Memorial Hermann Health System Receives THA’s Excellence in Community Service Award for Nurse Health Line
HOUSTON, TX – The Texas Hospital Association has named Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston as the recipient of the 2021 Excellence in Community Service Award.
The Excellence in Community Service Award recognizes hospitals and health systems that have distinguished themselves through contributions to their community. Memorial Hermann is being recognized for its Nurse Health Line, a free telephone triage service for anyone living in Texas, regardless of health insurance status. Individuals do not need to be patients of Memorial Hermann to use the service.
“We are incredibly proud to offer this service to the community and are honored by this recognition,” said Carol Paret, Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health officer at Memorial Hermann. “No matter what language you speak, your insurance status, zip code, or from where or whom you typically receive care, anyone can call our Nurse Health Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and access immediate help free of charge. It is a truly unique program and we hope this award will encourage more people to utilize this service.”
According to an emergency department use study published in June 2013 by the University Of Texas School Of Public Health, more than 46 percent of all patients treated and released from emergency rooms in Houston were treated for primary care-related illnesses or injuries that could have been addressed in a physician’s office or clinic. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency rooms in southeast Texas were often at capacity and facilities struggled to meet the needs of patients in a timely manner.
Based on the findings of the UT School of Public Health study and informed by the consistent trend seen across hospitals in Houston, Memorial Hermann established its free, 24/7 Nurse Health Line in 2014. The Nurse Health Line was designed with the purpose of improving community access to care and ensuring more efficient use of the emergency rooms in Harris and the surrounding counties.
Those who are experiencing a health concern can dial the Nurse Health Line for assistance in Spanish or English. Other interpreters are also available. The Nurse Health Line is staffed by trained nurses 24/7 to help people living in Texas with their healthcare questions and assist them in choosing the right kind of care.
In addition, a team of community health workers associated with the Nurse Health Line assist callers who do not already have an established primary medical home locate one, further helping people find the resources they need to manage their health, now and in the future.
Receiving more than 169,710 calls during Memorial Hermann’s 2021 fiscal year (July 2020-June 2021), the Nurse Health Line has helped to ensure that ambulances and emergency rooms are available for crises, and non-critical health care is delivered in an appropriate setting.
The cost avoidance for Houston area emergency rooms was more than $4.7 million in FY2021, using the assumption of $500 per ER visit. While 51 percent of callers indicated that they would have gone to the ER had they not called the Nurse Health Line, only 25 percent of all callers were ultimately sent to the ER based on their condition.
In addition, 98 percent of Nurse Health Line users reported the service as good or excellent, sharing that it provides helpful information, advice and education to callers. The Nurse Health Line not only gives callers peace of mind regarding their medical concerns, but it is also a convenient option for people seeking appropriate guidance related to their health and overall wellbeing. To access the Nurse Health Line, call (713) 338-7979 or toll-free at (855) 577-7979.
At Memorial Hermann, our mission is to create healthier communities, now and for generations to come. Our 6,500 affiliated physicians and more than 29,000 employees practice evidence-based medicine with a relentless focus on quality, safety and exceptional service for all patients, consumers and Health Plan members. Our efforts continue to result in national awards and recognition, including for our nationally acclaimed Accountable Care Organization. With a focus on providing enhanced access to care, Memorial Hermann offers a Virtual Clinic for digital access and has more than 265 care delivery sites conveniently located across the Greater Houston area, including our flagship hospital in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, which serves as the teaching hospital for McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. We have proudly served this community for 115 years, and we contribute more than $400 million annually through school-based health centers and other community benefit programs. Because at Memorial Hermann, the health of our community is always at the center of what we do. Learn more about Memorial Hermann Health System at at www.memorialhermann.org.
Founded in 1930, the Texas Hospital Association is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state’s hospitals and health care systems. Based in Austin, THA enhances its members’ abilities to improve accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of health care for all Texans. One of the largest hospital associations in the country, THA represents more than 650 of the state’s non-federal general and specialty hospitals and health care systems, which employ some 400,000 health care professionals statewide. Learn more about THA at www.tha.org or follow THA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/texashospitals.