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Serving Harris, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Montgomery and Galveston Counties


Volume 11 | Issue 9

Inside This Issue

September Edition 2021

National Covid-19 Transmission Study Expands to Houston Area By Dee Dee Grays PreventCOVIDU study aims to determine how effect vaccines are at preventing infection and transmission of COVID-19 virus

H Chris Osentowski named chief executive officer of HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center See pg. 10

INDEX Legal Matters........................ pg.3 Oncology Research......... pg.5 The Framework.................... pg.7 Healthy Heart....................... pg.8 Financial

ouston residents can now take part in a national study evaluating the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in young adults. Texas A&M University Health Science Center (Texas A&M Health) has expanded participation in the PreventCOVIDU study to include the Houston area. The study involving thousands of young adults across the United States aims to determine whether individuals who have received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can still spread the coronavirus to others. The COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN), headquartered at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, launched the study in March following an announcement from the White House. Researchers from Texas A&M Health are involved in enrolling participants and collecting data for the study. They have been recruiting in Bryan-College Station and Kingsville since the study launched and hope that by expanding to Houston they will reach or exceed their goal of enrolling at least 2000 young adults in Texas ages 18-29. This is the first study

of this kind to thoroughly evaluate the effectiveness of the vaccine on SARS-CoV-2 infection, how infectious a person with the virus may be, and transmission of the virus to others.

study, we can start answering these questions in the next few months.” The researchers in this study want to learn if the vaccine protects people from becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2, and if the vaccine prevents individuals from transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to others. This randomized, open-label controlled study will involve 18,000 young people throughout the United States. Participants will be offered the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as part of the study, but vaccination is not required to take part. Half of the participants who receive the vaccine will be randomly selected to be vaccinated as soon as they enroll in the study, and the other half will receive the vaccine later during the study. Individuals who prefer not to receive the vaccine are also able to participate, acting as a control group. Texas A&M is the only institution in Texas participating in this national study, and Texas is leading the nation in participation, which means young adults who enroll

Young adults who have not yet been vaccinated and have never had COVID-19 are invited join this study, participants ... could receive up to $1,000 over four months while taking part in the study.

Empower Pharmacy Opens North America’s Most Advanced Compounding Pharmacy in Houston See pg. 12

“This is an incredible opportunity for young adults to be part of something big,” said principal investigator Rebecca Fischer, PhD, MPH, DTM&H, a professor at Texas A&M School of Public Health. “The scientific evidence we build through this historic effort will help answer some of the most important questions the world has at this moment about how vaccines work to prevent infections in a real-world scenario. We know the vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing disease, hospitalizations, and deaths. We hope to learn whether they can also block infections and prevent transmission. Through this

see 14


Houston Medical Times

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Houston Medical Times

Legal Matters The Impact of Constitutional Carry on Health Care Providers

By Mark S. Armstrong, J.D. Jason T. Weber, J.D. Polsinelli, PC


ffective September 1, 2021, the Texas Firearm Carry Act of 2021, (commonly known as the “Constitutional Carry Bill”) permits legally eligible gun owners 21 years and older to carry their firearms without a Texas License to Carry. Previously, a license to carry a handgun, either openly or concealed, was required and the individual had to complete up to six hours of training, a written exam, and a shooting proficiency exam. Under the new law, a license to carry a handgun is no longer necessary in some instances. Under the new law, a person, other than by a licensed peace officer, may not intentionally, knowingly, or

recklessly possesses a firearm on the physical premises of hospitals, nursing homes and mental hospitals, among other identified premises. While there are good faith defenses to this statute, these defenses will not apply if (1) a sign was posted prominently at each entrance to the premises or other property, or (2) at the time of the offense, the actor knew that carrying a firearm or other weapon on the premises or other property was prohibited. In accordance with Texas Penal Code § 46.03(o), hospitals, nursing homes, mental hospitals, or other applicable entities may provide notice that firearms are prohibited on the property by posting a sign at each entrance to the property that: • Includes language that is identical to or substantially similar to the following: PURSUANT TO SECTION 46.03,PENALCODE(PLACES WEAPONS PROHIBITED), A PERSON MAY NOT CARRY A FIREARM OR OTHER WEAPON ON THIS

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PROPERTY. • The notice language is in both English and Spanish; • The notice appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and • The notice is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public. Assuming the hospital, nursing home or mental hospital has posted the appropriate sign at its entrances, an individual who simply carries a firearm onto a prohibited premise would be subject to a Class A misdemeanor or third-degree felony. In addition, the new law permits a property owner, or tenant, to prohibit the unlicensed carrying of firearms on their property if the property owner posts a sign at each entrance to the property, pursuant to Texas Penal Code § 30.05(c), that: • Includes language that is identical to or substantially similar to the following: PURSUANT TO SECTION 30.05, PENAL CODE

