‘We made it through’: Cleveland hospital chief reflects on year of pandemic

Patti Foster, the COO for Texas Emergency Hospital in Cleveland, was the guest speaker for the May 13 membership luncheon for the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. She discussed the hospital's efforts to test and vaccinate people during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the hospital is continuing to expand its services in Cleveland.

After a year like none other due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Texas Emergency Hospital (TEH) and Cleveland Emergency Hospital (CEH) leaders now have an opportunity to reflect on their successes and heroes of the pandemic.

According to Patti Foster, Chief Operating Officer for the Cleveland-based Texas Emergency Hospital, the hospital’s nurses, doctors and other medical staff selflessly treated patients in the early days of the pandemic, long before much was known about the virus and before a vaccine was created and made available to front line workers.

Starting in May 2020, Emergency Hospital Systems began two testing sites – at Texas Emergency Hospital in Cleveland and Emergency Hospital Systems-Deerbrook in Humble. Between the two sites, more than 15,000 people were tested for COVID-19. Of those who were tested, 45 percent were positive cases, according to Foster.

“It was a new experience for us. COVID was very new but we made it through,” Foster said.

In January 2021, when the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began, Texas Emergency Hospital stepped up once again to serve as a vaccination hub.

“We had four days to get everything in place,” Foster said, speaking to guests at the May 13 Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “We have seen more than 30,000 people to whom we have administered COVID-19 vaccines. We still have plenty of vaccines and are still seeing about 100 people a day at our vaccine hub.”

Foster also shared news of two recent audits that were performed at Texas Emergency Hospital, 300 E. Crockett St., Cleveland, and its sister facility, Cleveland Emergency Hospital, located at 1017 S. Travis St., Cleveland.

“The State was with us last week. We had a wonderful outcome from our audits. We had two going on last week and they were so very pleased,” she said. “We are very proud of where we are and where we have come from.”

Emergency Hospital Systems took over the two hospitals in Cleveland six years ago. Both facilities had suffered setbacks and were struggling due to previous owners. Today, both facilities are thriving and growing along with the community, Foster said.

Between the two facilities in Cleveland, they have a combined patient bed space of 14 currently. CEH has four inpatient beds and two operating rooms. TEH has 10 inpatient beds, two immediate care units, two operating rooms and nine emergency department rooms. In June, TEH plans to open a procedure room and has an ICU unit in the works in the future.

“I hope if you ever have any medical need that you will come to us and let us take care of you. Thank you for your continued support. Six years ago, I would never have dreamed that we would be where we are today,” Foster said. “If you have not been by one of our hospitals, come by. We will be happy to take you around.”

Foster encourages anyone who is interested in scheduling an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine to call the hospital’s hotline at 281-806-7370 or 281-806-7380.

Raylene Atkinson (right) was picked as the Ambassador of the Month for May 2021 for the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce. The award was announced by the Ambassador Chair Elizabeth Robertson.

In other Chamber news, Raylene Atkinson, director of operations for Cleveland Emergency Hospital, was picked as the May 2021 Chamber Ambassador of the Month. The Chamber also recognized Cleveland resident Courtney Contreras as Citizen of the Month for May 2021. Contreras and her family created the Play for Kade campaign, which helps local youths participate in sports by providing registration assistance. Play for Kade honors Courtney’s son, Kade, who died tragically at the age of 4 in 2017. Edward Jones Investments, owned by Kari Dugger, was picked as the Business of the Month.

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