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Houston will be home to the nation’s largest psychiatric hospital in 2021

The UTHealth Behavioral Sciences Center will be making history in Houston.

The facility will be the first public mental health hospital constructed in more than three decades, and will be the largest of its kind in the United States.

UTHEALTH MAKING WAVES IN RESEARCH: UT Health Science Center shows off new high-tech teaching facility

UTHealth enlisted the help of architecture firm Perkins and Will to design the mental health facility near the Texas Medical Center.

The future building will “consist of two buildings connected by a glazed bridge, surrounded by a tranquil green space,” as reported by Jillian Goltzman at Innovation Map.

The facility will be an educational hospital, where future physicians and specialists will be trained. Not only will the facility provide mental healthcare, but substance use intervention, treatment and medical care via integrated treatment programs, according to Innovation Map.

The infrastructure of the new building is being carefully crafted to assist with patient care. Light and sound were both important considerations in the development of the building.

The ultimate goal is to create a “peaceful environment for patients and staff.” The facility will have tunable light fixtures that adjust to the time of day, as well as noise reduction coefficient acoustics to reduce noise impact.

To help transition patients back into everyday life, the facility will include a therapy mall, that “can serve as a salon, boutique, fitness center, movie night spot, or music therapy space.”

The UTHealth Behavioral Sciences Center will be opening its doors in late 2021, and will include 264 inpatient beds.

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Teladoc Sues Rival Over Hospital Robot Patents

Teladoc Health Inc.,

TDOC 7.20%

the country’s largest publicly traded telemedicine provider, has sued rival

American Well Corp.

AMWL 0.07%

for alleged patent violations related to technology behind robot-like carts that connect hospitalized patients with specialists in real time via video.

The patent-infringement suit, filed Monday in a Delaware district court, relates to nine patents Teladoc says it owns. The filing asks for unspecified damages as well as action permanently barring Amwell from the alleged infringement.

The dispute between the two remote-care companies comes as competition intensifies in a corner of the U.S. health-care system that has received a jolt from regulatory changes aimed at easing access to care during the pandemic.

A federal action that allowed remote-care visits to be reimbursed by insurers at the same rate as in-person visits drove record numbers of patients to connect with doctors via telehealth services and videoconferencing tools like Zoom. Remote-care visits are now used for primary and urgent care as well as to keep patients with mild Covid-19 cases out of hospitals or monitor those with severe cases who have been discharged and are convalescing at home.

Telehealth boosters say virtual visits, which many patients were slow to adopt before the pandemic, promise to extend the reach of doctors and specialists beyond their physical footprint, which may improve accessibility of care in remote places.

The patents at issue in the Teladoc suit stem from a company called InTouch Technologies Inc. that it agreed to buy in January. Acquiring the remote-care company helped Teladoc build out its ability to connect patients in hospitals with specialists using video screens mounted on carts that can be wheeled around health-care facilities.

For example, a doctor connected via video through a tablet mounted on a cart could oversee an exam in a hospital room while instructing a nurse or colleague to collect relevant treatment and health data—and also talk to the patient. Some of these robot-like carts include digital stethoscopes and thermal cameras.

Demand Surges for Telemedicine

Such services offer an opportunity for telehealth companies to forge new relationships with large hospital systems and can help those organizations expand their offerings.

“Our team is in the process of reviewing the allegations. We believe that these claims lack merit and intend to defend against them vigorously,” said an Amwell spokeswoman.

A Teladoc spokesman said the company is confident its rival is infringing on the patents in the lawsuit.

Teladoc facilitated 2.7 million visits in the quarter ending June 30, while Amwell’s platform enabled 2.2 million, according to regulatory filings. Neither company has yet achieved profitability.

Teladoc wrote to Amwell last month notifying the company that some of its products, including telemedicine carts, infringed on its patents and asked the company to immediately stop selling, making and using them.

The patents relate to products that accounted for about 5% of Amwell’s revenue in 2019, the company said at the time. It offers Carepoint kiosks and carts in settings like emergency rooms and health clinics that also connect patients

Hundreds Of Backus Hospital Nurses Strike In Norwich

NORWICH, CT — Hundreds of Backus Hospital nurses are striking due to a dispute over pay and protective equipment, according to The Hartford Courant. The hospital and the Backus Federation of Nurses have been in contract talks since June.

