DCH News

Press Releases

Matt Young, (361) 548-6073

Driscoll Children's Health Plan expands further into South Texas

October 26, 2011
Steve Woerner, president and CEO of Driscoll Children's Hospital, announces the expansion of Driscoll Children's Health Plan Oct. 26 in McAllen with Mary Dale Peterson, MD, CEO of the Health Plan.
Steve Woerner, president and CEO of Driscoll Children's Hospital, announces the expansion of Driscoll Children's Health Plan Oct. 26 in McAllen with Mary Dale Peterson, MD, CEO of the Health Plan.
Membership will be available to about 400,000 people in 10 counties

CORPUS CHRISTI - Many children and their parents who need healthcare coverage in 10 South Texas counties have new health plans to choose from. Among them is Driscoll Children's Health Plan (DCHP), one of four that were recently awarded a Medicaid managed care contract in South Texas by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

Being selected for the contract was no small feat, according to DCHP President and Chief Executive Officer Mary Dale Peterson, MD.

"DCHP was chosen over many competitors including other non-profit entities and very large, publicly traded, managed care organizations," she said. "This shows that the Health and Human Services Commission trusts us to deliver quality care to the South Texas population."

DCHP covers 10 counties in South Texas, referred to as the Hidalgo service delivery area (SDA). It's available to the Medicaid-eligible population, of which there are approximately 400,000 people. Driscoll's is the only non-profit, provider-sponsored health plan in the Hidalgo SDA. DCHP has a dedicated team of pediatric and adult doctors, and the plan accepts members regardless of any pre-existing health conditions.

DCHP comes with a name that is synonymous with high-quality healthcare in South Texas. Clara Driscoll bequeathed her family fortune to the creation of Driscoll Children's Hospital, which opened in Corpus Christi in 1953. In later decades, the hospital opened specialty clinics in Laredo, Brownsville, McAllen and Harlingen. Driscoll offers care to children regardless of their family's ability to pay.

DCHP will increase access to healthcare for many children, Dr. Peterson said. It's now being assessed how many additional physicians and healthcare providers will be needed in the Hidalgo SDA.

The HHSC also recently renewed DCHP's contract in the 14-county Nueces SDA, making it one of three managed care health plans in that area. The Nueces SDA is where DCHP established its solid history of delivering quality healthcare.

"DCHP has a proven track record," Dr. Peterson said. "I'm confident that our expansion into South Texas will improve care to many children, which was Clara Driscoll's mission all along."

Counties in the Hidalgo SDA are:
  • Cameron

  • Duval

  • Hidalgo

  • Jim Hogg

  • Maverick

  • McMullen

  • Starr

  • Webb

  • Willacy

  • Zapata

For more information on DCHP, call (361) 904-0955 or 1-877-DCHP-KIDS or go to www.dchpkids.com.

Driscoll to make major announcement concerning healthcare in South Texas

October 25, 2011
WHAT: Officials from Driscoll Children's Health Plan and Driscoll Children's Hospital will hold a press conference to announce news that can potentially affect more than 400,000 residents of South Texas who need healthcare, including children and adults.

WHEN: 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Quick Care, 1120 E. Ridge Rd., McAllen (in Driscoll Children's Medical Plaza)

Tilley joins Driscoll Children's Hospital as neonatologist

October 18, 2011
Melissa Tilley, MD
Melissa Tilley, MD
CORPUS CHRISTI - Melissa M. Tilley, MD, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as a neonatologist in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She most recently completed a neonatology fellowship at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

Dr. Tilley earned a bachelor's degree in nursing at Corpus Christi State University in 1993, a master's degree in nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 1995 and a doctorate in medicine at Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico in 2004. She completed her residency at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Dr. Tilley is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Patients to have Halloween celebration at Driscoll Children's Hospital

October 18, 2011
WHAT: Volunteers with Spirit Halloween's Spirit of Children program are bringing a Halloween celebration for patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital, including costumes, activities and more. There will be plenty of opportunities for photos and interviews.

