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Serving Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend and Montgomery Counties


Volume 10 | Issue 3

Inside This Issue

March Edition 2020

Is Your Facility Ready For Coronavirus

By Kara M. Friedman, J.D. G. Phillip Kim, J.D. Polsinelli, PC Texas A&M System Invests Half-Billion Dollars in Texas Medical Center See pg. 8

INDEX Mental Health...................... pg.3 Oncology Research......... pg.5 Healthy Heart....................... pg.7 Age Well................................ pg.12

UH Law Center Professors Urge Tighter Controls on Data Held by Health Tech Companies See pg. 10


.S. health care providers and the agencies that regulate them and oversee public health concerns are scrambling to ensure pandemic readiness in the face of isolated incidents of Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) exposure in this country. Although the vast majority of COVID-19 cases have been concentrated in China, a small number of patients in the U.S. have been confirmed with COVID-19, including a confirmed instance of person-to-person transmission of the virus within the U.S. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), the current fatality rate of COVID-19 is 2.8%. In comparison, the fatality rate of SARS in 2003 was 9.5%, and the average fatality rate of Ebola was 50%. However, COVID-19 is much more prevalent than either SARS or Ebola during the height of their outbreaks. Currently, there are

over 75,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases globally, while SARS involved 8,098 cases in 2003 and Ebola

Despite some alarm, hospitals are generally wel l - prepa red to implement procedures to contain and treat a patient with (COVID-19) Coronavirus... involved 28,616 cases in 2014. Fortunately, isolated incidents of COVID-19 in the U.S. along with pandemic readiness exercises from the Ebola and SARS health scares provide a learning opportunity for hospitals managing the disease on the front-line. COVID-19 is not the first U.S. pandemic threat, and in recent years, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, SARS and drug resistant tuberculosis containment efforts all demonstrated how health authorities and providers successfully mobilize to implement effective protocols to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

As providers mobilize resources, they should have written COVID-19 preparedness and response plans based on historical CDC guidance, which ensure: • Proper structure for planning and decision making; • Staffing needs and personnel policies, including training and education; • Availability of requisite supplies and equipment; • Clinical evaluation of symptomatic persons; • Infection control and isolation practices, including engineering and environmental controls; • Proper surveillance and triage methods; • Facility access controls; • Exposure reporting and risk evaluation; and • Public health communication. These priorities were developed by the CDC in response to the SARS pandemic. Following a plan with this focus will allow for hospitals to adeptly manage a COVID-19 patient incident. Additionally, in response to COVID-19, the CDC has published see Coronavirus... page 13


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Houston Medical Times


SMALL INCISIONS. BIG DIFFERENCE. It’s not enough to perform minimally invasive procedures, if we don’t have a deeper understanding of what you and your heart need – from diagnosis through recovery. Our affiliated specialty trained interventional cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons are adopting innovative techniques that not only treat your heart but aim to lessen the impact on your life, so you can get back to what matters most.

Advancing health. Personalizing care.

March 2020



Houston Medical Times

Mental Health Alcohol-Related Deaths Increasing in the United States By National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

suggest that alcohol-related deaths involving injuries, overdoses, and n analysis of U.S. death certificate chronic diseases are increasing across data by researchers at the a wide swath of the population. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse report is a wakeup call to the growing and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of threat alcohol poses to public health.” the National Institutes of Health, In the new study, Aaron White, found that nearly 1 million people died Ph.D., senior scientific advisor to the from alcohol-related causes between NIAAA director, and colleagues 1999 and 2017. The number of death analyzed data from all U.S. death certificates mentioning alcohol more certificates filed from 1999 to 2017. A than doubled from 35,914 in 1999 to death was identified as alcohol-related 72,558 in 2017, the year in which alcohol if an alcohol-induced cause was played a role in 2.6% of all deaths in listed as the underlying cause or as the United States. The increase in a contributing cause of death. The alcohol-related deaths is consistent researchers found that, in 2017, nearly with reports of increases in alcohol half of alcohol-related deaths resulted consumption and alcohol-involved from liver disease (31%; 22,245) or emergency department visits and overdoses on alcohol alone or with other hospitalizations during the same period. drugs (18%; 12,954). People aged 45-74 The new findings are reported online had the highest rates of deaths related in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and to alcohol, but the biggest increases Experimental Research. over time were among people age 25-34. “Alcohol is not a benign substance High rates among middle-aged adults and there are many ways it can contribute are consistent with recent reports to mortality,” said NIAAA Director Dr. of increases in “deaths of despair,” George F.Hou_Med_times_ad_11_2019.pdf Koob. “The current findings generally defined as deaths related to 1 11/20/19 3:44 PM