The strike is expected to last two days.

A statement from the Backus Federation of Nurses reads: “After months of calling the nurses of Backus Hospital ‘heroes,’ management has resisted bargaining a fair contract, and instead chosen to violate our rights under the National Labor Relations Act. We’ve filed Unfair Labor Practice charges calling out Backus managers and Hartford HealthCare (HHC) executives on their intimidation and threatening of nurses for union activity. We’re taking a stand for what we need in these negotiations to be able to work safely during the next wave of this pandemic.”

The nurses’ union is also asking for additional accommodations for breastfeeding.

The hospital said it has offered wage increases of 12.5 percent over the course of the three-year contract, as well as additional time off for most nurses and a 2 percent reduction in health insurance premiums, according to The Courant.

The hospital was recently in the news due to a coronavirus outbreak of nine cases, including cases where nurses tested positive. It is believed this outbreak is linked to an earlier outbreak at Three Rivers Healthcare, a nursing home also in Norwich.

This article originally appeared on the Norwich Patch

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Woman Becomes Nurse Practitioner at Same Hospital Where She Was Once a Custodian: ‘Worth It!’

The Inspiring Story of How One Woman Went From Custodian to Trauma Surgery Nurse Practitioner

Jaines Andrades worked her way up at Baystate Medical Center and says “At one point, I dreamed of the position I have today.”

A Massachusetts woman is showing the world the true meaning of perseverance after she worked her way up from being a custodian at a local hospital to now treating its patients as a nurse practitioner.

Ten years ago, Jaines Andrades started her career at Baystate Medical Center working in environmental services, where she cleaned up operating rooms as a janitor, Meredith Corporation station WGGB reported.

Today, instead of cleaning the operating rooms, she is one of the leaders inside them as a certified nurse practitioner in trauma surgery, according to the outlet.

“At one point, I dreamed of the position I have today,” Andrades told WGGB of her incredible journey, which started when she was just 19 years old.

Baystate Health Jaines Andrades

In 2014 — four years after Andrades began her career at Baystate as a custodian — the Springfield resident earned her nursing degree, WGGB reported.

RELATED: Former Security Guard Becomes Medical Student at Louisiana Hospital Where He Worked

She continued working in environmental services until an opportunity to work as a registered nurse arose.

“I stayed, actually, in environmental, despite being a nurse because I didn’t immediately get a nursing job at Baystate, so I wanted to keep my foot in the door,” she explained to the outlet.

Baystate Health Jaines Andrades (L)

Eventually, Andrades decided to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner (NP) and once she completed her degree, was offered a job at Baystate yet again.

“Once I start something, I have to see it through, so if I’m going to be a custodian and then be a nurse, it only makes sense to be a nurse practitioner there,” she told WGGB of working at Baystate all these years.

RELATED: Man Graduates with Nursing Degree from University Where He Was Once a Janitor: ‘I Never Gave Up’

On Sept. 28, Andrades reflected on the accomplishment by posting a photo of her three work badges on Facebook. Though they all have her name and photo on them, each one has her different job title and shows Andrades’ career progression over the years.

“10 years of work but it was worth it! I’m a provider at the same place I use to clean,” she captioned the post, which has been shared over 10,000 times and liked over 12,000 times.

Reflecting on her career, Andrades told WGGB that having such diverse experiences at the Springfield medical center has kept her humble while interacting with others.

“I remember those times where I saw interactions as a custodian to remind myself that everyone’s human,” she explained. “Your academic success or your professional success, obviously, it deserves praise and you should be proud of that, but it doesn’t make you a better person.”

“As a human being,” she

Nurses at Backus Hospital in Norwich plan to strike Tuesday in protest over contract talks

Nurses at Backus Hospital in Norwich are set to strike Tuesday and Wednesday to protest what they say is the company’s refusal to negotiate a contract.