(CRIMINAL TRESPASS), A PERSON MAY NOT ENTER THIS PROPERTY WITH A FIREARM. • The notice language is in both English and Spanish; • The notice appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and • The notice is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public. The maximum penalty for possessing a firearm when a business owner has posted proper notice violating Class C misdemeanor and see Legal 14




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Houston Medical Times

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Heartcare Study Identifies Patients’ Genetic Risk for Cardiovascular Disease Baylor College of Medicine Program Uses Genetic Testing to Guide Clinical Care


conditions along with a genetic risk score for developing cardiovascular disease and genetic data on drug interactions. 709 patients were enrolled at Baylor College of Medicine cardiology clinics and received a free HeartCare panel test as part of their routine care. Results were returned to the patient’s physician and entered into their electronic medical record for ease of access. After testing, 32% of participants received a genetic finding that impacted their clinical management. Of those participants, 11% were referred to a genetic specialist for further care. Out of all participants, 9% had an inherited pathogenic gene mutation associated with cardiovascular diseases like cardiomyopathy and high cholesterol, and 9% had a high overall genetic risk

score for developing cardiovascular disease. High risk scores could be addressed with medication, diet and other lifestyle changes. “This study shows that a large proportion of individuals in select ambulatory care clinics can benefit from genetic data,” said Dr. Richard Gibbs, a senior author of the study and director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center and Wofford Cain Chair and professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor. “There is tangible follow-up care for people who received a positive result, and in many cases for their family members.” “We have shown that genomic medicine can be integrated into cardiology clinical care and that we

can find medically actionable issues,” said Dr. Christie Ballantyne, a senior author of the study and professor of medicine and chief of the sections of cardiology and cardiovascular research at Baylor. “We treat a lot of cardiovascular diseases late in the process. If we can start our care earlier, we can prevent cardiovascular events and improve outcomes. Genetic testing may help us to identify not only who is at risk, but also allow us to screen and identify other family members who may be at risk.” The study also gathered feedback from physicians to determine how implementing genetic testing impacted their work. Among surveyed see Genetic 14


he A person’s genetics may hold the key to early intervention in cardiovascular disease, leading to better outcomes in patient care. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine’s Human Genome Sequencing Center and Baylor cardiologists conducted a pilot study to determine if providing genetic testing for patients in cardiovascular clinics would benefit clinical care as part of a precision medicine initiative. They found that the test results did have implications on the course of treatment for approximately one-third of participants. Their results are published in the journal Genetics in Medicine. The researchers developed a HeartCare panel that provided DNA sequence for 158 genes associated with medically actionable cardiovascular 7807 Kirby Dr. Houston, TX 77030

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Houston Medical Times

Oncology Research Discoveries in Your DNA: Identifying Cancer Risk in Your Genetics By Dhatri Kodali, M.D., Texas Oncology Deke Slayton Cancer Center and Texas City


xciting research in oncology is shifting toward a more personalized approach to cancer prevention and treatment – starting with genetics. The genetic blueprint that determines your hair and eye color also shapes your risk for developing certain diseases, such as cancer. Genetic testing offers a window into examining your unique DNA – allowing you to better understand your risk for developing cancer and take proactive steps for early detection and prevention. Genetic Mutations All cancers are caused by harmful changes, or variants (also called mutations), in genes. Cancer genes work to protect our bodies from developing cancer, but when a cancer gene contains a harmful variant, the

gene cannot function correctly and does not protect against cancer as well as it should. This leads to a higher risk for cancer. These harmful variants can be inherited, which account for 5%-10% of all cancers, or acquired, which are often a result of the normal human aging process. Inherited variants increase risk of certain cancers, often at a younger age than expected, and they can be passed to future generations. More than 50 different hereditary syndromes increase risks for cancer. Most hereditary cancer syndromes are rare, but some are more common than others. One in 190 people have a harmful variant of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, which causes Hereditary Breast, Ovarian, and Pancreatic Cancer Syndrome. About one in 279 people have Lynch Syndrome, the most common cause of hereditary colon and uterine cancer. Lynch syndrome is caused by a harmful variant in the MSH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, or EPCAM genes. Testing for harmful variants in these and other important cancer genes helps identify people with increased cancer risks, allowing them

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to make more informed health decisions. Genetic Evaluations and Testing: What to Expect G e n e t i c evaluations should be considered for individuals with concerning personal and family histories of cancer and those interested in learning more about their own cancer risks. A genetics professional will take a detailed medical history to determine if genetic testing would be helpful for you or your family. Genetic tests are usually performed on a blood or saliva sample. They examine a subset of your genes to look for harmful inherited variants that could increase your chance of developing cancer. Sometimes genetic testing is done on tumors; these tests help determine the most effective cancer treatment, but they do not explain the cause for cancer, nor do they indicate if an individual has increased risks for cancer. Genetics tests can be expensive and difficult to interpret. Genetics providers can guide you to the best test for you and discuss any concerns about cost, insurance coverage, and privacy.

