St. Mary's Launches St. Mary's Center for Children 07/24/2009 On Wednesday, December 14, St. Mary’s announced the launch of St. Mary’s Center for Children, a multidisciplinary collection of services for children with chronic illnesses and developmental disorders.
“Parents came to St. Mary’s with concern over a lack of services that met the specific needs of their children,” said Dr. Maria Del Rio-Hoover, the program’s interim medical director. “St. Mary’s Center for Children was developed to meet those needs.”
St. Mary’s Center for Children will fill gaps in information, referral and treatment resources for pediatric patients, particularly those with autism and feeding disorders. As part of St. Mary’s Center for Children a resource center, feeding disorders treatment program and autism disorders assessment and training program will join the pediatric services currently offered at St. Mary’s.
The resource center will provide families with a central source of information on available local and regional pediatric subspecialists, scheduling assistance, website access to information and support groups, follow-up assistance, and insurance and case management. Area physicians also will be able to obtain referral information, receive scheduling assistance, link with pediatric subspecialists and provide follow-up communication. Local program providers, such as school psychologists and developmental therapists, will receive appropriate referrals to their services and access to specialized training and educational resources.
The pediatric feeding disorders treatment program will be modeled after a nationally recognized program, and will offer assessment and treatment of children who are failing to consume the necessary amount of nourishment to thrive. The program’s continuum of care consists of inpatient treatment, intensive day treatment, outpatient treatment and consultation services. The intensive day treatment program will be the first of its kind in the state.
The pediatric autism disorders assessment and training program will provide coordinated services for children who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This new program will include a multidisciplinary team, consisting of the child’s pediatrician, a psychologist and a trained autism education and behavior specialist, that will develop an individualized treatment plan for each child. This will assist local providers in the delivery of treatment and intervention services.
The creation of St. Mary’s Center for Children was the culmination of research that was conducted to assess the specific needs in the community for children with chronic illnesses and developmental disorders. The research, which included input from parents, physicians, healthcare providers, service agencies and educators, uncovered the following needs that were not being met locally by existing services: improved access to subspecialty medical resources, referrals, scheduling, case management and advocacy; improved services for the many children that face serious developmental consequences due to feeding disorders that interfere with their ability to thrive; and improved services for children with autism spectrum disorders.
Dr. Del Rio-Hoover said, “As we assessed the pediatric needs of the community, we found that a pediatric diabetes program was already being developed in our area. There were few resources for children diagnosed with autism. Instead of duplicating services, St. Mary’s Center for Children will develop an autism program and will refer patients to other local available services, despite hospital affiliation, in order to keep the children and their families close to home.”
In addition to the services provided, St. Mary’s Center for Children will partner with the Indiana State Department of Health to collaborate on efforts to integrate and improve healthcare service delivery for children with special needs.
“One of St. Mary’s goals is to provide the best patient and physician experience in the Tri-State. St. Mary’s Center for Children meets that goal by offering specialized pediatric services that will keep families from traveling several hours for treatment and providing physicians with additional resources when treating their patients who have special needs,” said Timothy Flesch, president and CEO of St. Mary’s Health System. “Our ministry’s dedication to the health of the community has spanned more than 130 years, and as the community’s needs evolve St. Mary’s is committed to providing services that meets those needs.”