The hospital and Backus Federation of Nurses, part of AFT Connecticut that represents more than 400 nurses have been in contract talks since June. The two sides differ on compensation, improved distribution of personal protective equipment and recruiting and keeping new nurses, according to the union.

A spokeswoman for parent company Hartford HealthCare did not immediately respond to questions about staffing at Backus Hospital during the walkout. Donna Handley, president of the hospital, said earlier this month Backus will remain open during a strike and will work to reach an agreement.

Union President Sherri Dayton said recent negotiations led to progress on improved protective gear policies, expanded access for breastfeeding by new mothers and accountability for safe patient limits.

But the company has not yielded on calls by the union to improve recruitment and retention of nurses, the union said.

The union has organized a rally Tuesday at the hospital and will be joined by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and other labor leaders and elected officials.

Nurses at the not-for-profit hospital are seeking higher pay and more staff to relieve nurses who often work hours after the end of their shifts, the union said. They also say they are forced to reuse personal protective equipment kept in paper bags until it’s compromised or soiled and are demanding Hartford Healthcare keep a three-month supply of N95 masks.

Hartford HealthCare insists personal protective equipment is always available to patients and staff.

Stephen Singer can be reached at [email protected]


©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

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Lenox Hill Hospital Expansion Battle Resumes After Pandemic Pause

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — The battle over an ambitious expansion plan by Lenox Hill Hospital is showing signs of coming back to life after going dormant for several months while the hospital responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a community meeting last month, Lenox Hill officials revealed changes to the multibillion dollar expansion project, which notably scrapped a controversial, 490-foot-tall residential tower on Park Avenue that would have helped fund the expansion.

The hospital will present a revised plan Tuesday, during a meeting convened by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer between local leaders and hospital representatives.

Starting last year, neighbors rose up in fierce opposition to the project by owner Northwell Health, which was also slated to include a 516-foot hospital tower on Lexington Avenue.

Community Board 8 voted overwhelmingly last October to oppose the plan, and a preservation-oriented group called Committee to Protect Our Lenox Hill Neighborhood sprung up to fight the project, citing its “unacceptable” size and the environmental hazards brought on by a decade-long construction project.

This spring, the committee went on an abrupt hiatus, as the group acknowledged the poor optics of fighting a hospital’s expansion while its workers served on the front lines of a global pandemic.

“We want to explicitly thank Northwell Lenox Hill and all of the other New York City hospitals, especially the doctors, nurses and staff for the incredibly brave and selfless work they are doing to protect us all,” a message on the group’s website reads.

Now, the activity has resumed — on Sept. 15, Brewer’s task force between hospital and community leaders held its first meeting in months, where hospital leaders announced the removal of the apartment tower.

An initial rendering of Lenox Hill Hospital's planned expansion at Lexington Avenue and East 76th Street, presented to Community Board 8 in March 2019. (Northwell Health)
An initial rendering of Lenox Hill Hospital’s planned expansion at Lexington Avenue and East 76th Street, presented to Community Board 8 in March 2019. (Northwell Health)

“We will conclude meetings this month and we look forward to seeing Northwell’s proposal enter the public review process,” Brewer spokesperson Aries Dela Cruz said Monday.

Meanwhile, expansion opponents are pursuing a new angle of attack, rolling out statements from health care advocates questioning the project from an equity perspective.

Mark Hannay, director of the advocacy group Metro New York Health Care for All, suggested that Lenox Hill should focus its resources in the outer boroughs, which have been hard-hit by COVID-19, rather than expanding its presence on the hospital-rich Upper East Side.

“If the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has shown anything, it is that access to hospital care across our city is grossly unequal, and beds are much more needed in Lower Manhattan and the outer boroughs,” Hannay said in a statement. “Our public officials need to urge Northwell to rethink their entire plan for Lenox Hill and their larger role across our city.”

Anthony Feliciano, director of the Commission on the Public’s Health System, another community-based health advocacy group, suggested that the expansion was driven by financial concerns, rather than public health.