They also translate what the results mean for you and your family and discuss options for cancer screenings, prevention, and treatment. Is Genetic Testing Right for You? Concerning factors in a family may include cancer in multiple generations, multiple family members with the same cancer, multiple cancers in one person, and cancers diagnosed at young ages. Talking to family members about their medical histories can help you better decide if a genetics evaluation would be warranted. Meeting with see Oncology 13

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September 2021

Houston Medical Times

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New Report Reveals Critical Gaps in Texas Domestic Violence Services


recent report published highlights major gaps in community service provision to children exposed to domestic violence and their survivor parents across Texas. The report, released by the University of Texas Medical Branch, Center for Violence Prevention and the Texas Institute Child & Family Wellbeing at UT Austin (TXICFW), shows domestic violence and child welfare agencies do not have the resources to provide survivors with consistent housing, childcare, and counseling services. Leveraging the expertise and relationships of statewide coalition Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV), researchers contacted, interviewed and provided surveys to survivor parents, youth exposed to domestic violence, and domestic violence, child welfare, and legal aid professionals to draw data to inform the report. While survivors identified long-term housing and childcare as top needs, only 53% of agencies surveyed provide housing beyond emergency

shelter and only 40% offer onsite childcare. Agency staff report a lack of resources and staffing to meet the needs of families. “Housing is violence prevention. Childcare is violence prevention,” said Dr. Leila Wood, Director of Evaluation for UTMB’s Center for Violence Prevention and the lead investigator on the study. “Domestic violence and child welfare agencies do incredible work to support survivors and their children across Texas, but more resources and economic supports are needed to facilitate safety and healing in the aftermath of trauma. My hope is that this study provides the roadmap for filling resource gaps and addressing survivors’ needs.” In 2019, TCFV released the Texas State Plan, which detailed the availability of family violence services, as well as the gaps in services, for adults in every Texas county. The plan also highlighted how communities could better support survivors and their families. Now, that method is

being replicated to identify the gaps in support for children impacted by domestic violence. “TCFV was honored to assist in the making of this report by sharing our knowledge and insight as the sole coalition of domestic violence agencies in Texas and one of the largest in the country,” said Gloria Aguilera Terry, CEO of TCFV. “Providing healing for children who have been exposed to domestic violence, as well as a path forward for them to grow up in a violence-free environment, are fundamental to ending the cycle of abuse. That’s why identifying where those services are lacking is so important. Looking ahead, we are

eager to start closing these gaps.” Findings from the report reveal the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on survivor parents, youth, and agency staff. Disruptions to the social safety net increased risk for violence for survivors, with 69% of domestic violence agency staff reporting decreases in client families’ safety since the start of the pandemic. Although domestic violence and child welfare agency staff quickly pivoted to virtual services, both staff and clients reported limited resources and service closures due to COVID-19. The report also underscores the need for more youth-targeted services, see Domestic Violence 14

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The Framework HCA Houston Healthcare opens HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement New Training Center to Focus On Nurse Education, Professional Development


CA Houston Healthcare is pleased to announce the opening of the HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement (HHCCA) which hosted its grand opening on Tuesday, July 27. The two-story, 48,400-square-foot facility, located in the Pearland Town Center at 11200 Broadway St., Bldg. 200, is a state-of-the-art training center that hosts five high-fidelity hospital simulation labs with interactive manikin

“patients,” five debriefing rooms, and virtually-connected classrooms for nurse training. It will also serve as a hub for all HCA Houston Healthcare new hire orientations and the system’s leadership and organizational development training. HCA Houston Healthcare’s nearly 7,000 nurses and nurse residents, will receive advanced training in a facility custom-designed to reflect patient care environments. Special control rooms allow instructors to observe training participants as they learn new techniques or refresh existing skills. Simulcast technology will facilitate education and training opportunities for colleagues working in locations across the HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division, which includes facilities in Corpus Christi and South Texas. Front lobby at the HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement “HCA Healthcare’s mission in Pearland

A classroom located in the HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement

is: Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life,” said Troy Villarreal, HCA Houston Healthcare president. “That passion for care begins with ensuring our caregivers have the best resources and training to develop their skills and this new facility highlights our commitment to nurse education, professional development and our promise to deliver higher-quality care to the communities we serve.” Additional HHCCA features include multiple classrooms, conference rooms and a simulated hospital supply room. The facility also provides numerous conveniences including a large breakroom, a mother’s room for colleagues who are nursing and several lounge areas.

