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NTSB Ruling, Jade Helm and Sobriety Theater: Thursday’s Show (June 11, 2015)

The National Transportation Safety Board this week issued its initial report on a March 2014 collision in the Houston Ship Channel between the bulk carrier Summer Wind and the Miss Susan tow in lower Galveston Bay, which led to an oil spill and temporary closure of the channel. While the accident occurred on a foggy day, the […]


The National Transportation Safety Board this week issued its initial report on a March 2014 collision in the Houston Ship Channel between the bulk carrier Summer Wind and the Miss Susan tow in lower Galveston Bay, which led to an oil spill and temporary closure of the channel.

While the accident occurred on a foggy day, the NTSB says there was a lot of blame to go around: the Miss Susan captain shouldn’t have tried to cross the channel ahead of the Summer Wind. The Summer Wind was moving too fast. And neither communicated effectively with the other — nor with the Houston/Galveston vessel traffic service.

On this edition of Houston Matters, we learn more about the report from News 88.7’s Dave Fehling. 

Also this hour: The Texas Medical Board recently implemented new rules on the use of telemedicine. The guidelines are fairly broad, but there is one scenario the board’s concerned about: a doctor who has no established relationship with a patient, no diagnostic data, and no way to follow up directly treating that patient remotely. That, as it turns out, is essentially what Dallas-based Teladoc does. The company is suing the board, arguing it’s artificially limiting supply and increasing prices. The Texas Medical Board says the rules are in place to ensure patient safety.

We discuss the use of telemedicine in Texas with Dr. Alexander Vo, Vice President of Telemedicine and Health Services Technology at UTMB Health. Then we turn to Dr. Albert Huang, surgical fellow at the Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation and Education, to learn about telementoring, in which an expert doctor guides another doctor from a distance using telecommunications.

Then: Starting in July, several states — including Texas — will host an 8-week U.S. military training exercise called Jade Helm 15. Gov. Greg Abbott was roundly criticized for what some characterize as pandering to conspiracy theorists by ordering the Texas State Guard to monitor our own military while it conducts the training. We discuss the politics surrounding Jade Helm.

We also talk with Dr. Tim Garson, Director of the Texas Medical Center’s Health Policy Institute, who recently initiated a Nielsen survey of Texans to learn about their attitudes towards health care. From the responses, he culled what he believes to be the 12 most interesting findings, and he’ll share them with us.

Plus: Paige Phelps reports on a production of Bill W. and Dr. Bob, a play about the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, which will be performed at the Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston on June 26.

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