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With expansion comes new Laredo office for Driscoll Health Plan

February 13, 2013
LAREDO - Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas and representatives from the Laredo Chamber of Commerce will join officials from Driscoll Health Plan (DHP) tomorrow as they celebrate the opening of their new Laredo office at 1705 Del Mar Blvd.

The 1,245-square-foot office will be used by DHP to conduct provider relations, community outreach and, later, social work. It is the result of DHP's 2012 expansion into the Hidalgo Service Delivery Area (SDA), which includes the counties of Cameron, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Maverick, McMullen, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata. DHP currently has more than 50,200 members in the Hidalgo SDA.

"We are pleased to have an office in Laredo for our staff as well as a place for healthcare providers to meet with us," said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, chief executive officer of DHP. "The physicians of Laredo have been wonderful to work with. These bricks and mortar are just another example of Driscoll Health Plan's commitment to this area."

DHP is one of four plans that were awarded a Medicaid managed-care contract in South Texas by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. It's available to the approximately 400,000 Medicaid-eligible people in the Hidalgo SDA. For more information about DHP, go to www.driscollhealthplan.com or call 855-425-3247.

What: Ribbon-cutting for Driscoll Health Plan's Laredo office
When: 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14
Where: 1705 Del Mar Blvd., Suite A119, Laredo

Ward is new vice president of Finance at Driscoll

February 11, 2013
Ward
Ward
CORPUS CHRISTI - Greg Ward has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as vice president of Finance. Ward has more than 15 years of healthcare accounting and finance experience and most recently served as chief financial officer and vice president of Operations at Carlinville Area Hospital in Carlinville, Ill. A certified public accountant, he holds a master's degree in business administration from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and a bachelor's degree in accounting from Illinois State University in Bloomington-Normal.

Fiesta de los Niños, Driscoll's largest annual fundraiser, kicks off Friday night

February 07, 2013
WHAT: The American Bank Center exhibit hall will be packed tomorrow for the 21st annual Fiesta de los Niños, presented by title sponsor Flint Hills Resources. The ever-popular event will feature silent and live auctions, a barbecue dinner and dancing to live entertainment by country music star Johnny Lee, singer of the 1980 hit, "Lookin' For Love." Proceeds will go toward several key specialty areas at Driscoll Children's Hospital, including the Rehabilitation Services Department, Radiology Department and Driscoll Health System - Pediatric Cardiology.

WHEN: 6:30-11:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8

WHERE: American Bank Center exhibit hall, 1901 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi

Grocery shopping is therapeutic at Driscoll's new H-E-B Kids' Market

January 29, 2013
'Shoppers' will demonstrate at ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 23
CORPUS CHRISTI - Just over a year after planning began, the H-E-B Kids' Market at Driscoll Children's Hospital will be opened Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Rehabilitation Services Department. Officials from Driscoll and H-E-B will be on hand, and children will be cued up to begin shopping in the kid-sized grocery store. The market, with its mini grocery carts, shelves of food, plastic produce and check-out stand, offers many therapeutic possibilities for Driscoll's rehabilitation patients.

"The market helps us create a series of activities that children will encounter in the real world," said Susan Fields, director of Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department. "It will allow them to have fun and learn at the same time. Children learn best when they don't know they're working."

In addition to a grocery store, the H-E-B Kids' Market at Driscoll features a play kitchen with a refrigerator, working sink and washer and dryer.

Several rehabilitative therapies can be employed in the market, Fields said. With Driscoll's physical therapists, children can improve their standing and balancing ability by reaching and picking items from shelves. Pushing a grocery cart can help those who need to work on walking. In the play kitchen, they can choose where to store food. Speech therapists can help children improve language skills by having them name, match, categorize or describe products. And with Driscoll's occupational therapists, children can work on problem-solving by planning a meal, purchasing items, making change and generally improving their fine motor skills. The area is also available to Driscoll's dietitians, who will teach children about nutrition and meal planning.

