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Harris County Hospital District to focus on augmenting primary pediatric care in the community

Following extensive analysis of patient demand and community needs, the Harris County Hospital District, in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine, today announced plans to shift resources to expand outpatient pediatric primary and subspecialty care services in the greater Houston area. This will be accomplished through a reallocation of staff and resources currently committed to pediatric inpatient care at Ben Taub General Hospital. Texas Children's Hospital, also located in the Texas Medical Center, has committed to providing inpatient care for any child who presents for care at Ben Taub and who requires hospitalization. Texas Children's Hospital is one of the top ranked pediatric hospitals in the U.S., and is a recognized leader in subspecialty care for children. Care will continue to be provided by pediatric sub-specialist physicians from Baylor College of Medicine, which is affiliated with both Texas Children's and Ben Taub.

Demand for inpatient pediatric care at Ben Taub has been low for a number of years, with an average daily census on the general pediatric floor of between five and ten patients and in the pediatric ICU of one or two patients.

Harris County Hospital District, through its extensive network of community health centers and school-based clinics located throughout the county, provides pediatric primary care to thousands of children. Pediatricians are in place at seven of the hospital district's health centers, with plans to staff 12 of the 13 with a specialist dealing with the medical care of infants, children and adolescents. Providing pediatric primary care reflects the intent of the district's newly approved strategic plan to aim its focus where physicians, nurses and other caregivers can make the biggest difference to the children of our community.

"Our mission is to enhance the wellness of our patients and community by providing a coordinated system of high-quality, compassionate and cost-effective healthcare," said David S. Lopez, president and CEO, Harris County Hospital District. "The mutual decision with Baylor College of Medicine in no way diminishes our commitment to provide the highest level of care to our pediatric patients and will allow us better utilize resources at Ben Taub General Hospital and place emphasis on augmenting primary care in our community."

Pediatric emergency services, care for newborns in the neonatal unit and outpatient pediatric medical specialty care and treatment will continue to be provided by Baylor College of Medicine physicians at Ben Taub. Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital, part of the hospital district's integrated healthcare system, will still provide comprehensive, high-quality inpatient pediatric care by physicians from UTHealth.

"We are excited to partner with the hospital district to enhance medical services for children across our diverse community," said Dr. Mark W. Kline, professor and chair of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and physician-in-chief of Texas Children's Hospital. "We believe strongly that a reallocation of resources to enhance and expand outpatient pediatric primary and subspecialty care services in the community is in the best interests of the children and families we serve. I am grateful to Texas Children's Hospital for the commitment it has made to make this possible."