Reagan Florence: Raising More Than Hope with Driscoll Children’s Hospital

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Krystal Krenek

Driscoll Children’s Hospital grew out of the foresight of its founder, Clara Driscoll, whose vision was to provide all children of South Texas with adequate healthcare.  Driscoll was designed to help families, and today, their mission statement remains at the core of their efforts: “Improve the health of adults, and you give them back their health.  Improve the health of children, and you give them their life.”  Reagan Florence, Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s Director of Development for the Rio Grande Valley, blends his background with his motivation to further the advancements in healthcare for the children of the Valley.

Reagan Florence has a family background in farming.  He graduated from Texas A & M University in College Station in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics.  He earned his master’s degree in Production Economics.  He went into banking, working in credit analysis with First City Bank in 1988.  Florence spent a stint of time back on the family farm and then ventured into farm credit lending in 1990 with First Victoria National Bank.  There, he handled farm and ranch loans and livestock loans.  He spent 18 years in lending, climbing the ladder from loan officer to CEO of Ag Credit of Weslaco.  Florence joined the team at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in 2009, taking on philanthropy and marketing roles.

“I have seen heartwarming as well as heartbreaking stories.  These are miracle kids with amazing stories of survival,” Florence recalls.

Driscoll Children’s hospital has seen expansive growth since its start in 1953.  What started as a 25-bed hospital has become the home of pediatric specialists with more than 32 medical and 13 surgical specialties.  It serves 31 counties and 33,000 square miles of South Texas.  The medical staff of 250 doctors works alongside over 450 nurses, 1,800 employees, and 340 volunteers.  Each year, Driscoll sees approximately 132,000 children for outpatient care, 40,000 children for emergency care, 6,500 children admitted for inpatient care, and more than 3,500 children for day surgery.  Driscoll was additionally the first South Texas hospital to offer emergency services solely for children and to perform an organ transplant.

Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s presence in the Rio Grande Valley is in subspecialty clinics, which feed the main hospital located in Corpus Christi, where all major illnesses and operations are handled.  Its comprehensive surgical services include general surgery and cardiovascular, orthopaedic, and neuro pediatric subspecialties.  Monday through Friday, doctors are flown from Corpus to three Valley locations – Harlingen, McAllen, and Brownsville – saving local parents from extended travel for follow-up treatments.  Driscoll Children’s Hospital offers some of the most specialized doctors in the state and is a breeding ground for internships and training.

This fall, Driscoll was awarded one of four HMO contracts by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, allowing Driscoll to see patients and provide services through a Medicaid managed care contract.  This new healthcare plan, known as Driscoll Children’s Health Plan, is an option in 10 South Texas counties for the Medicaid-eligible populace, making it the only non-profit, provider-sponsored health plan in the target area.   As one of the only South Texas hospitals and the only Valley hospital to be a member hospital of the Children’s Miracle Network, Driscoll campaigns with various national sponsors such as Wal-Mart, Stripes, Luvs, Speedy Stop, and Golden Corral to raise capital for its lifesaving efforts.

Fiesta De Los Ninos is one of Driscoll Children’s Hospital’s primary fundraising events.  This year for the Valley’s event, Fiesta will be given a makeover and will be The Driscoll Children’s Gala.  The event will be moved from Hidalgo County to Cameron County at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Grounds and will be held on Friday, April 20th, 2012.  Here, supporters come together to provide for the financial needs of this organization that is changing the lives of Valley families with children in need of specialized medical intervention.

The hearts and hands of the dedicated people behind Driscoll Children’s Hospital and the subspecialty clinics of the Rio Grande Valley are ever vigilant to provide the children of South Texas with the best possible healthcare.  When area families find themselves in need of help they hoped they would never need, Driscoll is there to stand beside them during trying times.  Reagan Florence is one such person who will continue to reach out and garner support for one of the most worthwhile efforts we can pursue: the lives and health of our children.

Anyone wishing to volunteer to help with the event, donate an auction item, or purchase tickets or a table sponsorship and attend The Driscoll Children’s Gala, please feel free to contact Chuck and Rhonda Sellman at 956.975.1254, or Paul and Connie McDaniel at 956.330.1007, or Reagan Florence at 956.688.1239.