Accessing high quality pediatric healthcare can be a challenge. It becomes more complicated if you are acting as the caregiver and your child requires specialized pediatric care. Once you decide for your child to receive care from Driscoll Health System, the Driscoll Access Center (DAC) team is here to help you. The DAC is a one-stop resource to ensure children get the pediatric subspecialty care they need. Helping Children is our priority.

Under the medical direction of Mary Huckabee, MD, Pediatric Hospitalist, and the leadership of Ann Blankenship, RN, MSN, NE-BC, the Driscoll Access Center has a streamlined process. This process alerts providers of the request for care simultaneously, allowing for seamless communication and resource deployment. Estela O’Daniell, MD, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, also plays a key role by creating protocols that allow for “quick” acceptance of patients needing care.

“With many laws governing transfers, I felt that it was important to take that from the responsibility of the ED physicians to a more centralized and appropriate process such as what we have now with the DAC. This would make it simple and easy for our referring physicians to send us patients that needed specialty care,” said Dr. O’Daniell.

The Driscoll Access Center team of 11 critical care trained nursing professionals and five communication specialists is available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week in order to facilitate patient admissions, transfers, emergency referrals, physician consults, and critical transports. During the initial referral call, the DAC works closely with the physician to triage the patient and encourages referring physicians to discuss transportation arrangements since a child’s condition can deteriorate rapidly. The staff is happy to serve as a resource to refer physicians to determine if emergency transportation (by air or ground) is necessary. If emergency transportation is required, the DAC will make all the necessary arrangements. The Driscoll Children’s Hospital Transport Team, a group of professionals trained in the transport of critically ill children, works closely with the DAC and can deploy at a minute’s notice.

Driscoll Access Center:  Helping Children
Driscoll Access Center: Helping Children

Driscoll Children’s Hospital services a large population of patients in the Rio Grande Valley for surgical and subspecialty care,” said Dr. Huckabee, Medical Director of the Driscoll Access Center. “When pediatric patients present to local hospitals and require a higher level of pediatric care, we want the process of patient transfer to be quick and easy and safe.”

You may not be able to see the Driscoll Access Center; however, the goals we evaluate daily are to ensure we:

  • Provide a central point of communication for physicians wishing to access Driscoll Children’s Hospital.
  • Triage calls to the appropriate subspecialty physician/team.
  • Engage a multidisciplinary team, including attending physicians, to work in the best interest of your child.

“We continually monitor the system for areas of improvement,” said Dr. Huckabee. “The technology continues to improve, and we will continue to adapt to make the transfer process as easy as possible for both our staff and referring providers. We continue to look for ways to improve feedback to our referral providers so that they can easily follow up on patients that are come to Driscoll.”

“I am very pleased with the DAC. We have a great process for accepting patients to Driscoll from the Rio Grande Valley in a streamlined and straightforward way. They know that their patients will receive great care when they refer to us,” said Dr. O’Daniell.

Driscoll Children's Hospital
Website | + posts

Driscoll Children’s Hospital has a rich history of bringing the best and brightest healthcare professionals home to South Texas. Physicians and staff use a creative blend of treatment, education and play to reach the best possible outcome in the treatment of every child. Smiles, hugs and a soothing touch are as much a part of Driscoll’s approach to treating children as is its advanced medical treatments and technologies. When patients and families come to Driscoll for help, they are met with the same compassion, spirit and generosity with which Clara Driscoll blessed our community when she founded Driscoll Children’s Hospital more than 60 years ago.

The hospital and its specialty centers, urgent care centers and after-hours facility, serve a vast area. On a daily basis, physicians and patients are transported by ground and air to ensure the children of South Texas can receive the best treatment possible. Driscoll treats more than 100,000 children every year from 31 South Texas counties.

The hospital is a 191-bed tertiary care center offering 32 medical and 13 surgical specialties.