overdoses, alcohol-associated liver cirrhosis, and suicides, primarily among non-Hispanic whites. However, the authors report that, by the end of the study period, alcohol-related deaths were increasing among people in almost all age and racial and ethnic group. As with increases in alcohol consumption and related medical emergencies, rates of death involving alcohol increased more for women (85%) than men (35%) over the study period, further narrowing once large differences in alcohol use and harms between males and females. The findings come at a time of growing evidence that even one drink per day of alcohol can contribute to an increase in the risk of breast cancer for women. Women also appear to be at a greater risk than men for alcohol-related cardiovascular diseases, liver disease, alcohol use disorder, and other consequences. “Alcohol is a growing women’s health issue,” said Dr. Koob. “The rapid increase in deaths involving alcohol among women is troubling and parallels the increases in alcohol consumption among women over the past few

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decades.” The authors note that previous studies have shown that the role of alcohol in deaths is vastly underreported. Since the present study examined death certificates only, the actual number of alcohol-related deaths in 2017 may far exceed the 72,558 determined by the authors. “Taken together,” said Dr. Koob, “the findings of this study and others suggests that alcohol-related harms are increasing at multiple levels – from ED visits and hospitalizations to deaths. We know that the contribution of alcohol often fails to make it onto death certificates. Better surveillance of alcohol involvement in mortality is essential in order to better understand and address the impact of alcohol on public health.”










March 2020

Houston Medical Times

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CHI St. Luke’s Health— The Woodlands Hospital First in Houston to Offer the World’s Smallest Pacemaker to Treat Patients with Atrioventricular Block


nherited CHI St. Luke’s Health— The Woodlands Hospital announced that it is the first hospital in Greater Houston to offer Micra™ AV, the world’s smallest pacemaker with atrioventricular (AV) synchrony. This new device, indicated for the treatment of patients with AV block, extends the most advanced pacing technology – at one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker – to more patients than ever before. The first procedure was performed by Dr. Scott Greenberg on February 24, 2020. AV block is a type of heart block that interrupts the impulse transmissions between the chambers

of the heart (the atria and the ventricles). Pacemakers, the most common way to treat AV block, help restore the heart’s normal rhythm and relieve symptoms by coordinating the electrical activity of the atria and the ventricles. When this process – known as AV synchrony – is achieved, patients are healthier and have decreased likelihood of pacemaker syndrome, improved quality of life, and increased blood flow from the left ventricle. Historically, patients with AV block have been treated with traditional dual-chamber pacemakers which are implanted in the upper

chest, under the skin below the collar bone, and connected to the heart using thin wires called “leads.” Identical in size and shape to the original Micra Transcatheter Pacing System (TPS) approved in 2016, Micra AV has several additional internal atrial sensing algorithms which detect cardiac movement, allowing the device to adjust pacing in the ventricle to coordinate with the atrium, providing “AV synchronous” Dr. Greenberg during his first implantation of Micra AV pacing therapy to patients with AV block. cardiac electrophysiology at The “This new technology allows Woodlands Hospital and physician us to treat complex patients that with Woodlands North Houston wouldn’t normally be good candidates for traditional pacemakers,” said see Pacemaker...page 14 Dr. Scott Greenberg, director of

