Lake Houston - Humble - Kingwood | June 2020

LAKE HOUSTON HUMBLE KINGWOOD EDITION 2020 HEALTHCARE EDITION As residents and businesses stay home to limit the spread of the coronavirus, medical professionals in the Lake Houston area are using telehealth services to connect with patients. TO TELEMEDICINE SWITCH THE I

ONLINE AT

VOLUME 5, ISSUE 2  JUNE 1JULY 5, 2020

COVID19 pushes practices, hospitals to adapt LakeHouston-areamedical personnel transition, settle intotelemedicine

“There’s a lot of benets to using telemedicine, but it doesn’t work well for everything.”

DR. CYNTHIA SMOOT, PEDIATRICIAN AT TEXAS CHILDREN’S PEDIATRICS HUMBLE KINGWOOD

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

standard hospitals and clinics, including mobile health vehicles and telehealth. Dr. Sherri Onyiego, interimdirec- tor of nutrition and chronic disease prevention at HCPH, said via email transportation barriers and health insurance can deter people from seeking health care in traditional settings, pushing the need for more mobile and telehealth services. “It is important to oer alterna- tives to traditional ‘brick andmortar health care’ given that health truly happens outside the four walls of the traditional health care system,” she said.

Many hospitals and primary care facilities in the Lake Houston area are adapting to oer telehealth services amid the coronavirus pandemic. Even after state stay-at- home orders ended in May, many residents still wanted to limit their risk of exposure. The need for more telehealth systems in the area has long been a topic of discussion among local health experts. Harris County Public Health released the “Harris Cares: A 2020 Vision of Health in Harris County” in November. The report recommended HCPH invest in more versatile alternatives to

CONDITIONS SEEN VIA TELEMEDICINE AT THIS FACILITY:

Sick visits

Well checkups

Follow-up appointments

Vaccinations

Rashes

“I would expect we will see—not just at Kingwood Emergency Hospital, but the nation as a whole—continued expansion of virtual visits.” JEREMY BRYNES, CEO AT KINGWOOD EMERGENCY HOSPITAL

Neurological issues Ear problems CONDITIONS SEEN VIA TELEMEDICINE AT THIS FACILITY: Sinus infections

Colds or u

Orthopedic issues

CONTINUED ON 17

SOURCES: TEXAS CHILDREN'S PEDIATRICS, KINGWOOD EMERGENCY HOSPITALCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Water park reopens despite state orders

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BY KELLY SCHAFLER

Facebook post that it is moved forward with its May 23 reopen- ing in spite of state orders. Gov. Greg Abbott’s most recent set of executive orders May 18 included reopening for various businesses through May 29, but the orders main- tained that water parks and other amusement venues, such as amusement parks and video

arcades, should remain closed. Order violations can result in nes and/or license suspension or revocation, according to a spokesperson for the gover- nor’s oce. In an interview prior to Abbott’s May 18 announce- ment, Grand Texas CEO Monty Galland said he believed many CONTINUED ON 18

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As the economy begins to reopen during the coronavi- rus outbreak, the fate of many interactive amusement venues is still unclear. However, ocials at Big Riv- ers Waterpark & Adventures in New Caney, which is part of the 632-acre Grand Texas development, conrmed via a

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According to several Facebook posts, Grand Texas ocials pushed forward with opening the water park on May 23 despite state orders. (Kelly Schaer/Community Impact Newspaper)

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THIS ISSUE

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

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FROMKELLY: In our annual Health Care Edition, we cover a variety of topics, including how the coronavirus is shaping the health care industry. For our front-page story, we look at how medical practices adopted telehealth services to meet the needs of our community during the pandemic. The story also looks at which facilities have been oering telemedicine for years (see Page 17).

KELLY SCHAFLER, EDITOR

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

communityimpact.com

Local sources 26

New businesses 6

Transportation updates 3

Local hospitals 6

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CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE All content in this print publication, both editorial and advertisements, was up-to-date as of the press deadline. Due to the fast-changing nature of this event, editorial and advertising information may have changed. Please visit communityimpact.com and advertiser websites for more information.

