Service Line Designation by G. Paul Matherne, MD, MBA

Children’s Medical Center, Children’s Hospital? Women and Children’s Service Line? What is in a name? “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet“

The Children’s Hospital at the University of Virginia started out as a modest children’s department in the 1970’s and due to the hard work of pioneers like Dr. Mclemore Birdsong and Dr. Robert Blizzard they set the stage for the development of the Children’s Medical center or CMC as it was known then under the leadership of Dr. Robert J (Butch) Roberts and Dr. Dick Kessler in the 1980s.  At that time the CMC consisted of two thirds of the seventh floor plus a newborn nursery on the eighth floor. Under the leadership of Doctors Robert’ Chevalier and Nancy McDaniel and many others the service expanded to include the entire seventh floor and ultimately the north tower. The Neonatal intensive care unit was expanded along with many programs and the name was changed to the UVA Children’s Hospital and outpatient services were consolidated in the Battle building.

So, what is this new “service line designation?” Service Lines were developed by the current hospital Leadership to allow better management by local leaders who are experts in their field (cancer, cardiovascular disease, children, etc.). These population based service lines have unit based medical directors and managers on both the inpatient and ambulatory side and service line leadership on both the medical and hospital side. For Women’s and Children’s I share the service line duties with Dr. Jef Ferguson serving along with Karin Skeen as the Women’s and Children’s Service line Associate Chief. In addition there are “service oriented” service lines such as radiology, laboratory services, and the operating room. These service lines provide services across all populations and we interface with them on a daily basis.

As a Children’s hospital, we have been functioning as a service line for quite some time so this will not result in any changes in how we operate. The goal of service lines is to develop highly functioning teams that allow us to quickly solve problems and make changes. As evidenced by her growth over the past decade, our quality outcomes, and our U.S. News & World Report rankings with four programs ranked (the most in Virginia for the past 3 years) we are well on our way to achieving our highest aspirations.