Harris County Hospital District Board of Managers
United States of America

For over 25 years, Ben Taub General Hospital has provided high-quality pediatric inpatient care to the children of Harris County. Through its dedicated team of physicians, nurses, social workers, child life specialists, and affiliated healthcare workers, children can receive a complete range of services from general care to subspecialty and intensive care. It is a critical safety net hospital for Houston’s children.

Currently, the Board of Managers for the Harris County Hospital District (HCHD) is considering a plan to scale back or close the pediatric ward and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Ben Taub and to redirect care. We strongly oppose this plan because doing so would detract from HCHD’s mission to “improve our community’s health by delivering high-quality health care to Harris County residents” and would jeopardize the health of our community.

Without the Ben Taub PICU, there would be no pediatric intensive care available within the Hospital District. Furthermore, this move would decrease the number of PICU beds in Houston and potentially require the transfer of these sickest children to distant cities, delaying their care. Even with the current number of PICU beds, children have been transferred as far as Dallas and San Antonio in recent months due to overflow. Closing the inpatient pediatric ward would mean the District would only have 27 inpatient beds for the over 200,000 uninsured children in Harris County.

Ben Taub’s inpatient pediatric service also coordinates more than 20 medical and surgical pediatric subspecialties, most of which are unavailable at other Hospital District facilities. Closing the unit would make essential subspecialties such as nephrology and physical rehabilitative medicine unavailable to pediatric patients within the District. Child and adolescent victims of trauma would lack the specially trained nurses and doctors to provide care tailored to their unique needs as they recover from their injuries.

We the undersigned petition the Board of Managers of the Harris County Hospital District to not close, consolidate, or otherwise scale back services at the Ben Taub Pediatric Inpatient or Intensive Care Units.

Instead, we urge the Board of Managers to improve its support of the pediatric inpatient units and to develop them into the thriving places for pediatric care that they ought to be.

Specifically, we ask that the Hospital District advertise its pediatric services throughout the county, provide full nursing, pediatric anesthesia and operating room support commensurate with its physical capacity, and bring the infrastructure and facilities to a level that is competitive with other pediatric hospitals in the area.

Because the revenue generated by these improvements would exceed their initial cost and because they would positively impact the care of children, these changes represent a wise investment in the Hospital District itself and an investment in the future of Houston’s children.

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The Stop the Closing of Pediatrics at Ben Taub Hospital petition to Harris County Hospital District Board of Managers was written by Sam Stubblefield and is in the category Health at GoPetition.