New Center Brings Pediatric Specialties Close to Home
News that Danbury Hospital was opening the Children’s Health and Wellness Center to provide families easy access to pediatric specialists in diabetes, asthma, behavioral health and more was a dream come true for Laura Halas, whose young daughter has diabetes.
Managing the needs of a child with diabetes is tough enough without adding the stress of traveling long distances to see a specialist. But now the expertise and resources Madison, 8, needs to lead a healthy, active life are just minutes from their Danbury home. “I’m ecstatic,” said the mother of three. “This is a wonderful and much-needed resource not only for our family, but for the entire community.”
A full spectrum of pediatric specialists
Opening this summer, the new Children’s Health and Wellness Center will bring a number of pediatric subspecialists together under one roof, making it more convenient for families in Connecticut and nearby New York to access high-quality, specialized care for their children and adolescents.
Located at 79 Sand Pit Road in Danbury, the center will have pediatric specialists in endocrinology, pulmonology, cardiology, genetics, psychiatry, physiatry and gastroenterology. The 4,000-square-foot facility includes examination and consultation rooms, physician offices, and a conference center for community educational forums. Laboratory services are conveniently located on-site, as well.
Coordinated, comprehensive care in a child-friendly setting
“The opening of the center demonstrates Danbury Hospital’s commitment to strengthening pediatric services in the community by improving access to high-quality, subspecialty pediatric care,” said Raul A. Arguello, MD, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Danbury Hospital. Arguello, who joined the hospital a year ago, is a pediatric endocrinologist with a specialty in childhood diabetes and obesity.
The new outpatient center builds upon Danbury Hospital’s many pediatric initiatives, from its highly effective asthma management program to it successful childhood immunization efforts. “We have a unique opportunity to serve the community with this pediatric specialty center,” said Arguello. For now, the center will include physicians associated with Danbury Hospital and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in New York, although specialists from other institutions may eventually join, as well.
High-quality care is the top priority
“It’s important to note that patients and their families will continue receiving the same high-quality care they are accustomed to—just in a more child-friendly and convenient setting,” emphasized Greg Dworkin, MD, chief of pediatric pulmonology at Danbury Hospital. Dr. Dworkin is director the hospital’s long-standing asthma management program, which is also moving to the new center.
A virtual, interactive fish tank, computer stations, three-dimensional murals and contemporary furnishings are among the many child-friendly design elements at the center. “We wanted to create a non-threatening, soothing environment where children and teens can feel comfortable about visiting the doctor,” said Dr. Arguello.
Having pediatric specialists at one central location:
- Makes it easier for parents to schedule timely appointments with one or more specialists. Having specialists close to home eliminates the stress and lost time from work and school that comes with traveling great distances to see a specialist or tap other resources.
- Enhances communication and coordination of care between specialists, primary care physicians, patients and their families. Community pediatricians need only make one phone call to access a full gamut of pediatric subspecialties for their patients.
- Provides convenient access to physician offices and services with ample, ground-level parking, a plus for families with strollers and wheel chairs.
Diabetes, an epidemic among children
Dr. Arguello hopes Danbury Hospital’s pediatric specialty center will serve as a regional resource for families and physicians. Future plans include recruiting additional specialists as community needs change and working toward accreditation from the American Diabetes Association.
“We’re seeing an epidemic in type 2 diabetes that correlates to the increasing rate of childhood obesity,” he said. “We hope to make significant strides in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of obesity and diabetes in the region.” Danbury Hospital began offering pediatric endocrinology services just a few months ago and already the caseload exceeds 100 patients. The hospital plans to recruit a second pediatric endocrinologist to keep up with the demand for services.
Although diabetes poses serious consequences, the disease can be effectively managed with proper patient education. “Our goal is to empower children and their parents so they can make decisions that will improve the quality of their lives,” said Arguello.
Helping children lead independent lives
Madison Halas, who must see a diabetes specialist every three months, was diagnosed at age two. “We don’t want Madison to feel different because she has diabetes,” said Laura. To that end, Madison wears an insulin pump (about the size of a cell phone) that continuously supplies medication, giving the second-grader the freedom to go about her daily activities without stopping for insulin shots.
“The team at Danbury Hospital is very knowledgeable about diabetes and great with kids,” said Laura. “Our family has always used Danbury Hospital. I’m thrilled that Madison can now go there for her diabetes care.” The Halas family, which owns a farmers market in Danbury, holds a yearly fund raising event to increase public awareness about diabetes. “It’s important to get the word out,” she says.
Laura Halas just sees one potential problem with the new Children’s Health and Wellness Center. “It’s going to be so nice Madison may not want to leave!”
About Danbury Hospital
Danbury Hospital is a 371-bed regional medical center and university teaching hospital associated with New York Medical College, the Yale University School of Medicine, the Connecticut School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. The hospital provides centers of excellence in cardiovascular services, cancer, weight loss surgery, orthopedics, digestive disorders and radiology. It also offers specialized programs for sleep disorders and asthma management. Medical staff members are board certified in their specialties.
In the area of cardiac care, Danbury Hospital is ranked number one in Connecticut for cardiac surgery and in the top 5 percent nationally for overall cardiac care by HealthGrades®. This is the second consecutive year for the national award. Danbury Hospital is nationally ranked in the Top 5% in the Nation for Women’s Health and a recipient of the 2009/2010 Women’s Health Excellence Award for providing services to women and is in the top 5 percent of hospitals in the country for overall clinical performance by HealthGrades®, a leading independent health care rating organization. It is the only health care facility in Connecticut ranked among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide for overall clinical performance five years in a row.