DCH News

Patients & Families

Super activities planned for superhero-themed summer camp for asthmatic children

June 08, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - A theme of fantastic characters with superhuman powers is designed to spark the imaginations of children and help them focus less on their asthma at this year's Camp Easy Breathers. The 11th annual summer camp, sponsored by Driscoll Children's Hospital, the Coastal Bend Community Foundation and the Coastal Bend Asthma Initiative, will be from June 10-14 at Camp Aranzazu near Rockport.

"The superhero theme will make it especially fun for our new campers and especially those who are returning for a second or third year," said Shelly Bigelow, camp director and respiratory therapist at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

While there is no cure for asthma, Camp Easy Breathers emphasizes to children with the disease that they can live a healthy, active life. The physical and social activities they'll experience will be fun and also increase their understanding of asthma, Bigelow said.

The camp utilizes interactive teaching methods such as open dialogue, various media, activities and game-play. All will reinforce key lessons to the children such as:

Understanding asthma and how it affects them;
Recognizing and avoiding asthma attack triggers;
Recognizing warning signs to improve asthma management;
Knowing how and when to take medicine;
Staying healthy and staying in school.

Activities at the camp will include swimming, archery, arts and crafts, outdoor games, sports and an awards show.

"Camp Easy Breathers is a great opportunity for children to make new friends, become more independent and take on real challenges in a safe environment," Bigelow said.

Asthma is a chronic disease in which the airways in the lungs become swollen, clogged and overly sensitive to changes in the environment. During an attack, the muscles that surround the airways tighten and the inner lining of the airways swells and pushes inward. Asthma kills about 5,000 Americans each year and costs the United States more than $10 billion a year in direct and indirect medical expenses. Timely diagnosis, appropriate treatment, partnership with a healthcare professional and reduction of exposure to environmental factors are some of the things that help children living with asthma.

What: 11th annual Camp Easy Breathers for children ages 7-14
When: June 10-14
Where: Camp Aranzazu, near Rockport

25th annual Cattlemen's RoundUp kicks off in Beeville

June 07, 2012
BEEVILLE - On June 15, young 4-H members in Bee, Goliad and Refugio counties will team up with the Beeville Livestock Commission for a great cause. The 25th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will begin at noon at the Beeville Livestock Commission on Highway 59.

Sponsored by Lyssy & Eckel Feeds, the Cattlemen's RoundUps are grassroots fundraisers held throughout Driscoll's 31-county service area. Local 4-H clubs, Future Farmers of America chapters, county extension agents and businesses participate by donating goods and services to auction off for the hospital such as homemade baked goods, agricultural products, arts and crafts and a variety of other items. All of this year's proceeds will go toward new medical equipment and additional program support for children receiving care at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

To make a donation and support local 4-H students, go to www.driscollchildrens.org and click on "South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp," call Driscoll at (361) 694-6401 or call the Bee County Extension Office at (361) 362-3280.

What: 25th annual South Texas Cattlemen's RoundUp
When: Noon Friday, June 15
Where: Beeville Livestock Commission, Highway 59

Driscoll cancer patients to enjoy annual fishing tournament

June 01, 2012

WHAT: The Chemo Kids Fish Off is an annual excursion that allows cancer patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital to take their minds off chemotherapy and enjoy a morning of fishing. About 40 children will ride in boats driven by fishing guides who will be donating their time. After fishing, trophies will be awarded to the children in various categories.

WHEN: Boats depart at 8 a.m. & return at 11 a.m. Monday, June 4

WHERE: Hampton's Landing Marina, 430 E. Ransom Rd., Aransas Pass

Children's Miracle Network Telethon to benefit Valley children

May 30, 2012
Event staged by Driscoll Children's Hospital will be broadcast June 3 on KGBT

RIO GRANDE VALLEY - After more than 23 years of sharing true-to-life stories of children meeting tremendous challenges with the help of South Texas' finest healthcare professionals, the Children's Miracle Network Telethon staged by Driscoll Children's Hospital is coming again to viewers on KGBT-TV 4 in the Rio Grande Valley.

