Houston coronavirus: Hospitals prepare for potential winter COVID-19 spike with 2 operational variants

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee joined health leaders and UMMC staff on Saturday to urge the public to get vaccinated or booster shots before predicting the number of COVID-19 cases. -19 this winter.

Dozens of nurses and doctors joined Jackson Lee at UMMC Hospital on Tidwell for a vaccine trial event.

Staff and volunteers distributed boxes filled with snacks, supplies and hand sanitizer to people passing through the vaccination and testing site.

The hospital has four locations throughout Houston. Stephen Williams, Director of the Houston Health Department, said the Tidwell site is important to the communities it serves.

“It’s really important that we have a presence in our community of color,” said Williams. “Only 51% of people in Houston get vaccinated. Only 61% of those eligible to get vaccinated get vaccinated. Now, when you start looking at African Americans and Hispanics, African-American immunization rates are just average -30% That tells me we have a lot of work to do.We, at the health department, know we can’t do it. We have to depend on partners like UMMC and we expect all of you to answer the call.”

As the hospital system prepares for an expected surge in cases, it is also facing a crisis of its own. UMMC is on the verge of losing its contract with Medicare and Medicaid.

SEE RELATED STORY: UMMC is just days away from losing its contract with Medicare and Medicaid

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, released the following statement this week:

“In this case, CMS found that UMMC, despite recommended corrective actions, did not comply with CMS’s basic health and safety requirements. The hospital still failed to comply with the requirements. of Medicare after three follow-up surveys.”

Employees at UMMC Tidwell insist they have made the necessary changes and have a meeting scheduled with CMS next week. This comes days before the contract goes into effect on December 11.

Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Farida Moeen said: “We are still working on all the problems that we have. We are working on them.”

For updates on this story, follow Roxie Bustamante on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Dais Johnston

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