Ben Taub system COO is out after 2 recent emergency department deaths

Ericka Brown, MD, COO of Houston-based Harris Health System, is no longer employed by the system, a spokesperson confirmed via email to Becker's Hospital Review. The news comes on the heels of two patient deaths at the system's Ben Taub Hospital, also in Houston.

When asked about the nature of and reason for her departure, a Harris Health System spokesperson referred Becker's to the following statement:

"Harris Health does not comment on personnel matters. I can confirm Dr. Brown is no longer a member of the Harris Health staff."

In an Aug. 13 email to staff obtained by the Houston Chronicle, Harris Health System CEO George Masi wrote that Dr. Brown had "separated from service."

Dr. Brown became COO of the system in 2017, prior to which, she lead Ben Taub Hospital.

Dr. Brown was tasked with improving and correcting processes after the deaths of two patients, both found in bathrooms in the emergency department, at Ben Taub Hospital. The first patient was found dead in April, after which CMS regulators inspected the hospital and found serious care deficiencies.

Harris Health submitted a plan of correction to CMS in June, but another patient was found dead in the ER bathroom July 16. Federal and state agencies will be returning to Ben Taub to assess the hospital's care processes in the next few weeks.

Harris Health System executive Michael Hill steps in as interim COO.

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