Growing Stronger Together

Issue 28 | November 2017

Since its grand opening in October 2011, Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center has changed the lives of many children and families throughout its 30,000 square mile Central Texas service area. At the time, Baylor Scott & White leaders anticipated the eventual need for additional space and expanded services. Now, with increasing demand for pediatric specialty care, a growing population, and our desire to accommodate families’ needs, the time has come for a much-needed growth spurt.

“We had expected to be able to meet patient volumes for the next ten to 15 years, but by 2016, our volumes were so great that we had to start turning away outside referrals,” says John L. Boyd III, MD, chief executive officer and chief medical officer for McLane Children’s. “The Growing Stronger Together campaign will help fund an expansion that is essential as we work to meet the growing needs of our Central Texas families. We have a bold vision for growth, and this expansion is an important and necessary first step toward our goal.”

Jeremy Ksionda, director of philanthropy at McLane Children’s, says, “In six short years, McLane Children’s has experienced dramatic growth. The population of the greater Temple area has grown since 2011 as have our primary and specialty care clinics and referrals from them. Families who might have previously driven to children’s hospitals in Fort Worth, Houston, or Austin now come here, drawn by our reputation for excellence, quality of care and commitment to the health and well-being of families. Word of mouth is very powerful.”

A campaign for the ages

The new McLane Children’s Medical Center expansion focuses on several key areas—the Fikes/CEFCO Emergency Department, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Imaging Department and Special Procedures. The expansion will add 18,000 square feet of space and includes the addition of more treatment rooms, new equipment and technology to enhance care in a family-centered environment. “The Growing Stronger Together Campaign sets a foundation for what’s coming next. Our $3 million fundraising effort will provide equipment for the new expansion,” says Mr. Ksionda. “We hope everyone— old friends and new—will support our worthy mission and provide the very best for our children.”

Emergency Department: Room to grow

“The Emergency Department is usually the fastest-growing area in the hospital,” says Dominic Lucia, MD, director of the Division of Emergency Pediatric Medicine at McLane Children’s. “Within the first three years, we nearly doubled the 15,000 visits we had in our first year.”

Today, the emergency room treats more than 30,000 children per year, much more than originally expected. An expansion will accommodate an additional 8,000 to 10,000 more patients per year by adding four private treatment rooms and a triage room to the existing 15 rooms.

Two rooms will be convertible “safe rooms” for treating mental health patients. Dr. Lucia says, “When patients come to us with acute mental health issues, we want to make sure they are safe before being transferred to an appropriate inpatient facility. These rooms allow us to do that.”

The waiting area will also be expanded; a more spacious environment can help make families feel more comfortable. “Our busiest seasons are usually fall and spring,” says Dr. Lucia. “More rooms will help get patients in front of our care team’s eyes faster. A more spacious waiting area will make everything more comfortable and less stressful.”

Physical and Occupational Therapy: Decreasing wait times

Logan Parker, 10, comes to McLane Children’s several times per week for treatment such as speech, physical and occupational therapy. He has a rare neurological disorder called Pelizaeus- Merzbacher that affects his mobility and speech. Not expected to live past age nine, Logan is now 10 and thriving – and his therapists have a great deal to do with it. “Physical and occupational therapy make such a difference for so many kids,” says Kelli Howell, PT, DPT, MPH, clinical manager for rehabilitation at McLane Children’s. “It keeps them mobile and out of the hospital and able to be more independent going forward in life.”

The McLane Children’s staff of four physical therapists (PT), one physical therapist assistant, and six occupational therapists (OT) see children dealing with a range of challenges including amputations, neuromuscular disorders, autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and orthopedic injuries among others. Services are offered in the hospital’s neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, on the medical/surgical floors and in an outpatient clinic. The department’s excellent care has helped many children, exceeding 3,000 visits each year in the outpatient clinic, but because of limited space that restricts the number of patients who can be seen each day, more than 200 children are currently on a six-month waitlist for therapy services.

“We can only evaluate seven new patients each week in PT/OT, and many travel a long way for care. We’re overwhelmed by demand and strapped for space,” says Dr. Howell. “Providing great care and outcomes has led to referrals, which is good, but unfortunately, we have to turn families away. We’re already using hallways, the hospital lobby, garden, and playground to deliver our care. The expansion will increase our space and allow us to double our staff, which will drastically reduce the patient backlog.”

Imaging Services: Leading the way with 3T MRI

The new campaign will fund a 3TMRI (magnetic resonance imaging), making McLane Children’s the first children’s hospital in Texas, and one of the first in the nation, to acquire this advanced technology. The 3T delivers better resolution, faster scans, and the ability to scan the entire body in seconds. “The 3T MRI is a game-changer for the hospital, community, and children we serve,” says Ran Samaniego, director of the Department of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Services. “It will allow us to perform cardiac and neurological studies, and eliminate the need to refer patients and their families to Houston or Fort Worth. That means children and families can stay closer to home for great care.” Unlike CT scans that use X-ray technology, MRIs use powerful magnetic fields and radio frequency pulses to produce highly detailed and clear pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone, and other internal body structures.

“The resolution of the new 3T MRI is extraordinary,” says Mr. Samaniego. “This MRI also allows us to scan a child’s whole body more quickly, reducing or eliminating the need for sedation in many cases. We know this MRI will bring in new patients, and allow us to provide a different level of care without referring out.”

Special Procedures: Streamlined space

Each month, McLane Children’s Hospital completes more than 100 special procedures—those that don’t require an operating room, but are too complicated to offer in a clinic because patients may require sedation. Children from 6 weeks to 18 years of age come to the day surgery area for procedures such as an endoscopy to investigate gastrointestinal complaints, to have PICC lines inserted (the long, thin, soft catheters or tubes used for blood draws or delivery of long-term intravenous antibiotics, nutrition, or medications), or even if the child has wedged a small object in her nose or ear.

“We perform 2,500 day surgery procedures per year including GI-related scopes, dressing changes, suture removals, and other procedures,” says Cherri Radford, director of the Department of Peri-Operative Services. “We’re busy, but what surprised us was not the number of patients coming, but the variety of services needed. We do many more GI scopes than expected when we first opened.

“With referrals on the rise from College Station, Round Rock, Waco, and Marble Falls, more children are coming to us,” says Ms. Radford. “Having more equipment and a larger space would be such a blessing to our staff and give them resources they need to continue to provide the very best care.”

Growing Stronger Together is an investment in the future of Central Texas—for our parents who continue to count on McLane Children’s for all their little ones’ needs, and for our children, who represent our future. We believe our responsibility as a health care provider is to ensure children have what they need to grow up safe and healthy. Working with you, our community, we know we can continue to make that happen.

As the father of five children ages two to nine, Dr. Lucia understands the value of having a children’s hospital close to home and views every donation as an investment in a child and family. “I’m a doctor, dad, and donor,” he says, “because anyone who has children knows that it’s not a matter of ‘if’ they will need care, but ‘when.’ When emergencies happen, we are here, 24/7, 365 days a year, and proud to be here with the highest-quality care.”

“The resilience, hope, and strength we see from families and children every day is inspiring. I wish everyone could come visit us and see what their donations make possible,” says Dr. Howell. “We are so appreciative.”

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