What a new hospital will mean for the Rio Grande Valley

For years, Driscoll Children’s Hospital has been a lifeline for families in South Texas, starting as the region’s first freestanding pediatric emergency room in 1953. Now, with a new location set to open soon in the vibrant Rio Grande Valley, the hospital’s legacy of compassionate care reaches even further.

Families from near and far will experience support from a dedicated team of medical professionals, specialists, administrators and volunteers. Together, they’ll ensure that every child, no matter the challenges they face, gets expert care — that’s close to home.

This is more than just a hospital, after all; it’s a community where families find strength and solace, knowing they are never alone on the road toward wellness.

That journey begins this Spring when Driscoll opens a state-of-the-art designated freestanding children’s hospital — the first in the Rio Grande Valley. This expansion marks a major milestone in Driscoll’s commitment to serving South Texas children.

For Matthew Wolthoff, president of the new hospital, the grand opening is the result of much behind-the-scenes work that’s now ready for center stage.

“This has been a calling,” he said. “It’s really been a blessing to me and my family to be part of such a significant health care milestone in the Valley and to be devoted to Driscoll’s mission of caring for all children in South Texas.”

Improving the Valley’s access to health care

Wolthoff highlighted Driscoll’s rich history in the region. The hospital’s outreach efforts, he said, have included satellite clinics in Brownsville, Harlingen and McAllen, bringing specialized pediatric care closer to families across a vast service area — one that spans 31 counties and 33,000 square miles.

The need for a children’s hospital in the Valley is substantial, added Wolthoff, noting the challenges families face seeking higher levels of care elsewhere.

“It’s been a burden on families here in the Valley when they need to leave to get care for their child,” he explained. “That burden of travel is huge.”

The new Driscoll Children’s Hospital aims to address this challenge by providing comprehensive pediatric services locally. The region’s rapid growth, coupled with a history of being medically underserved, show why the hospital wants to provide access to better care and make it easier for kids in the Valley to get help.

“Our mission is accessibility and helping families,” said Wolthoff, emphasizing Driscoll’s commitment to founder Clara Driscoll’s vision of enhancing pediatric care across South Texas, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.

Economic impact as wide-ranging as its care

Driscoll Children’s Hospital and its Specialty Centers not only provide essential health care services but also have a big impact on the local economy. According to a study by The Perryman Group, a Texas-based economic analysis team, Driscoll’s ongoing operations generate about $636.8 million in business activity each year and create over 6,800 jobs across Texas.

The new hospital in the Rio Grande Valley will bring even more economic benefits, including $126.8 million during construction and an additional $124.7 million annually once the hospital is fully operational, along with over 1,300 new jobs.

The Driscoll Health Plan spends about $1.2 billion every year within its service areas, which helps support local businesses and create jobs. This spending leads to around $330.1 million in increased business activity and the creation of over 2,800 jobs statewide.

The Perryman Group also reports that Driscoll’s operations significantly contribute to tax revenues, providing about $30.9 million for the state and $28.8 million for local governments across Texas annually. The new hospital in the Valley is expected to boost tax revenues further, with estimated benefits of $24.4 million for the state and incremental taxes in specific regions, including $5.6 million in the Nueces region, $7.1 million in the Hidalgo region and $2.7 million in other areas of Texas.

Another step forward for local kids

As the hospital prepares to welcome patients, Wolthoff emphasized community involvement, encouraging individuals to explore volunteering opportunities or consider careers at Driscoll Children's Hospital Rio Grande Valley. The new hospital’s hiring website, Driscollcareers.org, serves as a gateway for those interested in contributing to pediatric health care.

He expressed gratitude for support from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, which provided a significant financial boost for pediatric specialist recruitment and expanding access to care.

For families seeking care, Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley will offer a range of support services, including social work, case management and educational outreach. Plus, collaboration with local pediatricians will ensure seamless coordination and continuity of care for patients, focusing on empowering families and providing resources to navigate their health care journey.

Already a leader in pediatric care excellence, Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s expanded footprint is another step forward in ensuring all children have access to the best care — care that’s close to home and runs deep in the heart of South Texas.

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