Texas Emergency Hospital in Cleveland was recently recognized by Texas Governor Greg Abbott for its extraordinary achievements as a vaccine hub during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since opening as a vaccine hub in January 2021, the hospital has provided more than 42,000 vaccinations. While most of the vaccinations were administered to people from the greater Cleveland area, some of those who sought out the hospital traveled to Cleveland from other states and countries.
“We were able to take anyone from any state or any country. We were seeing about 1,000 people per day at the height of the vaccine hub,” said Patti Foster, COO for Texas Emergency Hospital.
The Cleveland hospital developed a reputation as the vaccine hub where the average arrival-to-leave time was about 35 minutes, a stark contrast to the hospitals where people were queueing up in lines for hours.
“We had people who couldn’t get the vaccine in Dallas, who called here, set an appointment, and then came down, got the vaccine and flew back to Dallas. We had an entire delegation from a foreign country fly in to be vaccinated. We were the place where, once you got on the schedule, you were able to get in and get out,” added Michael Adkins, CEO for Emergency Hospital Systems, the parent company for Texas Emergency Hospital and its sister site in Cleveland – Cleveland Emergency Hospital.
The designation as a vaccine hub came after Foster sought out help from State Rep. Ernest Bailes and U.S. Rep. Brian Babin to get vaccines for her staff.
“It started because we couldn’t get vaccines for our employees. Everybody had it in Kingwood and Houston, and we were being overlooked. So I contacted our local representatives and discussed why we, as a rural area, couldn’t get the vaccines when we also were treating patients,” Foster said.
Two days after enlisting the help of Babin and Bailes, she learned that not only would her staff receive the much-needed vaccinations, the hospital was being designated as a vaccine hub. Fortunately, Foster had the foresight a couple of months earlier to order a sub-zero freezer, a requirement for the Pfizer vaccine, so setting up as a vaccine hub was somewhat simplified. However, policies still had to be put in place on how the vaccinations would be administered.
“We rallied the following Monday and ended up hiring a bunch of people to get it going. We came up with the call center idea. We planned to vaccinate five people every 15 minutes and booked out the appointments a couple of days in advance,” Adkins said. “We hired more people to manage the call center, and then we were inundated.”
As the two existing lines and operators couldn’t handle all the incoming calls, the hospital added another 57 phone calls and more people to manage the call bank.
“We also hired a lot of COVID-19 techs. At one time, we had about 10 nurses administering vaccines and two observing people after they were vaccinated. We are now down to three nurses right now and are seeing about 25 people a day for vaccines,” Foster said.
With booster shots now being recommended for people 18 or older who were vaccinated two or more months ago, Texas Emergency Hospital is adding Moderna vaccines.
Adkins believes the success of the vaccine hub further demonstrates the need for EHS hospitals in the Cleveland community.
“You are talking about a community of a little over 8,000 people and we’ve given more than 42,000 vaccinations. This just solidifies our vision of bringing healthcare to this community. We are going to continue trying to grow here and adding more things. It is the right thing for us to be here in Cleveland and providing healthcare to its residents,” Adkins said.
To schedule an appointment for a vaccination or booster shot, call the hospital’s call center at 281-806-7370 or 281-806-7380.
For more information on Texas Emergency Hospital, go online to https://www.emergencyhospitals.care/locations-ehs/emergency-hospital-texas/.