DCH News

10th annual Radiothon set for Friday at Driscoll

February 28, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - On Friday, March 2, K-99 (KRYS 99.1) will team up with Driscoll Children's Hospital and McDonald's for the annual Radiothon. The one-day event will be broadcast from the Half Pint Library in the main lobby of Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Tune in to hear patients, parents, physicians and staff share inspirational stories of hope and healing. In 2011, the community donated $63,484 during the Radiothon to benefit patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Anyone can help raise money for the Radiothon by creating an online giving page. To do so, go to www.helpmakemiracles.org/event/driscoll. For more information or to donate, contact Driscoll's Development Department at (361) 694-6401.

What: 10th annual Radiothon
When: 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, March 2
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital main lobby, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Local healthcare professionals selected to serve on state Medicaid committees

February 28, 2012
Woerner
Woerner


Peterson
Peterson


Menendez
Menendez
CORPUS CHRISTI - Three local healthcare professionals have been selected by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to serve on three new Medicaid advisory committees created by the 2011 Texas Legislature.

Steven F. Woerner, president and chief executive officer of Driscoll Children's Hospital, was selected to serve on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Council, which will advise the HHSC on standards for neonatal intensive care units and on the development of an accreditation process for a neonatal intensive care unit to receive Medicaid payments. The council was authorized by House Bill 2636.

Woerner serves on various community boards and is the chairman of the board of directors for Amistad Community Health Center, a faith-based community healthcare center providing affordable primary care and pediatric programs.

Mary Dale Peterson, MD, chief executive officer of Driscoll Children's Health Plan (DCHP), was chosen as chairwoman of the Quality-Based Payment Advisory Committee. The committee will advise the HHSC on performance, standards and outcomes measures for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. The committee was authorized by Senate Bill 7.

Dr. Peterson is currently overseeing the expansion of DCHP into 10 South Texas counties, referred to as the Hidalgo Service Delivery Area.

Isabel Menendez, MD, of Portland, was selected to serve on the Physician Payment Quality Committee by the HHSC. The committee will use national guidelines to help determine the 10 most overused or unnecessary services in Texas Medicaid. State law directs the HHSC to decrease Medicaid payments for services that should not be provided. The committee was authorized by House Bill 1.

Dr. Menendez is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist who has practiced in San Patricio County since 1985 as well as medical facilities throughout the Coastal Bend and in Laredo.

Driscoll's McAllen clinic to host Heart Celebration

February 15, 2012
Event is to increase awareness of congenital heart defects
McALLEN - In a month that most people associate with Valentine's Day, Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen will be hosting a Heart Celebration Feb. 17 for its young cardiology patients. Following Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week (see www.tchin.org/aware/), the celebration is an effort to bring awareness to the community about the many South Texas children born with heart defects. The Heart Celebration will include crafts, games and refreshments for the children and their families.

Each year, cardiologists at Driscoll and its South Texas clinics see about 7,200 children for heart-related issues. Last year, more than 3,000 children in the Rio Grande Valley were seen, said Judy Vest, RN, clinic director of Driscoll Children's Heart Center. Some of the patients need heart surgery and some are treated using delicate and less invasive procedures. Driscoll Children's Heart Center performs more than 200 cardiac catheterizations and over 220 heart surgeries each year.

If unrecognized, congenital heart defects can slow a baby's growth and development, according to Roozbeh Taeed, MD, medical director of cardiology for Driscoll Children's Heart Center. In severe cases, it can lead to injury of the heart muscle or lungs.

Congenital heart disease is due to the heart not forming properly as the fetus develops in the womb, Dr. Taeed said.

"It can be as simple as a hole in one of the walls separating the chambers of the heart, a narrowing of a valve or more severe abnormalities that would need treatment soon after birth."

Dr. Taeed explains that some congenital heart defects such as small holes in the heart chamber walls resolve with time, closing as the child grows. In many cases, narrowing of a heart valve can be treated by catheterization - passing a balloon from one of the blood vessels of the groin up to the heart, crossing the narrowed valve, opening the balloon and "popping" the valve more open, Dr. Taeed said. More complicated heart abnormalities require surgery and teams of doctors including anesthesiologists, intensive care doctors, cardiologists and surgeons like those at Driscoll Children's Heart Center.

Dr. Taeed advises parents to seek advice from their family physician or pediatrician if their baby is having difficulties with feedings or is not gaining weight.

"Based upon a careful examination, your healthcare provider can decide if your baby needs to be seen by a pediatric cardiologist," he said.

What: Heart Celebration for Driscoll cardiology patients and their families
When: 2-4 p.m. Feb. 17
Where: Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen, 1120 E. Ridge Rd.

Driscoll Children's Health Plan opens new office in Edinburg

February 14, 2012
EDINBURG - In conjunction with its expansion into 10 South Texas counties, Driscoll Children's Health Plan (DCHP) has opened a new office at 5409 S. McColl Rd. in Edinburg. The office will provide case management, social work, provider relations and community outreach to help the Medicaid-eligible population obtain the healthcare they need in the counties, referred to as the Hidalgo Service Delivery Area (SDA).