The idea for the H-E-B Kids' Market materialized in 2011 after a Driscoll employee saw an H-E-Buddy Market in the Children's Museum of Houston. The market, also in children's museums in San Antonio and Brownsville, is designed to engage children in activities that will help them learn and grow. Driscoll's Rehabilitation Services Department designated an area for pretend play and a donation from H-E-B followed.

The H-E-B Kids' Market at Driscoll is the first time the H-E-Buddy Market concept has been incorporated into a children's hospital for rehabilitative purposes, according to H-E-B.

The H-E-B Kids' Market is available to any child who needs rehabilitation therapy. For more information, call the Rehabilitation Services Department at (361) 694-5678.

What: H-E-B Kids' Market ribbon-cutting
When: 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, Rehabilitation Services Department, 3533 S. Alameda St.

Driscoll Health Plan: Improving healthcare with cell phone assistance for members

January 18, 2013
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - For most people, finding a medical care provider and making doctor's appointments is as easy as picking up a cell phone. But for some Medicaid-eligible individuals and families, access to cell phones - and quick communication with healthcare providers - may be difficult or impossible. Driscoll Health Plan (DHP) strives to bridge the communication gap by providing all members assistance in applying for a free cell phone.*

"Communication is essential when it comes to access to good healthcare for the vulnerable population we serve," said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, chief executive officer of DHP.

As part of the free cell phone* program, qualifying members will also receive the following services at not cost:

250 free voice minutes each month
250 free text messages each month;
A voicemail account;
Call waiting and caller ID;
9-1-1 access.

In addition to these services, DHP provides 250 extra minutes** each month and, for certain members, text messages with general health tips, notices about free events and other helpful information.

"This is a win-win situation for our members who qualify to receive free cell phones," Dr. Peterson said. "DHP continues to develop ways to provide more value to our members."

Cell phones obtained through DHP are made available by Assurance Wireless, a federal Lifeline program that is part of the Universal Service Fund.*

DHP has more than 50,000 members in the Hidalgo Service Delivery Area (SDA), which includes the counties of Cameron, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Maverick, McMullen, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata. It is the only non-profit, provider-sponsored plan in the Hidalgo SDA. For more information about DHP, families can go to www.driscollhealthplan.com or call 855-425-3247. This is the third in a series of four press releases about DHP's value-added services.

* Members must qualify to receive a free cell phone. The cell phone is not a value-added service.
** Restrictions and/or limitations apply on this value-added service.

Driscoll Children's Hospital's annual Fiesta de los Niños promises to be another crowd-pleaser

January 03, 2013
Flint Hills Resources presented a $50,000 check to Driscoll Children's Hospital Jan. 3 for the upcoming Fiesta de los Niños. Pictured from left are Fiesta chairs Allison and Tom Hunt; Martha St. Romain, Driscoll vice president of Development; and Fiesta chairs Phil and Vicki Gaarder. Phil Gaarder is also vice president of South Texas Operations for Flint Hills Resources.
Flint Hills Resources presented a $50,000 check to Driscoll Children's Hospital Jan. 3 for the upcoming Fiesta de los Niños. Pictured from left are Fiesta chairs Allison and Tom Hunt; Martha St. Romain, Driscoll vice president of Development; and Fiesta chairs Phil and Vicki Gaarder. Phil Gaarder is also vice president of South Texas Operations for Flint Hills Resources.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Fiesta de los Niños, which began as a small, grassroots effort 21 years ago, has evolved into a high-profile event that many South Texans return to year after year. On Feb. 8, Driscoll Children's Hospital's 21st annual Fiesta de los Niños will be held at the American Bank Center Exhibit Hall. It will include its signature combination of fun, food and music - all with the mission of offering more and enhanced services to children in the community.

