Cottage Shop again voted Best of the Best

The Cottage Shop staff includes (left to right) Jim Tansey, Lydia Blunzter, Karen Easton, Kathy Jenkin, Dot Van Burkleo, Linda Kaatz, Susan Quiroz (manager), Maria Luisa Doyle, Pam Pudelka, Rosemary Fischer, Imelda Garcia and Margaret Meinecke.

For the second year running, readers of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times voted the Cottage Shop at Driscoll Children's Hospital the no. 1 consignment store in the newspaper's 2013 Best of the Best competition.

The Cottage Shop, a resale store operated by the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital, offers gently used and new merchandise at bargain prices, including men's, women's and children's clothing, toys, household items and collectibles. The store's first priority is to provide clothes and necessities to patients and their families who are in need, and 100 percent of the proceeds from sales go to the hospital.

Remembering our founder

A true product of South Texas, Clara Driscoll was born in 1881 in St. Mary's of Aransas, Texas on Copano Bay. Growing up on her family's ranch, called Palo Alto, she was equally skilled with a revolver, rifle and lariat. By the time she was 16, she could speak four languages: English, Spanish, French and German. In 1904, she was proclaimed "The Savior of the Alamo" after purchasing the structure for $75,000 and saving it from destruction for commercial interests.

Driscoll's philanthropy led her to political pursuits. A generous giver to the Democratic Party, she was elected National Democratic Committeewoman in 1928, a post she held until 1944. Following the death of her brother in 1929, Driscoll was called upon to take over the Driscoll empire, which consisted of cattle, oil and vast tracts of land. Prior to her death on July 17, 1945, she chose to honor her family's memory by leaving the bulk of her enormous estate to provide for the medical treatment of the children of South Texas. Driscoll Children's Hospital would become the first free-standing pediatric hospital in South Texas.

Driscoll celebrates with a party for patients, employees

In 1953, Clara Driscoll's vision was realized when Driscoll Children's Hospital opened its doors to the children of South Texas. Sixty years to the day, on Feb. 22, 2013, Driscoll kicked off its 60th anniversary with a party for patients.

"We thought, what better way to celebrate Driscoll's anniversary than to throw a party for our patients?," said Karen Long, Driscoll vice president of Patient Care Services and chief patient care officer. "The children of South Texas are the reason Driscoll Children's Hospital was created 60 years ago and they're the reason we're here today. They deserve to have some fun."

The event had the feel of a giant birthday party, with children enjoying music, games, a magic show and face painting. A photo booth was available for keepsake photos and patients enjoyed activities such as making their own party hats. Birthday-themed treats were offered to party-goers, including a cake.

The next day in the auditorium and at Driscoll's specialty centers in the Rio Grande Valley, Victoria and Laredo, employees celebrated the hospital's anniversary with cupcakes, prizes and some Driscoll history. A timeline highlighting the hospital's history and accomplishments was on display for employees to learn more about the hospital's history.

Driscoll Children's Hospital dedicates historical marker

Guests and community leaders gathered in April to commemorate Driscoll Children's Hospital's 60th anniversary and witness the dedication of an historical marker honoring the hospital's founder, Clara Driscoll. The ceremony, held in Driscoll's auditorium, offered both a reflection on the past and a glimpse of the future.

Speakers included Steve Woerner, Driscoll president and chief executive officer, Loyd Neal, chairman of Driscoll's governing board, Corpus Christi Mayor Nelda Martinez and representatives from the Texas Historical Marker Program and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (DRT).

Anita Eisenhauer, a member of the Nueces County Historical Commission and the DRT's Clara Driscoll Chapter, and Karen Thompson, president general of the DRT, provided information on the Texas Historical Marker Program and Clara Driscoll's legacy. The historical marker, a gift of Fran and Joe Fulton, honors Driscoll as an important and educational person in local history.

The ceremony culminated with Woerner and Neal unveiling the marker that is now permanently displayed outside Driscoll Children's Hospital facing Alameda Street.

Driscoll receives Accreditation with Commendation

At its June 2013 meeting, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) Committee on Continuing Education awarded Accreditation with Commendation, which confers a six-year term of accreditation, to Driscoll Children's Hospital. The TMA has awarded Accreditation with Commendation to 39 percent of the 59 providers that it has reviewed under the 2007 TMA Accreditation Criteria. The TMA accredits 62 providers.

Driscoll Children's Hospital earns 2013 Path to Excellence award

Mauricio Flores, MD, endocrinologist at Driscoll Children's Hospital and Evelyn Ferrer, director of Patient Relations, accept the 2013 Path to Excellence award.

Driscoll was recognized on Sept. 22 at the 19th Annual International Patient-Centered Care Symposium in Baltimore after being selected by National Research Corporation as a recipient of the 2013 Path to Excellence award.

National Research selected Path to Excellence award recipients based on their achievement within categories that patients have identified as being most important to the quality of their care. The award is only bestowed upon those organizations that are ranked by patients as being a top performer in various categories.

The winners were selected from the extensive database of National Research hospital customers based on their performance over the last four quarters. Driscoll was a top-ranked children's hospital in the Most Improved: Rate Hospital category.

As a 2013 award recipient, Driscoll is among a select group of healthcare innovators leading the way on the path to patient-centered care.

"By partnering with National Research Corporation and utilizing its measurement and quality improvement solutions, we have been able to implement changes and make the necessary adjustments to improve patient and family care," said Evelyn Ferrer, Driscoll director of Patient Relations. "This improvement also gives patients and families the trust and confidence they deserve when seeking the right healthcare provider."

New customer service approach introduced

In efforts to enhance the patient experience the Driscoll Way rolled out in 2013. Driscoll Way training sessions for employees are divided into two parts, "S.T.A.R.T. with Heart" and "Respond with H.E.A.R.T." Part one, "S.T.A.R.T. with Heart", provides the standards of behavior for all patient, family and caregiver interactions. Part two, "Respond with H.E.A.R.T.", is an innovative service recovery strategy that provides employees with tools to help them address patients' concerns. Throughout the year, employees and volunteers completed the training.

"The way we interact with patients, families and each other affects the patient experience," said Bill Larsen, vice president of Human Resources. "By providing excellent service as learned through these training sessions, we are showing our commitment to our patients and families."

Driscoll Way training sessions are available on an ongoing basis for new employees and volunteers.