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Houston Medical Times

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Oncology Research Looking Past the Lingo to Understand Your Cancer Diagnosis By Srinath Sundararajan, M.D., FACP, Texas Oncology


any aspects of fighting cancer are out of a patient’s hands, but communication shouldn’t be one of them. In addition to feelings of anxiety, grief, and apprehension, many patients experience information overload. Add medical jargon, statistics, and complex test results into the mix and suddenly coping with a cancer diagnosis becomes overwhelming, resulting in patients who may not feel empowered to communicate openly or make informed decisions about their health. Words like “antiemetic” (a drug that prevents nausea), “brachytherapy” (an internal radiation treatment), and “metastatic” (cancer that has spread from its original site) may fall trippingly

off the tongue of your physician. But if you have ever felt the urge to ask your physician to stop, rewind, and say it again in terms that are easier to comprehend, you’re in good company. Research from the National Institutes of Health suggests an estimated three-fourths of adults are overwhelmed by the influx of complex information they receive upon diagnosis and throughout treatment. Cancer information overload can occur when patients are unable to effectively process this information, simply because terms and concepts used by clinical teams aren’t always well-known to those outside of the medical field. The result? Important health information gets lost in translation. Before you get tripped up, consider these tips for looking past the lingo and, ultimately, better understanding your diagnosis and treatment. Take the pressure off. Remember that your care team’s priority is your health. They are working on your behalf to make sure you feel equipped

to fight your disease. Ask questions and talk through anything you don’t understand – patients are encouraged to speak up. Open communication will help your physician to know when you’re feeling overwhelmed, what’s causing the confusion, and how to help. Come prepared. Research is both important and empowering, but your most valuable information resource is your oncology care team. Before office visits or treatment sessions, read the materials and resources your care team gives you. Doing so may spark questions for clarification or help you recognize where you lack understanding of a specific concept related to your disease or treatment. Go to your visits with a

prepared list of questions or points for further discussion. Ask for visuals. Something not quite clicking? If you’ve done your research and asked questions, but you’re still left with uncertainty, it’s possible a more visual explanation might help you to better process the information. Consider asking a care team member to show you a photo, draw a diagram, or demonstrate. Find an advocate. Managing day-to-day life while going through treatment can make it difficult to dedicate time to delve into the specifics of your illness. Consider sharing the see Oncology Research...page 13

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March 2020

Houston Medical Times

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Discovery Reveals Antibiotic-Resistant Strep Throat May Be Too Close for Comfort


nfectious disease scientists identified strains of group A streptococcus that are less susceptible to commonly used antibiotics, a sign that the germ causing strep throat and flesh-eating disease may be moving closer to resistance to penicillin and other related antibiotics known as beta-lactams. “If this germ becomes truly resistant to these antibiotics, it would have a very serious impact on millions of children around the world. That is a very concerning but plausible notion based on our findings. Development of resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics would have a major public health impact globally,” said James M. Musser, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and chair of the Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital. Musser and members of his department collaborated with nearly a dozen institutions across seven countries, and this research appears

online in the Jan. 29 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Research published earlier in 2019 describing two related bacterial strains compelled Musser’s group at Houston Methodist Research Institute and his collaborators to undertake this sizeable international project. They exploited their genome sequence library derived from 7,025 group A streptococcus strains collected over several decades from countries around the world. Of these, they discovered approximately 2% with gene mutations of interest. The researchers then tested the strains in the clinical microbiology laboratory to confirm their decreased susceptibility to beta-lactam antibiotics. Long thought to lack gene mutations that may lead to penicillin resistance, the findings of reduced susceptibility in some strains suggest that penicillin and related antibiotic treatments for strep throat may eventually become less effective or

completely ineffective. These findings underscore the urgent need for a vaccine that protects humans against group A streptococcus. “We could be looking at a worldwide public health infectious disease problem,” said Musser, the Fondren Presidential Distinguished Chair at the Houston Methodist Research Institute and Houston Methodist Hospital. “When strep throat doesn’t respond to frontline antibiotics such as penicillin, physicians must

start prescribing second-line therapies, which may not be as effective against this organism.” According to the CDC, group A streptococcus causes 20-30% of sore throats in children and 5-15% of sore throats in adults. Next steps for the investigative team involve experiments to understand how the mutations arise in human patients, how they may affect human disease, and how they may change the virulence of the germ. 

