About 12 years ago, Children’s Health brought the first pediatric hospital to Plano and began meeting a growing need that now includes more than 180,000 patient encounters every year.
Now, due to the continued growth in the area, plans are in motion to to expand Children’s Medical Center Plano, which would see the facility’s patient capacity triple by the end of 2023.
The expansion will include a seven-story, 300-square-foot tower and specialty care programs, such as cardiology, oncology, orthopedics and more. When the expansion is done, the total number of available beds at the campus will have increased from 72 to 240. Other services, such as pharmacy, lab and imaging will also be expanded. It’s a move that will allow Children’s Health to bring more robust programs to the campus and allow families seeking care at the medical center to stay closer to home, said Vanessa Walls, executive vice president of Children’s Health’s northern market.
Last week, Walls met with Children’s Medical Center Plano’s family advisory network to speak with parents and their kids about the expansion. “Many of them [are] having to take their kids to Dallas for some of the super specialized care that we’re planning to make a part of this expansion,” Walls said. “… Some of our especially fragile kids may be more technology dependent and if that mom is trying to get their child to a visit, there’s just a lot involved in that.
“Being able to do that closer to home and being able to get in and out quickly versus going all the way to Dallas will make a huge difference.”
The expansion will also help ease the capacity of constraints at the Dallas campus, David Berry, president of the System Clinical & Scientific Operations at Children’s Health, said in an emailed statement. “The main drivers of the expansion at Children’s Medical Center Plano are the regional population growth, the increasing patient volumes and our goal of extending our world-class care closer to home,” he continued. “This will also allow our Dallas campus, which faces significant capacity constraints, to have increased availability and enable us to care for more children at both campuses.”
Throughout the 2010s, Walls said Children’s Medical Center Plano has grown alongside it’s community and pediatric population, which outpaces the nation in growth. While Children’s Health is the eighth-largest pediatric health care in the nation and the leading pediatric health care system in North Texas, Walls said the number of patient families the Plano facility serves has increased year-over-year.
Consequently, the greatest challenge Children’s Health faces with this expansion, Walls said, is time. There has been a high volume of patients, both in the emergency department at the facility and its in-patient unit this winter.
“[That] we don’t have access to that expansion quickly enough is our biggest challenge right now because the growth we’ve experienced has been exponential,” she said.
Walls said Children’s Health does not have an exact timeline or estimated cost for the expansion yet. However, she said the leadership team in charge of the expansion to find ways to improve the schedule anyway they can.
The health care provider opened three Children’s Health PM Urgent Cares from 2018-2019 with locations in The Colony, Flower Mound and McKinney. Just last year, it also became the official pediatric partner of Prosper ISD to provide care for students at all of the district’s schools.
Additionally, Children’s health has school-based telehealth and telebehavioral health programs in 17 school districts in Collin and Denton counties.
“Children’s Medical Center Plano was built to be a dedicated pediatric hospital for families in this region,” Walls said. “As we expand this hospital and our network in the area, we continue our promise to care for children, close to home, today, tomorrow and for many generations to come.”