Months of preparation go into the Children's Miracle Network Telethon every year. Interviews with patients, parents and physicians are recorded and neatly packaged, and the stories are no less than miraculous. KGBT graciously hosts the program at their Harlingen studio and dedicates their time and talent to make it run smoothly. They interview Driscoll physicians, young patients and parents in between recorded stories. Many of Driscoll's patients reside in the Rio Grande Valley and receive treatment and checkups at the hospital's clinics in Harlingen, Brownsville and McAllen.

The telethon shows viewers how a non-profit children's hospital like Driscoll is bringing care and compassion to children in 31 South Texas counties. To meet those needs with new physicians, procedures, equipment and programs, fundraisers such as the Children's Miracle Network Telethon are crucial. And year after year, the community responds. Last year, $750,000 was raised through the telethon in the Rio Grande Valley.

"Driscoll Children's Hospital is thrilled with the generous and loyal support received from so many grateful people and corporations throughout the Rio Grande Valley," said Martha St. Romain, Driscoll vice president of Development. "It shows a commitment by all that the children of South Texas deserve the highest level of quality, specialized healthcare that only Driscoll can provide."


What: Annual Children's Miracle Network Telethon benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital on KGBT-TV 4
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 3
Where: KGBT-TV 4, 9201 W. Expressway 83, Harlingen
Information: (361) 694-6401 or click here

Open house to highlight Driscoll's pediatric services in Laredo

May 30, 2012

WHAT: Pediatricians, their office and nursing staffs and the public are invited to an open house to celebrate the newly expanded and relocated Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Laredo. Driscoll officials and physicians will be on hand to provide information on the specialized medical services the hospital brings to patients who may otherwise be underserved in the community.

WHEN: 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 30

WHERE: Driscoll Children's Specialty Center - Laredo, 10710 McPherson, Ste. 202

Expansion of Driscoll Children's Health Plan is good for the economy and health of South Texas families

May 30, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - The recent expansion of Driscoll Children's Health Plan (DCHP) throughout South Texas is benefiting the region in more ways than one. In the Coastal Bend, five counties were recently added to the health plan's Nueces Service Delivery Area (SDA), making it available to families in 14 counties. In the new Hidalgo SDA, DCHP is now available to approximately 340,000 Medicaid-eligible people in 10 counties from the Rio Grande Valley to Eagle Pass. The health plan, with its new employees, office space and other necessities, has become a significant contributor to the South Texas economy.

For example, in the Nueces SDA, 29 full-time employees have been hired to fill positions such as provider relations, contracting, community relations, administration, case management, utilization management and quality assurance. That brings the Nueces SDA staff to 82 employees. DCHP leases 17,142 square feet of office space in the Wells Fargo building in downtown Corpus Christi and is one of three Medicaid managed-care health plans in the Nueces SDA. The health plan's contract was renewed and expanded last year by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

"When you consider the new employees, contractors, leased office space, information technology systems we use and advertising on radio and TV, we are adding considerable revenue to the area's economic engine," said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, chief executive officer of DCHP.

DCHP has administered the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the Nueces SDA since 2000 and the State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) Medicaid program since 2006. CHIP provides low-cost healthcare for children and the STAR program offers free healthcare for families. The programs serve nearly 60,000 members combined. The expanded Nueces SDA includes the counties of Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Calhoun, Goliad, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio and Victoria.

In addition, 19 full-time employees have been hired by DCHP to serve the Hidalgo SDA. That includes positions in provider relations, community relations, administration, compliance and case management. They're headquartered in a newly leased, 3,360 square-foot office in Edinburg. DCHP was one of four Medicaid managed-care plans that were awarded a contract last year by the HHSC, and it is the only non-profit, provider-sponsored health plan in the SDA. Counties in the Hidalgo SDA are Cameron, Duval, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Maverick, McMullen, Starr, Webb, Willacy and Zapata.

All told, DCHP's estimated annual financial impact in South Texas is nearly $9.9 million, Dr. Peterson said. The infusion of revenue has a multiplier effect in the region as well. An example is the health plan's third party administrator, Valence Health, which has established their main call center in the Wells Fargo building. The company employs more than 120 people from the area and serves two health plans in addition to DCHP.

