Houston doctor’s $25 million COVID-19 defamation suit against Houston Methodist dismissed – Houston Public Media
Dr. Mary Bowden, who worked for the health system as an ear, nose and throat specialist, was publicly criticized by Houston Methodist for opinions she expressed about COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.houstonpublicmedia.org
Texas AG says counties can spend COVID relief funds on extra pay for elected officials without public notice – Houston Public Media
The nonbinding legal opinion states local elected and appointed officials can receive up to $25,000 for work done during the COVID-19 pandemic on top of their regular salaries. Unlike other pay raises, these “premium pay” bonuses don’t need to be declared to the public ahead of time.houstonpublicmedia.org
Houston doctor suspended for vaccine misinformation files $25 million defamation lawsuit against Methodist Hospital – Houston Public Media
The lawsuit accuses Methodist Hospital and Methodist CEO Marc Boom of making "false and defamatory" statements about Dr. Mary Bowden, an ear, nose, and throat doctor in River Oaks.houstonpublicmedia.org
Houston Methodist reporting a decrease in severity in omicron cases, but an increase in breakthrough infections – Houston Public Media
Houston Public Media spoke with Dr. Wesley Long, director of microbiology at Houston Methodist, about a new study reporting decreased hospitalization rates among omicron patients.houstonpublicmedia.org
Texas health experts ‘not panicking’ over COVID’s omicron variant, expect cases to appear soon – Houston Public Media
Doctors and health officials in Texas say the omicron variant of COVID-19 could be found in the state within the next couple of weeks -- if it’s not already here.houstonpublicmedia.org
Half of unvaccinated workers say they'd rather quit than get a shot – but real-world data suggest few are following through
Forceful words don't always result in strong action. AP Photo/Damian DovarganesAre workplace vaccine mandates prompting some employees to quit rather than get a shot? A hospital in Lowville, New York, for example, had to shut down its maternity ward when dozens of staffers left their jobs rather than get vaccinated. At least 125 employees at Indiana University Health resigned after refusing to take the vaccine. And several surveys have shown that as many as half of unvaccinated workers insist thnews.yahoo.com
The Lambda Variant: What You Should Know And Why Experts Say Not To Panic – Houston Public Media
Cases of the variant have popped up in several states. But neither the WHO nor the CDC considers it a variant of concern, and the fast-spreading delta variant continues to dominate U.S. cases.houstonpublicmedia.org
Nurses fired for not getting COVID-19 vaccine explain their rationale
More than 100 staff members at Houston Methodist Hospital who were fired for refusing to get vaccinated for COVID-19 appealed a judge’s ruling that sided with the hospital’s right to terminate their employment. The group now believes their fight will make it all the way to the Supreme Court.news.yahoo.com
153 Houston Methodist staff who refused to get COVID vaccine have been fired or resigned
153 health care workers who refused to comply with a COVID-19 vaccine mandate have resigned or been fired, the Houston Methodist Hospital confirmed Tuesday.Why it matters: The Texas hospital was one of the first in the U.S. to announce such requirement, and it suspended 178 employees without pay for 14 days for failing to comply with the rule. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.A federal judge on June 13 dismissed a lawsuit brought by 117 staff challengingnews.yahoo.com
Judge Tosses Houston Methodist Hospital Workers’ Vaccine Requirement Challenge – Houston Public Media
In a scathing ruling Saturday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes deemed the lead plaintiff's contention that the vaccines are “experimental and dangerous” to be false and otherwise irrelevant.houstonpublicmedia.org
Judge tosses hospital workers' vaccine requirement challenge
A federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed by employees of a Houston hospital system over its requirement that all of its staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Houston Methodist Hospital system suspended 178 employees without pay last week over their refusal to get vaccinated. Of them, 117 sued seeking to overturn the requirement and over their suspension and threatened termination.news.yahoo.com
Houston Methodist Hospital makes COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all employees
HOUSTON – Houston Methodist Hospital becomes one of the first big hospitals to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for everyone who works there. “As part of Houston Methodist management, we must lead by example and get vaccinated ourselves. At Houston Methodist, we’ve made a commitment to offer our patients unparalleled safety, quality, service and innovation. You now have until April 15 to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or get an approved exemption. “The number of our employees getting sick with COVID has greatly reduced as the number of vaccines has increased,” Hackett said.
