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Ribbon cutting for C. Ivan Wilson Patient Support Center will be June 4

June 01, 2012

WHAT: Driscoll Children's Hospital officials will be joined by local dignitaries for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly renovated C. Ivan Wilson Patient Support Center. The event will include the unveiling of a surprise tribute to Wilson.

WHEN: 10 a.m. Monday, June 4

WHERE: 3434 Fort Worth St. (next to the Ronald McDonald House behind Driscoll Children's Hospital, 3533 S. Alameda St.)

Open house to highlight Driscoll's pediatric services in Laredo

May 30, 2012

WHAT: Pediatricians, their office and nursing staffs and the public are invited to an open house to celebrate the newly expanded and relocated Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Laredo. Driscoll officials and physicians will be on hand to provide information on the specialized medical services the hospital brings to patients who may otherwise be underserved in the community.

WHEN: 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 30

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Laredo, 10710 McPherson, Ste. 202

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's child abuse team receives $280,000 state grant

May 29, 2012

CORPUS CHRISTI - This month, Nancy Harper, MD and Sonja Eddleman, RN, both with the Child Abuse Resource and Evaluation (CARE) Team at Driscoll Children's Hospital, received a $280,000 grant through the Texas Medical Child Abuse Resources and Education System (MEDCARES) Grant Program. The funds will be dedicated to the CARE Team's efforts to assess, diagnose and provide treatment for children suffering from abuse and neglect in Driscoll's service area of 31 South Texas counties.

"The grant has enabled the CARE Team to expand services and hire a second physician trained in child abuse pediatrics," said Dr. Harper, medical director of the CARE Team. "It has allowed us to take our mission further into the communities of South Texas where there are high rates of poverty and child maltreatment to ensure more accurate identification of neglect or abuse. The CARE Team also emphasizes through strengthened investigation the importance of recognizing when a child's injuries are not the result of maltreatment."

The MEDCARES Grant Program was established by the Texas legislature in 2008. Its purpose is to fund development and support regional programs that address child abuse and neglect. The grants are earmarked for hospitals or academic health centers with expertise in pediatric healthcare and a demonstrated commitment to developing basic programs in the field.

Eddleman, clinical coordinator for the CARE Team, is one of nine appointed members of the MEDCARES Advisory Committee. The role of the committee is to advise the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Health and Human Services Commission's executive commissioner in establishing rules and priorities for the use of MEDCARES grant funds.

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)

Driscoll, Stripes announce early achievement of $1 million commitment to hospital

May 09, 2012
Sam L. Susser, president & CEO of Susser Holdings Corp. (fifth from left) and Driscoll Children's Hospital President & CEO Steve Woerner (sixth from left) were joined by Driscoll's child life specialists May 9 for the ceremonial presentation of a $1 million check from Stripes Convenience Stores.
Sam L. Susser, president & CEO of Susser Holdings Corp. (fifth from left) and Driscoll Children's Hospital President & CEO Steve Woerner (sixth from left) were joined by Driscoll's child life specialists May 9 for the ceremonial presentation of a $1 million check from Stripes Convenience Stores.
CORPUS CHRISTI - The Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital will celebrate a $1 million goal being reached a year early when officials from the Stripes Convenience Stores chain announce the totals of the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Balloon Campaign held April 2-29, 2012. Representing Stripes will be Sam L. Susser, president and chief executive officer of Susser Holdings Corporation and Steve DeSutter, president and chief executive officer for Stripes.

"It is a remarkable corporate commitment for Stripes to have raised over $1 million in four years, a full year ahead of their original five-year commitment," said Martha St. Romain, vice president of Development at Driscoll. "We are extremely grateful for their efforts on our behalf.

"Stripes has made a dramatic difference in assisting Driscoll Children's Hospital to improve and expand the support services we offer for patients and their families. Any time you can make a child's hospital stay more pleasant, or even enjoyable, you have invested in that child's future. We are pleased to recognize and celebrate Stripes' significant fundraising accomplishments on behalf of the Stripes Child Life Program partnership."

Recognizing that being hospitalized can be stressful, the Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital is run by child development specialists who provide support for patients and their families to make their experience as positive as possible.

"Stripes' commitment goes beyond providing excellent service to its customers," Susser said. "Giving back to our communities is important to us because it supports our values and strengthens our communities. Stripes' 8,000 team members fundraise and volunteer for programs throughout the year designed to enhance the health and education of children residing in the communities where we serve. Our team knows firsthand that Driscoll saves children's lives and we are very proud to make a multi-year commitment to help support the hospital reach kids throughout South Texas."

Through the Stripes partnership, Driscoll has hired three additional child life specialists, created teen rooms for patients' entertainment during their hospital stay, conducted hundreds of positive activities from bingo to movie nights and formed special support groups to help patients and families who may be dealing with chronic illnesses cope with their challenges.

What: Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital campaign announcement
When: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 4th floor play area, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll, Stripes to announce landmark accomplishment

May 07, 2012
WHAT: Officials with Driscoll Children's Hospital and Stripes will hold a press conference to provide an update on the $1 million commitment the convenience store chain made to Driscoll in 2009, including the impact of the Stripes Child Life Program and other projects made possible by the funds.

WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 4th floor playroom, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll's volunteers motivated by more than just care, generosity

April 18, 2012
Dick Hinman, a Driscoll volunteer since 1994, does a magic trick with rubber bands for patient Isaiah Wicke.
Dick Hinman, a Driscoll volunteer since 1994, does a magic trick with rubber bands for patient Isaiah Wicke.
Celebration honoring them to be held at the hospital May 24

CORPUS CHRISTI - For several hours a week, Valerie Caldwell's smiling face is the first thing visitors see at Driscoll Children's Hospital's Welcome Center. Caldwell became a volunteer at Driscoll a year and a half ago after being urged by some friends who are also volunteers.

"You get to see a lot of people coming in and see what's going on in the hospital," Caldwell said of the Welcome Center. "Working here gives me insight into the heart of Driscoll Children's Hospital. And it's a big, compassionate heart. There is a family-oriented feeling here," she went on to say before she stopped to help a visitor sign in.

Caldwell is one of 340 volunteer members of the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital who are being recognized for their efforts during National Volunteer Week, April 15-21. On May 24, Driscoll will host a celebration for them with cake and door prizes in the hospital's auditorium. The party's theme will be "A world of diversity...one purpose."

Volunteer Joe Lugo, a Navy veteran, shows Driscoll patient Enrique Llanas, Jr. how to mix colors to paint his papier-maché mask.
Volunteer Joe Lugo, a Navy veteran, shows Driscoll patient Enrique Llanas, Jr. how to mix colors to paint his papier-maché mask.

Driscoll volunteer Valerie Caldwell helps a visitor check in at the hospital's Welcome Center.
Driscoll volunteer Valerie Caldwell helps a visitor check in at the hospital's Welcome Center.
"The Auxiliary's contributions to the hospital are priceless," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services at Driscoll. "We could not do what we do without their thoughtfulness and commitment. I believe the volunteers enrich not only the lives of our patients and families, but their own lives as well."

Saenz's belief rings true with volunteers like Joe Lugo. He can be found helping out in the hospital's fifth floor classroom, where long-term patients keep pace with their school curriculum. While helping some children mix colors to paint the papier-maché masks they were making, Lugo explained that he first began volunteering in the communities he lived in while he was in the Navy.

"Some of the kids I've encountered in the past didn't have a father figure," said Lugo, who retired after serving 20 years in the Navy. "I encourage these children, praise them and they appreciate it. What I've learned over the past year at Driscoll is that these children are more of a blessing to us than we are to them."

Volunteer Dick Hinman, 81, has roamed Driscoll Children's Hospital since 1994, entertaining patients with antics and magic tricks. He never leaves a child without a smile.

"This is like recess for me," Hinman said with a kind, grandfatherly voice. "I'm a big kid." A toy mouse peeking from the pocket of his blue smock is Stuart Little's big brother, he pointed out. Then, with seriousness, Hinman echoed the sentiment of other Driscoll volunteers.

"Some of these kids are very sick. Some are having surgery. If you can make their day better it makes yours better too. I enjoy it, the kids enjoy it. It's nothing complicated."

By the numbers:
  • Number of volunteers at Driscoll Children's Hospital: 300
  • Number of volunteers at Driscoll's McAllen and Brownsville clinics: 40
  • Age range of adult volunteers: 18 - 90
  • Number of Driscoll's summer 2012 Volunteens: 85

  • What: Driscoll Children's Hospital Volunteer Celebration
  • When: 11:30 a.m. Thursday, May 24
  • Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Community supports children through donations to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen

April 02, 2012
Ellen Carruthers, Driscoll Auxiliary chair (left) receives plush toys from Tina Coddington, Central Christian School computer and music director.
Ellen Carruthers, Driscoll Auxiliary chair (left) receives plush toys from Tina Coddington, Central Christian School computer and music director.
McALLEN - The Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen recently received generous donations from local businesses and a school that will benefit the young patients of the Rio Grande Valley.

EZ PAWN and their charitable foundation, EZ Corp., donated a check for $2,598 to the Auxiliary. The funds were used to decorate the Medical Plaza's new Nuclear Radiology Clinic with wall art and a waiting area with a TV and large playscape.

The staff at Barnes & Noble Booksellers at Palms Crossing donated more than 1,700 reading and activity books to the Auxiliary that will be given to patients as birthday and holiday gifts. The books will also be available in the Medical Plaza's waiting areas for children to enjoy while they're waiting to see a physician.

Also, more than 350 plush toys were donated by the students, administration and staff members of Central Christian School. The toys will be given as gifts to patients at the Medical Plaza throughout the Easter holiday.

The Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza - McAllen relies on contributions from the community to help make medical treatment a positive experience for South Texas children. To donate or inquire about volunteer opportunities, contact the Volunteer Services Department at (361) 694-5011 or 1-800-DCH-LOVE or go to www.driscollchildrens.org and click on "Volunteer."
Pictured, left to right, are Gloria Martinez, Driscoll Auxiliary member, Pasqual Rodriguez, Mario Ortiz, Israel Cerda, Vidal Hernandez and Miguel Duran, all with EZ PAWN, and Aida Escobar, Driscoll Auxiliary vice chair.

Norma Martinez, assistant store manager at Barnes & Noble Booksellers (left), delivers books to Ellen Carruthers, Driscoll Auxiliary chair, and George Carruthers, Driscoll Auxiliary member.