KIDZ Medical is a physician-owned multispecialty group that provides neonatal, pediatric and obstetrical healthcare throughout South Florida. Founded in 1988 by Albert Taño, M.D., and his partner, Jorge E. Perez, M.D., today the KIDZ team of dedicated pediatric subspecialists, advanced practice providers, nursing and hearing professionals works in hospitals and private offices in six Florida counties.
While birthrates are going down in much of the United States, South Florida has experienced only a slight drop in the birthrate. South Florida’s needs likewise are different than elsewhere, creating a more dynamic environment.
Q. What attracted you to neonatology?
A. Pediatric and neonatal healthcare is challenging due to the variables among patients, including vast differences in body size and function, significant emotional and social needs, and possible sensitivity to medications. While the challenges are significant, the results are very rewarding. I realized I wanted to stay in the field while doing rotations in medical school.
Q. How does the practice of neonatology in south Florida compare with leading medical communities?
A. Neonatology in south Florida is on the forefront of medical practice. We as a physician-led group are progressive, and our hospital leaders are not afraid of change. Quite the contrary – our hospitals partner with us to address opportunities and challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Like us, the hospitals are proud of the achievements in neonatal medicine that have been achieved in the last 30 years.
A significant contribution is from our nursing professionals, who have such a good clinical eye. Nurses are a special breed, and our nursing care in south Florida is superb. We couldn’t have achieved the current standard of practice without working closely with our nurses.
Q. Some states have adopted Level 4 neonatology units. Where is South Florida on that issue?
A. Level 4 units have existed for more than a decade in other regions. ACHA made it a priority to set guidelines for certifying neonatal units and establishing the Level 4 units in our state. Seventeen physician specialists from across Florida came together to discuss the state of neonatal medicine and determine the criteria for Level 4 units. I’m proud to have served on that committee. We achieved a consensus which protects the Level 2 units in the more rural parts of the state, while establishing guidelines for the Level 3 and 4 units in larger metropolitan areas.
When they’re expecting, parents are often worried about a hospital’s ability to rise to unexpected needs. Parents can have a tremendous level of comfort that our systems are working well. For instance, every delivery in Miami-Dade has a neonatologist or neonatal nurse practitioner on-site who can resuscitate your infant. The first minutes of life are crucial, and Jorge and I are proud to have been instrumental in raising that bar.
Another area in which we have had a great deal of impact is in post-natal practices such as kangaroo care, which means extended skin-to-skin contact after the birth. It was initially implemented for premature babies but now, it’s standard practice for all deliveries. The neonatology profession has served our community well. We are proud of the thousands of babies that we’ve brought into the world.
Q. Since you and Dr. Perez founded KIDZ in 1988, you’ve had significant and steady growth. It’s been more than 33 years. To what do you attribute your ability to attract many of the most established and well-respected subspecialists in South Florida to your team?
A. Numerous factors have contributed to our growth. First of all, a focus on quality and accountability starts at the top. Jorge and I check our ego at the door, and we look for professionals like us who have an open mind and want to make a difference. We are also strict about following protocols and we vet our associates carefully. We’ve learned to listen to and trust our gut.
Q. Tell us about this statement: “A normal delivery is a postpartum diagnosis.”
A. When a woman gives birth, you want everything to fall in place. Until the baby is delivered and it’s over, you can’t know the details about the delivery, whether it’s typical, atypical, or heart-stopping. It’s an important reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of maintaining protocols that are at the forefront of the practice of medicine.
Q. What else do you want parents to know about KIDZ Medical?
A. We provide high quality and cost-effective medical care using evidence-based tools, proficient level of training and education, clinical research, and state-of-the-art medical technology. We’ve described KIDZ as an academic group in a private setting. More importantly, we want to leave a legacy in South Florida.