Full ACA Expansion Would Cut Local Uninsured Rate By Half, Study Finds

Full expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Texas would cut the uninsured rate in the four-county Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area by more than half, according to an estimate by two Rice University demographers. A recent U.S. Census Bureau survey found that 23 percent of Texans lacked health insurance in 2011, which represents the nation’s leading uninsured rate. Demographers Steve Murdock and Michael Cline assert that about 3 million out of 5.9 million uninsured Texans would have insurance in 2014 if the state embraced health reform. Locally, that would mean more than 600,000 in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton… Full Story

Baylor Cancer Hospital Named for T. Boone Pickens, Who Pledges $10 Million

Baylor’s new cancer hospital now has a new name: Baylor T. Boone Pickens Cancer Hospital. The entrepreneur pledged to give $10 million to support cancer research at Baylor Health Care System. The recently completed, 175,000 square-foot Baylor T. Boone Pickens Cancer Hospital is the first dedicated cancer hospital in North Texas. “No matter what industry you’re in, from energy to healthcare, it takes bold people who have vision, a commitment to excellence and a passion for efficiency to reach new levels of success,” said Pickens at a ceremony Monday. “Baylor brings that attitude and commitment to providing health care to… Full Story

VHA Inc. Sees Ongoing Growth, Plans Headquarters Move

Growing healthcare supply-chain and analytics company VHA Inc. will consolidate its North Texas operations next fall, taking occupancy of a former Associates Corp. headquarters facility in Irving. The sprawling 300,000-square-foot campus, built in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has two addresses on East John Carpenter Freeway: 205 and 209. The property owner, Wolverine Equities, plans to spend $5 million renovating the space. Rodney Waller, senior director of risk management, said VHA did a market analysis of Dallas-Fort Worth, and it clearly showed the ideal location was Las Colinas. “It’s really exciting. The interior will be completely demolished—it’s almost like… Full Story

A Breakdown of Tenet’s Sustainability Report

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare has released its  2011 corporate sustainability report. The company was recognized by Global Report Initiative as meeting GRI’s Application Level C Guidelines, which indicates how many disclosure requirements Tenet achieved in its report. The company believes sustainability is “about creating shared value for our patients, physicians, employees and shareholders” said Trevor Fetter, Tenet president and CEO, in a statement. “This commitment is crucial to our success as a corporation, employer, and steward of the communities in which we serve.” Highlights from Tenet’s report for 2011 include: Tenet gave $530 million in care to the uninsured, paid $126… Full Story

Ozone Days By County

Air pollution is a deeply underappreciated risk to health. More than half of the U.S. population lives in areas where either the ozone or particle pollution—or both—is often dangerous to breathe. Ozone is the primary ingredient of smog. Unlike the beneficial ozone layer in the upper atmosphere that shields the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, ground-level ozone attacks lung tissue by reacting chemically with it. Ozone is formed when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) come in contact with heat and sunlight. NOx are emitted by power plans, motor vehicles and other sources of high-heat combustion. VOCs sources include motor… Full Story

Dallas-Based DSG Benefits Group Merges with Atlanta Firm

Dallas-based DSG Benefits Group has merged with Atlanta-based Digital Insurance, the nation’s largest employee benefits-only agency. The Dallas group will operate under the banner of Digital Benefit Advisors. The merger will give Digital its first presence in Dallas. DSG Benefits Group has grown rapidly since being established in 2004. It represents hundreds of employers, insures tens of thousands of employees, and is licensed in more than 30 states. “Digital Insurance has the resources to help our company provide services that are unprecedented in our marketplace,” said David Goldfarb, founder and president of DSG Benefits Group, in a statement. “Its investment… Full Story

Parkland Psychiatric Ward Reopens After Renovations

Patients have returned to an upgraded psychiatric emergency department today at Parkland Memorial Hospital, following a month-long renovation. The observation facility doubled in size, from 595 square feet to 1,197 square feet. As part of renovation, there was a reduction in the number of seclusion rooms. In first half of 2011, the average seclusion rate was 15.2 percent. The average for the past three months is now 0.69 percent; more than a 95 percent decrease. Patients also have access to areas where they can enjoy quiet time away from others but are still in an open, safe environment. “The improvements… Full Story

CHRISTUS Launches Mobile Healthcare App

Irving-based CHRISTUS Health has launched a free mobile app to provide users with 24/7 access to healthcare information. Available for both iPhone and Android phones, through iTunes and Google Play, the app offers the following features: • First aid tips • Find a doctor • Find a location • Symptom navigator The mobile app is designed to help patients get medical information whenever and wherever they need it, said Ernie Sadau, CHRISTUS Health president and CEO, in a statement: “By providing dependable health information on the go, we can continue to further our mission through all those touched by our… Full Story

Texas Oncology, Baylor to Build Area’s Second Proton Beam Therapy Center in Irving

Dallas-Fort Worth will have competing proton-therapy facilities by 2015. Dallas-based Texas Oncology, supported by McKesson Specialty Health; and Baylor Health Enterprises, an affiliate of Baylor Health Care System, announced Friday it will build a $105 million proton therapy facility in Irving. As D Healthcare Daily reported in July, UT Southwestern plans to operate a 100,000-square foot proton therapy center near its Medical District campus in Dallas. The $225 million center is being built and funded by San Diego-based Advanced Particle Therapy (ATP). The company hopes to break ground on a 4.5-acre site in early 2013. The three-story building, which will have… Full Story

Parker University Adds Three Healthcare Programs

Dallas-based Parker University will offer three new degree programs beginning in January. It’s the first phase in a plan to develop 12 new programs through 2017. Students will be able to pursue a Radiologic Technology Associate’s degree, Health Information Management bachelor’s degree (online), or Business Administration Master’s (healthcare focus, online) degree. The additions are being made in response to high demand among students, an increase in industry salaries, and changes in occupational healthcare trends, according to a Parker spokesperson.