SPRING LECTURE SERIES Presented By Alexander Webb & Jeff Dunn, Coldwell Banker Realty® All lectures will take place at 7:00 PM in the Gallery of 1400 Hermann Drive. Registration and seating are limited to 55 persons. RSVP to alex.webb@cbrealty.com. Parking on the street or in the Children’s Museum garage. Tuesday, April 14th Silent Hunters – After dark the nocturnal creatures start to stir and hunt. This program will explore the world of owls, both common and rare. Come learn about their habits and habitats and how to find owls in Houston. Wednesday, April 22nd Earth Day John James Audubon – His Life & Legacy – A look into the amazing life led by John James Audubon during his time in America in the early 1800’s. The program will explore his impacts in both the study of birds, the natural world and art. He led a very exciting life and recorded much of it in his art. Tuesday, May 12th Migration Madness – Every year, billions of birds migrate across the Western Hemisphere. Come hear about their migrations, why they make such perilous journeys and what we can do to help them. Learn about and observe this natural miracle. Lectures presented by Mary Anne Weber, Houston Audubon

March 2020


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Houston Medical Times

Healthy Heart American Heart Association Bringing Food Security and Nutrition Education to Houstonians By Suzanne Hanshaw American Heart Association


arch is Nutrition Month and the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, in collaboration with Kelly Meyer, founder of OneSun, and Gail Becker, CEO of CAULIPOWER, are boosting garden-based learning nationwide to support healthy food access and innovation in nutrition education. Meyer and Becker provided a combined $125,000 which was distributed through 50 grants to members of the Association’s Teaching Gardens Network, which plays an important role in school nutrition instruction, as it is rooted in the American Heart Association’s science and nutritional guidelines coupled with information from gardening and education experts. “Less than 1% of children are eating ideal healthy diets and under

10% have reasonably healthy diets,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., MPH, chief medical officer for Prevention and chief of the Center for Health Metrics and Evaluation for the American Heart Association. “The Teaching Gardens elevate the conversation of health to the community level and brings together the essential decision-makers who can successfully impact the learning opportunities about and accessibility to the nutritious foods kids need to be healthy.” American Heart Association Teaching Gardens are real-life laboratories for students to learn what it means to be healthy and how fruits and vegetables contribute to a balanced diet. School gardens pair a hands-on experience with an interactive nutrition curriculum to help students understand the importance of healthy food choices. Through the Teaching Garden Network, schools have access to free garden resources and curriculum


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to help their gardens become Teaching Gardens. In 2010, the American Heart Association teamed up with Meyer to create American Heart Association Teaching Gardens at schools across the country with the goal of helping students learn what it means to be healthy. Locally, the Greater Houston Coalition on Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) co-led by the American Heart Association, Harris County Public Health, and UTHealth, and consisting of over 70 organizations in Harris County, has a vision to provide health equity for all Greater Houston area residents. Their mission is to establish an impactful, collective, sustainable, data-driven system to promote health equity. This includes housing, transportation, education, and food insecurity. Food insecure communities may opt for cheaper, less nutritious options, and adults who are food insecure may be at an increased risk for a variety of negative health outcomes and health disparities. The Acres Homes Farmers Market, launched in July 2019 in Northwest Houston, improved food access and brought healthier food to its residents.

“Fresh fruits and vegetables that are locally sourced through farmers markets are essential to healthy communities,” said Lharissa Jacobs, Vice President, Health Strategies for the American Heart Association. American Heart Association is one of the core organizations that worked with government organizations and other non-profits to help mobilize Acres Homes residents to execute key identified health goals for the community, like attracting a Saturday Farmers Market and a new grocery store. Through programs like these, the AHA is leading the way in innovative solutions to food insecurity. 

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March 2020

Houston Medical Times

Page 8

The Framework Texas A&M System Invests Half-Billion Dollars in Texas Medical Center By Laylan Copelin


he Texas A&M University System is building a half-billion dollar complex in the Texas Medical Center area to house its groundbreaking Engineering Medicine (EnMed) program and provide desperately needed housing for medical and nursing students in Houston. The development project is the largest in the Texas Medical Center area and possibly the grandest in Houston recently. The Texas A&M System’s massive expansion includes three major projects, two of which will be constructed through public-private partnerships, commonly called P3s. “The Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System recognized an opportunity in Houston to help Texans and contribute more to the global medical community,” said Elaine Mendoza, Chairman of the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System. “We are eager and fortunate to further enhance the world’s greatest medical center through

this endeavor.” Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp said the System is expanding in Houston near the Texas Medical Center to meet the medical needs of Texans. He added that the expansion also provides needed space and facilities for students and professionals who work near one of the world’s most important epicenters for medicine and research in the world. “Texas A&M’s rise in prominence – especially within the health care arena – is reflected with the aggressive expansion of properties near the Texas Medical Center,” Chancellor Sharp said. “The Houston medical scene is about to see the benefits of Aggie ingenuity and our dedication to service.” The cost of the complex is an estimated $546 million, including $145 million for the purchase and renovation of an 18-story building, plus $401 million in private sector money to build two new towers. The new Texas A&M System projects include: • EnMed. At 1020 Holcombe