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JUNE 2020

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon

COMPILED BY KELLY SCHAFLER

LAKE HOUSTON WILDERNESS PARK

FEATURED IMPACTS GOING VIRTUAL With local school districts remaining closed through the 2019-20 academic year, A Carney’s Tutoring owner Jennifer Carney said she has seen more parents enroll their children in tutoring. The Kingwood-based business oers small-group and individual tutoring services for kindergarten through high school. Carney and 13 teachers tutor students in every subject as well as providing college prep courses. Carney’s Tutoring has seen roughly 50-75 new students sign up for virtual tutoring services since the outbreak began, Carney said, with some students signing up for one session and others for multiple sessions. “The parents know that whatever [the younger students are] learning now is only going to be building on next year, and they don’t want them to lose that,” she said. Carney said she hopes to open Carney’s Tutoring on June 1, after press time, and she will continue oering online learning after opening. CARNEY’S TUTORING 2606 Bens Branch Drive, Kingwood 281-713-8988 • www.carneystutoring.com

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America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses

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COURTESY SIGNORELLI CO.

LAKE HOUSTON summer on two multifamily projects at Valley Ranch in New Caney south of the Grand Parkway. The two multifam- ily developments include a 170-unit, active-adult community and a 321-unit apartment complex. The active-adult community will open in early 2021, while the other apartment complex will open in 2022. 713-452-1700. www.signorellicompany.com/valley-ranch ANNIVERSARIES 21550 Market Place Drive, Ste. 200, New Caney. The national franchise carries a variety of dierent eyeglasses and contact lens brands as well as prescrip- tion and nonprescription sunglasses. The business also oers eye exams. www.americasbest.com 6 Signorelli Co. will break ground this 7 Arturo’s Hair Designs celebrated its 15-year anniversary March 15. The hair salon is located at 1850 W. Lake Houston Parkway, Ste. 180, Kingwood. The salon oers haircuts, coloring, extensions and styling as well as facial waxing. The salon was able to reopen after May 8 under Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders. 281-359-2887. www.arturoshairdesign.com

BENS BRANCH DR.

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W. FORK OF THE SAN JACINTO RIVER

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TIMBER FOREST DR.

GEORGE BUSH INTERCONTINENTAL AIRPORT

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LAKE HOUSTON

MADERA RUN PKWY.

MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SUBSEA LN. and coee beverages. This is the second location for the Houston-area eatery. 713-398-9459. www.facebook.com/dolceandcannoli COMING SOON ASSAY ST. 3 A Chipotle Mexican Grill will open this fall at 21360 Hwy. 59, Ste. 100, New Caney, in Valley Ranch Town Center. The fast-casual eatery will oer burritos, bowls, tacos, salads, and chips and queso. www.chipotle.com 4 MOD Pizza will open this summer at 12029 North Grand Parkway E., Ste. 100, New Caney. The pizza chain will serve individual, artisan-style pizzas. www.modpizza.com 5 America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses , a discount eyewear and eye examination provider, will open this summer at

NOWOPEN 1 Houston-area eatery BB’s Tex-Orleans opened a pop-up food trailer March 5 in the parking lot of Valley Ranch Town Center o the Grand Parkway and Hwy. 59. The trailer serves boiled craw- sh, shrimp po’boys and other items. The pop-up eatery had planned to remain in the center until April 19, but its stay has been extended until June 19, said Kelley Mattlage, chief communications ocer at the East Montgomery County Improve- ment District. www.bbstexorleans.com 2 Dolce & Cannoli Pizza Cafe hosted a soft opening May 6 at 20131 Hwy. 59 N., Ste. 1150, Humble, in the Deerbrook Mall. Owner Jason Piltzmaker said the eatery serves New York-style pizza, sandwiches, soups, salads, sandwiches and Italian pastries from Houston pastry chef Andrew Rogers. The eatery also served beer, wine N . L A K E H O U S T

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Jennifer Carney, owner of Carney’s Tutoring in Kingwood, said the tutoring service has continued operations virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Arturo’s Hair Design

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES LakeHoustonRedevelopment Authority plans for project changes in FY 202021 budget

COMPILED BY KELLY SCHAFLER

LOCAL PROJECTS

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expand the road from four to six lanes between Hwy. 59 and Russell Palmer Road and create an overpass over the

Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority directors reviewed and discussed cost increases expected for several projects in the scal year 2020-21 draft budget May 14 in advance of the board’s ocial June budget meetings. Some costs and timelines associ- ated with long-termmobility projects on the authority’s ve-year capital improvement project budget were revised, including the Northpark Drive Overpass Project and the Kingwood Drive and Woodland Hills Drive intersection improvements. The LHRA funds its budget through property tax revenue collected in Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone 10 in Kingwood. The price of the Northpark Drive Overpass Project, which is Phase 1 of a larger Northpark Drive expansion, increased from $39.9 million to $46.6 million due to detention require- ments, LHRA and TIRZ administrator Ralph De Leon said. The project is set to break ground in 2021. It will

BOUNDARY WATERS LN.

