Children’s Health System of Texas announced Tuesday that it will acquire Baylor Scott & White Health’s Our Children’s House and retain its employees after Baylor announced that the pediatric facility would no longer provide inpatient services.
Under the deal, which is expected to close by September 15, Children’s Health will take over the inpatient facility, outpatient therapy clinic and physician clinic at its flagship location as well as eight other outpatient clinics. Children’s Health will also bring on about 181 Our Children’s House employees.
Children’s will lease the mansion-shaped inpatient facility on Baylor’s flagship campus near downtown and take over leases for outpatient locations in Allen, Frisco, Grapevine, Irving, Las Colinas, Plano, Rockwall, and Waxahachie. Baylor S&W will retain ownership of the buildings. Further financial information was not disclosed.
“Our Children’s House has provided unparalleled care for children with very special needs for more than 20 years, and we are pleased to be able to continue this mission, and to welcome these employees to the Children’s Health team,” said Christopher Durovich, Children’s CEO, in a statement. “Just as the continuity of care is critical for the patients and their families, we firmly believe that continuity of service by these valued team members is imperative for this to be a successful transition.“
Earlier this month, Baylor Scott & White notified the Texas Workforce Commission that 181 employees would be affected as Our Children’s House ceased inpatient services. Baylor said the employees would be transitioned elsewhere to help manage the increased focus on outpatient care.
The roughly 30 current patients would not have been affected, nor would have any on the waitlist. In a statement, Baylor S&W Chief Operating Officer John McWhorter praised Children’s for stepping in and continuing the pediatric care provided at the facility for more than two decades.
“We are extremely proud of the excellent, high-quality, specialized care (OCH) has provided to thousands of children over the years,” McWhorter said in an email. “Through this proposed transition, the same caregivers would be able to offer the same services to this community moving forward as a part of Children’s Health.”
The facility opened in 1993 as the Baylor Center for Restorative Care, offering pediatric rehabilitation for disabled and chronically ill children. Demand grew to such a degree that it began offering inpatient acute and sub-acute trauma care. It also offered transitional services to help the children return home.
Soon, Baylor rebranded it as Our Children’s House and began extending into other communities, opening outpatient clinics in nearly a dozen Dallas-area suburbs.
“This proposed deal would expand the reach of Children’s, a highly regarded, top pediatric provider; and it would allow Baylor, one of the best providers of adult care in the region and the country, to focus its resources on meeting community needs in areas where it specializes,” McWhorter continued. “Baylor and Children’s are two like-minded, mission-driven, not-for-profit organizations that were able to quickly identify this opportunity out of a shared focus – serving this growing community.”
“We are pleased and proud that we could step forward to ensure that Our Children’s House continues to play a critical role in the pediatric health care community, serving patients and their families with the most challenging and complex needs,” Durovich said. “Our ability to assure continuity of care for this highly vulnerable population will benefit the children of North Texas now and over the long term.”
Robyn Conlon, immediate past ball chairman of the Crystal Charity Ball, said she was relieved to hear that Children’s Health System stepped in to take on the venture. Since 1992, the charitable nonprofit has donated $1.7 million to Our Children’s House. Conlon’s first ball was in 2004, and she says she remembers Baylor’s presentation.
“There was a dad who spoke about how much it helped their child. I do remember I started crying, which isn’t unusual for me, but he spoke from his heart about how much his child was sick and how much this would help,” she says. “It helped me realize, ‘oh, you’ve really got to go out and ask for money for these kids.’ It really set the tone for me. … It’s a place for these families to feel safe with their sick kids, which is a big deal.”