Call center provides new health care resource for Houston-area residents

Residents of 10 Houston-area counties—Harris, Austin, Montgomery, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Matagorda, Waller and Wharton counties—have a new health care resource—a 24-hour nurse triage call center aimed at answering health questions and choosing an appropriate place for care.

"A primary goal of the Nurse Health Line is to improve access to care and ensure more efficient use of the emergency rooms in Houston, including Harris and the surrounding counties," said Carol Paret, chief community benefits officer for Memorial Hermann Health System.

The Nurse Health Line—sponsored by the Memorial Hermann Health System—provides a bilingual staff of certified nurses who can assess callers' health concerns and determine the necessary level of care regardless of health insurance status of primary care provider. Projections indicate that about 25 percent of calls will be triaged to lower-level, non-critical care settings, Paret said.

"When you don't feel well, the last thing you want to do is wait in a crowded emergency room," said Dan Wolterman, president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System. "This new, free community-wide resource let's you talk directly with a registered nurse who will ask questions, determine what level of care you need, then refer you to an appropriate resource."

The service is open to all residents living in Harris County and the greater Houston region, Wolterman said.

In addition to assessments and referrals, community health workers are available o provide information on free or low-cost resources and clinics for the uninsured and underinsured. The Nurse Health Line is not designed to assist with life-threatening conditions or emergencies, and all calls made remain confidential.

An estimated 46 percent of patients treated and released from Harris County emergency rooms are primary-care treatable, according to a study by the University of Texas School of Public Health.

"With visits to the emergency room at an all-time high in Houston, wait times have skyrocketed," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said.

Parker said the call center should help ensure that emergency and ambulatory services remain available for crises, and the initiative could result in a significant cost savings for the community.

The Nurse Health Line is a Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment, or DSRIP, program sponsored by Memorial Hermann as part of the Southeast Texas Regional Healthcare Partnership, which is anchored by the Harris Health System and includes a number of health care providers and organizations. DSRIP programs are funded through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The Nurse Health Line can be reached at 713-338-7979. For more information, visit


The Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce hosted the State of the State luncheon June 10. (Kim Giannetti/Community Impact Newspaper)
State Reps. Harless, Swanson reflect on 87th legislative session bills, events from pandemic to Winter Storm Uri

State Reps. Sam Harless and Valoree Swanson talked ERCOT and criminal justice reform, gun safety, senior living and redistricting at the June 10 Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce's State of the State luncheon.

Taco Bueno sells tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and more unique items, including the Muchaco, a taco made with a soft pita-like shell. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Taco Bueno coming to Katy and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Loblolly Market has grown in size each month since its conception in November. (Courtesy Loblolly Market)
'A truly local market': Loblolly Market provides space for Tomball community to sell, connect

Loblolly Market, located in an barn on an old dairy farm, will host nearly 40 vendors June 12.

Nevrslo Motorsports provides accessories and services for car enthusiasts. (Courtesy Nevrslo Motorsports)
Nevrslo Motorsports, a truck and vehicle modification shop, to host July 10 grand opening in Tomball

All truck, car and SUV accessories can be found at Nevrslo Motorsports, open July 10.

Sen. Brandon Creighton announced his re-election campaign for Texas Senate District 4 on June 10. (Courtesy Brandon Creighton)
'Unfinished business remains': Brandon Creighton aims at re-election for Texas Senate District 4

Creighton announced his plans to run for re-election to serve his third term for the 88th Texas Legislature.

Economist Elliot Eisenberg spoke about the economic recovery post-pandemic, saying this year's GDP growth will be the best since the 1950s. (Brooke Ontiveros/Community Impact Newspaper)
Economist explains housing demand, price booms in Texas, Greater Houston area

Eisenberg explained why home prices are rising at a June 9 Greater Houston Builders Association luncheon.

Officials with the Harris County Justice Administration Department said they identified racial disparities in citations and use of force by law enforcement, among other areas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County identifies racial disparities in use of force, citations from law enforcement agencies

Analysis in the report included racial demographics in instances of consent search, contraband discovery, traffic stops that led to arrests, types of citations or warnings, and use of force.

Historymaker Homes is proposing a 19-acre townhome community on Holderrieth Road. Historymaker Homes, a Dallas-based firm, also has a townhome community in Humble. (Courtesy Historymaker Homes)
Townhomes proposed for Holderrieth Road in Tomball

The homes will be available for sale, not for rent, according to Historymaker Homes.

Single-family home sales in the Houston area surged 48.2% percent compared to May 2020, when real estate was in the process of recovering from coronavirus-related lockdowns. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Houston-area home sales in May up nearly 50% versus last year

Single-family home sales were up 48.2% compared to a year ago, with 9,702 units sold versus 6,546 a year earlier.

The eatery opened in early June at 102 Market St., Tomball. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Skeeters Dogs & Desserts now open in Tomball

The eatery is open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.