“The HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement will help standardize training across our 13 Houston-area hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, freestanding emergency centers and diagnostic imaging facilities where approximately one million patients are cared for every year,” said Diane Henry, HCA Houston Healthcare vice president of clinical education. “Bringing the latest teaching technologies under one roof in a new, advanced facility is a major step in preparing our nurses to provide the highest level of care and I’m so proud that HCA Healthcare has made this investment in our colleagues.”




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Houston Medical Times

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Healthy Heart The Right “5-a-Day” Mix is 2 Fruit and 3 Vegetable Servings for Longer Life By The American Heart Association


tudies representing nearly 2 million adults worldwide show that eating about five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, in which 2 are fruits and 3 are vegetables, is likely the optimal amount for a longer life, according to new research published in the American Heart Association’s flagship journal Circulation. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables help reduce risk for numerous chronic health conditions that are leading causes of death, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Yet, only about one in 10 adults eat enough fruits or vegetables, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The research revealed: • Five servings of fruits and vegetables daily was associated with the lowest risk of death. Eating more than five servings was not associated with additional benefit. • Eating about two servings daily of fruits and three servings daily of

September 2021

vegetables was associated with the greatest longevity. • Compared to those who consumed two servings of fruit and vegetables per day, participants who consumed five servings a day of fruits and vegetable had a 13% lower risk of death from all causes; a 12% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke; a 10% lower risk of death from cancer; and a 35% lower risk of death from respiratory disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). • Not all foods commonly considered fruits and vegetables offered the same benefits. For example: Starchy vegetables, such as peas and corn, fruit juices and potatoes were not associated with reduced risk of death. • On the other hand, green leafy vegetables, including spinach, lettuce and kale, and fruit and vegetables rich in beta carotene and vitamin C, such as citrus

fruits, berries and carrots, showed benefits. “This study identifies an optimal intake level of fruits and vegetables and supports the evidence-based, succinct public health message of ‘5-a-day,’ meaning people should ideally consume five servings of fruit and vegetable each day, “said lead study author Dong D. Wang, M.D., Sc.D., an epidemiologist, nutritionist and a member of the medical faculty at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Wang said the ‘5-a-day’ amount likely offers the most benefit in terms of prevention of major chronic disease and is a relatively achievable intake for the general public. “We also found that not all fruits and vegetables offer the same degree of benefit,” Wang reports, “even though

current dietary recommendations generally treat all types of fruits and vegetables, including starchy vegetables, fruit juices and potatoes, the same.” “The American Heart Association recommends filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal,” said Anne Thorndike, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the American Heart Association’s nutrition committee and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “This research provides strong evidence for the lifelong benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are naturally packaged sources of nutrients that can be included in most meals and snacks, and they are essential for keeping our hearts and bodies healthy.”

Houston Medical Times

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Hospital News Memorial Hermann Offering Fully-Approved Pfizer Vaccine, Plus Booster for Immunocompromised Individuals


emorial Hermann is currently administering first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at its walk-in clinics throughout the Greater Houston area and encourages those individuals who were waiting for full Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization of the vaccine to get vaccinated as soon as possible. “This vaccine is a great tool for preventing serious illness or hospitalization from COVID-19,” said Annamaria Macaluso Davidson, M.D., Vice President of Employee Health Medical Operations for Memorial Hermann Health System. “We have seen the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine over the past nine months, and this is an important step that will hopefully help additional people feel more comfortable to get vaccinated.” In addition, third doses – or booster shots – of the fully-approved Pfizer vaccine, as well as the Moderna vaccine which is still

under EUA, are being administered in hospitals and clinics throughout the Greater Houston area to immunocompromised individuals who meet criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness. These moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals include: • Those receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood. • Organ transplant recipients and those who are taking medicine to suppress the immune system. • Those who have received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system. • Moderate or severe primar y immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).

