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Bearings - Summer 2011

Children’s National Applauds General Assembly for Focus on Child Health

Children’s National Medical Center successfully championed two child health bills during the 2011 legislative session. Children’s National is grateful to all legislators who were involved in the passage of House Bill (HB) 858 / Senate Bill (SB) 771, “Education-Public Schools and Youth Sports Programs–Concussions,” as well as HB 714 / SB 786, “Health-Newborn Screening Program-Critical Congenital Heart Disease.”

HB 858/SB 771 will help protect the state’s student-athletes from the dangerous health effects of concussions. Gerard Gioia, PhD, director of the Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Children’s National, testified in support of the bill. The new concussion law requires:
  • Coaches, student-athletes, parents, and other school personnel to receive education about the nature and risk of concussions
  • Automatic removal from play (game or practice) of the student-athlete who shows signs or symptoms of a concussion
  • A student-athlete who is suspected of suffering a concussion to receive written clearance from a licensed healthcare professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions before returning to the field of play
The bill was signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley on May 19, 2011 and took effect on July 1, 2011. Children’s National would like to especially thank the following legislators, as well as their staff, for their tireless commitment to this issue:
  • Senator Joan Carter Conway
  • Delegate Derrick Davis
  • Delegate Sheila Hixson
  • Delegate Anne Kaiser
HB 714/SB 786 is a critical first step toward implementation of critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) screening for all newborns in the state. CCHD is the most common birth defect and affects approximately eight of every 1,000 babies born each year. Pulse oximetry (or pulse ox) has been shown to be an effective screening test to detect CCHD before babies leave the newborn nursery. Pulse ox is a test for basic vital signs and is a non-invasive, inexpensive, and painless test that takes less than four minutes to perform.

Children’s National successfully worked with Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, MD to research best practices for implementing pulse ox screening in community nurseries. Because of the positive experience at Holy Cross Hospital, Children’s National Heart Institute partnered with the Child Health Advocacy Institute at Children’s National to implement the program in additional Maryland nurseries and to explore solutions for the enactment of universal screening in the state of Maryland.

HB 714/SB 786 requires the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s State Advisory Council on Hereditary and Congenital Disorders to develop recommendations for the implementation of CCHD screening of all newborns in the state. The Advisory Council will submit its recommendations to the General Assembly by December 31, 2011.

The bill was signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley on May 19, 2011 and took effect on July 1, 2011. Children’s National would like to especially thank the following legislators, as well as their staff, for their tireless commitment to this issue:
  • Delegate Peter Hammen
  • Delegate Tom Hucker
  • Senator Karen Montgomery
Children’s National Medical Center is committed to policies that improve the health and well-being of the children we serve. In fact, it is part of Children’s National’s mission to improve health outcomes for children regionally, nationally, and internationally. Enactment of HB 858/SB 771 and HB 714/SB 786 are proactive steps that will improve the health of children in your communities. We look forward to working with you on similar initiatives in the future.

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U.S. News & World Report Ranks Children's National Medical Center Among Best Children's Hospitals

Children’s National Medical Center is once again ranked among America’s best pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. This is the first year that Children’s National is featured on the list of elite pediatric specialty care providers in all 10 pediatric subspecialty areas which include: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, neonatology, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology, and urology.

Children’s National provides premier pediatric healthcare services in key areas including neonatology, cancer, heart and heart surgery, diabetes and endocrinology, neurology and neurosurgery, respiratory disorders, digestive disorders, orthopaedics, urology, and kidney disease. Children’s National is a top ranked freestanding children’s hospital in terms of National Institutes of Health funding for pediatric research.

“Children’s National is honored to again be recognized as one of the best pediatric healthcare providers in the country,” said Peter Holbrook, chief medical officer and interim president and CEO of Children’s National Medical Center. “We salute Children’s National Medical Center,” said health rankings editor Avery Comarow. “The goal of the best children's hospitals rankings is to call attention to pediatric centers with the expertise to help the sickest kids, and Children’s National is one of those centers.”

The U.S. News & World Report rankings weighed reputation, outcome, and care-related measures such as nursing care, advanced technology, credentialing, and other factors. The hospitals were judged based on a combination of opinions from pediatric specialists about the hospitals they would recommend for the sickest children and data gathered in a survey covering important medical information. The rankings can be found on the U.S. News & World Report website or in the print edition on August 30, 2011.

