In June, the expertise of Washington University pediatric surgeons is coming to West St. Louis County with the opening of the Children’s Specialty Care Center at Mason Road and I-64. Surgical services at the new location include orthopedics, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, gastroenterology, general surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, urology and dental.

The Center features three state-of-the-art operating rooms to accommodate outpatient surgeries and a separate, dedicated room for less invasive procedures. In addition, the hospital’s Pediatric Acute Wound Service (PAWS) will provide daily care at the new location. Surgical services will be easily accessed through a separate entrance, which offers free parking.

“A major advantage of the Specialty Care Center is the accessible services and health care this West County location makes available to our patients and their families,” says Daniel Nieva, MD, Washington University anesthesiologist and co-director of the Center’s perioperative and surgical services. “The traffic, parking challenges and size of Children’s Hospital can be intimidating for families, especially those coming from outside the St. Louis area. The CSCC offers an excellent alternative while providing the same exceptional care that is the hallmark of Children’s Hospital.

”He adds, “Physicians will appreciate not only the Center’s convenient location, but also the systems we are developing to ensure efficient scheduling and pre- and postoperative patient care, allowing them to focus on the needs of their patients.”

Dr. Nieva says the care provided will include the availability of Washington University pediatric anesthesia team members, whose responsibilities will extend beyond the surgical suites to providing sedation for children undergoing MRIs and PAWS procedures.

Beyond convenience, the Specialty Care Center’s administrative group is focusing on establishing fast, efficient processes that are patient-and family-driven. Toward that end, a group visited Seattle Children’s, which is a leader in integrating Lean Six Sigma principles of Toyota and other Japanese manufacturers into its operations.

“What impressed us was Seattle’s commitment to establishing a new model of care and to running its day surgery center and outpatient clinic as efficiently as possible without compromising patient safety,” says David Leonard, MBBCh, Washington University pediatric otolaryngologist and co-director of the Specialty Care Center’s perioperative and surgical services. “Our commitment to the Center is similar—to develop efficient processes that enhance the experience of our surgeons and their patients and families."

Those efficiencies range from having dedicated surgery schedulers for the Center to streamlining how postoperative medications are delivered to families. 

“Our goal is to do as much as we can preoperatively to eliminate delays in care once patients arrive at the facility,” says Vicki Rhomberg, RN, BSN, manager of surgical services at the Center. “Since we are doing elective surgeries, many times the surgeons know what medications they are going to prescribe for patients following surgery, unlike in emergent cases where that decision may be made in the operating room. For our surgical patients, we usually can order medications from our onsite pharmacy ahead of time and have them ready for families as soon as patients are discharged.”

Rhomberg’s core staff includes nurse practitioners and nurses, an OR scrub tech and an anesthesia tech for surgical services.

“During the hiring process, we emphasized the patient-and family-driven culture we are striving to establish for the Specialty Care Center, which includes efficiencies as well as a comforting environment,” she says. “All of us consider this an exciting opportunity to develop a new care model for our patients, and we are looking forward to implementing it.”

To refer a patient to the Specialty Care Center, call Children’s Direct at 800.678.HELP (4357).