The complex in the Texas Medical Center will include the renovation of an 18-story building, plus$401 million in private sector money to build two new towers.

Blvd., the Texas A&M System is renovating an 18-story building for students in the innovative EnMed program. The unique two-degree program provides students the chance to earn a master’s degree in engineering from Texas A&M University and a medical doctor’s degree from the university’s Health Science Center. The renovation is expected to be completed by this summer. • Student Housing. A P3 project, the

new, 19-story building will have 572 units and 704 beds. The facility – at 365,000 square-feet – also will include a 1.2 million-square-foot parking garage with 3,444 spaces. Texas A&M medical students and Prairie View A&M nursing students will be given priority for housing, but students from other institutions could fill open slots, if see The Framework...page 14



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Houston Medical Times

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There is no wrong way to take a CME ethics course. FEATURED COURSES

CULTURALLY EFFECTIVE HEALTH CARE: Get tips and tools for increasing cultural effectiveness in your practice. This course is an essential guide for pediatric health-care providers in Texas. Earn ethics CME.

MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING: Gain communication skills that can be used in the primary care setting to motivate children, adolescents, and families to make positive health changes, improve self-care for chronic conditions, and avoid highrisk behaviors. Earn ethics CME.

Join more than 100,000 medical professionals who get free CME with Texas Health Steps Online Provider Education. Choose from a wide range of courses relevant to your practice, including short tutorials and podcasts on topics like Medicaid guidelines, ethics and mental health — all available 24/7. Learn more at TXHealthSteps.com.

TRANSITION SERVICES FOR SPECIAL HEALTH-CARE NEEDS: Learn to develop and implement transition plans for patients with chronic health conditions or disabilities as they approach school age or adulthood. Earn ethics CME.

Content on the Texas Health Steps Online Provider Education website has been accredited by the Texas Medical Association, American Nurses Credentialing Center, National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners, Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, UTHSCSA Dental School Office of Continuing Dental Education, Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Texas Academy of Audiology, and the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. Continuing Education for multiple disciplines will be provided for some online content.


March 2020

Houston Medical Times

Page 10

UH Law Center Professors Urge Tighter Controls on Data Held by Health Tech Companies


im Hawkins and Jessica L. Roberts discuss use of personal information in Science magazine In an article published in Science magazine, University of Houston Law Center Professors Jim Hawkins and Jessica L. Roberts call for stronger consumer safeguards to protect the privacy of personal information collected online by health-related companies. The article, “When health tech companies change their terms of service, consumers may have limited control over their data,” explains that because most healthrelated apps and websites are not operated by health care providers, they are largely unregulated in the tracking and use of intimate digital data. Consumers and companies enter into an agreement that outlines their rights and obligations


in the use and protection of data. Many companies, however, reserve the right to unilaterally change terms of service agreements as to what they can do with user data, such as share it or sell it to other companies. The authors write that most users of health-related apps and online sites do not read the fine print of the agreements and are unaware when the terms are changed. Consumers who assumed their data was confidential are vulnerable to loss of privacy as personal information, including genetic data, details about mental health, and medical history and even doctor appointments could be shared with other companies. Courts have generally sided with the companies, leaving consumers little recourse.

