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A Texas Children’s Hospital spokesperson told PolitiFact that all Texas Children’s Pediatrics clinics accept patients regardless of vaccination status.
Texas recently enacted a new law that prohibits physicians who care for patients enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program from refusing care based on the patient’s vaccination status.
Some social media users are criticizing Texas pediatric clinics over their purported vaccination policies for children.
A Dec. 13 Instagram post showed a screenshot of a headline reading, "Texas Children’s Hospital pediatric clinics announce they will no longer treat unvaccinated children." In a second screenshot, the post shows a supposed announcement from Texas Children’s Hospital about this policy.
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
(Screengrab from Instagram)
The headline in the Instagram post comes from The Houston Comical, a newsletter that in its Dec. 6 issue shared screenshots of an X post and headlines about Texas Children’s Hospital.
The X post quotes the supposed announcement about Texas Children’s Hospital’s pediatric clinic vaccination policy: "We respect parents’ right to make medical decisions for their children. If you do not consent to having your child vaccinated against these diseases, we respectfully ask that you establish care with another provider who is comfortable caring for an unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated child within the next sixty (60) days."
This post was shared Dec. 6 by Mary Talley Bowden, an ear, nose and throat specialist who Houston Methodist hospital officials said was suspended in 2021 from her job for spreading COVID-19 misinformation and refusing to treat vaccinated patients.
In April, the Texas Medical Board filed a formal complaint against Bowden for violating the standard of care and acting unprofessionally in 2021 when she prescribed medication to a hospitalized COVID-19 patient who was not under her care.
A Texas Children’s Hospital spokesperson told PolitiFact this claim about a vaccination policy is untrue.
The hospital’s website does not say patients must be vaccinated against certain diseases. Neither do news articles nor announcements about a vaccination policy at Texas Children’s Hospital’s pediatric clinics.
We found a Jan. 22, 2022, X post that claimed to show a Texas Children’s Hospital letter about a vaccination policy at two of its pediatric clinics in Houston. The letter appears to have been signed by physicians and nurse practitioners at the Humble-Atascocita and Humble-Kingwood pediatric clinics. (Bowden’s X post used language similar to what was written in this letter.)
Lead Stories reported that it asked Bowden about the email referred to in the X post. Bowden told the fact-checking organization that she had seen the email but she declined to provide evidence to corroborate it. PolitiFact also asked Bowden to verify her X post’s source, but did not hear back before publication.
When asked whether the letter is authentic, a Texas Children’s Hospital spokesperson said all Texas Children’s Pediatrics clinics accept patients regardless of vaccination status.
Including the Humble-Atascocita and Humble-Kingwood locations, there are 68 Texas Children’s Pediatrics clinics in the Houston and Austin areas.
Texas lawmakers have recently restricted the scope of vaccine mandates in health care settings. As of September, Texas physicians who care for patients enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program are prohibited from refusing care based on the patient’s vaccination status. And in November, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a broad ban on COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employees of private businesses, including hospitals, in Texas.
We rate the claim that Texas Children’s Hospital pediatric clinics announced "they will no longer treat unvaccinated children" False.
The Houston Comical newsletter, "Texas Children’s Hospital Pediatric Clinics Announce they Will no Longer Treat Unvaccinated Children (archived)," Dec. 6, 2023
Texas Legislature, "House Bill 44," June 12, 2023
Texas Legislature, "Senate Bill 7," Nov. 10, 2023
X post, Jan. 22, 2022
Texas Children’s Pediatrics clinic locations, accessed Dec. 18, 2023
Texas Medical Association, "State Law Banning Refusal of Care to Certain Unvaccinated Patients Takes Effect," Sept. 26, 2023
The Texas Tribune, "Sweeping ban on COVID-19 vaccine mandates by private employers heads to governor," Oct. 31, 2023
The Houston Chronicle, "Texas Medical Board: Houston doctor violated laws with COVID care, acted unprofessionally," June 10, 2023
Texas Medical Board’s formal complaint against Mary Talley Bowden, April 25, 2023
USA Today, "Texas children's hospital says it treats patients regardless of vaccination | Fact check," Dec. 18, 2023
Lead Stories, "Fact Check: Texas Children's Hospital Did NOT Announce It Would 'No Longer Treat Unvaccinated Children' in December 2023," Dec. 15, 2023
KHOU, "VERIFY: No, Texas Children's isn't forcing parents to vaccinate their kids to be treated," Dec. 7, 2023
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