2018 marks 23 years since Children’s of Alabama entered the primary care market, expanding our footprint and brand awareness outside of our main campus on Birmingham’s Southside and strengthening our relationship with doctors who care for kids.
Children’s owns and manages 13 practices throughout the state under its arm called Pediatric Practice Solutions, or PPS. In 1995, we established our first practice, Pell City Pediatrics, followed by Pediatrics East Trussville, Physicians to Children in Montgomery, Greenvale Pediatrics in Hoover and Alabaster, Mayfair Medical Group, Vestavia Pediatrics, Pediatrics East Deerfoot, Over the Mountain Pediatrics, Greenvale Pediatrics Brook Highland, Midtown Pediatrics, Pediatrics West Bessemer and Pediatrics West McAdory.
North Alabama Children’s Specialists in Huntsville, also part of PPS, is a multispecialty practice that houses permanent pulmonology and neurology specialists and accommodates rotating specialists in adult congenital heart, endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery and rheumatology. Our Physicians to Children practice in Montgomery also hosts rotating specialists in adult congenital heart, nephrology, rheumatology and most recently general surgery – a new addition in 2016.
In 2017, PPS had almost 333,000 visits, while specialty clinics at our main campus and Children’s South Pediatric Outpatient Center had just over 277,000 visits and surgeries. Our Emergency Department had 73,144 visits and the hospital had more than 92,000 inpatient days. PPS employs 437 people including 77 physicians and represents 9 percent of Children’s total workforce.
PPS also offers valuable services to primary care doctors statewide via our Telephone Triage nurses who handle after-hours calls to pediatric offices. In 2017, the Telephone Triage assisted 90 pediatric primary care practices representing 359 physicians, 76 Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners and five physician assistants. Total call volume reached over 79,000 calls, with a monthly low of 5,316 and a monthly high of 7,820. Doctors have lauded the Telephone Triage for keeping them in the workforce longer, relieving the burden of being on call 24/7 and giving them peace of mind that patients were being cared for properly. Other services include vaccine and supply purchasing programs, consulting and assistance with physician recruitment.
Having a strong primary care presence is viewed as a strength by our credit ranging agencies, and with the shift toward outpatient care and focus on wellness and population health management, it is vital Children’s provide the right treatment in the right setting. PPS is proud to be part of Children’s and its mission of providing the finest pediatric health services to all children.
Sandra B. Thurmond, FACHE, CMPE, is vice president for Primary Care Services at Children’s of Alabama. She manages the operation and development of Pediatric Practice Solutions (PPS), Children’s primary care network, and she is responsible for maintaining and improving relationships with pediatricians throughout the state.
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