The first initiative in the joint pediatric enterprise between Children’s Health and UT Southwestern will expand access for those in southern Dallas at the Reimagine RedBird development. The new clinic will occupy space in what used to be Red Bird Mall.
Children’s Health will be part of the 150,000 square-foot UT Southwestern Medical Center at RedBird, the first collaboration since the two announced their joint pediatric enterprise in October 2019. The two organizations are analyzing hospital data to determine which services are being most used by those who live in the area. There are input sessions planned for the coming months so community members can voice what they would like to see as well.
Children’s Health and UT Southwestern appointed Dr. Dai Chung to be the chief medical officer for the joint pediatric enterprise, or JPE. He is also a professor of surgery, chief of the division of pediatric surgery, and executive vice-chair of the department of surgery. Chung says the JPE won’t change much about the existing relationship between Children’s Health and UTSW, where most of the hospital’s physicians are professors for UTSW, and residents rotate through the hospital.
“The JPE is reaffirming and a stronger handshake to truly work together in a joint venture manner,” Chung says. “It will create something that would be great for patients and for both organizations to be more effective.”
The move into Red Bird is a geographic shift for Children’s Health when compared to its business moves over the past several years, which included expansions to the north side of Dallas and away from the south. In 2018, Children’s Health sold many of its community clinics, most of which were in southern Dallas and communities with higher medical needs. MD Medical Group now operates in those locations. Last year, the system announced that it would expand to Prosper and already has a medical center in Plano, which it built in 2008.
“The Red Bird project stems from a couple of important missional goals that we want to try to provide to the southern Dallas area, a community that has starkly been underserved,” Chung says. “We feel that this is an important effort to strengthen our ability to provide both primary as well as specialty pediatric care services to children from that region.”
Expanding south will add services to an area where transportation and childcare hurdles often keep people from getting the care they need. The clinic will have ample parking, be more approachable, and closer to many of those who need it most. “It is hard, regardless of socio-economic background, especially if you have more than one child in the family, to make a clinic visit or come to the hospital,” Chung says. “We, as a system, want to be able to go out to the community. This is about being there to deliver and provide the best care for kids in southern Dallas.”
While some decisions are still to be made, the clinic will include primary care services and several medical and surgical specialty services. Children’s Health will occupy 70,000 square feet of the center and operate out of a newly renovated space. Imaging, ambulatory care, and follow up appointments will also be in the new facility.
For Chung, the focus of the new clinic is access.
“There is an extreme focus toward being patient-centric,” he says. “We want to make it as friendly as possible and as easy as possible for families and patients to come in and have their visits in an ambulatory setting.”