• Those with advanced or untreated HIV infection. • Those undergoing active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune response. It is recommended that • these individuals receive an additional (third) dose of either COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after receiving their second dose of the same vaccine. According to the CDC, the authorization of an additional dose or booster shot of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for those with a compromised immune system does not apply to individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine. Individuals should speak with their healthcare provider before receiving an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Eligible individuals should plan to show their COVID-19 vaccination card when receiving the additional

St. Luke’s Health Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for all Employees


n keeping with St. Luke’s Health’s mission of improving the health of those it serves and especially those who are vulnerable, and our commitment to providing safe care for patients and a safe work environment for clinicians and staff, St. Luke’s Health is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1, 2021. This requirement also includes all physicians, Advanced Practice Providers, volunteers, and others caring for patients within our facility. As health care providers we have a responsibility to help end this pandemic and protect our patients, our colleagues, and those in our communities. Requiring vaccination for our teams is critical to maintaining a safe care environment. Medical and religious exemptions will be available for those who qualify. Throughout the pandemic, St. Luke’s Health has implemented a broad range

of safety measures to be able to continue providing essential health care services to everyone in our communities, including those battling life-threatening COVID-19 infections. Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases are on the rise again due to the threat of variants, and many communities continue to have low vaccination rates. Our decision to require the COVID-19 vaccination for our teams is rooted in a commitment to keeping our community safe -- and bringing an end to this pandemic as quickly as possible. By requiring the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment, just as we do with the flu (influenza) vaccine, St. Luke’s Health joins health systems and associations across the country in supporting vaccination for health care workers in an effort to continue protecting our patients, staff, and communities from this dangerous disease. 

dose. At the time of scheduling an appointmentor prior to receiving an additional dose, individuals will be required to self-attest that they meet the criteria for receiving a booster shot. Memorial Hermann will begin administering the third dose to the general public the week of Sept. 20, 2021, per the CDC’s recommendation. These individuals can get their booster shot eight months after receiving their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. More details will be shared on this process as the date gets closer. To schedule an appointment at a Memorial Hermann vaccine clinic, please complete the online COVID-19 Vaccine Request Form. At this time, you may also receive an additional dose or a booster shot without an appointment at any of the Memorial Hermann walk-in clinics.

CPRIT Awards Nearly $13 Million In Support of MD Anderson Research Funds to facilitate clinical trial collaboration across Texas, early-career clinical investigators, basic and translational science research, and faculty recruitments


he University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been awarded $12.75 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to support basic, clinical, translational and prevention research efforts, including $3 million for a new project to build clinical trial network infrastructure across Texas. MD Anderson also received $3 million for early clinical investigator awards, $750,000 for high-impact,

high-risk awards and $6 million for faculty recruitments. “We are thankful for CPRIT’s continued support of MD Anderson’s fundamental research in cancer research, education and prevention,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president, MD Anderson. “These awards will strengthen our efforts to increase access to clinical trials for patients and will help us to better see 13

September 2021

Houston Medical Times

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September 2021

Chris Osentowski Named Chief Executive Officer of HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center


hris Osentowski has been named chief executive officer of HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center, the nearly 400,000 square-foot specialty hospital where he will lead a team of nurses, colleagues and medical staff beginning Monday, August 23, 2021. As the administrative leader of the hospital, Osentowski will be responsible for enhancing the world class care and experience for patients as well as overseeing multiple large scale capital improvement projects for the 444 licensed bed acute care facility. Prior to joining HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center, Osentowski served as chief development officer for HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division since 2019. Before that, Osentowski served as director of business development, vice president of business development and chief development officer at Medical City Plano in Plano, Texas and Medical City Frisco in Frisco, Texas. In this role, Osentowski has helped to add seven urgent care facilities and eight mammography centers to the HCA Gulf Coast Division. He also introduced several innovative procedures in cardiac and colorectal care and produced a 20 percent increase in physician engagement. “Chris’s talents in the areas of strategic growth, physician partnerships, service line development, and network integration will be invaluable assets to the growth of HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center,” said Evan Ray, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at HCA Houston Healthcare. “Chris has a proven track record of managing clinical advancements and significant facility initiatives, all while fostering a positive work environment that contributes to the best experience for our patients.” Osentowski earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, Accounting and Sociology from Texas Christian University and later graduated with a Master’s of Business Administration from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He also served as a Plano YMCA Board Member, Spring Branch Memorial Sports Association volunteer coach and is a current executive sponsor for the Asian Colleague Network at

