Expansion of Driscoll Children's Health Plan is good for the economy and health of South Texas families
May 30, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - The recent expansion of Driscoll Children's Health Plan (DCHP) throughout South Texas is benefiting the region in more ways than one. In the Coastal Bend, five counties were recently added to the health plan's Nueces Service Delivery Area (SDA), making it available to families in 14 counties. In the new Hidalgo SDA, DCHP is now available to approximately 340,000 Medicaid-eligible people in 10 counties from the Rio Grande Valley to Eagle Pass. The health plan, with its new employees, office space and other necessities, has become a significant contributor to the South Texas economy.
For example, in the Nueces SDA, 29 full-time employees have been hired to fill positions such as provider relations, contracting, community relations, administration, case management, utilization management and quality assurance. That brings the Nueces SDA staff to 82 employees. DCHP leases 17,142 square feet of office space in the Wells Fargo building in downtown Corpus Christi and is one of three Medicaid managed-care health plans in the Nueces SDA. The health plan's contract was renewed and expanded last year by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).
"When you consider the new employees, contractors, leased office space, information technology systems we use and advertising on radio and TV, we are adding considerable revenue to the area's economic engine," said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, chief executive officer of DCHP.
DCHP has administered the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the Nueces SDA since 2000 and the State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) Medicaid program since 2006. CHIP provides low-cost healthcare for children and the STAR program offers free healthcare for families. The programs serve nearly 60,000 members combined. The expanded Nueces SDA includes the counties of Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Calhoun, Goliad, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio and Victoria.
In addition, 19 full-time employees have been hired by DCHP to serve the Hidalgo SDA. That includes positions in provider relations, community relations, administration, compliance and case management. They're headquartered in a newly leased, 3,360 square-foot office in Edinburg. DCHP was one of four Medicaid managed-care plans that were awarded a contract last year by the HHSC, and it is the only non-profit, provider-sponsored health plan in the SDA. Counties in the Hidalgo SDA are Cameron, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Maverick, McMullen, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.
All told, DCHP's estimated annual financial impact in South Texas is nearly $9.9 million, Dr. Peterson said. The infusion of revenue has a multiplier effect in the region as well. An example is the health plan's third party administrator, Valence Health, which has established their main call center in the Wells Fargo building. The company employs more than 120 people from the area and serves two health plans in addition to DCHP.
"As the population of South Texas grows, we hope to grow with it in employees, facilities, healthcare providers and other ways," Dr. Peterson said. "DCHP is based in South Texas. We have a vested interest in the well-being of the communities we serve and the financial condition of the region."
For more information on DCHP, call (361) 904-0955 or 1-877-DCHP-KIDS or go to www.dchpkids.com.
Driscoll Children's Hospital achieves Joint Commission accreditation with flying colors
May 29, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital has earned the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for accreditation by demonstrating compliance with the organization's national standards for healthcare quality and safety in hospitals. The accreditation award recognizes the hospital's dedication to continuous compliance with the Joint Commission's state-of-the-art standards.
Driscoll underwent a rigorous, unannounced, on-site survey in April. A team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated the hospital for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients, including infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management.
"In achieving Joint Commission accreditation, Driscoll Children's Hospital has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for its patients," said Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, executive director, Hospital Programs, Accreditation and Certification Services for the Joint Commission. "Accreditation is a voluntary process and I commend Driscoll for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate its standard of care and instill confidence in the community it serves."
Joint Commission accreditation reflects Driscoll's investment in quality on a day-to-day basis and helps the hospital further pursue a culture of excellence, said Donna Quinn, Driscoll vice president of Operations & Quality.
"To be re accredited speaks to the quality of care and service we provide to our patients and pride in what we do."
The Joint Commission's hospital standards address important functions relating to the care of patients and the management of hospitals. The standards are developed in consultation with healthcare experts, providers, measurement experts and patients.
Driscoll to hold press conference launching 'Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car...Check the Back Seat' ad campaign
May 24, 2012
Event on National Heat Awareness Day will include hot-car demonstration
CORPUS CHRISTI - Since 1998, more than 520 children have died as a result of heat stroke in cars - an average of 38 per year. Texas leads all states with 80 deaths. Sadly, about half of the children are forgotten when drivers arrive at their destination. Some drivers become distracted and forget they have a child in the back seat and continue their routine. In other situations, children were either playing in an unattended car and were unable to get out or were intentionally left by an adult "for just a few minutes." It takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death and serious, permanent injury in a hot car.
In an effort to prevent these incidents from happening in South Texas, the Injury Prevention Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital has partnered with Kohl's Department Stores to launch an ad campaign promoting the message, "Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car...Check the Back Seat," on Corpus Christi city buses and billboards in Laredo and Victoria. Representatives from Driscoll's Injury Prevention Program, the City of Corpus Christi Fire Department and Child Protective Services will hold a press conference at the hospital May 25 that will include a city bus with the campaign ad and a hot-car demonstration.
"Thanks to our partnership with Kohl's and the Keep Your Kids Safe initiative, we will be able to increase awareness and spread this important message," said Maricruz Cantu, Injury Prevention coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
The community is urged to remember the acronym "ACT," Cantu said:
Avoid hyperthermia-related deaths by never leaving a child alone in a car and always locking doors and trunks;
Create reminders and habits for parents and caregivers to serve as a safety net to ensure the child isn't forgotten in the back seat;
Take action if a child is seen unattended in a vehicle by immediately calling 911.
The bottom line to avoid tragedies, Cantu added, is to "make it a habit to check the back seat every time you exit and remember to never leave a child alone in a car. Whether you are a parent, caregiver or community member, we can all help save lives and prevent tragedies."
What: "Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car" ad campaign press conference
When: 10 a.m. Friday, May 25
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 3533 S. Alameda St. (front lawn)