DCHP is one of four plans that were awarded a Medicaid managed care contract in South Texas by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. It's available to the approximately 400,000 Medicaid-eligible people in the Hidalgo SDA and is the only non-profit, provider-sponsored health plan in the SDA.

"Driscoll Children's Health Plan is excited about being able to extend the mission of Clara Driscoll to South Texas," said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, chief executive officer of DCHP. "This new office in Edinburg with its 21 employees will assist in serving our State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) Medicaid members and providers in providing exceptional healthcare."

Counties in the Hidalgo SDA are:

Cameron
Duval
Hidalgo
Jim Hogg
Maverick
McMullen
Starr
Webb
Willacy
Zapata

DCHP has a dedicated team of pediatric and adult doctors, and the plan accepts members regardless of any pre-existing health conditions. For more information on DCHP, call (361) 904-0955 or 1-877-DCHP-KIDS or go to www.dchpkids.com.

Pointer awarded for efforts to improve Texas trauma systems

February 13, 2012
Pointer
Pointer
CORPUS CHRISTI - Janet Pointer, critical care trauma coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital, recently received the Outstanding Trauma Person Award from the Texas Trauma Coordinator Forum and the Texas EMS, Trauma & Acute Care Foundation (TETAF). The award is in recognition of Pointer's exemplary leadership and dedication to strengthening Texas trauma systems.

Pointer has been instrumental in building Driscoll's trauma program and represents the hospital in regional and state activities to promote knowledge and pursue its designation by the TETAF as a level III trauma facility. Driscoll expects to receive the designation this spring. Pointer has been involved with the TETAF since 2006. She is also actively involved in Gov. Rick Perry's EMS and Trauma Advisory Council as a member of the Pediatric Committee.

Driscoll to focus on heart defect awareness this month

February 10, 2012
Mayoral proclamation will be read at city hall on Feb. 14

CORPUS CHRISTI - February is a month associated by many with the heart due to Valentine's Day. The week of Feb. 7-14 is also recognized in the US as Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week (see www.tchin.org/aware/). In an effort to bring awareness to the community, Driscoll Children's Hospital has arranged for Corpus Christi Mayor Joe Adame to proclaim Feb. 14 Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day. The proclamation will be read in city council chambers around 11:45 a.m. Feb. 14. Driscoll has also invited patients and their families to a Heart Celebration on Feb. 14 and 18 that will include games, activities and refreshments.

"We want to recognize the thousands of people born with heart defects, remember loved ones who've lost their battle with congenital heart defects and honor the dedicated health professionals who work with them," said Laura Esparza, MS, LBW, social worker at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Each year, cardiologists at Driscoll and its South Texas clinics see about 7,200 children for heart-related issues, Esparza said. Some of the patients need heart surgery and some are treated using delicate and less invasive procedures. Driscoll Children's Heart Center performs more than 200 cardiac catheterizations and over 220 heart surgeries each year.

If unrecognized, congenital heart defects can slow a baby's growth and development, according to Roozbeh Taeed, MD, medical director of cardiology for Driscoll Children's Heart Center. In severe cases, it can lead to injury of the heart muscle or lungs.

Congenital heart disease is due to the heart not forming properly as the fetus develops in the womb, Dr. Taeed said.

"It can be as simple as a hole in one of the walls separating the chambers of the heart, a narrowing of a valve or more severe abnormalities that would need treatment soon after birth."

Dr. Taeed explains that some congenital heart defects such as small holes in the heart chamber walls resolve with time, closing as the child grows. In many cases, narrowing of a heart valve can be treated by catheterization - passing a balloon from one of the blood vessels of the groin up to the heart, crossing the narrowed valve, opening the balloon and "popping" the valve more open, Dr. Taeed said. More complicated heart abnormalities require surgery and teams of doctors including anesthesiologists, intensive care doctors, cardiologists and surgeons like those at Driscoll Children's Heart Center.

Dr. Taeed advises parents to seek advice from their family physician or pediatrician if their baby is having difficulties with feedings or is not gaining weight.

"Based upon a careful examination, your healthcare provider can decide if your baby needs to be seen by a pediatric cardiologist," he said.

What: Mayoral proclamation for Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day
When: 11:45 a.m. Feb. 14
Where: Corpus Christi City Council chambers, 1201 Leopard St.

Driscoll Children's Hospital's 20th annual Fiesta de los Niños nets record proceeds

February 08, 2012
Janie Hoskins (left) and Suzanne Almond were co-chairs for the 20th annual Fiesta de los Niños.
Janie Hoskins (left) and Suzanne Almond were co-chairs for the 20th annual Fiesta de los Niños.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital's 20th annual Fiesta de los Niños on Feb. 3 surpassed organizers' expectations and netted $620,000, all of which will go toward the renovation and expansion of the hospital's Emergency Department. The fundraiser, held at the American Bank Center, featured live, silent and bid-board auctions, a barbecue dinner and entertainment by country music artist Tracy Lawrence.