Chris Osentowski

HCA Houston Healthcare. “I am excited to lead this phenomenal team of clinical leaders and physicians who provide world class care to our patients,” said Osentowski. “I also look forward to overseeing the on-going capital investment projects which will continue to enhance our specialty care facility making HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center a hospital of choice in the greater Houston community and beyond.” Located in Houston’s Museum District at 1313 Hermann Drive, HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center has recently embarked on a comprehensive enhancement and expansion of its operating rooms, clinical areas, nursing units and public spaces, another step in the growth of the boutique surgical and procedural hospital. The facility has been recognized with the Healthgrades Patient Safety Excellence Award and a Five-Star Patient Quality Award from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It also has added leading physicians in cardiovascular services and colorectal surgery. HCA Houston Healthcare Medical Center offers services related to breast health, cardiology, emergency care, imaging services, orthopedics, physical therapy and rehabilitation, pulmonary care, sleep disorders, surgery women’s care and wound care. The facility is part of a comprehensive network of hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, emergency centers, cancer centers and diagnostic imaging facilities across Greater Houston and South Texas. 

Houston Medical Times

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Financial Forecast Financial Planning for the Singles By Grace S. Yung, CFP Midtown Financial Group, LLC


hile being single can come with a lot of freedom and fewer compromises when it comes to making decisions, it can also require a great deal of responsibility – particularly as it pertains to saving and retirement planning. In reality, I call it life planning. In some cases, being single is a choice, while in other instances, it can come suddenly, such as with the unexpected death of a spouse or partner. Or perhaps divorce – something that you cannot necessarily control. Without a spouse or partner to rely on, it is up to you, as an individual to ensure that enough income is generated to pay living expenses. So if you are currently single, it is crucial that you plan ahead. The good news is that there are strategies available for creating a more secure financial future. Therefore, working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional who is experienced in this area would be beneficial. What you should include in your Financial Plan if you are Single Disability Insurance As the sole income earner, the first thing you need to do is make sure you have disability insurance. Should something happen to you whether an accident or some medical condition, if your doctor diagnoses you as being unable to work, disability insurance will kick in after a waiting period. Typically DI will pay approximately 60% of your current income and it pays until normal retirement age so that you can meet some of your living expense needs. Long-Term Care Planning The reason we CFPs look at these strategies is because these are risk management tools. If individuals do not have a plan in place to “transfer the risk”, but rather they retain it, it causes a huge risk to clients’ nest eggs / retirement. That is why it is important to look at long-term care insurance. With LTCI, should your doctor confirm you are unable to perform 2 out of the 6 Daily Living Activities (bathing, dressing, transferring, continence, eating or

toileting; cognitive impairment is also included), this coverage kicks in and can help pay for care or equipment (wheel chairs, ramps, etc.) for you. Legal Documents It is essential that singletons have their legal documents in place. Wills and trusts help direct things like a traffic cop, so you can decide what happens and how you want things to go. Also, as a single person, if you become incapacitated or develop a cognitive impairment, you will need someone you trust, whether a close family member or trusted friend to have power of attorney to help manage your affairs on your behalf. Life Insurance Many times people think singletons don’t need life insurance. Life insurance if designed properly, can function for your benefit. There are different types of life insurance and they can act as a tax-free source of retirement income. Additionally, there

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are riders that can be added to the base policies that may be beneficial. It all comes down to design and what makes sense for you. A qualified financial planner can help you figure out what makes the most sense for you. How to Create and Follow a Custom Financial and Retirement Plan Even with financial tools and strategies available for single individuals, everyone’s objectives are unique. Therefore, not all planning techniques will be right for everyone across the board. That’s why it is essential to discuss your future financial goals and needs, with a CERTIFIED FINANICAL PLANNER professional who can create the right plan for you.

September 2021

Houston Medical Times

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Empower Pharmacy Opens North America’s Most Advanced Compounding Pharmacy in Houston Empower Pharmacy’s $55 Million, 86,000 Sq.Ft. Facility Will Enhance Access To Affordable & Innovative Pharmaceutical Solutions for Patients Across the Country


mpower Pharmacy, a premier compounding pharmacy and FDA registered outsourcing facility that delivers innovative pharmaceutical solutions to more than a million patients and 2,000 institutions nationally each year, today announced the grand opening of its new facility in Houston. Enhancing access to affordable and innovative pharmaceutical solutions, this $55 million facility features 86,000 square feet of breakthrough pharmaceutical technology, setting the standard for the industry as one of the largest and most advanced compounding pharmacies in North America. The new facility, located in Northwest Houston (7601 N. Sam


Houston Parkway W.) and licensed to produce and deliver medicines to consumers, maximizes the use of automation, has a state-of-the-art clean room, utilizes equipment to generate purified water, clean steam, and clean compressed air. It also has a large warehouse capable of storing at least nine months of raw pharmaceutical ingredients to minimize supply chain deficiencies that could interfere with patient care. It commenced operations earlier this month. “This innovative facility, combined with our more than 500 dedicated employees, enables us to increase our operational capacity, allowing us to prepare thousands