33-year-old survives double lung transplant after 6 months on ECMO
HOUSTON – Andrew Capen, 33, is the recipient of a miraculous double lung transplant after battling COVID-19. Houston Methodist Hospital said he is one of the longest surviving patients on ECMO, a machine that basically works in place of your lungs once they’ve been so damaged they won’t work anymore. Capen survived on ECMO for six months before receiving new lungs. While the end result is wonderful, Capen said it was a dark, lonely time in the hospital leading up to it. His surgeon, surgical director of lung transplantation at Houston Methodist Dr. Eddie Suarez, said it’s a difficult operation under normal circumstances but because Capen’s health was deteriorating it was almost impossible.
Houston Methodist Finds 2 New Strains Of COVID-19 In Greater Houston – Houston Public Media
The hospital had already identified variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa. There are now four confirmed COVID-19 variants circulating in the Greater Houston area, according to Houston Methodist Hospital. “I think that the identification of these variants in our community of 7 million people once again teaches us that we need to be vaccinating, vaccinating, vaccinating,” he said. Houston Methodist has a long history of large-scale pathogen genomic sequencing, according to Dr. Wesley Long, medical director of clinical microbiology at the hospital. That’s allowed Methodist to compare Houston's primary strain to other strains that may be in the country, and around the world.houstonpublicmedia.org
More than 60,000 doses sent to vaccine hubs in Houston area this week
HOUSTON – Tens of thousands of additional coronavirus vaccines are headed to the Houston area this week. More than 60,000 doses will be sent to vaccine hubs in the Houston area. The Houston Health Department said nearly 6,400 doses will go to the department’s Area Agency on Aging. City and state leaders came together Saturday to discuss vaccination distribution efforts in high risk and vulnerable communities. AdMayor Sylvester Turner said the city plans to fight racial inequities and disparity by targeting minority communities in vaccine distribution.
Houston Methodist host free virtual COVID-19 vaccine town hall
HOUSTON – On Friday, Houston Methodist Hospital answered questions about the vaccine rollout during a virtual town hall. Health experts covered a range of topics but wanted to focus on helping educate communities of color about COVID-19. They have programs in the works, that include partnering with minority organizations and churches in to help spread the word about the vaccine. “Really the goal is to bring death down and ultimately control the pandemic,” said Dr. Marc Boom, the president and CEO of Houston Methodist. Arianne Dowdell, VP and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, was the moderator of the town hall.
‘Overwhelming response’: Houston Methodist COVID-19 vaccine appointments closed after appointments filled
HOUSTON – Houston Methodist Hospital, the largest vaccine provider in Texas at the moment, is no longer taking COVID-19 vaccine appointments after slots have been filled shortly after launching Monday. The public vaccine sign-up went live Monday afternoon. We have had an overwhelming response, and due to the limited vaccine supply, we unfortunately have no more appointments available at the present time. “Then we go into, kind of targeting zip codes, to make sure we’re reaching all of Houston.”Patient databases include anyone with any connection to Houston Methodist. Anyone who has visited the emergency room or any employed or private doctors, or who has undergone any test at a Houston Methodist facility.
Texas Gov. Abbott hosts roundtable discussion, provides COVID-19 update with Houston health care professionals
Greg Abbott held a roundtable discussion and deliver remarks alongside health care professionals on Tuesday at Houston Methodist Hospital. Following the roundtable, Abbott held a brief news conference and provide an update on COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Some Harris County vaccinations were supposed to start today. However, Harris County officials say they were delayed until Wednesday because of logistical issues. Chambers County officials said they have a limited number of vaccines and pre-registration will be required.
Coronavirus In Greater Houston: Liberty County Vaccine Hub Opens Registration – Houston Public Media
Before this week, providers in Liberty County had been given small one-time shipments of the vaccine. On Sunday, the Texas Department of State Health Services named the provider one of 79 hubs in the state. TMC institutions have now administered more than 195,000 vaccine doses. Hubs now include Galveston County Health District and UTMB, as well as providers in Fort Bend, Montgomery, Liberty and Chambers counties. —Updated Monday 6 a.m. CTGalveston County is petitioning the state to get on the next list of vaccine hubs.houstonpublicmedia.org
Methodist Hospital organizing event to vaccinate 4,000 more people Saturday
HOUSTON – Houston Methodist Hospital was organizing a vaccination event on Saturday and said it worked with state officials to find those who need it most. “We’ve already vaccinated over 41,000 Houstonians and so we’re proud of that,” said Cathy Easter, Senior Vice President of Community Development at Methodist Hospital. Methodist Hospital plans to vaccinate 4,000 more people on Saturday. Memorial Hermann opening vaccine clinic at NRG ParkMemorial Hermann is set to open a coronavirus vaccine clinic at NRG Park this week and opened registration for appointments to the public. On Wednesday evening, officials said all available appointments for Memorial Hermann’s vaccine clinic at NRG Park are full.