WHEN: 1:30-2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll expansion project will get boost from Halliburton donation

October 18, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - On Wednesday, Oct. 19, representatives from Halliburton will present a $25,000 check to Driscoll Children's Hospital for the redesign and expansion of its Emergency Department (ED). This donation was made possible by funds raised from the 18th Annual Halliburton Charity Golf Tournament, which was held recently in Houston.

Almost 40,000 children visit Driscoll's ED annually and, while good use has been made of the existing space, more is needed. The redesign and expansion is a multimillion dollar project, and donations like that from the Halliburton Charity Golf Tournament are helping make it possible.

"We could not be more grateful for Halliburton's gift," said Martha St. Romain, vice president of Development at Driscoll. "The redesign and expansion of our Children's Emergency Department is one of the most significant projects undertaken by the hospital in recent years."

Each year, Halliburton partners with vendors, suppliers and employees to host its Charity Golf Tournament in Houston. Throughout its history, the tournament has given nearly $4 million to charities across the United States.

"I am proud to say that Halliburton helps its neighbors through supporting Driscoll Children's Hospital," said Joe Foster, South Texas Area vice president for Halliburton. "Charity starts at home in our communities, and helping is what we do."

  • What: Halliburton check presentation

  • When: 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, main lobby, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll team recognized for conducting clinical trials that improve life for cancer patients

October 17, 2011
Driscoll's oncology team, led by Dr. Cris Johnson,  includes physicians, nurses, child life specialists, social workers, chaplains, rehab therapists, lab workers and a host of other specialists.
Driscoll's oncology team, led by Dr. Cris Johnson, includes physicians, nurses, child life specialists, social workers, chaplains, rehab therapists, lab workers and a host of other specialists.
CORPUS CHRISTI - There's a battle going on to cure childhood cancer and hematologist/oncologist Cris Johnson, MD and her team at Driscoll Children's Hospital are in the trenches. Part of the battle involves clinical trials in which new medications are tested that could reduce unpleasant side effects caused by chemotherapy and radiation treatment. In that effort, Dr. Johnson and her team have earned a certificate of recognition for significantly contributing to enrollments in National Cancer Institute-sponsored clinical trials.

"We're participating in an international effort to cure childhood cancer," said Dr. Johnson, director of hematology/oncology at Driscoll's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. "We enroll patients in research trials with the goal of improving survival rates while decreasing side effects and late effects of treatment."

Dr. Johnson and her team were recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Community Clinical Oncology Program/Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP/MB-CCOP). The CCOP is a network for testing and validating medical interventions against cancer and delivering the benefits of scientific discovery to the public. The Minority-Based CCOP program is a companion group to reach areas with large minority populations, which includes Corpus Christi and the 31 counties that Driscoll serves.

"A great number of our patients are minorities," Dr. Johnson said. "This population is often underserved and their response to treatment can vary from non-minorities. It's important to include all ages and races in clinical trials."

This is the first time the CCOP/MB-CCOP and NCI have recognized physicians for their enrollment efforts, according to Anne-Marie Langevin, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and principal investigator of the South Texas Pediatric MB-CCOP (STP MB-CCOP), a consortium of four pediatric oncology programs that includes Driscoll Children's Hospital.

As a consortium, the STP MB-CCOP ranks second in the state of Texas in terms of enrollment of children with cancer in NCI-sponsored clinical trials. Dr. Johnson and her team contributed more than 35 percent of those enrollments in the past year. In 2010, they had 119 enrollments.

"This is a fantastic achievement considering that (Driscoll) is competing with adult oncologists who see a lot more patients," Dr. Langevin said.

An example of a clinical trial that is underway at Driscoll involves a new drug that counteracts hearing loss caused by a chemotherapy medication used to treat tumors.

"We are hoping that this new drug decreases the incidence of hearing loss after chemotherapy," Dr. Johnson said. "To know if the drug is effective, an organized clinical trial needs to be performed."

Results of clinical trials like this are submitted to the Children's Oncology Group, a worldwide clinical trial cooperative group supported by the NCI and dedicated to studying childhood cancers, Dr. Johnson said.

