Preparing Your Experience

2011 Children's Hospital & Medical Center Snapshot

This site is optimized for modern web browsers and is best viewed at 1280x800 pixels or higher.

Consider updating your browser to the lastest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome.


January 1 – December 31, 2011

Fiscal year 2011 showed continued decline in Children’s NICU market share due to the expansion of competition in neonatal care units in the metro area. Despite the drop in the inpatient census, performance and growth over the prior year were achieved as a result of strong outpatient visits, surgical activity and improved charge capture.

As a result, net operating revenue increased $13 million and exceeded $248.8 million while excess revenue over expenses declined $14 million reflecting changes in non-operating investment income. Net assets increased from $271 million in 2010 to $279 million in 2011, reflecting the increase in operating revenues. Total assets increased by $17 million to $431 million in 2011.

Lights. Cameras. Action.

We went airborne on wings to reach more children who need us and achieved first-time rankings as a Best Children’s Hospital. In 2011, we proudly celebrated many accomplishments with staff, patients and families.

350,000 Total
Patient Visits

7,600 Inpatient Admissions

6,100 Outpatient

Best Children's Hospitals Rankings

for Outstanding
Nursing Quality

Magnet Recertification for Nursing Excellence

New Val Verde
Urgent Care Opens

37,300 Emergency and
Urgent Care Visits

Employee Giving Campaign
Tops $241,000

$1,133,362 Donated
through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Best Places to
Work in Omaha

Record Gala Crowd,
Event Raises $415,000

Fixed Wing
Aircraft Debuts

1,000 Critical
Care Transports

InformationWeek 500

Specialty Pediatric Center 1st Anniversary

52,000 Outpatient
Specialty Clinic Visits

Kohl's Partnership Support Tops
$1.2 million


At Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, the remarkable achievements of our specialists and subspecialists, physicians, nurses, staff and colleagues in 2011 prove we have the knowledge and experience to chart the proper course for pediatric health care – and that we are taking significant steps in the right direction.



Ask a toddler which direction he is going and the likely reply is, “That way.” Most tots don’t know north from south – or even why there is a difference.

At Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, the remarkable achievements of our specialists and subspecialists, physicians, nurses, staff and colleagues in 2011 prove we have the knowledge and experience to chart the proper course for pediatric health care – and that we are taking significant steps in the right direction.

The year’s highlights included our recognition by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Children’s Hospital. For a second consecutive term, Children’s earned Magnet recognition for excellence in nursing, and also was named an American Nurse Association award winner for outstanding nursing quality. We received the Healthcare Informatics Innovators Award and InformationWeek 500 honors for IT innovation. And, we were listed as one of the Best Places to Work in Omaha.

Children’s unique expertise led to a partnership with Creighton University Medical Center to provide ongoing critical care for pediatric trauma patients. To better serve the region, we added fixed wing aircraft to Children’s Transport fleet – resulting in a record 1,000 transports made by ambulance, helicopter and plane for the year. These advancements and many others help position Children’s to overcome the uncertainties of health care reform while continuing to meet the medical needs of a growing number of children and families.

Because at Children’s, we strive to be certain “that way” is always the right way.

Gary A. Perkins, FACHE
President and CEO

Barbara Schaefer
Chairman of the Board



Healing Invisible Wounds

The pain of losing a loved one may never fade away, but healing begins with love, support and understanding. With an emphasis on collaboration and a sense of community, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center is helping to heal invisible wounds.



Healing Invisible Wounds

Healing. Hope. Love. Three words that describe what children and families find at Ted E. Bear Hollow, an independent grief support program for families, young children, adolescents and young adults.

While always an advocate for Ted E. Bear Hollow and its work, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center became an even stronger supporter three years ago when Children’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kathy English was invited to join the Ted E. Bear Hollow board of directors.

English was impressed by how the staff and volunteers at Ted E. Bear Hollow teach children and adolescents to handle and express grief in positive ways, from support groups and therapeutic play to a wide array of day camps and weekend retreats, such as Camp Hope for teens.

She accepted the invitation because Ted E. Bear Hollow’s purpose – to provide an environment of support and education where grieving children and families can communicate their feelings of loss – resonated with her personally. “My sister and her husband passed away at an early age,” she says. “I became the caregiver for my niece and nephew, who were 15 and 18 at the time. I watched them struggle, often in unhealthy ways, with their grief.”