Hawkins and Roberts suggest several options Congress could take to protect consumers, including: require mandatory notice to users that changes are being made to the terms of service; allow users to opt out of any changes and revert to the original terms; and require user consent for significant changes as is the case with all other contracts. “Health tech companies can change minor things that don’t affect the consumers’ experience with the product in substantial ways,” Hawkins concluded. “They can fix small bugs in their terms of service, but for things that really

• Integrating the Montessori method into the public school curriculum • Currently offering Pre-K thru 4th • Open enrollment until positions fill

matter to the consumer, we argue for the old fashioned way — get the person to agree to them.” Hawkins, the Alumnae College Professor in Law, conducts research and teaches in the areas of commercial and business law, the fringe banking industry and the fertility business. Roberts, the Leonard Childs Professor in Law Roberts and director of the Health Law & Policy Institute, specializes in genetics and the law, health law and disability law. Her research operates at the intersection of health law, ethics and social justice.

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Houston Medical Times

Memorial Hermann Opens New Susan & Fayez Sarofim Pavilion, Critical Care Patient Tower, On Texas Medical Center Campus


deally Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center (TMC) recently opened the Susan & Fayez Sarofim Pavilion on its campus. The state-of-the-art, 17-story pavilion is the new home of the Red Duke Trauma Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center one of only two adult Level I trauma centers in Houston; Memorial Hermann Life Flight; the John. S. Dunn Burn Center, the only comprehensive burn center

café. The pavilion also includes a new 76,000-square foot Emergency Center, a 137 percent increase in size compared to the previous Emergency Center. Each patient floor features 36 to 38 patient rooms that are built and licensed to operate as intensive care unit beds. To accommodate families, each patient floor has dedicated lactation rooms and family lounges overlooking Hermann Park and the Houston Zoo. In total, the new

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in Houston; and other critical care services in neuroscience and heart and vascular treatment. “The Sarofim Pavilion enables Memorial Hermann to stay ahead of the fast-growing advances in medicine, keep pace with the extraordinary growth of the Greater Houston Metropolitan Region and, most importantly, meet the health needs of our community for years to come,” said David L. Callender, MD, President and CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System. The new critical care tower has more than 140 patient rooms; 24 operating rooms (ORs) including three custom-designed hybrid ORs; 900 new parking spaces; and a 335-seat

pavilion adds 1.34 million square feet to the campus. The pavilion also includes six shelled floors to provide for future growth. “For nearly a century, Memorial Hermann-TMC has diligently served the community and remained a leader in the fields of medical technology, research and innovation,” said Greg Haralson, Senior Vice President and CEO of Memorial Hermann-TMC. “We believe this pavilion serves as a beacon of hope for the city of Houston and the surrounding communities that Memorial Hermann is committed to

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March 2020

Houston Medical Times

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Age Well Live Well Low Vision in Older Adults By Olivia Burns and Ully Sedtal Health and Human Services Commission

Proudly serving Houston for over three generations


arch is national Save Your Vision month which recognizes the importance of eye health at all ages to prevent future vision loss. Approximately 261,000 Texans 65 and older report dealing with vision difficulties, and the number is expected to increase to 658,180 by 2038, according to a report by the

more about the BEST program, email BESTprogram@hhsc.state.tx.us. For many Texans living with low vision, access to assistive devices (for example, magnifiers and lamps) and rehabilitation can have a significant impact in day-to-day life. The Independent Living Services Older Individuals who are

Aging Texas Well Advisory Committee. Fortunately, routine checkups, early detection, and treatment of common eye diseases can help preserve eye health. There are a variety of state programs available to help older adults at risk of or who have vision loss. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Blindness Education, Screening and Treatment program provides free vision screenings to assess risk for vision loss and eye diseases. The program also provides financial assistance to eligible Texas residents with medically urgent vision needs and a referral from their ophthalmologist. To learn

Blind program at the Texas Workforce Commission provides independent living skills, technology and support services to people 55 and older with significant visual impairment. The program also assists with diabetes education and screening, low vision assistive devices, and supportive counseling on adjustment to low vision or blindness. To learn more about ILS-OIB, call 800-628-5115 or email customers@twc.state.tx.us. Lastly, the Talking Book Program