“This is about profit, not healthcare equity — and

Nym Health raises $16.5 million for its auditable machine learning tools for automating hospital billing

A little less than two years after raising its seed round, the Israeli-based Nym Health has added another $16.5 million to its cash haul so it can roll out its technology developing auditable machine learning tools for automating hospital billing.

The new financing came from investors including GV (the investment arm of Google previously known as Google Ventures) and will be used by the company to expand its technology development and sales and marketing efforts across the U.S.

Billing has been a huge problem for healthcare systems in the U.S., thanks to complicated coding that needs to be entered to ensure insurance providers pay for the services medical professionals give to patients.

Nym claims to have solved the problem by developing technologies that can convert medical charts and electronic medical records from physician’s consultations into proper billing codes automatically. The company uses natural language processing and taxonomies that were specifically developed to understand clinical language to determine the optimal charge for each procedure, examination and diagnostic conducted for a patient, according to Nym.

The company was founded in 2018 by two former members of Israel’s 8200 cybersecurity unit of the army. Adam Rimon and Amihai Neiderman both wanted to work on something together and Neiderman was set on doing something in the medical space involving natural language processing. Rimon had just finished a doctorate in computational linguistics so the move into charting and medical coding seemed natural.

“Because of our approach we can generate full audit trails,” said Neiderman. “We can explain how we understood everything in patient charts.”

Having automated processes that are also auditable is important for healthcare providers in case they need to provide justification to insurance companies for the services they performed.

Nym’s software can’t address fraud if physicians are padding their bills with services they didn’t offer, but it can provide an audit and justification for the services that a hospital coded for — and potentially wring more money for hospitals that lose out thanks to improperly coded bills. “On the medical decision-making we never intervene. We assume that the physician is trying to do their best and they’re sticking to the protocol,” said Neiderman. 

Interest in developing better billing systems for healthcare is high among venture investors, considering that coding related denials of payment can cost hospitals $15 billion, according to Nym. It’s a service that brought attention not just from GV, but of Bessemer Venture Partners, Dynamic Loop Capital, Lightspeed, Tiger Global, and angel investors including Zach Weinberg and Nat Turner from Flatiron Health.

“Inaccurate coding is bad for everybody,” says Ben Robbins, a venture partner at GV.

Nym charges between $1 and $4 per chart it analyzes, and is already working with around 40 medical providers in the U.S., according to the company.


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Super-speciality medicine block to come up at Wenlock Hospital

An old residential house, which hosted the district offices of tuberculosis prevention, leprosy and blindness prevention, on the premises of the Government Wenlock Hospital here will be demolished to construct a five-storeyed super-speciality medicine block of the hospital under the Smart City Mission.

Notices have been served on the district offices asking them to vacate from the old residential building.

The old residential building, which is behind the hospital’s Regional Advanced Paediatric Care Centre, belonged to the family of Albuquerque. It was in 1962 that the family gave this house to the District Health and Family Welfare Department for setting up the District Tuberculosis Centre. Subsequently, the district units of leprosy and blindness prevention were also opened in the building.

The District Tuberculosis Centre in Mangaluru was among the 400 centres that were opened across the country as part of the National Tuberculosis Prevention programme. Changes were made to the building to make space for stocking first line and second line drugs. Space was also created for holding training sessions for activists, health workers and doctors involved in the prevention of tuberculosis.

At present, the District Tuberculosis Centre is monitoring the health of 809 patients. While 685 patients are being seen in government hospitals, including those in the Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Centre in Wenlock Hospital, 124 patients are being seen by private doctors.

Mangaluru Smart City Limited will construct the super-speciality medicine block at an estimated cost of ₹ 35 crore. It will have a 30-bed ICU, 12 modular operation theatres and a 100-bed post operative ward.

The construction of this new block is part of MSCL’s project to develop the whole campus of the hospital. It has been proposed to widen the road connecting the hospital’s OPD block and the office of the Indian Medical Association, Dakshina Kannada.

The District Tuberculosis office and two other offices are being temporarily shifted to the District Drugs Warehouse. “We are making arrangements to have the District Tuberculosis Centre in the administrative block of the Wenlock Hospital,” Deputy Commissioner K.V. Rajendra told The Hindu.