English joined the board and immediately made a difference. “At her first meeting, we were discussing how we were running out of space where we were at 76th and Cass,” Ted E. Bear Hollow Executive Director Nancy Hemesath recalls. “The next meeting, she came back and said she might have an answer.”



Ted E. Bear Hollow had outgrown its space, English says, “and the board was grappling with whether they should buy a new building, rent or build. I knew Children’s had nice space available next door to our Children’s Home Healthcare’s World (a 24/7 day care facility for medically fragile children) that was just being used for storage.”

English secured an offer for Ted E. Bear Hollow to rent the building for seven years at $1 a year. Children’s also cares for the exterior and landscaping.

“The location is perfect,” Hemesath says. “It’s nearly 50 percent bigger than our previous space. This is just as good as it gets for us at this point in time.”

The extra space enables Ted E. Bear Hollow to expand its programs, which have been growing at nearly 20 percent each year.  In 2011, more than 650 family members, 400 children and 250 caregiver adults took advantage of Teddy Bear Hollow, all at no cost to them.

“Being free is essential,” Hemesath says. “Sixty percent of our families are below median income. We believe every child and family should have this kind of grief support without worrying about paying for it. This building means we can say ‘yes’ to more families.”

Some day, Ted E. Bear Hollow will outgrow its current location, English says. “But in the meantime, it’s a great chance to build a nest egg with what would have been spent on rent.”

Children’s assists Ted E Bear Hollow in other ways, such as its donation of several massive but outdated medical file cabinets that the facility has utilized to organize and manage its storage area – and the hundreds of teddy bears donated to it each year. English says Children’s support for Ted E. Bear Hollow is a natural extension of its own mission, “So that all children may have a better chance to live.”

Ted E. Bear Hollow’s training opportunities for professionals benefit rural Nebraska and the region, English says. “In order for us to better serve as a resource for children and their needs, we have to look beyond the boundaries of the physical hospital itself,” she says. “We can do that by teaching others.”

Health care reform is challenging hospitals to think not only about curing illness, English says, but also how to promote wellness.

“Surely, one way to promote wellness is through programs like Ted E. Bear Hollow,” she says. “It makes sense for Children’s to take an active role supporting it.”


Intensive Caring

It’s a few minutes past 6 a.m. The baby is resting quietly as a team of pediatric specialists begins its rounds of the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. He is very ill – and he’s in the only NICU in the region that can give him the care he needs to survive.



Intensive Caring

It’s a few minutes past 6 a.m. The baby is resting quietly as the pediatric care team begins its rounds of the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

The tiny child is one of three infants receiving care after undergoing complex heart surgery at Children’s. The boy had suffered cardiac arrest immediately after being delivered at another local hospital and has been diagnosed with Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR), a rare congenital malformation in which the four pulmonary veins that should connect to the left atrium of the heart instead drain into the right atrium via an abnormal, or anomalous, connection.

The baby received care for seven days at the other hospital before being brought to Children’s by the Critical Care Transport Team, an exclusive unit of medical professionals trained in neonatal and pediatric critical care who respond by Children’s own ambulance, by Life-Net helicopter or small airplane. Once at Children’s, the baby was taken immediately to the operating room for surgery.

As the rising sun peeks through the window into his room, the tiny baby is on a ventilator to help keep him breathing. His kidneys are not working properly, and fluids are building within his abdomen. His condition is constantly monitored by a group of critical care experts that includes cardiac surgeons, neonatologists, subspecialists and neonatal nurses and nurse practitioners, many of whom hold the highest national certifications.

The baby boy is very ill – and he’s in the only NICU in the region that can give him the care he needs to survive.



The Children’s NICU – the largest in Nebraska – is a designated Level IIIC unit, the highest available for NICUs. The designation recognizes the hospital’s ability to perform advanced neonatal interventions, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), the use of a machine to put oxygen into the blood; and newborn cardiac surgery.

The NICU’s furnishings, equipment and technology are designed specifically for newborns and their families, including low lighting and a reduced-noise environment – features pioneered by Children’s.

While the unit attracts patients and families from more than two dozen states, the majority of the 30 babies being cared for on this particular day have been brought to Children’s after first receiving treatment at other area hospitals.

“At least 80 percent of our NICU patients come from other NICUs because they require pediatric subspecialty care not available anywhere else but here,” says neonatologist Lynne Willett, M.D., Clinical Service Chief of the Children’s NICU.