"Because of the support from community partners such as Flint Hills Resources, Driscoll Children's Hospital is able to continue to enhance its services and carry on the vision to be the regional leader in children's services through innovation and excellence in healthcare, advocacy, education and research," said Martha St. Romain, vice president of Development at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

Led by long-time title-sponsor Flint Hills Resources, Fiesta de los Niños is a major annual fundraiser for Driscoll Children's Hospital. Each year, 100 percent of the funds raised from the event directly benefit the hospital. For the past 21 years, through community support of Fiesta, Driscoll has been able to develop and improve its services and programs in order to better serve the children of South Texas. In 2012, with more than 1,400 people in attendance, Fiesta raised $600,000 for the renovation and expansion of the Emergency Department.

Proceeds from the 2013 Fiesta de los Niños will touch several key specialty areas throughout Driscoll Children's Hospital, including the Rehabilitation Services Department, with a new, therapeutic music room; the Radiology Department, with the installation of a special, interactive program that entertains and distracts children during imaging procedures; and Driscoll Health System - Pediatric Cardiology, with new, state-of-the-art, child-specific echocardiogram machines.

Guests at Fiesta de los Niños will enjoy silent, live and bid-board auctions, a barbecue dinner and entertainment by country music artist Johnny Lee, singer of the 1980 hit, "Lookin' For Love." The program begins at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails, silent and bid-board auctions and live music by Still Crazy.

For more information or table sponsorship, call Driscoll's Development Department at (361) 694-6405 or visit the Fiesta de los Niños page.

What: Driscoll Children's Hospital's 21st annual Fiesta de los Niños
When: 6:30 - 11:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8
Where: American Bank Center Exhibit Hall, 1901 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi

Event schedule:

6:30 p.m. - Doors open, reception, silent & bid-board auctions open, dancing to Still Crazy
7:00 p.m. - Western barbecue dinner served
8:30 p.m. - Live auction begins, silent auction closes (Bid-board remains open until 10 p.m.)
9:30 p.m. - Featured entertainer, Johnny Lee

In pursuit of excellence, Driscoll residents far outpace total pass rate for American Board of Pediatrics certification

December 20, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital is proud to announce that all of its graduating residents who took the latest American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) certification exam in general pediatrics passed on their first attempt, continuing a trend that surpasses the total annual pass rate. Certification through the exam, administered once a year in October, has one objective - to promote excellence in medical care for children and adolescents.

"ABP certification provides a standard of excellence by which the public can select pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists," according to the ABP. "Although certification is voluntary, nearly all qualified pediatricians seek this recognition."

The ABP certification pass rate for pediatric residents at Driscoll Children's Hospital for the past three years has been 98 percent, ranking them in the top 5 percent of the more than 200 pediatric residency programs in the country, said William Dirksen, MD, Driscoll chief of staff. In contrast, the total pass rate for candidates taking the ABP general pediatrics exam in 2009, 2010 and 2011 was 79.1 percent, 76.1 percent and 75.7 percent, respectively, according to the ABP.

The ABP certification exam is a one-day test given to physicians who have finished three years of pediatric residency training. Physicians must have a valid, unrestricted, permanent medical license to be eligible to sit for the test. Certification is valid for seven years after which physicians must recertify by taking the ABP's Program for Maintenance of Certification in Pediatrics recertification exam.

Here are some additional facts from the ABP:

The ABP has certified 77,328 diplomates in general pediatrics and 14,707 in pediatric subspecialties.

Among the pediatricians who take the ABP test, 66 percent go into general pediatric practice and 24 percent go into pediatric subspecialties.

An average of 3,007 pediatricians take the ABP exam every year. Of these, American medical graduates accounted for 82.5 percent and international medical graduates accounted for 17.5 percent. Gender-wise, 40 percent were males and 60 percent were females.

The total number of pediatric residents currently in training programs in the United States is 9,731.

The average age at the time of ABP certification for pediatricians is 32 years for American medical graduates and about 36 years for international medical graduates.

The success of Driscoll's residency program can be attributed largely to the hospital's governing board, administration, faculty and staff, all of whom are dedicated to fostering excellent pediatricians.

