KIDZ Medical is a physician-owned, multi-specialty group providing neonatal, pediatric and obstetric healthcare throughout South Florida. Founded in 1988 by Albert Taño, MD, and his partner, Jorge E. Perez, MD, the KIDZ team of dedicated pediatric subspecialists, advanced practice providers, nursing and hearing care professionals work in hospitals and private offices in six Florida counties.
While birth rates are declining across much of the United States, South Florida has seen only a slight decline in the birth rate. South Florida’s needs are also different than elsewhere, creating a more dynamic environment.
Q. What attracted you to neonatology?
A. Pediatric and neonatal health care is challenging due to variables between patients, including large differences in body size and function, significant emotional and social needs, and possible drug sensitivity. Although the challenges are great, the results are very rewarding. I realized that I wanted to stay in the field while doing rotations in medical school.
Q. How does the practice of neonatology in South Florida compare to major medical communities?
A. Neonatology in South Florida is at the forefront of medical practice. As a physician-led group, we are progressive and our hospital leaders are not afraid of change. On the contrary, our hospitals are partnering with us to address opportunities and challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Like us, hospitals are proud of the achievements in neonatal medicine that have been made over the past 30 years.
An important contribution comes 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 could not have reached 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 this issue?
A. Tier 4 units have been around for over a decade in other regions. The ACHA has made it a priority to establish guidelines for the certification of neonatal units and the establishment of Level 4 units in our state. Seventeen medical specialists from across Florida came together to discuss the state of neonatal medicine and determine criteria for Level 4 units. I am proud to have served on this committee. We have reached a consensus that protects Tier 2 units in the most rural parts of the state, while establishing guidelines for Tier 3 and 4 units in major metropolitan areas.
When pregnant, parents often worry about a hospital’s ability to meet unexpected needs. Parents can be extremely reassured that our systems are working well. For example, every birth in Miami-Dade has a neonatologist or neonatal nurse practitioner on site who can resuscitate your baby. The first minutes of life are crucial, and Jorge and I are proud to have helped raise that bar.
Another area where we have had a lot of impact is in postnatal practices such as kangaroo care, which means prolonged skin-to-skin contact after birth. It was initially implemented for premature babies, but now it is standard practice for all births. The profession of neonatology has served our community well. We are proud of the thousands of babies we have delivered.
Q. Since you and Dr. Perez founded KIDZ in 1988, you have experienced significant and steady growth. It’s been over 33 years. To what do you attribute your ability to attract many of South Florida’s most established and respected sub-specialists to your team?
A. Many factors have contributed to our growth. First, the focus on quality and accountability starts at the top. Jorge and I check our egos at the door, and we’re looking for professionals like us who have an open mind and want to make a difference. We are also strict about adhering to protocols and we vet our associates carefully. We have learned to listen and trust our instincts.
Q. Tell us about this statement: “A normal birth is a postpartum diagnosis.”
A. When a woman gives birth, you want everything to fall into place. Until the baby is born and completed, you cannot know the details of the birth, whether typical, atypical, or upsetting. It is 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, cost-effective medical care using evidence-based tools, competent training and education, clinical research, and cutting-edge medical technology. We have described KIDZ as an academic group in a private setting. Most importantly, we want to leave a legacy in South Florida.