Dr. Johnson said she's honored to receive the recognition from the CCOP/MB-CCOP and NCI, but she's quick to credit her team of fellow physicians, nurses, child life specialists, social workers, chaplains, rehab therapists, lab workers and a host of others.

"Without this team we wouldn't be able to take care of the children the way they need to be taken care of," she said.

Reunion brings once-fragile babies back to see their caregivers

October 14, 2011
CORPUS CHRISTI - Oftentimes, infants who are brought to Driscoll Children's Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) are there during the most fragile time in their lives. Patients and their families can spend several months in the hospital, day in and day out, so it's no surprise that strong bonds are formed with the physicians, nurses and other members of the healthcare team who not only care for a child, but offer support to a child's family as well.

Because of the relationship that forms between patient and caregiver, Driscoll Children's Hospital holds the NICU Reunion each fall to give patients and families a chance to reconnect with their healthcare team and to celebrate the lives of those babies who have grown to be healthy children.

Trish Carr, assistant vice president of Patient Care Services says, "The reunion is a great way for our staff to keep in contact with the patients they care for. They are always so excited to see the progress the children have made. It's a great thing, being able to watch [our patients] grow up."

During the fall festival-themed celebration, staff who have cared for Driscoll patients over the years will be on hand to meet with the more than 200 families who are eager to share stories of what their children have been doing since their stay at Driscoll - some possibly many years ago. In addition to dressing up in their Halloween costumes, patients will enjoy games, prizes, pizza and other goodies at the annual event.

Driscoll Children's Hospital's level III NICU cares for newborns and infants for a variety of reasons, including prematurity (carried less than 37 weeks), respiratory distress, infections, birth defects and other illnesses. Staffed by neonatologists 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the 41-bed NICU has cared for more than 20,000 premature and critical infants in South Texas, offering the highest level of care in 31 counties.

  • What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual NICU Reunion

  • When: 2 - 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15

  • Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, Rehabilitation Services parking lot, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Chavez is new Radiology Services director at Driscoll

October 11, 2011
Ernest Chavez
Ernest Chavez
CORPUS CHRISTI - Ernest Chavez has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as director of Radiology Services. He was formerly the director for medical imaging services, diagnostic imaging outpatient center, radiation oncology and transportation at Danville Regional Medical Center in Danville, Va. Chavez earned a degree in radiologic technology in 1975 at Odessa College and a master's degree in hospital administration in 1987 at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview.

President of American Academy of Pediatrics to give insights into profession

October 06, 2011
WHAT: James Stockman, MD, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, will appear for a Grand Rounds session for pediatricians and healthcare providers in the community. He will give a presentation titled, "Best Articles of the Last Decade." Dr. Stockman will review recent articles and studies of interest to pediatricians, particularly articles that have changed the way they practice medicine. He will also discuss trends that will impact the pediatric workforce in this century and assess how education methodologies can be integrated into cost-effective care.

WHEN: 12:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Hospital auditorium, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Country stars will shine bright tonight at Singer Songwriter Showcase

October 06, 2011
WHAT: Some of country music's biggest singers and songwriters will take the stage tonight at Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual Singer Songwriter Showcase at the Corpus Christi Country Club. That includes country music legend Allen Shamblin, winner of the 2011 Country Music Awards' Song of the Year for "The House that Built Me;" Gary Nicholson, a no. 1 hit songwriter whose songs have been recorded more than 500 times in various genres by artists such as BB King, Garth Brooks, Bonnie Raitt, George Strait, George Jones and Waylon Jennings; and Aaron Barker, who partnered with George Strait to create "Baby Blue" and "Easy Come, Easy Go," among other songs. Proceeds from the event benefit Driscoll Children's Hospital. The concert precedes Driscoll's 16th annual Golf Tournament, which will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7 at the Country Club.

WHEN: Doors open at 6 p.m.; concert begins at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Corpus Christi Country Club, 6300 Everhart Rd.

INFO: (361) 694-6401