"I have been blessed to have the necessary support to create an environment where aspiring physicians can be trained to become the best pediatricians in the world," Dr. Dirksen said. "Driscoll faculty has been outstanding in their commitment to the teaching and mentoring of our residents."

Driscoll's Cottage Shop voted no. 1 among consignment stores

December 14, 2012
The Cottage Shop staff includes (left to right) Dot Van Burkleo, Rosemary Fischer, Mary Jo Slaughter, Lin Orser, Yen Doan, Susan Quiroz (manager),  Kathy Jenkin, Kelly Reynolds, Mathilde Schneider, Daniel Gunn and Sue Swanson.
The Cottage Shop staff includes (left to right) Dot Van Burkleo, Rosemary Fischer, Mary Jo Slaughter, Lin Orser, Yen Doan, Susan Quiroz (manager), Kathy Jenkin, Kelly Reynolds, Mathilde Schneider, Daniel Gunn and Sue Swanson.
CORPUS CHRISTI - Readers of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times recently voted the Cottage Shop at Driscoll Children's Hospital the no. 1 consignment store in the newspaper's 2012 Best of the Best competition. While many businesses pursue Best of the Best recognition every year, receiving the top title was a pleasant surprise for the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital, who operates the Cottage Shop.

"The staff was super excited, proud and surprised," said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services at Driscoll. "They had no idea this was going to happen. The Cottage Shop has come a long way from its beginnings as a small room in the basement of the hospital to a brand new building with more than 1,300 square feet."

The Cottage Shop offers gently used and new merchandise at bargain prices, including men's, women's and children's clothing, toys, household items and collectibles. The store's first priority is to provide clothes and necessities to patients and their families who are in need, and 100 percent of the proceeds from sales go back to the hospital.

The store's success is due simply to a hardworking group of volunteers and staff, Saenz said.

"They give to the Cottage Shop with all their heart. The shop looks amazing and is always neat and organized, thanks to the leadership of the manager, Susan Quiroz."

The Cottage Shop accepts donations of new and gently used items. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call (361) 694-5800.

Mendoza joins Driscoll as Emergency Department manager

December 13, 2012
Mendoza
Mendoza
CORPUS CHRISTI - Victor Mendoza, RN, BSN, has joined Driscoll Children's Hospital as manager of the Emergency Department. Mendoza has more than 19 years of emergency room experience in adult, pediatric and military hospital settings. He was previously an emergency room coordinator and trauma and stroke coordinator at a hospital in El Paso.

Organ donors, their families honored at Driscoll ceremony

November 19, 2012
Dr. Karl Serrao, critical care intensivist, speaks to families of organ donors at a ceremony honoring them and their loved ones Nov. 10 at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
Dr. Karl Serrao, critical care intensivist, speaks to families of organ donors at a ceremony honoring them and their loved ones Nov. 10 at Driscoll Children's Hospital.
CORPUS CHRISTI - The families of children whose organs were donated so that others may live were honored at a poignant ceremony Nov. 10 at Driscoll Children's Hospital. More than 100 people, including families, Driscoll leaders, physicians and other healthcare professionals, gathered in the auditorium to commemorate the lives of the donors.

"It is essential to recognize these children who became organ donors and their families who allowed this gift to happen," said Karl Serrao, MD, critical care intensivist at Driscoll. "The donors have left a lasting and indelible legacy and we at Driscoll Children's Hospital want to celebrate with the families. These organ donors are heroes, as they are saving lives."

As of Nov. 14, 10 donors at Driscoll Children's Hospital have saved the lives of more than 40 other people, Dr. Serrao said.

This was Driscoll's second ceremony honoring organ donors and their families. In 2010, a ceremony was held to unveil the hospital's Organ Donor Wall, on which the names of the donors are inscribed on floating dandelion seeds. Dr. Serrao said he hopes to have an organ donor ceremony annually and raise awareness in the community about the importance of organ donation.

"We want to encourage everyone to be inspired by these children and their families to become a registered donor."

Those who wish to become organ donors can register at www.donatelifetexas.org, Dr. Serrao added.