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How one hospital organization is tackling racial bias in medicine

Mount Sinai is on a mission to provide quality health care for all.

This report is part of “Turning Point,” a groundbreaking series by ABC News examining the racial reckoning sweeping the United States and exploring whether it can lead to lasting reconciliation.

For years, studies have shown that people of color don’t get the same level of health care as white patients.

Some of these studies include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2018 study which found that Black babies have a higher chance of dying in their first year of life compared to white babies.

Similarly, a study from the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine found that Black and brown Americans waited longer for care in the emergency room than white Americans.

And in 2016, another study from the National Academy of Sciences found that Black Americans were undertreated for pain compared to white Americans.

It’s an issue that Kamilah Mitchell knows all too well. In 2017, Mitchell said she was in the emergency room for eight hours and was even given a breathalyzer test before getting treatment for uterine cancer.

“How do you trust a system that is ready to send you home?” Mitchell told “Good Morning America.” “Because for whatever reason, they don’t want to hear you.”

Mitchell is now a patient of Dr. Joy Cooper, an Oakland, California, doctor and co-founder of Culture Care, a group that connects Black women with trusted physicians.

“I always tell people that the health care system was not designed [with] Black women in mind,” Dr. Joy Cooper told “Good Morning America.” “J. Marion Sims, who’s considered the father of gynecology, actually performed surgeries on slaves with their master’s consent without anesthesia.”

But an initiative at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital is working to end racial bias in medicine.

Dubbed the Racial Bias Initiative, which is part of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, their mission is to provide “health care and education that is free of racism and bias.”

According to Dean David Muller of the Icahn School of Medicine, the initiative, which was launched in 2015, aims to focus on changing “how we function, how we recruit scientists and doctors, how we promote them and how we make decisions about resource allocation.”

“It’s the people and it’s the actual structure of the medical school,” added Dr. Leona Hess, director of strategy and equity education programs at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “What are the ways in which we set up conditions that either knowingly or unknowingly perpetuate racism?”

At the Icahn School of Medicine, they also host weekly discussions about racial bias in medicine called “Chats for Change,” where the Mount Sinai community can learn about a wide range of topics from racial trauma to racial injustice in medicine. Attendees can also take part in healing circles.

“There’s a lot of work going on

Chris Christie Says He’s Been Released from the Hospital 1 Week After Being Admitted for COVID-19

Dennis Van Tine/Sipa USA/AP Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Chris Christie has been released from the hospital, one week after contracting the coronavirus.

“I am happy to let you know that this morning I was released from Morristown Medical Center,” the former New Jersey governor wrote on Twitter Saturday morning. “I want to thank the extraordinary doctors & nurses who cared for me for the last week. Thanks to my family & friends for their prayers. I will have more to say about all of this next week.”

Christie, 57, first said he tested positive last Saturday, one day after President Donald Trump announced that he and wife, First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus.

Shortly after announcing his diagnosis, Christie revealed that he was at higher risk for coronavirus complications due to underlying health issues, including asthma, and shared that he had checked himself into the hospital as a precaution.

RELATED: Chris Christie Still Hospitalized with Coronavirus 6 Days After Saying He Was Infected: Reports

“In consultation with my doctors, I checked myself into Morristown Medical Center this afternoon,” the politician wrote in an Oct. 3 tweet. “While I am feeling good and only have mild symptoms, due to my history of asthma we decided this is an important precautionary measure.”

Christie added, “I am thankful for our hardworking medical professionals and look forward to coming home soon.”

RELATED: White House Grapples with COVID-19: Who Has and Has Not Recently Tested Positive

Christie, who served on Trump’s transition team and remains close with the campaign, helped the president prep for his first debate against Joe Biden in the days before Trump’s positive test late on Oct. 1.

Christie previously told ABC News that no one wore masks in the debate prep, and the president resisted using them despite health guidance that they are key preventative measures.

Others reportedly involved in that prep, including Trump advisers Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks, also tested positive. Many of those infected were also in attendance at a large Sept. 26 event in the Rose Garden for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, which has since been deemed a “super-spreader” event.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed