5 things for Houstonians to know for Thursday, Oct. 1


Here are things you need to know for Thursday, Oct. 1:

1. Historic nationwide investigation, with Texas ties, uncovers more than $6B in healthcare fraud, opioid abuse

The U.S. Department of Justice announced a historic nationwide enforcement takedown Wednesday involving 345 charged defended across 51 federal districts, according to a press release. The investigation alleges more than 100 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals participated in healthcare fraud and opioid abuse.

Investigators charged the defendants with submitting more than $6 billion in false and fraudulent claims to federal healthcare programs and private insurers, including more than $4.5 billion connected to telemedicine, more than $845 million linked to substance abuse treatment facilities or “sober homes,” and more than $806 million related to other healthcare fraud and illegal opioid distribution schemes across the country.

Read more.

2. Why is Harris County COVID-19 threat still at RED despite low cases, positivity rate, hospitalizations?

Most big Texas cities no longer have their COVID-19 threat levels pegged on red (highest) alert. Dallas is in orange, Austin is in yellow and San Antonio is in green. But Houston is still stuck in the red. We have been in the “stay home” alert for more than 3 months now. We wanted to know if the numbers are looking better, why are we still in the red zone?

The alert levels are up to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, even though she admits that the “numbers are undoubtedly getting better, positivity, hospitalizations, they’re looking a lot better.”

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3. Parents file motion to stop Texas Children’s Hospital from removing child from life support

Right now, a child’s life hangs in the balance as court procedures are underway. Texas Children’s hospital planned to take a 10-month-old baby boy off life support until an emergency motion was filed, according to the family’s attorney, Kevin Acevedo.

According to Acevedo, a parent was giving the 10-month-old Nick a bath on Sept. 24 when they left to get a towel. When they returned, Nick was unresponsive and unconscious.

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4. Bride-to-be seeking refund after wedding venue closes

Savannah Rodriguez said she went from planning her wedding to trying to track down her refund.

She said she got engaged earlier this year and booked her big day at the Villa Bella Event Center in northwest Harris County. The wedding was set for 2021.

However, Rodriguez said the venue recently informed her the center had closed down and she has been unsuccessful in getting her nearly $700 deposit back.

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5. Astros win 3-1 in Game 2 of Wild Card series against Twins; advance to ALDS

Carlos Correa hit a two-out, tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning for the Houston Astros, who produced another stifling pitching performance and swept Minnesota with a 3-1 victory Wednesday.

The Astros, who have reached the AL championship series in each of the last three years, will play Monday against either the A’s or the White Sox.

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