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Reflecting On Discussing Death As CMS Proposes End Of Life Counseling

Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed changes to the 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, including paying for the controversial end-of-life counseling. Six years ago, a proposal for Medicare to cover end-of-life counseling touched off a political storm leading to discussions of “death panels.” When Medicare finally announced it will make the change, reaction is now largely one of U.S. acceptance. Full Story

The Physician Shortage In Texas: UT Southwestern’s Bruce Meyer On What’s Fueling It

Editor’s Note: The impending physician shortage has now bubbled to the surface. And politicians both at the state and federal levels are doing something about it. Texas is facing a broad need, particularly in the wide-open rural counties and in urban sectors where poverty is rampant and infrastructure is lacking. Statewide, there are about 186 physicians for every 100,000 residents, according to the Texas Medical Association. The national average is 236. But the need is more acute in different sectors of the state. Fifty-seven percent of the state’s practicing physicians operate in the five large urban counties of Bexar, Dallas, Harris, Travis, and Tarrant… Full Story

The Physician Shortage In Texas: Baylor S&W’s Joel Allison On Efforts To Fund More Medical Residency Slots

The impending physician shortage has now bubbled to the surface. And politicians both at the state and federal levels are doing something about it. Texas is facing a broad need, particularly in the wide-open rural counties and in urban sectors where poverty is rampant and infrastructure is lacking. Statewide, there are about 186 physicians for every 100,000 residents, according to the Texas Medical Association. The national average is 236. Full Story

The Amount Of Underinsured In Texas Is Increasing

We frequently discuss the uninsured population, but what about the “underinsured?” Perhaps you are asking, “Just what is the underinsured?” They are residents with healthcare coverage crippled by out-of-pocket health costs that are 10 percent or more of household income. That bar is lowered to 5 percent or more of household income for low-income families. Full Story

Reflecting On The Value Of Patient, Family Feedback For Hospital Safety

By Dr. Keith C. Kosel and Kellie Goodson Earlier this year, more than 1,000 hospital safety leaders convened in Dallas at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s 16th Annual International Summit to explore how to engage patients and communities to improve care delivery and patient safety. Other industries have been using the voice of the customer as a mechanism for improvement for years, but this is new for many in the health care industry. What is so powerful about getting the patient and family perspective is that they are giving insights about the care they received, as opposed to relying on… Full Story

How Abuse Deterrent Medications Are Impacting Opioid Overdoses

In 2011, the number of deaths associated with opioid overdose reached nearly 17,000 while the amount of emergency room visits exceeded 490,000. The FDA considers the development of abuse-deterrent formulations (ADF) to be a public health priority and is encouraging research to do so. The reason why is clear: Some have proven to save hundreds of millions of dollars while slicing reports of abuse nearly in half. Full Story

Analyzing The Public Exchange’s Second Year: How Is It Faring In North Texas?

Prices in the second year of the public exchange in North Texas are still low, shattering the predictions of many experts. The dramatic cost increases that many feared, and the concern that insurance carriers would not participate, never materialized. On the contrary, premiums for Year 2 of the exchange are competitive and the number of participating insurance carriers has increased. Full Story

Be Sure To Ask Your Doctor If The New Fad Medicine Is Right For You

You’ve probably seen ads on television for the latest new medications that will cure whatever ails you. They usually feature happy, smiling people living active, healthy lifestyles, presumably because they used the medicine being peddled. The ads typically include a lengthy recitation of possible side effects. Full Story