The health care provider based out of Houston plans to open its first Austin pediatric urgent care clinic in spring 2018, although a location has not yet been disclosed, according to a June 1 news release.
Jenn Jacome, a spokesperson for the organization, said the hospital is negotiating a lease for a retail suite in South Austin, and more details will be released once both parties have signed the lease. No cost estimates were provided for the urgent care clinic.
In the next five years, Texas Children's Hospital plans to open three additional pediatric urgent care clinics, as well as 18 primary care pediatric practices, three pediatric specialty care locations and two maternal-fetal medicine practices.
The organization is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine and has the largest pediatric primary care network in the country, Texas Children's Pediatrics. It is currently in the middle of a three-year, $50 million expansion project at its West Campus, Houston's first community hospital for children located in Katy, and it recently opened Texas Children's Hospital The Woodlands.
"We are being thoughtful in our approach to the services we plan to bring to the Austin community," said Michelle Riley-Brown, executive vice president at Texas Children's Hospital. "Our goal is to elevate the level of care provided to children and women throughout the state by supplementing and adding value to the great health care options already available to Austin-area families."
She said Texas Children's Hospital is still assessing how many jobs the expansion is expected to bring to the area.
"As we grow our locations in Austin, we are being thoughtful in our approach to the services we bring, and we will continue to assess the needs of the families who live here, which will impact the number of jobs our expansion will bring to the city," she said.
Austin is already home to one pediatric facility, Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, which is part of the Seton Healthcare Family.
When asked if there is potential for an Austin-area Texas Children's Hospital in the future, Riley-Brown said the health care provider's current focus is "on bringing a robust outpatient strategy with the goal of supporting and supplementing the great pediatric and maternal health care options already available to Austin-area families by helping fill gaps."
She said the organization would continue to assess the needs of families and are open to exploring all opportunities.
Greg Hartman, the chief of external and academic affairs for Seton, said in a statement he was not privy to information regarding the expansion plans.
"Having just been notified of Texas Children’s Hospital’s plans, we look forward to gaining a better understanding of their plans," he said. "Seton and Dell Children’s continually seek to improve health care in our community, and we hope Texas Children’s will also commit to better care for our youngest patients and their families—care that’s based here in Austin and stays here in Austin."
According to the news release, Texas Children's Hospital wants to collaborate with area pediatric and OB/GYN providers.
"We plan to work with local pediatricians to give them a place to send their patients when their offices are closed and provide them with timely communication so they have the relevant information they need when their patients return to their office," Kay Tittle, president of Texas Children's Pediatrics and Urgent Care, said. The first Texas Children's Urgent Care location in Austin will provide care after hours and on weekends, according to the release.
The first Texas Children's Urgent Care location in Austin will provide care after hours and on weekends, according to the release.
"We are constantly evaluating new opportunities and working to advance our mission to provide all children and women with the specialized care Texas Children's delivers," said Mark Wallace, president and CEO of Texas Children's. "We see this as an extension of our mission, to expand care and access to even more children and women in Texas."
This story has been updated to include comments from Seton Healthcare Family and Texas Children's Hospital. We will continue to update the story as more information is received.