Compass Points Toward a Consumer-Directed Healthcare Future

High-deductible plans are expected to rule the health-insurance landscape by the end of the decade. According to a recent National Business Group on Health survey, large employers already consider consumer-directed health plans and wellness initiatives to be more effective at containing costs than shifting costs to employees. A Rand Corp. study predicted that half of all U.S. workers with employer-sponsored insurance would have high-deductible plans within a decade, which could reduce annual healthcare spending by about $57 billion. In theory, high-deductible plans encourage those with employer-sponsored insurance to become more prudent healthcare shoppers. In reality, consumers continue to wander aimlessly through… Full Story

Conversation With Parkland Health & Hospital System Interim CEO Bob Smith

Parkland Health and Hospital System continues its quest for a new CEO, narrowing the field to four candidates earlier this month. They include current executive vice president and CFO Walter (Ted) Shaw, and three out-of-state candidates. Running the show until then is Bob Smith, interim CEO, who took over in September. A former vice president of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp., Smith came out of retirement to lead Parkland through the end of December, or until a permanent CEO is found. He talked with D Healthcare Daily about the changes that are under way at Parkland, and what lies ahead.  Q:… Full Story

Leveraging Technology in a Time of Unprecedented Change

Seasoned executives confirm that we are entering into one of most tumultuous times in the history of healthcare. When Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, declares that, “I have never seen so much change occur in such a short period of time. It is unprecedented and we’d better be ready.” Well, we need to be ready! Not only are we experiencing a virtual explosion of new technology that combines high-speed image processing and technological capacity, we are experiencing breakthroughs in genome research that are beginning to enter our oncology treatment through clinical trails. Yes, indeed, we are entering an… Full Story

Irving Scoring Big in Healthcare Economic Development

In the healthcare sector, Irving is on an economic-development hot streak. In its fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the city: Landed Christus Health headquarters. 800 jobs. Retained VHA after it looked around for a new headquarters complex. 950 jobs. Became the second DFW site for a proton beam therapy facility to be built by US Oncology. 50 jobs Won a new center for Connextions, a UnitedHealth Group subsidiary. 800 jobs. The city also has been the beneficiary of relocations, expansions, or retention of other healthcare companies in the past three years such as Molina Healthcare, AMN Healthcare, MedSynergies, Ecolab, HMS,… Full Story

Inadequate Social Support By County

Poor family support, minimal contact with others, and limited involvement in community life are associated with increased disease and disability, as well as premature death. Social support networks have been identified as powerful predictors of health behaviors, suggesting that individuals without a strong social network are less likely to participate in healthy lifestyle choices. Those who say they have family and friends they can count on to help them in times of trouble are more likely to be satisfied with their personal health. Collin County and Denton County residents have high levels of social support. Tarrant County scores better than… Full Story

Report: Premium Support Would Boost Costs for Dallas County Medicare Beneficiaries

Nearly all Dallas County Medicare beneficiaries would have paid higher premiums to stay in their current programs in 2010 if seniors were given a fixed amount of money to purchase insurance, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study. Dallas County seniors in the traditional Medicare program would have paid an additional $78 a month, while the average additional premium for those enrolled in Medicare Advantage programs would have been $104 a month, the study found. There are about 240,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Dallas County. Dallas is considered a high-cost county for Medicare, defined as such because it is among the… Full Story

2012 Dallas Employer Health Plan Cost Increases Lowest in Six Years, Study Finds

Dallas companies and employees had the lowest healthcare premium increases in six years in 2012, according to an analysis by the consulting firm Aon Hewitt. Dallas also outperformed most other U.S. metropolitan areas in taming employee costs. The average Dallas healthcare plan increased 3.4 percent in 2012, down considerably from 9.7 percent in 2011. Nationally, the cost increase was 4.5 percent. Aon Hewitt estimated a 6.2 percent increase in Dallas in 2013, which is comparable to the national estimate of 6.3 percent. In dollar terms, the average healthcare premium costs for major Dallas employers increased from $10,847 in 2011 to… Full Story

Christus Health Hiring Hundreds at New Corporate Headquarters in Irving

It would be difficult to envision a bigger healthcare economic development plum than Christus Health. The 10th largest nonprofit hospital system in the country decided earlier this year to consolidate its headquarters in Irving. It previously had four corporate offices—two in Houston and one each in San Antonio and Irving. The company has 32 hospitals. Locally, the Christus Health headcount will skyrocket from 70 employees to more than 1,000 by the second quarter of 2013. The company has held two job fairs locally to hire more than 600 employees to replace those who chose not to relocate. Ernie Sadau, president… Full Story

Sexually Transmitted Diseases By County

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that individuals can get from having sex with someone who has the infection. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasite,s and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, HIV/AIDS, HPV, syphilis and trichomoniasis. Most STDs affect both men and women, but in many cases the health problems they cause can be more severe for women. If a pregnant woman has an STD, it can cause serious health problems for the baby. Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the risk of catching… Full Story

Lockton Dunning Benefits Makes “Game-Changer” Acquisition

Dallas-based Lockton Dunning Benefits has acquired Excelsior Solutions, a pharmaceutical and healthcare consulting company out of Minneapolis that represents more than 16 million people. “With this acquisition, we were looking for a game-changer that could bring extensive clinical and prescription benefit management consulting expertise not previously available to employers in our market,” said Lockton Dunning Benefits CEO Bruce Sammis, in a statement. “The tremendous experience of the Excelsior Solutions team, combined with their market influence, tools and resources, will enable our client service teams to more actively and effectively manage prescription benefit costs for our clients.” Former Excelsior Solutions President… Full Story