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March 2020


Houston Medical Times

Page 13


Continued from page 1 several interim guidance documents for healthcare professionals that continue to be updated as additional information about the virus becomes available. Specifically, the CDC has released guidance for Healthcare Infection Control, Clinical Care, Home Care, EMS, Healthcare Personnel with Potential Exposure, and Inpatient Obstetric Care. These guidance updates are one of the few new elements for providers to implement into their practices. Ultimately, the U.S. has robust systems for the treatment of

standards, along with similar state laws and accreditation standards, govern the conduct of hospitals relating to the management of infectious disease. Additionally, the Joint Commission’s standards require health care organizations to have plans in place for dealing with a surge of infectious patients. While the incidence of COVID-19 in the U.S. is still very low, the Joint Commission recommends that health care organizations should now conduct drills to their test procedures for responding

to infectious patients. The Joint Commission also recommends that all organizations should have persons assigned to actively review information and guidance regarding COVID-19 as it becomes available and evaluate the need to modify their organization’s current practices and communications. These preemptory preventative measures are a testament to the suitability and preparedness of the existing regulatory framework to manage the COVID-19 risk.

Ask for clarification. The wealth of information you might get during an in-person visit might be overwhelming sometimes and difficult to remember after the visit. Do not hesitate to reach out to your care team if there are specific questions or concerns that you would like to be addressed.

Understanding medical terms and concepts may seem intimidating at times, but don’t let it prevent you from feeling empowered to take control of your care. Ask more questions, communicate honestly and openly when you don’t understand, and remember you’re not alone. Better

understanding your diagnosis and treatment results in an overall more positive patient experience – one in which you feel supported every step of the way.

offers information on disabilities services through the Disability Information and Referral Center. To learn more about the Talking Book Program, call 800-252-9605 or email tbp.services@tsl.texas.gov. In addition to the programs and

services mentioned, your local Aging and Disability Resource Center can help connect you to services. To find your ADRC, call 855-937-2372. Healthy aging is possible with the right information and resources. Take

advantage of routine checkups, early detection and treatment, and support programs to start saving your vision today.

patients with contagious diseases, and hospitals operate in a regulatory framework tailored for infection control. Despite some alarm, hospitals are generally well-prepared to implement procedures to contain and treat a patient with COVID-19. Isolation techniques and infectious disease containment is a high priority in the regulation of health care providers and general standards are well-developed. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Conditions of Participation for Hospitals Infection Control

Oncology Research Continued from page 5

responsibility of researching and asking questions on your behalf with someone you trust. Some patients find it beneficial to partner with someone who has their best interests in mind and understands their goals and needs – such as a family member, friend, or trusted caregiver.

Age Well

Continued from page 12 at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides access to books and other materials on audio for people with visual disabilities, physical disabilities, reading disabilities, and for those who are blind. The program also


March 2020

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Houston Medical Times



Continued from page 4 Heart Center. “It also offers significant benefits to patients over standard pacemakers including quicker recovery times, no visible scars, lower infection risk, and significantly improved battery life.” Comparable in size to a large vitamin, physicians at The Woodlands Hospital have elected to use Medtronic’s Micra AV based on its ability to deliver therapy via a minimally invasive approach. During

the implant procedure, the device is inserted through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart with small tines. Because Micra AV does not require leads or a surgical “pocket” under the skin, potential sources of complications related to leads and pockets are eliminated - as are any visible signs of the device. “Every time we can adopt a more modern, safer technology that helps us address an unmet need in our

community, it’s a win-win situation for us,” said Jim Parisi, president, The Woodlands Hospital. “With the approval of Micra AV, we can offer a more effective treatment option for patients with AV block that’s also safer compared to traditional pacemakers.”

Accounting Liz Thachar medicine, while also being required to invent new devices or processes before they graduate. Dr. M Katherine Banks, the vice chancellor of engineering and national laboratories at the Texas A&M System, said the new facilities and lab space will allow EnMed students to create the newest medical devices that will help people live longer and lead healthier and more comfortable lives. “I expect to see transformative ideas generated by Texas A&M’s broadened presence in Houston,” said Dr. Banks, who is also the dean for Texas A&M University College of Engineering. Adjacent to the EnMed building,

the integrated medical plaza and the student housing projects will fill a desperate need for facilities in the area, said Greg Hartman, a vice chancellor at Texas A&M University System and interim senior vice president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center. “We saw a need for student housing and medical offices in Houston. Plus, our EnMed students needed the facilities to create the latest medical devices,” Vice Chancellor Hartman said. “So, we began the process of expanding the Texas A&M footprint in Houston and I believe the work done by Aggies in Houston will be life-changing for a lot of people.”