After first visiting the most seriously ill infants, Dr. Willett joins the other medical professionals as they begin their rounds of the other NICU babies, who range in age from a few hours old to almost one year.

Some are new to the unit but others have been at the NICU for weeks. Because their medical conditions are complex, many suffer from not one but a variety of issues. That’s where the interdisciplinary team of Children’s Specialty Physicians becomes integral to the infants’ care and recovery. From board certified pediatric surgeons to experienced gastroenterologists, nationally-recognized experts are a few steps away from the NICU.

Two teams begin rounds. Each team has a neonatologist and three to five nurse practitioners as well as the bedside nurse and other support personnel. They review X-rays, surgical reports and the latest information available about each baby, consulting and collaborating on a plan for that child for the next 24 hours. Then they communicate that plan to the parents.

The rounds are interrupted when a request for transport comes from an Omaha hospital. A baby born 15 weeks early has been undergoing treatment for 10 days for an intestinal blockage but is not improving. The infant weighs only 600 grams – about 1.3 pounds.

One of the team’s nurse practitioners, and a registered nurse, rush downstairs to the awaiting Children’s ambulance and make the seven-minute trip to the other hospital.



The ambulance has not yet returned when another request for transport comes in, this time from a hospital in Norfolk, 110 miles away. A 12-hour-old infant is having difficulty breathing and the attending physician is concerned about a possible infection. Another nurse practitioner gathers necessary medical items and boards the Life-Net helicopter as it idles on the hospital’s helipad. Children’s is the only hospital in the region that has registered nurses and neonatal nurse practitioners as part of the transport team.

As the helicopter lifts off, another baby arrives from a hospital in Lincoln. The full-term infant has been on a respirator for three weeks. She appears to be having seizures that stem from a complex genetic neurologic syndrome with anomalies, and requires care by specialists at Children’s skilled in pediatric neurology and surgery.

This will be the third hospital that has treated the infant. Her parents, who live in rural Nebraska, are anxious and upset.

“The information they’ve received up to this point was not what they wanted to hear,” says Dr. Willett. “They’re frustrated and they’re hoping we can give them a better prognosis. It’s up to us to give them a full account of how we plan to accomplish things over the next few hours, days and weeks, if necessary.”



It’s nearly 7 p.m. The NICU rounds have finally been completed. The emergency transport cases have arrived and the babies are receiving care, including the infant with the intestinal blockage who will require surgery. Thanks to antibiotics, the baby from Norfolk has stabilized. It’s time to update records, review laboratory tests and X-rays from later in the day.

But before she heads home for a dinner cooked by her son to mark her husband’s birthday, Dr. Willett has one last stop to make. There is a baby she hasn’t yet seen today, one who has been hospitalized in the NICU for several weeks. Although improving, the infant requires care that can’t be given in a home environment.

“Some of the older babies and their parents, the ones who have been here a long time, become like family to us,” she says. “We like to stop in and see the babies when we aren’t on rounds. We sing or play a little bit, and they really seem to like it.

“It’s different than when we’re conducting a medical evaluation, because during an exam we’re busy probing and checking, touching places that might hurt. We want the babies to know that our voices aren’t always an indication of something uncomfortable or unpleasant. That’s why we make time to interact with them or play. We want them to know we care.”

Pausing briefly at the doorway to smile at the parents, Dr. Willett steps quietly to the bedside and stays only a minute, playing a quick game of peak-a-boo. Tiny toes curl and wiggle their approval.

More than just care. It’s intensive caring.

Sparking a Transformation

Twice the Healing

Abby Robinson has encountered many obstacles in her son's young life. Little Landon arrived dangerously early and required surgery to help him breathe, eat and grow. But a childhood experience at Children's Hospital & Medical Center gave Abby her own unique perspective. A past patient, she's now a mother watching her little boy thrive.

Watch their story



Your Flash Player is out of date. Please update to view this video...

Go back

The Best Place for Kids

2011 Snapshot

We say it often: children are unique; they are not just small adults. They deserve care that is developed specifically for them - care that is delivered each and every day at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

In 2011, we traveled a path to national recognition as one of the Best Children’s Hospitals in the country. The Critical Care Transport Team completed 1,000 transports and introduced the area’s only medical airplane. We made a commitment to ensure pediatric expertise for young trauma victims, and we celebrated the one-year anniversary of Children’s Specialty Pediatric Center.

The best place for kids. That’s Children’s.

Follow our journey, our snapshot of 2011.