World-Class Care for the Community’s Children

April 01, 2013

When your child needs hospitalization, you want to place your precious little one in the most capable hands possible—which means care provided by the brightest medical minds available.

Providence Tarzana Medical Center and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have created a new partnership to bring world-class pediatric care closer to home for children and their families in the San Fernando Valley and surrounding communities. The goal is to provide greater access to inpatient and outpatient services and subspecialty care to children and adolescents.

“This partnership builds on a history of collaboration and makes it possible for young patients to be closer to their homes and families while receiving the pediatric expertise offered by Children’s Hospital Los Angeles,” says Gerald Clute, chief executive of Providence Tarzana.

Dale Surowitz, the hospital’s former chief executive and now regional chief operating officer for Providence Health & Services, Southern California, believes this makes Providence Tarzana’s pediatric program the premier healthcare program for children in the Valley area. “We believe there is a compelling community need and support to expand and enhance the scope of children’s healthcare services in the Valley, and the combined expertise within these two organizations is doing just that,” Surowitz says.

Providence Tarzana has long offered excellent pediatric care with around-the-clock coverage by board-certified pediatric hospitalists and pediatric intensivists. In addition, the emergency department has received Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics (EDAP) certification from Los Angeles County. But Providence Tarzana is eager to increase its already strong roster of pediatric specialties with additional coverage available through the affiliation with Children’s Hospital.

The affiliation is equally beneficial to Children’s Hospital. “We have a strong desire to extend services beyond our Los Angeles campus to improve access to specialized pediatric care for families living in the Valley,” says Richard Cordova, FACHE, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital. “Innovative affiliations like this are an excellent way to spread the reach of healthcare specialists.”

Making Miracles Happen Every Day

Samantha Levy is one parent who can attest to the exceptional care provided by both Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Providence Tarzana Medical Center. Her triplets were just 5 weeks old when little Elijah began vomiting, a condition that continued a day-and-a-half before the new mother headed to the emergency department.

Levy is a nurse and former Providence Tarzana Medical Center employee. She knew the hospital had a high-quality, seven-bed pediatric intensive care unit (PICU.) And even if it wasn’t the closest ED to her home, if her son needed a higher level of care, she didn’t want him to be transferred.

Her instincts were right. Eli had a blockage of the pylorus, which is at the base of the stomach, and needed surgery. Fortunately for the Levys, pediatric surgeon Akemi Kawaguchi, MD, who was on staff at both Providence Tarzana and the renowned Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, was available to perform the procedure. Today, Eli is a busy 10-month-old who has no problem keeping up with brothers Aiden and Noah.

Dr. Kawaguchi performed an open pyloromyotomy to repair the tiny muscle that had caused an obstruction to Eli’s digestion. His condition isn’t uncommon in infants and is marked by a thickening of the pylorus, a muscular band of tissue that controls the exit of food and gastric juices from the stomach.

“The nurses were wonderful at Providence Tarzana, and his care was outstanding,” Levy says. “He was there for five days, and when he needed follow-up with Dr. Kawaguchi, everything went well.”

When Levy learned that Providence Tarzana and Children’s Hospital had formed a partnership in January to manage pediatrics and the pediatric intensive care unit at Providence Tarzana, she was happily surprised. After all, you never know what kind of care you’re going to need with three little boys running about.

Knowing a premier program is now serving the San Fernando Valley and surrounding communities gives parents the confidence to know the best medical care is nearby should their children ever need it.

“Honestly, I’ve always thought the pediatrics department at Providence Tarzana is excellent,” Levy says. “Now it’s even better to know they partner with Children’s Hospital. It reaffirms what I felt about the level of skill and the quality. It makes me even more comfortable as a parent.”

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Providence Tarzana

Pediatricians across the Providence family are enthusiastic about the affiliation with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Pediatric patients already are referred to Providence Tarzana, which is a designated pediatrics hub with California Children’s Services (CCS) certification for pediatrics, pediatric surgery and neonatal surgery. Providence Tarzana also is expanding its PICU to the planned eight-bed Mozilo Family Foundation PICU to pursue CCS certification for that unit. Now, when pediatric patients are referred to Providence Tarzana, they also will have access to the additional expertise offered by Children’s Hospital.

It’s a great time for us to bolster the quality and the spectrum of services we provide to the children o the San Fernando Valley,” says Cesar Chavarria, MD, a pediatric intensivist, medical director of the Providence Tarzana PICU and director of the TEDDY (Tarzana Doctors Dedicated to The Young) program. “This new partnership is going to help us enhance access to subspecialty support from Children’s Hospital’s team of physicians.”

According to Dr. Chavarria, Providence Tarzana already shared many specialties with Children’s Hospital, and others are now included to provide a full spectrum of care including anesthesiology, radiology, cardiology, pulmonology, orthopedics, neurology, urology, neurosurgery, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), general surgery, hematology, oncology and gastroenterology.

What’s more, this partnership strengthens another one formed a year ago, teaming Children’s Hospital with Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center’s Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center to treat young cancer patients. The Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) oncology program treats patients ages 18 to 39, a population that has been historically under-diagnosed and under-served. This innovative program is designed to increase awareness, availability of services, diagnosis and treatment for adolescents and young adults with cancer.

The Best of Both Worlds

The skilled staff at Providence Tarzana, which includes pediatric nurses with more than 25 years of experience, remains in place. Some specialists from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles are joining the team, Dr. Chavarria says. Clinical staff can receive advanced education through joint training programs, thus increasing clinical expertise. Plus, Dr. Chavarria adds, the affiliation allows physicians from both hospitals to admit patients to Providence Tarzana.

“Children’s Hospital is the best place for certain things, but there are advantages to being in a smaller hospital like Providence Tarzana, such as expedited care and shorter stays—but still with very good outcomes,” he explains. “This partnership really is going to be the best of both worlds.”