"As the population of South Texas grows, we hope to grow with it in employees, facilities, healthcare providers and other ways," Dr. Peterson said. "DCHP is based in South Texas. We have a vested interest in the well-being of the communities we serve and the financial condition of the region."

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

Driscoll Children's Hospital achieves Joint Commission accreditation with flying colors

May 29, 2012
CORPUS CHRISTI - Driscoll Children's Hospital has earned the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for accreditation by demonstrating compliance with the organization's national standards for healthcare quality and safety in hospitals. The accreditation award recognizes the hospital's dedication to continuous compliance with the Joint Commission's state-of-the-art standards.

Driscoll underwent a rigorous, unannounced, on-site survey in April. A team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated the hospital for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients, including infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management.

"In achieving Joint Commission accreditation, Driscoll Children's Hospital has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for its patients," said Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, executive director, Hospital Programs, Accreditation and Certification Services for the Joint Commission. "Accreditation is a voluntary process and I commend Driscoll for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate its standard of care and instill confidence in the community it serves."

Joint Commission accreditation reflects Driscoll's investment in quality on a day-to-day basis and helps the hospital further pursue a culture of excellence, said Donna Quinn, Driscoll vice president of Operations & Quality.

"To be re accredited speaks to the quality of care and service we provide to our patients and pride in what we do."

The Joint Commission's hospital standards address important functions relating to the care of patients and the management of hospitals. The standards are developed in consultation with healthcare experts, providers, measurement experts and patients.

Driscoll to hold press conference launching 'Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car...Check the Back Seat' ad campaign

May 24, 2012
Event on National Heat Awareness Day will include hot-car demonstration

CORPUS CHRISTI - Since 1998, more than 520 children have died as a result of heat stroke in cars - an average of 38 per year. Texas leads all states with 80 deaths. Sadly, about half of the children are forgotten when drivers arrive at their destination. Some drivers become distracted and forget they have a child in the back seat and continue their routine. In other situations, children were either playing in an unattended car and were unable to get out or were intentionally left by an adult "for just a few minutes." It takes only minutes for a child to be at risk of death and serious, permanent injury in a hot car.

In an effort to prevent these incidents from happening in South Texas, the Injury Prevention Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital has partnered with Kohl's Department Stores to launch an ad campaign promoting the message, "Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car...Check the Back Seat," on Corpus Christi city buses and billboards in Laredo and Victoria. Representatives from Driscoll's Injury Prevention Program, the City of Corpus Christi Fire Department and Child Protective Services will hold a press conference at the hospital May 25 that will include a city bus with the campaign ad and a hot-car demonstration.

"Thanks to our partnership with Kohl's and the Keep Your Kids Safe initiative, we will be able to increase awareness and spread this important message," said Maricruz Cantu, Injury Prevention coordinator at Driscoll Children's Hospital.

The community is urged to remember the acronym "ACT," Cantu said:

Avoid hyperthermia-related deaths by never leaving a child alone in a car and always locking doors and trunks;
Create reminders and habits for parents and caregivers to serve as a safety net to ensure the child isn't forgotten in the back seat;
Take action if a child is seen unattended in a vehicle by immediately calling 911.

The bottom line to avoid tragedies, Cantu added, is to "make it a habit to check the back seat every time you exit and remember to never leave a child alone in a car. Whether you are a parent, caregiver or community member, we can all help save lives and prevent tragedies."

What: "Never Leave a Child Alone in a Car" ad campaign press conference
When: 10 a.m. Friday, May 25
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 3533 S. Alameda St. (front lawn)

La Palmera Mall to host Children's Miracle Network Telethon

May 16, 2012
Event benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital will be broadcast on KIII

CORPUS CHRISTI - For 27 years, Driscoll Children's Hospital and KIII-TV 3 have staged the Children's Miracle Network Telethon, bringing Coastal Bend viewers true-to-life stories of children meeting tremendous challenges with the help of South Texas' finest healthcare professionals. This year, the 28th annual event will be held in the most public of places - center court at La Palmera Mall.

