As the population in Pearland continues to grow, local health care providers strive to offer care that meets the community's needs.
The estimated population in Pearland in 2015 was 101,725, roughly 10,500 more than the 2010 census reported, with the estimated 2016 growth roughly 10,000 more than it was in 2015. With that growth in Pearland, the median age has remained at 34. In addition to this, the percent of people age 19 and younger has hovered at around 30 percent.
Starting in early 2018, Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital will expand its pediatric and OB/GYN services as a response to the growth in the city. However, Memorial Hermann is not the only medical entity that is addressing the growth in Pearland. Pearland Medical Center will also be adding 19 beds to the hospital in early 2018.
Need for pediatric care
Roughly one-third of Pearland’s population is age 19 or younger, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Memorial Hermann Pearland will be expanding its pediatric care due to the young population.
“It’s in its infancy stages,” Kyle Price, CEO of Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital & Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital, said. “The plan is to anchor the community with strong pediatric presence.”
Price said increasing pediatric presence will consist of three steps: establishing pediatric presence in the emergency room all the way to inpatient hospitalization, trying to get outpatient care and working to bring more pediatric specialists into Pearland.
"Moms are a big driver of health care for families," Price said. "We want to continue supporting that growth."
Some pediatric specialists that Price would like to see could perform pediatric surgery and pediatric ENTs, which may be a challenge, Price said.
“There are not a lot of them in the nation … so what do we have the flexibility to do to bring them into the market?” Price said.
Pearland Medical Center will also be expanding its pediatric presence in emergency rooms, as roughly one-fourth of emergency room patients are pediatric, CEO David Wagner said.
"We are able to take care of the [community's] needs as it is with the physician and [midlevel] provider," Wagner.
However, adding a pediatrician to the ER will help care for pediatric patients, Wagner said.
Kelsey-Seybold also works to tailor its pediatric care to the market's needs.
“We deal with children from the day they are born until the day they are 18-19 [years old],” said Dr. Beth Yip, pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold. “We offer adult services as well so that they can move seamlessly.”
With the growth of the city as well as the school districts, Kelsey-Seybold has added pediatric services at the Pearland campus, said Stuart Cayer, director of operations for the South Region.
“We ask ourselves, ‘Where is the need?’” Cayer said. “We make sure we meet the challenge.”
Need for OB/GYN care
Kelsey-Seybold’s OB/GYN services are also tailored toward the need of the community as the average Pearland resident is 35-36 years old, said Dr. Michael Leung, gynecologist at Kelsey-Seybold.
“We kind of fit that niche, so to speak,” Leung said.
Like its pediatric care, Kelsey-Seybold focuses on women’s services for their whole life, Leung said.
“This is a growing community, and we are here to be able to meet that need,” he said.
According to Cayer and Leung, patients travel far for Kelsey-Seybold’s services. Leung even has a patient from San Antonio.
“Finding a good physician is like finding a good hair dresser—once you find one you stick with them,” Leung said.
As Pearland grows along the Hwy. 288 corridor, Memorial Hermann officials hope to expand its woman’s services as well.
“We always think that care is local,” Price said. “Often, people want to be close to home [for labor and delivery].”
Improvements to women's services include recruiting more OB/GYNs, expanding the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and bringing in specialists that offer women lifelong care.
“As the community continues to grow, the hospital has an obligation to make sure that we are providing the services needed,” Price said.
Meeting the Community's Needs
Memorial Hermann flanks the community with Memorial Hermann Pearland Hospital and Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital as part of the hospital's "corridor strategy."
“We anchor the community—Pearland anchors on the west and Southeast on the east,” Price said. “We don’t duplicate the resources on each side because the resources are so difficult to find in terms of health care.”
It can be difficult to find specialists in areas like surgical oncology, Price said. So, Memorial Hermann often has surgeons provide care in only one of the Pearland hospitals or has them and their teams travel back and forth between the campuses.
“There are not many surgical oncologists in the market—so we let them stay in one place,” Price said. “We can have them perform the surgery and having their teams with them.”
According to Price, many surgeons can move back and forth between the hospitals if need be.
However, as there are more materials at the Southeast hospital, it offers a wider range of care.
“Because of the scope or the size of the type of surgery, ones that require a lot of blood or a lot of resources, [we] cannot really do multiple hours of surgical cases at Pearland," Price said.
Memorial Hermann’s two Pearland campuses see patients from Lake Jackson to Galveston to The Woodlands, Price said.
Pearland Medical Center also splits services between various sister locations, like Woman's Hospital of Texas and Clear Lake Regional Medical Center.
"Many of the services we offer are complementary to our larger hospitals [in the HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division]," Wagner said.
Increasing pediatric inpatient care is part of Memorial Hermann’s plan as well. Memorial Hermann offers inpatient care, or care that requires a patient remain in the hospital for longer than 24 hours.
He said with the city of Pearland's population growth, the need for inpatient care will continue to exist in the future.
“You are definitely seeing, as the rules change, that different patient statuses are being developed or changed,” Price said. “It’s an evolution.”