Changes Ahead For Harris County Hospital District

The Harris County Hospital District could soon have a new name. The district board also approved a new budget of $1.1 billion.

The board approved a name change for the Harris County Hospital District, to reflect the broad services beyond hospital
care provided by the district.

District President David Lopez says the name change to Harris Health System isn't official yet.

"For us it's more than just a name change. So we're not going to do anything with that until we have an opportunity to get with our staff and talk about what we need and what we want going forward. If we're going to market ourselves differently, then we need to make sure that the culture that we have here is consistent with what we want."

Lopez says they'll do a top to bottom survey and meet with staff over the course of several months to get feedback about
changing the name and focus of the district.

Board members approved Lopez's $1.1 billion budget, which is only slightly higher than last year's. He says the budget should leave them revenue neutral or just slightly in the surplus.

"In that budget we've projected some growth in our outpatient activity. Obviously with the changes in health care that are on the horizon, our strategy of emphasizing primary care, prevention and wellness continues. We're going to maintain our inpatient volume pretty much steady, but our outpatient volume will grow significantly as we add more capacity on the outpatient side."

Lopez says about a quarter of people in the Houston Metro area, or 1.2 million are uninsured and need access to reliable
clinics and preventive care. The hospital district budget must be approved by Harris County Commissioners.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...