Houston hospital offers workers $500 to get COVID-19 vaccine
Houston Methodist's 26,000 workers can look forward to some extra cash in March — as long as they get a COVID-19 vaccine. Eligibility criteria to receive the award include getting a COVID-19 vaccination, "fulfilling our obligation as health care workers to lead the community," he stated. Houston Methodist also gave employees $500 bonuses about six weeks ago for their work during the pandemic, which has killed nearly 35,000 Americans. For now, vaccination isn't required for Houston Methodist employees, but "will be eventually" for most workers, Boom wrote. "I think people are more wanting it than not wanting it," said a spokesperson for Houston Methodist, who received her second dose of the vaccine on Monday.cbsnews.com
Houston hospitals ready and waiting to receive Pfizer vaccine
HOUSTON – Houston Methodist Hospital, UTMB in Galveston, Ben Taub, Memorial Herman, and Texas Children’s Hospital all say they plan to begin vaccinations next week. “Our personnel are ready to accept vaccines as early as this weekend, should it arrive, but we probably anticipate it arriving on Monday or Tuesday,” said Roberta Schwartz, executive VP of Houston Methodist. Memorial Hermann said with two effective vaccines likely coming to their doorstep, they’ll eventually be able to vaccinate every employee. Key dates:- Dec. 14 is when the state says they could begin rolling out the Pfizer vaccine to hospitals. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are two other companies that could be following close behind them but they have yet to apply for EUA.
Houston Methodist Hospital has three infusion sites for COVID antibody treatment
HOUSTON – The Houston Methodist Hospital is now administering the FDA emergency use authorization drug, bamlanivimab. There are three sites where the hospital offers monoclonal antibody infusions: Houston Methodist Hospital at the Texas Medical Center, Houston Methodist Sugar Land and Houston Methodist Continuing Care Facility near the West campus in Katy. Since the hospital system started this therapy on Friday, they said 50 patients have been treated. Sandy Zeluff said she was one of the first patients to receive this treatment. After her symptoms were getting progressively worse last week, she says she made a recovery within a day of infusion.
FDA has fast-tracked promising drug to treat COVID-19 patients and it is in trial at Houston Methodist
HOUSTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has fast-tracked a promising drug to treat COVID-19 patients and it is in trial at Houston Methodist Hospital. The drug is called RLF-100 and is also known as aviptadil. It has been approved by the FDA for emergency use at multiple clinical sites in patients who are too ill to enter the FDA’s Phase 2/3 trials. According to a press release from the drug maker NeuroRX, independent researchers have reported that aviptadil blocked replication of the SARS coronavirus in human lung cells and monocytes. The drug has been successful in reducing lung inflammation and so the FDA now says any doctor at any hospital can request this treatment to help severely ill COVID-19 patients.
If Harris County continues same coronavirus track, Houston could be worst affected city in US, expert says
HOUSTON – If Harris County continues on the same new case trajectory as it is on at present, Houston could become the worst affected city in the U.S., according to nationally recognized infectious disease expert, Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine. In a tweet Saturday morning, Hotez said if things continue as they are, Harris County could rival the situation that is currently being seen in Brazil. Finally, his third prediction in his tweet was that the county “would need to proceed to red alert.” As of Sunday night, Harris County is listed at Orange Level 2 on the COVID-19 Threat Level System. Current situation in Harris CountyHouston and Harris County saw a steady increase in cases and hospitalizations last week and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo called the county the “epicenter” of the virus in Texas. In a Friday press conference, Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse said that Houston and Harris County was not experiencing a second wave of the virus.
Some Houston hospitals see decrease in ER visits amid COVID-19 crisis
Across the Texas Medical Center, 18% of all ICU beds are being used by COVID-19 patients and 43% from non-COVID-19 patients. While they are still waiting to see a possible surge in cases, Houston Methodist Hospital said they're down 75% in the emergency room department. “Hospitals are very well equipped in separating patients with suspected COVID versus the other emergencies that we have dealt with,” Zoghbi said. Even the CDC is reporting flu data comparisons from 2019 to 2020 should be interpreted with caution because they say people staying home during this pandemic are prohibiting them from keeping an accurate count of flu cases. On the other hand, Shane Magee, MD, from Kelsey-Seybold Clinic said flu cases are simply down this year.
