Read this D Magazine Feature on Deep Brain Stimulation

If you’re like me—and you’re not, because you’re a doctor or nurse or something else brilliant—you’ll be surprised to hear that it’s actually possible and at times advisable for a surgeon to drill a hole in a person’s head while that person is still fully awake. I am still astonished by that little factoid. It’s one of many that made reporting this feature for D Magazine so fun. To accompany the magazine’s Collin County Doctors series—view the best of them, as selected by their peers, here—I wrote about deep brain stimulation, a procedure once tagged by Smithsonian as “the most… Full Story

New CMS Data Shows Dallas County Has the Seventh-most Enrollees for ACA Insurance

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid released final 2017 enrollment numbers relating to Affordable Care Act health insurance Tuesday, and the numbers confirm a report issued in February by an outside group. That report showed us that in Texas, Obamacare sign-ups dipped more than the national average last year. What’s interesting about CMS’ data is that you can download a set that splits it up by county. Doing that, we see that Dallas County has the seventh-highest number of consumers—106,923—who’ve selected a plan via the ACA exchange. About 36,000 of those are new consumers from the fall enrollment period, while… Full Story

A Couple North Texas Counties Pop Up on U.S. News & World Report’s New Healthiest Communities Rankings

Collin County and Denton County cracked the top 500 of an inaugural list from U.S. News & World Report that ranks the healthiest counties in the country. Collin County came in at No. 68, making it Texas’ highest-ranked entrant on the list. Denton County is the 225th-healthiest county, according to the report. The study, called “Healthiest Communities” and done in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, took into account 10 major categories, including things like equity, housing, and public safety. Nearly 3,000 communities were rated, and the top 500 were ranked. Collin and Denton counties rode high scores in the economy,… Full Story

Law Firms Are Bombarding Public Officials With Requests To Sue Opioid Makers

Law firms are reaching out to public officials across Texas in an effort to win the right to sue big pharmaceutical companies over opioids on their behalf, the Texas Tribune reported this week. The Trib’s report follows news of various other municipalities, including Dallas, filing suit against big pharma over the opioid crisis. More than 1,100 Texas died from opioids in 2016. The Trib‘s story starts with an anecdote from Collin County, where County Administrator Bill Bilyeu has resorted to tuning out the incessant requests, which he says aren’t tailored to Collin County’s needs.

Report: CMS’ Star Ratings Favor Specialty Hospitals

Higher accolades in Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ star ratings system tend to go to specialty hospitals rather than major teaching hospitals, according to Modern Healthcare. With the help of a consulting firm, the publication analyzed the most recent data and found that 61 percent of specialty hospitals received five stars—the highest-possible rating. Meanwhile, only 15 of the 172 major teaching hospitals, or about nine percent, received five stars. The star ratings is CMS’ attempt to boil down a lot of data into a format that consumers can digest. It’s based on a formula that takes into account up to… Full Story

An Expert Calls Texas “Ground Zero” For the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

The Texas Observer dives into the political influence wielded by anti-vaxxers in a story out today. The piece touches on the recent upswing in measles and mumps here in Texas and its apparent culprit: the skyrocketing number of parents choosing to forego vaccinations for their children. Non-medical exemptions, which the state refers to as “conscientious exemptions,” are up from 2,300 in 2003 to 53,000 in 2017. Among the varying opinions from legislators and others, one physician and vaccination expert calls Texas “ground zero” for the anti-vaccination movement. “We’re getting all the messages that Texas is on the verge of a… Full Story

Medical City Plano and Medical City Frisco Name New CFO

The chief financial officer for Medical City Denton will take on that job at Medical City Healthcare’s Plano and Frisco facilities, the hospitals said Monday. Jon Alford has been named CFO for 513-bed Medical City Plano and 54-bed Medical City Frisco. He’ll relent his duties at the Denton locale, where he’s led the finance team for the last two years. In all, Alford has nearly 15 years in healthcare finance across systems in Arkansas, North Carolina, Michigan, and Oklahoma. Alford is taking over for Melissa McLeroy, who moved on to become CFO of Medical City Dallas earlier this year. “Jon’s… Full Story

Texas Health Plano Saving More Limbs with Non-Traditional Procedure

More than two million Americans are living as amputees, and that’s expected to double by 2050. In an attempt to change the projection, Texas Health Plano is trying something different. A new and unique catheterization procedure can help salvage the legs of more would-be amputee patients. The multidisciplinary program includes emergency physicians, orthopedic surgeons, wound care physicians, podiatry, internal medicine and interventional cardiology. “The goal is to provide a cohesive plan of care for patients presenting to the ER or wound care center with ischemic ulcers of the legs (or) feet,” says Dr. Vijay Ramanath, medical director of Texas Health… Full Story

Struggling Gainesville Hospital Selects Plano Management Company

The North Texas Medical Center in Gainesville will come under the management of Plano-based Community Hospital Corp. in May, NTMC board members voted last week, according to KXII-TV. In December 2016, NTMC said it was filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy and taking on new management by Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Systems. Under the agreement, UHS was to take over operations and lease five buildings on NTMC’s campus. NTMC announced that UHS would discontinue the agreement in late January. NTMC reported losing more than $650,000 a month prior to the announcement, according to KXII. NTMC and Community Hospital Corp. landed on a… Full Story