Empower Pharmacy’s 86,000 Sq.Ft. Facility

of custom prescriptions each day for millions of patients across the country,” said Shaun Noorian, CEO of Empower Pharmacy. “We are setting a new standard for compounded medicine, striving to achieve a superior pharmaceutical experience, from order placement to delivery. Traditional pharmaceutical companies do not empower patients through their current operations, but at Empower Pharmacy, we are hoping to change that by putting our patients first in all decisions to help improve their well-being and quality of life. We are excited to be at the forefront of change in the industry.”

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

Empower Pharmacy held a grand opening event on August 26, 2021, which was attended by customer, company and industry executives as well as local representatives. “I extend my congratulations to Empower Pharmacy on its new facility and look forward to seeing it deliver on the promise of providing access to affordable and innovative pharmaceutical solutions for patients,” said City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “As mayor of the nation’s see Empower 13

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2319 N. GRAND BLVD., PEARLAND, TX. 77581 | 281-485-2500 September 2021

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Oncology Research Continued from page 5 a genetics professional can help you understand your cancer risks, offer relief from uncertainty, and provide helpful information for your family that could potentially prevent cancer and save lives. If you have any questions about your

cancer risks or are interested in learning more about genetic testing, talk to your healthcare provider about a referral for a genetic evaluation. And remember, regardless of testing, it is important to maintain regular cancer screenings. 

understand cancer biology, to develop targeted therapies and to support the next generation of leaders in cancer research.” The newly funded clinical trials network will serve as a central hub providing affiliated sites with the robust infrastructure needed to conduct and expand therapeutic clinical trials while improving the diversity of patient enrollment. This initiative will allow MD Anderson to share its clinical trials expertise and capabilities regionally, with the goal of expansion throughout the state. In the first stage of the project, MD Anderson is partnering with Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Harris County and The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston County to increase clinical trial enrollment for minority populations and those who previously did not have access to cutting-edge, novel therapeutic clinical trials. “We are excited that this funding opportunity will allow us to develop the critical infrastructure to enable clinical trial growth at affiliated sites, providing the opportunity for historically underrepresented patients to gain access to MD Anderson clinical studies,” said Michael Overman, M.D., professor of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and leader of the clinical trials network. “We appreciate that CPRIT understands and recognizes the large amount of personnel and infrastructure required

to allow clinical trials to be conducted successfully and to benefit as many Texans as possible.” Since its inception, CPRIT has awarded $3 billion in grants for cancer research, of which MD Anderson and its projects have received approximately 20% of the total awards. The agency began awarding funds in 2009 after Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a 2007 constitutional amendment committing $3 billion to fight cancer. In November 2019, voters approved another amendment to the Texas constitution that will fund CPRIT with an additional $3 billion over the next 10 years. Programs facilitated by CPRIT funding have reached Texans across all 254 counties of the state, advanced scientific and clinical knowledge, brought more than 200 distinguished researchers to Texas, and provided 7.4 million cancer education, training, prevention and early detection services to Texans. “Today illustrates the powerful return on Texas’ investment in cancer research and prevention,” explained Wayne Roberts, CPRIT’s Chief Executive Officer. “Not only is the state enhancing its reputation as the center for innovative cancer research with more than 250 preeminent scientists recruited to Texas through our CPRIT Scholar program, but the eight new clinical trial grants will expand Texans’ access to promising cancer treatments.”

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Continued from page 12 fourth-largest and most diverse city, I welcome business and ideas that will enhance the quality of life for all Houstonians.” Empower Pharmacy will open a second facility mirroring this new facility, but with a 503B license that allows it to manufacture and deliver compounding medicines directly to hospitals, physician offices and other healthcare institutions.

Let us take the guesswork out of fracture referrals. No more waiting for appointments!

CPRIT Continued from page 9

Dear Doctors and Staff,

Scott Brunner, CEO of Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding, concluded: “Led by CEO Shaun Noorian, Empower Pharmacy is a leader in pharmacy compounding, pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and technology. With this new state-of-the-art facility, they’re not only increasing capacity, but also elevating compliance and safety and – most importantly – the care they provide patients.”