important for the region because it shows the commitment that the Red Duke Trauma Institute has to treating the leading cause of preventable death in this country,” said Michelle McNutt, MD, Chief of Trauma at RDTI and associate professor of acute surgery at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “The hybrid OR, combined with the advanced capabilities of Life Flight and our scene-to-OR pathway, allows us to transport patients directly from the scene of injury to the hybrid OR. This will improve trauma care by decreasing time to bleeding control for injured Houstonians from across the region.” As the new home to Life Flight,

the John S. Dunn Heliport is 10,000 square feet larger than the previous helipad and can accommodate the weight of a Black Hawk helicopter. “The Sarofim Pavilion gives the Life Flight program the ability to centralize our operations on one floor with our Command Center, education program and administrative offices now all in one location,” said Tom Flanagan, Vice President of the Trauma Service Line and System Integration. “This is important because it will provide us with the opportunity to increase team collaboration and propel our program into the future as we continue to build upon the legacy of our founder, Dr. James ‘Red’ Duke.”

Patient Tower

Continued from page 11

March 2020

Senior Designer Jamie Farquhar-Rizzo

Distribution Robert Cox

Continued from page 8

providing residents with the highest level and most advanced, quality critical care.” Enhancing trauma and critical care capabilities Staying ahead of the latest advances in medicine, the Sarofim Pavilion includes one of the few dedicated trauma hybrid operating rooms in the nation. This custom-designed operating room enables physicians to provide multi-disciplinary, patient-centered care in a timely fashion and allows for radiologic services, such as CAT scans and angiograms, to occur simultaneously as traditional open trauma surgical procedures on the entire body. “This trauma hybrid OR is

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available. The project is scheduled to be finished in June 2022. • Integrated Medical Plaza. Another P3, the new medical office building will take up 587,000 square feet and will be 30 stories tall. It will include a 13-story parking garage. Further, it will incorporate 72,000 square feet of retail space and 8,700 square feet of lush green space. Completion is expected in June 2023. EnMed brings a totally new concept to the Texas Medical Center area in which students work on new ways to solve complicated health problems. Students will complete the requirements for master’s degrees in engineering and doctorates of

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Houston Medical Times

Page 15


The Nutrition Facts label can help you make healthier choices. Use it! Here’s what to look for:

1 2 3 4 5


Nutrition Facts 6, 12, 18 or 24 servings per container Serving size 1 egg (50g) Amount Per Serving




% Daily Value*

5% 6%

Total Fat 4g Saturated Fat 1g Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 1g Monounsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 170mg Sodium 65mg Total Carbohydrate0g Dietary Fiber 0g Total Sugars 0g Includes 0g Added Sugars Protein 6g

0% 13%

Vitamin D 6mcg Calcium 28mg Iron 1mg Potassium 69mg Vitamin E 5mg Riboflavin 0.3mg Folate 45mcg Vitamin B12 1mcg Biotin 10mcg Pantothenic Acid 1mg Iodine 60mcg Zinc 1mg Selenium 22mcg Molybdenum 8mcg Choline 147mg

30% 2% 6% 2% 35% 25% 10% 40% 35% 20% 40% 10% 40% 20% 25%

57% 3% 0% 0%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice. Saturated Fat 25% less than ordinary eggs: 1g vs 1.5g (quantities rounded)

3 4 5

Start with serving information. This will tell you the size of a single serving and how many servings are in the package. Check total calories. Do the math to know how many calories you’re really getting if you eat the whole package.

Limit certain nutrients. Compare labels and choose options with lower amounts of added sugars, sodium, saturated fat and trans fat when possible.

Get enough of beneficial nutrients. Eat foods with nutrients your body needs, like calcium, choline, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and Vitamins A, C, D and E.*

Understand % Daily Value. • The % Daily Value (DV) tells you the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving in terms of the daily recommended amount. • To consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat or sodium), choose foods with a lower % DV (5% or less). • To consume more of a nutrient (such as fiber or potassium), choose foods with a higher % DV (20% or more).

For more tips and tricks on eating smart, visit




BE WELL *Source: 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans


March 2020

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