Combating COVID-19: Nurses inside the coronavirus ICU tell all
HOUSTON – Like many local hospitals, Houston Methodist Hospital opened a special unit to treat critically ill coronavirus patients. They’re calling it the “Coronavirus ICU,” and right now there is a revolving door of 88 patients total in the Houston Methodist system, 24 patients at the Texas Medical Center campus. Nurses working inside the unit said when they manage to discharge one, the next patient comes in. The Texas Nurses Association supports what Carnahan and Catalan said, the number of patients has remained relatively low considering the size of Houston. Houston Methodist Hospital says their ICUs across all eight campuses are at 70% capacity.
Houston woman loses both parents within hours of one another to coronavirus
HOUSTON – A Houston woman is mourning the death of her parents after they died within hours of one another. Abdul Ahad Wahab, 74, and Tazroon Wahab, 71, both died at Houston Methodist Hospital in Sugar Land from complications related to Coronavirus, according to Waheeda Hussain, the couple’s daughterHussain said her parents moved to Houston in January to be closer to family. As she recovers, she is also mourning the loss of her parents. There was nothing we could ever do that would be wrong.”Hussain said her parents decline was quick. Coronavirus is taking lives,” Hussain said.
Kidney transplant for Houston man canceled for the third time amid coronavirus crisis
Houston Methodist Hospital is one of them. The news was disappointing for Michael McBride, who is awaiting a kidney transplant. But his kidney transplant was derailed again in 2019, when his donor, Kris, was diagnosed with breast cancer. “My first thought when it happened was not ‘oh my gosh, I have breast cancer’… it was, ‘oh my gosh, no transplant’,” Kris McBride said. Transplant Center at Houston Methodist Hospital.
Houston coronavirus updates: What you need to know about April 5
Houston coronavirus updates: What you need to know about April 5DPS checkpoints are now being set up on all roads entering Texas from Louisiana as of Sunday, April 5, according to Louisiana State Police. Photo: Louisiana State Police/Twitter Photo: Louisiana State Police/Twitter Image 1 of / 58 Caption Close Houston coronavirus updates: What you need to know about April 5 1 / 58 Back to GalleryChron.com is compiling the latest headlines on the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Houston area. There are now 652 positive COVID-19 cases in Harris County, according to Harris County Public Health. 8:19 a.m.Texas coronavirus cases have now climbed to 6,762 people who have contracted coronavirus, with a death toll rising to 124. There are currently 2,084 COVID-19 cases in the Houston area, according to local data, and 26 have died from the virus.chron.com
100,000 patients could lose access to doctors at Houston Methodist hospitals due to insurance company’s contract dispute
HOUSTON – A hundred-thousand people insured by UnitedHealthcare are scrambling to find new doctors and hospitals after the insurance company and Houston Methodist Hospital could not come to terms over reimbursement rates. The contract expired at midnight, meaning the seven Houston Methodist hospitals and its outpatient clinics are no longer in-network as of Jan. 1, 2020. "90%, probably more than that, of the doctors (in Baytown) are Methodist doctors," Thompson said. UnitedHealthcare released the following statement:“Care at Houston Methodist Hospital is significantly more expensive than care at other top-ranked hospitals in Texas as well as some of the most prestigious hospitals in the entire country. United’s unfortunate decision – and disruption to their members’ in-network access to Houston Methodist -- is forcing employers and consumers to pick different health care options for this year.
Six Houston-area hospitals make Texas Top 20, Houston Methodist ranked no. 1 in state
Six Houston-area hospitals make Texas Top 20, Houston Methodist ranked no. Houston Methodist ranked no. Houston Methodist ranked no. Photo: Pat Sullivan, STF Photo: Pat Sullivan, STF Image 1 of / 8 Caption Close Six Houston-area hospitals make Texas Top 20, Houston Methodist ranked no. Other Houston hospitals that made the Top 20 list included Memorial Hermann- Texas Medical Center, Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital and Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center.chron.com
GALLERY: Houston Methodist West Hospital celebrates 100-year anniversary of hospital system, hosts Centennial Wall
Jen Para/Community Impact NewspaperHouston Methodist leadership, Houston Methodist West Hospital leadership and board members stand in front of the Centennial Wall. Jen Para/Community Impact NewspaperFrom front, Wayne VossHouston Methodist West Hospital CEOand Kyle StanzelHouston Methodist West Hospital chief operating officerinteract with the Centennial Wall while Houston Methodist board member Don Chaney watches. Jen Para/Community Impact NewspaperWayne Voss, Houston Methodist West Hospital CEO, checks out the Centennial Wall. Jen Para/Community Impact NewspaperHouston Methodist West Hospital celebrated the Houston Methodist Hospital systems 100th anniversary July 26. For the next few weeks, Houston Methodist West will host the Houston Methodist Centennial Wall, an interactive digital exhibit showcasing the hospitals achievements over the past 100 years.communityimpact.com