✔ Face-to-face ✔ Combination of both



September 2021

Houston Medical Times

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Continued from page 1 play a vital role in representing their peers across the state. Participants will be required to do COVID-19 testing at home daily, complete questionnaires through an e-diary app and periodically provide blood samples. Study-related tests and the vaccine will be provided at no cost. Additional procedures will be followed should a participant test positive for SARS-CoV-2 during the study, including contact tracing. Additional individuals identified by the participants as “close contacts” will be invited to join a sub-study. Close

contacts who agree to participate will be asked to answer weekly questionnaires, provide two blood samples and take daily nose swabs for two weeks. Young adults who have not yet been vaccinated and have never had CoVID-19 are invited to consider participating. To join this study, participants will be required to undergo a screening process, sign a consent form, and complete a questionnaire that will determine eligibility. Participants could receive up to $1,000 over four months while taking part in the study. “What we hope to learn is

important scientifically, as we constantly seek to learn more about this coronavirus and how it spreads,” Fischer said. “It will ultimately help guide our understanding of how vaccines can allow us to safely interact with others in a way that feels more normal, while at the same time working toward bringing the pandemic to a close.” Those who are interested in participating in the study can learn more covpn or email PreventCovidTX@

Continued from page 3 a Class A misdemeanor or third-degree felony. Other health care providers may similarly prohibit unlicensed individuals from carrying firearms into their premises by placing proper notice at the entrance of the building or lease space. However, a violation of this prohibition subjects the unlicensed individual to a Class C misdemeanor and $200 fine. Hospitals, nursing homes, mental

health hospitals and other health care providers who want to prohibit unlicensed individuals from possessing firearms on their premises should post a conspicuous notice at the entrance of their building that clearly states that an unlicensed person may not enter the property with a firearm.

in children has been known for some time, this study clearly demonstrates the benefits of comprehensive genetic screening in adults as well,” said Dr. David Murdock, first author of the paper and assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor at the time of research. Next, Baylor will expand

the study by performing whole genome sequencing for participants to detect other genetic risk factors. The researchers also are working to replicate their study in other specialty areas and to determine if this testing can be effective on a larger scale.

Genetic Risk

Continued from page 4 physicians, 84% said they changed the course of patient care based on test results, including referring patients to a specialist, performing further cardiac tests and changing medications, and 60% of respondents believe the HeartCare study results improved clinical care. “While the role of genetic testing

Domestic Violence Continued from page 6

especially for teenagers. While most Texas domestic violence agencies surveyed offer children’s counseling and child advocacy services, over half reported needing to increase counseling and advocacy capacity for youth by at least 50% to meet demand. Researchers also found that youth benefited from

September 2021

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$200 fine if the individual leaves the premises as soon as he is told to leave. The Texas Firearms Carry Act prohibits an unlicensed individual from carrying a firearm into various premises, including, in part, a hospital, nursing home or mental health facility. By posting proper notice at the entrance of the premises, the unlicensed individual will be strictly liable if he should enter the premises with a firearm and could be subject to

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continued connection to resources— such as support groups, counseling, and after-school care—after program exit. “When we spoke with survivors and their children across Texas, we found a deep need for services that address the impact of violence on kids,” said TXICFW Director Dr.

Monica Faulkner, who co-led the study. “Building the capacity of domestic violence agencies to offer trauma-informed and youth-oriented services such as counseling and mentoring will help ensure all kids in Texas are safe, healthy, and thriving.”

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September 2021

Houston Medical Times

SEASONS OF EATING SPRING Artichokes Asparagus Carrots Chives Fava Beans

Green Onions Leeks Lettuce Parsnips Peas

Radishes Rhubarb Swiss Chard

Green Beans Melons Peppers

Summer Squash Tomatoes Zucchini

SUMMER Berries Corn Cucumbers Eggplant Figs Garlic Grapes

(sweet and hot)

Stone Fruit

(apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums)

FALL Apples Brussels Sprouts Dates

(acorn, butternut, spaghetti)

Pears Pumpkins Sweet Potatoes

Citrus Fruit

Leafy Greens

Hard Squash

WINTER Bok Choy Broccoli Celery

(clementines, grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines)


(collards, kale, mustard greens, spinach)

Root Vegetables (beets, turnips)

KEEP THESE TIPS IN MIND WHEN USING AND SHOPPING FOR SEASONAL PRODUCE: • Fresh foods are often less expensive during their harvest season. You may even save money by buying in bulk. • Shop at your local farmers market to learn more about produce and get ideas on how to prepare foods in season. • Gardening gives you fresh seasonal produce and a little exercise, too. The sense of pride you’ll feel will make that produce taste even better! • Frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables also can be healthy choices. Compare food labels and choose items with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars and saturated fat. • Freeze fresh produce so you can add it to smoothies, soups, breads and more throughout the year.

Learn more at Spanish language infographic available online:

September 2021

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