Multi-million-dollar gift supports South Texas kids

Multi-million-dollar gift supports South Texas kids

All children deserve exceptional health care close to home. That’s the mission of Driscoll Children’s Hospital as they serve children from across South Texas.

From everyday childhood illnesses and injuries to complex pediatric cancers or a rare instance of conjoined twins, the experts at Driscoll treat myriad conditions children face and help them get back to the business of growing up.

This nonprofit’s rich culture of caring is bolstered by incredibly generous gifts that assist the region’s most precious residents fully return to the extraordinary time of just being a kid.

Here’s more about one donation in particular that is set to make a huge difference — improving access to health care in the Rio Grande Valley and in a community near you.

Treating an underserved region

A $17 million gift to Driscoll Children’s Hospital from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation ensures access to needed pediatric specialists who help children become as healthy as they can be no matter what ailment they might be facing.

“Improving access to specialty care for children of the Rio Grande Valley has been a priority for Driscoll Children’s Hospital for a long time. Rio Grande Valley pediatricians have done yeoman’s work in providing care with limited resources available to them and their patients,” said Matt Wolthoff, president of Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley. “We are extremely excited to be able to better support these dedicated doctors with a wide spectrum of specialists and a world-class children’s hospital here at home.”

Families in this medically underserved region can be confident that children who require specialized medical care will receive it at Driscoll’s state-of-the-art facilities — and from the world-class specialty pediatric doctors who will be serving the Rio Grande Valley region thanks to this transformative, multi-million-dollar donation.

Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation’s gift will be used solely for recruitment and start-up costs of new specialty pediatric doctors who will relocate to the Valley. As the largest donation in the hospital’s 70-year history, this gift will enable Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley to bring dozens of new pediatric specialists and subspecialists to the region.

“This gift from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation will be instrumental in enhancing our ability to recruit and retain difficult-to-find pediatric specialists and subspecialists to the Rio Grande Valley, dramatically improving access to specialty health care for children and families,” Wolthoff said.

The Rio Grande Valley is one of the most medically underserved regions in the United States due to its limited access to pediatric health care services, primarily due to a shortage of specialized providers, according to data from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The region also has a shortage of pediatricians, with only 14.9 per 100,000 children — roughly 30% of the national average. And within the next two decades, the population of the four counties in the Lower Rio Grande Valley — Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy — is projected to reach 1.6 million, representing a growth of 16.8% by 2040.

This increase is expected to put additional pressure on health care services throughout the region, especially for children. Still, Driscoll is working diligently to get ahead of it.

With the opening of the region’s first free-standing designated children’s hospital in 2024, Driscoll’s ability to recruit additional full-time pediatric specialists will be critical to providing specialty and acute care close to home. And once Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg is fully operational, it is expected to inject $107.1 million into the Valley’s economy and create more than 1,200 jobs.

“The board and staff are proud to support Driscoll’s expansion into the Rio Grande Valley,” said Judy Quisenberry, executive director of Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation. “Though Driscoll hastaken care of Valley children for many years, they’ll become part of our community now in a whole new way!”

At the new Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley patient services will include a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Emergency Services and Acute Inpatient and Outpatient Surgery. The new hospital also will provide numerous other pediatric services including rehabilitation, imaging, laboratory and specialty programs, such as the Child Life Program.

Stronger together

Driscoll Children’s Hospital would not be what it is today without the unwavering commitment of its volunteers and the community support it receives, explained Sean Pieri, Driscoll’s vice president of development and marketing, adding:

“They never fail to respond to the needs of the children of South Texas with kindness and compassion.”

For local kids, this means more time getting better so they can get back to the big dreams of childhood — whether that’s shooting to the stars on a rocket ship or helping their friends and neighbors go just as far.

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