"We were thrilled with the outpouring of community support during the evening," said Martha St. Romain, vice president of Development at Driscoll Children's Hospital. "Every year we are absolutely astounded at the generosity and philanthropic spirit that we witness at this event - all for the health of our South Texas children. We are certainly thankful for our giving community here in the Coastal Bend and throughout the region."

Led by long-time title sponsor Flint Hills Resources, Fiesta netted $575,000 in 2011. Those funds also are earmarked for the Emergency Department project. The proposed expansion will include two trauma rooms, 20 private exam rooms, six private, fast-track rooms, two triage areas with ideal visibility to the waiting room, an expanded central nursing station and a new ambulance vestibule and weather protection canopy.

In 1987, Driscoll became the first hospital in South Texas to offer emergency services specifically for pediatrics, and the Emergency Department currently serves almost 40,000 children each year.

Harper appointed by governor to Task Force to Reduce Child Abuse and Neglect and Improve Child Welfare

February 02, 2012
Harper
Harper
CORPUS CHRISTI - Nancy Harper, M.D., medical director of the CARE Team at Driscoll Children's Hospital, is one of five people appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Task Force to Reduce Child Abuse and Neglect and Improve Child Welfare. Pursuant to Senate Bill 1154 of the 82nd legislative session, the Task Force establishes a strategy for reducing child abuse and neglect and for improving child welfare in Texas. Their terms will expire at the pleasure of the governor. Dr. Harper was previously appointed to the inaugural Blue Ribbon Task Force to Reduce Child Abuse and Neglect under Senate Bill 2080, an act of the 81st Legislature.

Dr. Harper is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and board certified in child abuse pediatrics. She is a member of the Ray E. Helfer Society, American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and the International Professional Society on Child Abuse and Neglect. She is also a member of the Texas and Corpus Christi Pediatric societies and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Child Safety Review Committee. She is a past board member of the Nueces County Children's Advocacy Center and a past member of the Pediatric Centers of Excellence Committee of the 79th Legislature. Dr. Harper has served as a general pediatrician for the U.S. Navy. She received a bachelor's degree from Amherst College in Massachusetts, a medical degree from Dartmouth University Medical School in Hanover, N.H., and she completed her forensic pediatrics fellowship at Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, R.I.

Employers, public invited to panel discussion promoting breastfeeding in the workplace

January 30, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital will host a panel discussion Feb. 10 to educate the public and business professionals about the federal law that supports lactating women once they return to the workforce. Panel members will include representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Texas Department of State Health Services and Driscoll Children's Hospital.

"More than 85 percent of women return to work and or school within the early postpartum weeks," said Laurie Beck, R.N., M.S.N., I.B.C.L.C., Lactation Program coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Dr. Regina Benjamin, the surgeon general of the United States, has challenged mothers, families, communities, healthcare professionals and employers to do their part to support and promote breastfeeding for all babies in the United States (www.surgeongeneral.gov). The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aims to improve health outcomes for all Americans. Section 4207 amends the Fair Labor Standards Act and requires employers to provide lactating employees time and space to express breast milk or to breastfeed their child up until the child's first birthday. Ensuring that babies receive optimal nutrition has a positive impact on the health of the mother, the child, the family and the community.

The panel will provide perspectives on worksite lactation support, including:

Legal requirements under the Break Time for Nursing Mothers provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act;

The Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program and best practices in worksite lactation support;

Employer perspectives on worksite lactation support.

The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP or for more information, contact Laurie Beck at laurie.beck@dchstx.org or (361) 694-5338.

What: Perspectives and Best Practices in Worksite Lactation Support panel discussion
When: 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Feb. 10
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.
Information/RSVP: laurie.beck@dchstx.org or (361) 694-5338

Dirksen named chief of staff at Driscoll Children's Hospital

January 26, 2012
William Dirksen, M.D., is the new chief of staff at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
William Dirksen, M.D., is the new chief of staff at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
CORPUS CHRISTI - William Dirksen, M.D., has been named chief of staff at Driscoll Children's Hospital. His responsibilities include representing the medical staff to the chief executive officer and board of directors, working with hospital management concerning the care of all patients, presiding at all meetings of the medical staff and Medical Executive Committee, recommending medical staff representatives to hospital committees, identifying future medical staff leaders and more. Dr. Dirksen will serve as chief of staff for two years.

Dr. Dirksen has been with Driscoll since 1980 and currently serves as director of Medical Education, where he has fostered and grown its residency program and overseen Driscoll's affiliation with various medical schools and other hospital systems. He has also traveled to Ghana on a goodwill mission to deliver medical care.

Dr. Dirksen earned his medical degree in 1975 at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield and completed his pediatric residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.