UMMC TX President Syed Mohiuddin: A Frontline Hero for the Underserved

Houston: With the ever-changing landscape of America’s healthcare system, it is becoming more and more difficult to find healthcare providers and facilities that value patient care and satisfaction above everything else. One hospital stands out in Houston, Texas, even going as far as only requiring a photo ID for covid-19 testing. United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) has gone above and beyond to provide the Houston community with ethical, compassionate, and conscientious healthcare, especially to underserved, low-income, rural, uninsured and under-insured communities.

UMMC President  Syed Rizwan Mohiuddin was already an accomplished businessman and entrepreneur before he entered healthcare. “My inspiration to enter healthcare came from my mother being sick for four years,” said Mohiuddin. “I learned about the difficulties patients and their families go through when they have little or no health insurance. Learning more about how hospital systems and nursing care facilities work motivated me to work with the underserved communities.”

When the coronavirus pandemic began, UMMC was the first hospital to offer free drive-through testing. With the high demand and low supply of testing kits, medical supplies and staff were being funneled into hard-hit areas like New York City and Washington state, making it difficult for Texas hospitals to get a hold of vital resources to fight the pandemic. “Most hospitals were not equipped to handle drive-through testing and there were a lot of protocols they needed to follow. With us being a smaller hospital, we were able to come together very quickly in order to pick up supplies and testing kits,” said Mohiuddin.

Mohiuddin and his team were also quick to act in securing personal protective equipment (PPE) for their staff, a task daunting for many healthcare professionals throughout the United States. Through a special arrangement with FedEx, Mohiuddin was able to charter PPE directly from Hong Kong, China to provide necessary safety measures for his staff.

Mohiuddin has guided his staff to put patient care and satisfaction above all else, making sure that no one is turned away based on their gender , ethnicity,  economic or insurance status everyone should be treated with respect ,dignity and get quality care. The covid-19 pandemic was no different. “We became the first hospital in Houston to offer free testing to the public, requiring only a photo ID and no promise or obligation of payment.” Mohiuddin stated that UMMC was able to do this by billing to the insurances of the 10-15% patients who did have insurance that paid for testing. “We are able to use some of those payments to pay our bills and stay afloat during the pandemic; and some patients qualify for payment through the CARES Act.” For the rest of their patients, UMMC aborbs the cost in order to ensure no one in the community was limited by their ability to pay for testing.

Although many patients have cancelled or postponed elective procedures, UMMC has stayed busy, even working with the US Army to treat coronavirus patients. However, Mohiuddin stated that testing rates have decreased in recent weeks. “People are getting a little too comfortable and are not getting tested as much as they were before,” he said. “It is important to still get tested if you’re experiencing symptoms, especially if you have any underlying comorbidities.” UMMC is still offering free testing to the public and encourages people to get tested, if necessary.

On Sept. 4, UMMC held a farewell dinner for a team of medical professionals sent by the US Army to help battle the covid-19 pandemic. With Mohiuddin’s hard work and diligence, UMMC had an established relationship with the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC) and the Texas Department of Emergency Management in aiding underserved and rural communities in Southeast Texas. Through their work with SETRAC, State of Texas, state and members of Congress like Sheila Jackson Lee recommended UMMC to the US Army as a Covid-19 taskforce partner. “SETRAC recommended us to the US Army,” said Mohiuddin. “They left our facility pleased with their time and experience here. We provided them with their own wing of the hospital with about 40 beds and made sure to let them run things using their own protocols and methods of practice.”

With four locations and dozens of specialties, UMMC is currently working on a comprehensive cancer center to serve underprivileged patients. “Chemotherapy drugs are very expensive. If you don’t have good insurance, you have to go to a government-funded hospital,” said Mohiuddin. “By the time it gets to your turn, chances are your cancer has progressed to the next stage and your prognosis has worsened. We want to make cancer treatments more attainable to patients who can’t get into MD Anderson and give them the proper treatment in a timely manner.” The facility will be opening soon in Sugarland on Highway 6.

This isn’t the first time UMMC and Mohiuddin have opened a specialized facility to assist underserved and rural communities. In 2018, they opened the Texas Rapid Detox Center. With almost 12 million Americans misusing opioids, the scarcity of such recovery centers has been increasingly problematic for low-income areas. “When visiting California, I noticed how celebrities were able to use this method of detoxification to get themselves clean. However, the method is extremely expensive and insurance usually does not cover the cost,” Mohiuddin said. “So we decided to take this luxury process and offer it to everyone. Our success rate is 100%.”

With the guidance of Syed Mohiuddin, UMMC stands out through its effective management, optimized strategies, rapid initiatives, efficient team work, unmatched coordination and strong commitment for unparalleled healthcare. Through state of the art technology, top physicians, and remarkable compassion, UMMC has strived to exceed the expectations of its patients and their families. — Alsha Khan, Editor In Chief Pakistan Chronicle Weekly News