The Garland MyChildren’s primary care practice was formally opened Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring Garland Mayor Ronald E. Jones.
The office, which opened to patients about six weeks ago, has been busy throughout the cold and flu season. Last month, more than 500 free flu shots were given on a first-come, first served basis at the Garland office. The opportunity resulted from a one-time donation of vaccine from Dallas County, along with 200 doses donated by Children’s Medical Center (www.childrens.com).
The vaccine became available on short notice in mid-January and was distributed only at the Garland practice. Despite the lack of advance promotion, the community response was impressive, hospital officials said.
“Providing flu shots is only one of many services offered by community-based medical homes,’’ said Dr. Ray Tsai, medical director of the MyChildren’s network. “We also coordinate patients’ care across the healthcare spectrum, ensuring that they stay as healthy as possible.”
The Garland MyChildren’s practice will formally open at 10 a.m. Tuesday, at 455 N. Garland Ave. Media tours of the clinic are available after the event.
MyChildren’s pediatric primary care practices are located in neighborhoods where high numbers of families depend on Medicaid and the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. Declining reimbursement prevents many physicians from accepting new Medicaid patients. The MyChildren’s pediatric primary care practices provide critical health care access for thousands of children, leading to better overall care.
“Children’s opened its first pediatric primary care office 13 years ago because it was obvious even then that many children coming to our emergency department were really in need of primary care,’’ said Peter Roberts, executive vice president of Population Health at Children’s Medical Center. “Our research shows that in 2012, almost 27 percent of the children in Garland who visited the Children’s emergency department really needed primary care.
“At MyChildren’s, we offer patients the ability to schedule appointments and see the same doctor each visit,’’ Roberts said. “We can provide a medical home that is like a doctor’s office so that patients get the care they need, close to home.”
The Garland office is among 14 MyChildren’s locations in the greater Dallas area. All MyChildren’s locations are staffed by highly trained nurses and physicians who are board-certified in pediatrics.
The first six clinics were recently recognized as Level 3 patient-centered medical homes by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and were among the first in the nation to be recognized under NCQA’s newest guidelines.