"We are thrilled to be broadcasting LIVE this year from La Palmera Mall!," said Martha St. Romain, Driscoll vice president of Development. "This new venue will allow more visibility for our patients and families sharing their 'miracle stories' of the hope and healing they received at Driscoll Children's Hospital."

Months of fundraising by national sponsors lead up to the telethon every year. Interviews with patients, parents and physicians are recorded and neatly packaged, and the stories are no less than miraculous. KIII will air the stories and also interview Driscoll physicians, patients and parents live at La Palmera.

The broadcast shows viewers how Driscoll Children's Hospital is providing highly specialized, pediatric healthcare services to children in 31 South Texas counties. To meet those needs with new physicians, procedures, equipment and programs, fundraisers such as the Children's Miracle Network Telethon are crucial. And year after year, the community responds. Last year, Children's Miracle Network fundraisers throughout South Texas resulted in donations of more than $2.2 million.

"The community has been tremendously supportive of Driscoll Children's Hospital and we are most grateful to La Palmera Mall and the hardworking staff at KIII to bring the telethon to a public venue where more of the community can take part in the celebration," St. Romain said.

What: 28th annual Children's Miracle Network Telethon benefiting Driscoll Children's Hospital on KIII-TV 3
When: 7 p.m.-midnight June 2; noon-5 p.m. June 3
Where: La Palmera Mall Center Court, 5488 S. Padre Island Dr., Corpus Christi
Information/donations: (361) 694-6401 or click here

Driscoll, Stripes announce early achievement of $1 million commitment to hospital

May 09, 2012
Sam L. Susser, president & CEO of Susser Holdings Corp. (fifth from left) and Driscoll Children's Hospital President & CEO Steve Woerner (sixth from left) were joined by Driscoll's child life specialists May 9 for the ceremonial presentation of a $1 million check from Stripes Convenience Stores.
Sam L. Susser, president & CEO of Susser Holdings Corp. (fifth from left) and Driscoll Children's Hospital President & CEO Steve Woerner (sixth from left) were joined by Driscoll's child life specialists May 9 for the ceremonial presentation of a $1 million check from Stripes Convenience Stores.
CORPUS CHRISTI - The Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital will celebrate a $1 million goal being reached a year early when officials from the Stripes Convenience Stores chain announce the totals of the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Balloon Campaign held April 2-29, 2012. Representing Stripes will be Sam L. Susser, president and chief executive officer of Susser Holdings Corporation and Steve DeSutter, president and chief executive officer for Stripes.

"It is a remarkable corporate commitment for Stripes to have raised over $1 million in four years, a full year ahead of their original five-year commitment," said Martha St. Romain, vice president of Development at Driscoll. "We are extremely grateful for their efforts on our behalf.

"Stripes has made a dramatic difference in assisting Driscoll Children's Hospital to improve and expand the support services we offer for patients and their families. Any time you can make a child's hospital stay more pleasant, or even enjoyable, you have invested in that child's future. We are pleased to recognize and celebrate Stripes' significant fundraising accomplishments on behalf of the Stripes Child Life Program partnership."

Recognizing that being hospitalized can be stressful, the Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital is run by child development specialists who provide support for patients and their families to make their experience as positive as possible.

"Stripes' commitment goes beyond providing excellent service to its customers," Susser said. "Giving back to our communities is important to us because it supports our values and strengthens our communities. Stripes' 8,000 team members fundraise and volunteer for programs throughout the year designed to enhance the health and education of children residing in the communities where we serve. Our team knows firsthand that Driscoll saves children's lives and we are very proud to make a multi-year commitment to help support the hospital reach kids throughout South Texas."

Through the Stripes partnership, Driscoll has hired three additional child life specialists, created teen rooms for patients' entertainment during their hospital stay, conducted hundreds of positive activities from bingo to movie nights and formed special support groups to help patients and families who may be dealing with chronic illnesses cope with their challenges.

What: Stripes Child Life Program at Driscoll Children's Hospital campaign announcement
When: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 9
Where: Driscoll Children's Hospital, 4th floor play area, 3533 S. Alameda St.