While this ranking is an important indicator of the work performed at Children’s National, we recognize that the true value of our work is measured by our daily efforts to provide world-class care to each of our patients and families.

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Dr. Bear’s University Hosts General Assembly Staff

Elected officials joined community and business leaders from across the region at Children’s National Medical Center on April 28, 2011 to participate in Dr. Bear’s University, a mini-internship program designed to provide participants with an in-depth, behind-the-scenes experience at Children’s National.

Dr. Bear's University - April 28, 2011
Local leaders spent the day in clinical rotations with Children’s physicians and nurses, observed the special care given to our young patients, and learned more about the nature of specialty pediatric care in the region. Among the participants were two staff members from the Maryland General Assembly. We thank them for making time in their busy schedules to attend Dr. Bear’s University.

The next session of Dr. Bear’s University will be held this fall. If you are interested in learning more about Children’s National, how we serve Maryland’s children and families, and what makes us one of the top pediatric hospitals in the country, please contact Tim Jones, director of state government affairs, at

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Dimensions Healthcare System Joins Forces with Children’s National Medical Center to Improve Healthcare Access for Prince George’s County Residents

In April, Children’s National Medical Center and Dimensions Healthcare System announced a partnership to develop a strategic plan around pediatric health needs in Prince George’s County. Leaders of the two medical systems cite recent reports on pediatric health needs in Prince George’s County completed by the RAND Corporation that will shape this effort.

Dimensions CEO Kenneth E. Glover noted the work Children’s National has done in collaboration with the District of Columbia’s Department of Health and other public and private agencies to improve public health in Washington, DC, as a model that might be applied in collaboration with Prince George’s County health officials. He also noted Children’s existing presence in Prince George’s County, which gives Children’s National a proven track record in providing primary and specialty care. “Our two systems could effectively work together with county health officials to strategize and implement a plan to address the needs of children and their families in Prince George’s County,” he commented.

Dimensions officials said the initial concept for this collaboration started after the Prince George’s County Council commissioned the research group, the RAND Corporation, to assess and describe the county’s health needs. This study, commissioned in 2009, pointed to the value of focusing on pediatric care to catch potentially major health problems early on.

According to Peter R. Holbrook, MD, chief medical officer and interim president & CEO at Children’s National, Children’s currently supports Dimensions with a robust pediatric and neonatal specialty transport team available to transfer patients to Children’s National for emergency and trauma care, as well as telemedicine services for pediatric and neonatal intensive care services. “Furthermore, Children’s National is one of the main providers of both primary and specialty pediatric outpatient care in the county through its affiliated primary care and regional outpatient centers,” he said.

Children’s National currently provides 76 percent of all inpatient hospital services for the Prince George’s County pediatric population. During Children’s FY 2010, the hospital handled approximately 30,000 inpatient and outpatient Medicaid visits from Prince George’s County alone.

Glover said, “This is a diverse county with a growing pediatric population. Our goal is to meet the healthcare needs of the residents of Prince George’s County through strategic alliances with health care leaders like Children’s National that will partner with us in defining and implementing a thorough effort that will move the needle on children’s health status.”

Dr. Holbrook noted that both healthcare systems realize the significance of involving public health advocates in and outside of government, including the school district and other healthcare providers, as priorities are defined.

“The end product of this effort is to ensure that we achieve significant improvements in the accepted measures of community health status in this county, coupled with improved economic benefit to the county and its residents,” said Glover.

Children’s National has a strong track record of partnering with hospitals and systems in Maryland, including the provision of pediatric hospitalist medical services at Holy Cross Hospital and Peninsula Regional Medical Center. It leases space from United Medical Center on Southern Avenue, SE, where Children’s National has a new satellite emergency department. This brings pediatric emergency care services to families in the District and in Prince George’s County, which shares Southern Avenue, SE as its border.

“These relationships are essential, given the realities of providing comprehensive pediatric care,” said Dr. Holbrook. “We bring to the table a track record in providing the full spectrum of care as well as a commitment to serving as advocates for children. We look forward to partnering with Dimensions in this effort and to amplifying our advocacy for children in the region.”

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Did you know?

  • Children’s National is the single largest provider of pediatric inpatient care to children ages 0-17 in the state of Maryland with nearly 8,000 admissions in FY 2010.
  • According to recent data, Children’s National ranks as the second largest provider of Medicaid inpatient care in the state despite serving only children.
  • Nearly 50 percent of all Maryland patients discharged from Children’s National are Medicaid beneficiaries.
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