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Press Releases

Tyler, Texas (January 8, 2021) — UT Health East Texas has filled all available appointments for COVID-19 vaccines designated for high-risk members of the public.

"We had an overwhelming response to the availability of the vaccine, which allowed us to fill all slots," said Dr. Tom Cummins, chief medical officer for UT Health East Texas. "We hope the state will see the great interest by the community and allocate us additional vaccine soon."

UT Health is the only healthcare system in East Texas to be selected by the Texas Department of State Health Services...

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Tyler, Texas (January 8, 2021) — UT Health East Texas on Monday will begin providing COVID-19 vaccines to high-risk members of the public. Vaccines will be given by appointment only.

The vaccine will be available to those who meet the Texas Department of State Health Services criteria for Phase 1A or 1B of the state’s vaccine allocation plan. Phase 1A includes healthcare workers, first and last responders and residents of long-term care facilities; Phase 1B includes those 65 and older and those 18 and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them...

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Tyler, Texas (January 6, 2021) — Patients seeking treatment at UT Health emergency rooms in Tyler now may begin the check-in process online before they arrive to minimize time spent waiting in the ER.

Patients already are able to view wait times for emergency rooms online at, and they now can use that same web address to begin check-in prior to their arrival. Online check-in is available for emergency rooms at UT Health Tyler, 1000 S. Beckham...

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COVID-19 vaccines to caregivers

Tyler, Texas (January 5, 2021) — Three weeks after receiving the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to reach East Texas, UT Health East Texas caregivers again rolled up their sleeves Tuesday to receive the second...

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With his left thumb up as the vaccination needle was withdrawn from his right arm, Gary Viljoen proclaimed, “Nothing to it,” as he received the first COVID-19 vaccine administered in East Texas.

Viljoen, director of rehabilitation services at UT Health North Campus Tyler, is actively involved on the COVID-19 units as a physical therapist and has seen firsthand the devastating effects of the virus on his patients.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before in my 20-year career span, so I am hoping this (vaccine) is the light at the end of the tunnel,” Viljoen said. “I feel...

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Highlighting its nationally recognized achievements in patient safety and quality, UT Health North Campus Tyler was named a Top Teaching Hospital nationally by The Leapfrog Group. Announced today, the Leapfrog Top Hospital award is widely acknowledged as one of the most competitive awards American hospitals can receive. The Top Hospital designation is bestowed by The Leapfrog Group, a national watchdog organization of employers and other purchasers widely acknowledged as the toughest standard-setters for health care safety and quality.

“At a time in our country where we are...

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The deadline to join UT Health East Texas EMS is approaching. Open enrollment will close Nov. 20. Membership costs $60 for one year; current members can renew for $50.

“Membership in UT Health EMS protects insured members from costly out-of-pocket expenses because it prepays any portion of the ambulance charges not covered by insurance or Medicare, as long as it is deemed medically necessary by their insurance,” said Jimmy Zednick, UT Health EMS director of operations.

The average cost of an ambulance transport is $750 and most insurance, including Medicare, will not cover...

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Tracy O’Daniel Earns Patient Safety Credential

The Certification Board for Professionals in Patient Safety (CBPPS) recently recognized Tracy O’Daniel, UT Health East Texas’ Division Vice President of Quality, as a Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS).

“Earning this credential attests to Tracy’s professional competency in patient safety science and application,” said Patricia McGaffigan, RN, MS, CPPS, President, CBPPS. “This achievement demonstrates her expertise in this critical discipline and positions her among those committed to and leading patient safety work.”

O’Daniel earned this credential in part by...

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UT Health East Texas launched the “Don't Bug Me” flu awareness campaign to stress the importance of preventing the spread of the flu at a time when COVID-19 is already impacting hospital capacity.

“The combination of flu, cold, other illnesses and COVID-19 could put a strain on our health care system in East Texas,” said Moody Chisholm, president and CEO of UT Health East Texas. “We know that we will have COVID-19 patients throughout the upcoming flu season, and what we can do together to try to minimize a potential surge in hospital capacity is practice the techniques that we talk...

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UT Health Tyler, UT Health North Campus Tyler and UT Health Jacksonville were awarded an ‘A’ in the fall 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a national distinction recognizing the hospitals’ achievements protecting patients from harm and providing safer healthcare.

The Leapfrog Group is an independent national watchdog organization committed to health care quality and safety. The Safety Grade assigns an ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ ‘D’ or ‘F’ grade to all general hospitals across the country and is updated every six months. It is based on a...

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