MADERA RUN PKWY.

ATASCOCITA RD.

Union Pacic Corp. railroad. Meanwhile, Phase 2 of the

Rankin Road improvement The city of Humble and real estate com- pany Jackson-Shaw continue a project to expand Rankin Road between Hwy. 59 and the Union Pacic Corp. railroad tracks in Humble. The project will expand a portion of Rankin from two to four lanes

Madera Run Parkway expansion Construction on Harris County Precinct 2’s Madera Run Parkway expansion is set to begin the second week in June. The project will expand the road from two to four lanes between Kings Parkway and Boundary Waters Lane as well as add a median and creating a bridge near Fernbank Forest Drive. Timeline: mid-June-fall 2021 Cost: $3.75 million Funding source: Harris County Precinct 2

Northpark Drive project—called the Northpark Drive Reconstruction Project—also had its cost increased slightly to $48.4 million due to ination, De Leon said. However, De Leon said the LHRA’s $28.4 million grant from the Houston-Galveston Area Council for Phase 2 will also be increased to $34 million due to the consumer price index. An intersection improvement proj- ect at Kingwood Drive and Woodland Hills Drive will also cost more than the $3.2 million originally allocated. About $10 million in additional fund- ing has been allocated toward the project, bringing the new budgeted amount to $13.1 million. De Leon said the cost increase is due to extensive drainage work needed to improve the intersection. He said

and add a raised median. Timeline: April-August Cost: $800,000 Funding sources: city of Humble, Jackson-Shaw

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MAY 15. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT LHKNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

water pools at the intersection during rain events, so engineers are consid- ering what can be done to either stop and divert water before it reaches the intersection or divert water away from the intersection once it arrives. “We’re turning that project into a more comprehensive project in terms

of ood remediation, and so we’re going to have to add additional value to the project to give our engineers the ability to come up with a creative design that will address that,” he said. The FY 2020-21 budget will be brought to LHRA directors for approval at the next meeting June 11.

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JUNE 2020

ENVIRONMENT

Ground-level ozone concentrations decreased 17% orders. Data was collected from March 11-April 13 compared to a historic six-year trend over the same time period. During the coronavirus... Houston Advanced Research Center data shows air quality in the Greater Houston area during stay-at-home A closer look

Experts: Coronavirus improved Harris County’s air quality

concentration—was given a nonat- tainment designation per National Ambient Air Quality Standards, Beydoun said. “Houston does have an air quality problem, specically with respect to ozone,” he said. “With air quality, ... the lower the concentration, the better, because that means it’s less of that pollution in the air. The less pollution it is and the less exposure, the less problematic it is from a public health perspective.” Bakeyah Nelson, the executive director of nonprot Air Alliance Houston, which advocates for cleaner air, said despite pollutants decreasing across the region, there are still specic Houston-area neighborhoods dealing with chronic air quality issues. Communities of color and low-income neighborhoods adjacent to large industrial facilities are particularly vulnerable to high levels of pollutants, she said. Nelson said she believes regula- tory agencies need to install more air monitoring stations across the Houston area to get a better idea of air quality standards on a local level.

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

Mustapha Beydoun, the chief operating ocer and vice president of the HARC, said the lowering of these three pollutants was due to stay-at-home orders limiting people’s mobility as well as reduced industrial production across the Houston region. Harris County saw more than a 30% reduction in average distance traveled during the outbreak, according to the HARC’s mobility analysis report. Data showed ground-level ozone concentrations decreased an average of 16% on weekdays and 17.5% on weekends fromMarch 11-April 13 compared to a historic six-year trend over the same time period. BTEX emissions saw a 39% drop, and nitrogen oxides saw a 46% drop. Prior to the pandemic, the Greater Houston area’s air quality—spe- cically for ground-level ozone

Research shows the Greater Houston area’s air quality improved amid the coronavirus pandemic, but a Houston-area organization said air quality in communities near major industrial sectors still needs attention. Houston Advanced Research Center, an environmental research organization, published a report in late April showing several com- mon pollutants in Harris County decreased from March 11-April 13 compared to historical data. Pollut- ants include ground-level ozone, nitrogen oxides, and a group of vol- atile organic compounds comprising benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes, or BTEX. Data was collected from monitor- ing stations maintained by either the Texas Commission on Environ- mental Quality or the Environmental Protection Agency.

BTEX* decreased 39% Nitrogen oxides decreased 46%

*BTEX STANDS FOR BENZENE, TOLUENE, ETHYLBENZENE AND XYLENES EMISSIONS.

SOURCE: HOUSTON ADVANCED RESEARCH CENTERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

“We have many air monitors, com- paratively speaking, in the Houston region, but we have such a density of industrial facilities throughout our region that we don’t have near the amount of air monitors that we need,” she said. “We don’t really have a sense of whether air quality has improved at a neighborhood level.”

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

NEWS BRIEFS

News from Humble, Houston, Harris County & Humble ISD

Humble sees 19%March sales tax revenue hit

SALES TAX DECLINE The city of Humble saw a 19.23%drop in sales tax revenue in March compared to March 2019.

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

19% [from] only roughly one week of everything being shut down,” he said. “That still gives me a moment of pause of what the April numbers are going to be like. I think [the numbers] very well could be a bloodbath.” In the scal year 2019-20 budget, the city estimated $13.5 million in sales tax revenue from local businesses in the city limits, which goes into the general fund. To make up the budget shortfall, Stuebe said the city is delaying its Rankin Road expansion project as well as considering limiting certain nonessential services and programming. “I’m not foreseeing having to go to the depart- ment heads at this point in time and saying, ‘I need things back, I need you to gure out where to nd X percentage or X amount of dollars,’” he said. “In June, we may be at that point.”

The city of Humble’s sales tax revenue was down 19% year over year in March amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to sales tax data from the Texas comptroller’s oce, the city of Humble earned about $992,595 in March, $236,265 less than in March 2019. “It hurts because it’s $236,000 we were budgeted to get and didn’t,” Humble City Manager Jason Stuebe said. “It’s a signicant percentage.” Stuebe said he expects revenue to drop further for April, which the Texas comptroller’s oce will release in June. The city estimates a roughly $475,000 decrease for the June report, he said. “The stay-at-home order didn’t go into eect until March 25, approximately. So that’s down

KEY:

2020

2019

$1.38M $1.32M $1.26M $1.20M $1.14M $1.08M $1.02M $0.96M $0.90M $0.84M 0

19.23%

FEB.

MAR.

APR.

MAY JUNE

JAN.

SOURCE: TEXAS COMPTROLLER’S OFFICE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Humble ISD trustees consider future school options to address growth

Federal judge’s ruling onmail voting put on hold

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

In a moderate-growth scenario, Humble ISD’s enrollment will increase by

students by 2029.

The Humble ISD board of trustees, which has been meeting by videocon- ference since March, is considering the long-term eect of the coronavi- rus on enrollment and the district’s future school buildout. At the May 12 meeting, trustees heard from ocials from the Population and Survey Analysts demographic rm, which created a new study of the district for 2019-29. PASA demographer Justin Silhavy said a decline in home construction as well as anticipated job losses from the pandemic could negatively aect enrollment growth. “We did account for about a 15%-30% decline in new housing occupancies, particularly in the 2021- 2022 time frame,” he said. HISD is projected to add between

SOURCE: HUMBLE ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

4,208 and 7,712 students over that 10-year period, according to PASA data. In a moderate-growth scenario, the district’s enrollment will increase from 45,078 students last year to 51,959 students by October 2029. Silhavy said a majority of the single-family and multifamily growth projected for the district is in its southeastern sector, though that is not the only growing area. The district will also need to account for a surplus of roughly 3,000 high school-aged students by 2029, PASA President Stacey Tepera said. She said Humble and Summer Creek high schools will see the most growth over the next several years.

July 1 to require 10 unpaid days per employee and to save $7 million—the city also plans to defer ve police cadet classes, saving another $14.5 million. The cumulative impact of the pandemic-related economic down- turn on Houston’s sales tax revenue is expected to total $107 million over FY 2019-20 and FY 2020-21. Before the coronavirus outbreak, city ocials projected a budget short- fall, even with a predicted increase in sales tax revenue. Now, the shortfall is expected to total $169 million. An option to accommodate for the surplus includes building the district’s nal high school, High School No. 6, in the southeast part of the district or expanding the capacities at Humble, Atascocita and Summer Creek high schools, she said. However, Tepera said the district’s enrollment will likely plateau as the area nears build-out. Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen stressed the importance of not overbuilding the district while still providing quality learning space for the district’s future students. “I think that there’s a lot of merit to seeing if our students will t in our current schools,” she said.

One day after a federal district judge ruled all Texas voters qual- ify for mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic, a federal appeals court has put the ruling on temporary hold. On May 19, Judge Fred Biery— presiding over a case in which the Texas Democratic Party and several Texas voters sued state ocials, including Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton—ruled that Texas could not deny voters access to mail ballots on the basis of age during the pandemic. Doing so would be a violation of the 26th Amend- ment of the U.S. Constitution, Biery said. On May 20, Paxton appealed the ruling, calling on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to issue a stay, which would prevent the ruling from taking eect during the appeal. Paxton also called for the ruling to be put on immediate hold while the appeals court considered his motion. Typically, mail ballots are only available to Texans who are age 65 or older, have a disability, are unable to vote in their home county during the election or are in jail but otherwise able to vote.

Coronavirus burden further threatens Houston’s budget reserves; 3,000 furloughs possible

BY EMMA WHALEN

minimum held in reserves. The drawdown includes tapping the remainder of the $20 million of the city’s emergency budget stabilization fund. If the budget is approved as proposed, Houston will have 7.15% left in its fund balance and no emergency funding left for the year. In addition to the employee fur- loughs—which are proposed to begin

Mayor Sylvester Turner called Houston’s scal year 2020-21 proposed budget the “toughest yet” May 12. The proposed $5.1 billion budget calls for 3,000 city employee fur- loughs and for pulling $98 million from the fund balance, which would put the city below its mandatory 7.5%

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JUNE 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Data and information on health care trends in Lake Houston, Humble and Kingwood

HEALTH CARE SNAPSHOT

COMPILED BY KELLY SCHAFLER

CORONAVIRUS CASE ANALYSIS Harris County hit a high of 1,756 new weekly coronavirus cases April 9-15, with numbers briey dipping before beginning a gradual increase. New cases in Montgomery County have begun climbing again in May after peaking April 23-29.

In terms of county health in 2020, Harris and Montgomery counties both rank among the top 25 on length of life; however, both were among the bottom ve in terms of physical environmental factors. The number of cases reported in each county increased in mid-April.

HOWHEALTHY IS YOUR COUNTY?

CASE BREAKDOWN

NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES PER WEEK

These rankings are updated annually but in- clude data from previous years. There are other factors included that are not listed below.

March 5- March 11 March 12- March 18 March 19- March 25 March 26- April 1 April 2- April 8 April 9- April 15 April 16- April 22 April 23- April 29 April 30- May 6 May 7- May 13 May 14- May 20

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Montgomery County

105

10

45

Active cases 55.85%

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HEALTH OUTCOMES INCLUDE:

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Montgomery County

69

Total cases: 881

• LENGTHOFLIFE • QUALITYOFLIFE , such as the number of poor mental and physical health days reported

2.38% Deaths

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Harris County

41.77% Recoveries

662

HEALTH FACTORS INCLUDE:

N

100

1,494

• HEALTHBEHAVIORS , such as smoking, obesity, physical activity, excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, sexually transmitted infections and teen births • CLINICALCARE , including health insurance coverage; number of physicians, dentists and mental health providers; preventable hospital stays; and u vaccinations • SOCIOECONOMICFACTORS , such as educational attainment levels, children in poverty, income inequality and violent crimes • PHYSICALENVIRONMENTFACTORS , such as air pollution, drinking water violations, housing problems and long commutes

2020 STATEWIDE HEALTH CARE RANKINGS (out of 244 counties)

Harris County

121

1,756

Active cases 58.47%

14 23 15 68 39 151 60 72 10 32

Health outcomes

109

Length of life

1,114

Total cases: 10,283

2.1% Deaths

142

Quality of life Health factors Health behaviors

950

39.43% Recoveries

90

1,063

Socioeconomic 37 190 Physical environment 240 244 Clinical care 30 64

86

Recoveries per 100,000 residents 66.37 88.1

Deaths per 100,000 residents 3.79 4.69

1,377

103

1,474

All coronavirus data is up to date as of May 22. For updated coronavirus data and information, go to communityimpact.com.

SOURCES: ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN POPULATION HEALTH INSTITUTE, COUNTYHEALTHRANKINGS.ORG, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES, HARRIS COUNTY, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, 2019 U.S. CENSUS POPULATION ESTIMATESCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

11

LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JUNE 2020

12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

HOSPITALS

Health Care Edition 2020

Information on local hospitals in Humble and Kingwood

772 46 total hospital beds

all beds dedicated to coronavirus patients

3 SE Texas ER & Hospital 19211 McKay Drive, Humble 2818835500

COMPILED BY KELLY SCHAFLER

HUMBLE 1 Memorial Hermann Northeast 18951 N. Memorial Drive, Humble 2815407700 www.memorialhermann.org • Trauma level: N/A • NICU level: II • Total number of employees: 1,200 • Number of beds: 242 • Number of beds dedicated to coronavirus patients: 43 • New programs, expansions: bariatrics program, woman’s services expansion began in April including renovating existing facilities 2 PAM Rehabilitation Hospital of Humble 18839 McKay Drive, Humble 2819646600 www.postacutemedical.com • Trauma level: N/A • NICU level: N/A • Total number of employees: 200 • Number of beds: 46 • Number of beds dedicated to coronavirus patients: none • New programs, expansions: Programs introduced since 2019 include disease- specic certication by the Joint Commission in Stroke and Pulmonary, outpatient rehab and aquatic therapy.

SOURCE: VARIOUS HOSPITALSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

www.setexaser.com • Trauma level: N/A • NICU level: N/A • Total number of employees: 40 • Number of beds: 44 • Number of beds dedicated to coronavirus patients: none • New programs, expansions: All

• Number of beds: 419 • Number of beds dedicated to coronavirus patients: none • New programs, expansions: The trauma ICU opened in March 2020. Future expansions include an operating room refresh, adding a fourth cath lab, hybrid OR and expansion of the South Tower to add 40 more patient beds. It is in active pursuit of trauma Level II, and a trauma Level III survey took place in May. 6 Kingwood Emergency Hospital 23330 Hwy. 59 N., Kingwood 8327776165 www.kingwood247er.com • Trauma level: N/A • NICU level: N/A • Total number of employees: 75 • Number of beds: 16 • Number of beds dedicated to coronavirus patients: 3 • New programs, expansions: Outpatient imaging began in November and is accepting Tricare insurance.

N

6

5

insurances are now accepted at Hope Restored Treatment Center. The hospital also oers COVID-19 antibody testing, psychotherapy, and images and lab.

494

4 Townsen Memorial Hospital 1475 FM 1960 Bypass Road E., Humble 2813699001 www.townsenmemorialhospital.com • Trauma level: N/A • NICU level: N/A • Total number of employees: 50 • Number of beds: 5 • Number of beds dedicated to coronavirus patients: none • New programs, expansions: none KINGWOOD 5 HCA Houston Healthcare Kingwood 22999 Hwy. 59 N., Kingwood 2813488000 www.hcahoustonhealthcare.com/kingwood • Trauma level: II • NICU level: III • Total number of employees: 1,800

59

4

1960

6

3

1960

1

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LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JUNE 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

ADDICTION Coronavirus crisis causing relapse epidemic among opioid addicts

Health Care Edition 2020

PRESCRIPTION DOWNTURN

The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed per 100 persons per year through 2018 decreased in both Harris and Montgomery counties, but experts said addicts are relapsing during the pandemic.

Opioid prescriptions per 100 persons Montgomery County

Harris Country

100

2018 national average

75.5

BY KELLY SCHAFLER

overcome other types of addictions. Agatha Sacks, owner and program coordinator at Positive Recovery Humble, said her facility has seen an increase in clients relapsing due to economic or relationship issues. “All of those [factors] are on the rise, and most of those things are going to be triggers for clients,” Sacks said. In mid-March, Positive Recovery Humble had to shut its doors and switch to telemedicine to help pre- vent the spread of the coronavirus. Around the same time, Sacks said she began seeing many readmissions from formerly sober clients. Also contributing to more cases at Positive Recovery Humble is the small number of intensive outpatient, or IOP, treatment facilities in the Lake Houston area, Sacks said. WestBridge Recovery Center in Kingwood typically oers IOP care, partial hospitalization and full-time

80

66.5

60.6

Since opioid addiction was declared a public health emergency in October 2017, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows opioid prescription rates reported in Harris and Montgomery counties have decreased. The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed per 100 persons annually decreased in Montgomery County between 2014-18 from 75.5 per 100 persons to 50.6, according to 2018 data from the CDC—the most recent data available from the agency. In Harris County, the number decreased from 55.1 per 100 persons to 37.9 in the same time period. Despite the overall decrease in opi- oid abuse, rehabilitation specialists in the Lake Houston area said the recent coronavirus pandemic is causing a “relapse epidemic” of opiate addicts as well as those who are struggling to

55.7

60

51.4 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons. In 2018, the national average was

55.1

50.6

40

48.3

46.2

42.4 37.9

20

2018

2014

2015

2016

2017

SOURCE: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTIONCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

residential treatment, Executive Director Justin Steen said. However, to protect its full-time residents during the pandemic, WestBridge had to temporarily suspend its IOP services and partial hospitalization, he said. It has since begun telemedicine for IOP care. Steen said the virtual setup for meetings can prove dicult for new patients trying to get sober. “It’s not a conductive atmosphere for new people to get sober and to

maintain their sobriety,” he said. Positive Recovery Humble reopened its in-person IOP treatments to clients May 11 with the option to either attend group sessions in person or virtually. Sacks said many clients are striving to see the bright side. “Part of this virus has been a good thing because it’s allowed a lot of people to be still,” she said. “In that stillness, they’ve been able to have clarity on what is and isn’t important for them as they move forward.”

15

LAKE HOUSTON  HUMBLE  KINGWOOD EDITION • JUNE 2020

Health Care Edition 2020

"PATIENTS ENTRUST USWITH CARING FOR THEIR FAMILIES, AND I FEEL THAT RELATIONSHIP IS INVALUABLE TO BUILDTHAT TRUST,

BUSINESS FEATURE

Avenue 360 sta includes (from left) Elida Benavidez, Bettina Raju, Micki Schmidt, Maria Marquez and Dayesha Guidry.

COURTESY AVENUE 360COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Avenue 360Health&Wellness Facility oers low-cost primary care services to Humble community A venue 360 Health & Wellness was founded in 1998 as Houston Area Community Ser- vices to treat HIV patients in the Houston months due to the coronavirus. With Texas Work- force Commission data showing unemployment numbers rising the Humble area, Nix said the clinic will likely follow the statewide trend. “Obviously, with 1.3 million people statewide BY KELLY SCHAFLER

BECAUSE THAT GOES STRAIGHT INTO THE COMMUNITYASWELL." DR. THERESE OBIOHA, REGIONAL MEDICAL DIRECTOR AVENUE 360HEALTH&WELLNESS 9816 Memorial Blvd., Ste. 120, Humble 281-570-2525 www.avenue360.org Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.

area. In the last several years, however, the clinic’s mission has changed to oering low-cost primary care services, including dental, pediatrics, behav- ioral health, cardiology and women’s health. Avenue 360’s Humble clinic, which opened in June 2018, is one of seven in the Greater Houston area. About 50% of all Humble patients are unin- sured, Vice President of Communications Kevin Nix said. To help such patients, the clinics oer services on a sliding income scale, he said. Nix said the company is expecting the percentage of uninsured patients to increase in the coming

newly unemployed, some of whom have lost their health insurance, that rate appears to be going up statewide,” he said. Nix said Avenue 360 also launched its telelemed- icine initiative in March—several months earlier than planned due to the virus. “Some patients are utilizing our telehealth ser- vices,” he said. “Our doctors, nurses, and therapists can treat many primary and mental health care needs by phone or online video.” ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ADRIANA REZAL

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Health Care Edition 2020

CONTINUED FROM 1

You have to get out there and do it. We started with the idea that we were just going to do subspecialty care, and our numbers have just mushroomed because we started looking at other areas. ... With technology, once you get in there and you start playing around with it and seeing how it works, then you gure out ways for it to work in your practice and then ways that can be expanded to make it more convenient for patients but also for the providers as well. The University of Texas Medical Branch has been oering telehealth services for decades. Dr. Owen Murray, the vice president of oender health services at UTMB, oered advice as to how others can begin implementing telemedicine. ADVICE FROM DR. OWEN MURRAY

brick-and-mortar oce. My Eyelab oers patients the abil- ity to get an initial assessment with a patient coordinator, then meet with an optometrist remotely. Benets of the semi-remote appointment include quicker appointments and access to doctors who speak various languages, Galvez said. “This method can take care of just about 91% of everybody that comes in through our doors,” he said. Additionally, the University of Texas Medical Branch has been oer- ing telehealth services for decades, with UTMB Health physicians provid- ing virtual medical, dental and mental health services for adult and juvenile inmates across Texas’ prison system. Dr. Owen Murray, vice president of oender health services at UTMB, said the system cares for about 80% of the state’s prison populations. UTMB Health expanded its tele- health service in the mid-2000s beyond Texas’ prison system to pro- vide primary care and mental health services virtually to the public. In the last 10 years, UTMB’s telehealth num- bers have almost doubled from 82,322 appointments in scal year 2010-11 to 156,328 appointments in FY 2019-20. While UTMB has had great success with telemedicine, Murray said there are some specialties where practicing telemedicine will not be as eective as in-person appointments. “Being able to do both subspecialty care, mental health care as well as pri- mary care, telemedicine is an excel- lent vehicle,” he said.

a at rate of $30—what many insured patients might have as a co-pay, Brynes said. “We wanted to give people a way of saying, ‘You knowwhat, [for] $30 I can speak to a doctor, get a prescription if I need it and get advice on whether I should be concerned,’” he said. Brynes said the hospital may con- tinue to oer telehealth services. “I think people that gainmore expe- rience with virtual visits will nd it’s a great alterative to a physical environ- ment to get care,” he said. Meanwhile, Dr. Cynthia Smoot, a pediatrician at Texas Children’s Pedi- atrics Humble Kingwood who has worked at Texas Children’s Pediatrics for 17 years, also began oering tele- medicine in March. In the past, Smoot said she would accept photos from patients’ families if needed to help in diagnosing a med- ical issue without an in-person visit, but the coronavirus pushed Texas Children’s Pediatrics to launch tele- health services. Smoot said telemedicine still can- not replace specic types of pediat- ric appointments, such as checkups. However, about 25% of her patients switched to telehealth services during the pandemic, she said. “I think for follow-ups, for certain rashes, for just questions, there’s a lot of beneits to using telemedi- cine,” she said. “But it doesn’t work well for everything.” Foot in the door For some medical oces and facil- ities, telehealth services were already a major part of practice. Ryan Galvez, managing partner of My Eyelab in New Caney, said the optometry fran- chise specializes in oering telemed- icine and selling eyeglasses from its

Some Lake Houston-area facilities and hospitals have launched tele- health services during the outbreak to meet the increasing needs of the com- munity. Meanwhile, other Lake Hous- ton-area medical practices have been oering some form of virtual assis- tance for years, such as UTMB Health, which cares for 80% of the state prison population via telehealth, or My Eye- lab in New Caney, which relies on tele- health for its business model. Stepping up to serve The need for these services became more apparent to Kingwood Emer- gency Hospital CEO Jeremy Brynes when the coronavirus pandemic hit the region. As more residents stayed home the hospital was inundatedwith calls, Brynes said. In mid-March, the hospital launched telehealth services. “We wanted to make sure people had access to get the right informa- tion … [and] that we gave them the opportunity to ask from the safety of their homes questions of a physician,” he said. Telehealth services are also bene- cial for patients looking for aord- able health care options. A telehealth visit at the hospital will cost a patient

AN INCREASED NEED University of Texas Medical Branch expanded its telehealth service in the mid-2000s beyond Texas’ prison system to provide primary care and mental health services virtually to the general public. UTMB’s telehealth numbers have almost doubled in 10 years.

UTMB telehealth appointments per scal year

2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20

82,322 90,273 83,740 104,520 112,982 131,699 152,071 156,040 148,911 156,328

Find related stories at communityimpact.com . Keyword search coronavirus, telemedicine

SOURCE: UTMB HEALTH COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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