AHA: Kids and Teens Must Limit Salt Intake

Sodium intake in children and teens has reached an alarmingly high rate, according to the American Heart Association. A new study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the journal Pediatrics, found that kids between 8 and 18 consumed an average of 3,387 milligrams of sodium a day, which is the same amount consumed by adults and over double the 1,500 milligrams recommended by the AHA. For overweight and obese kids, this means a 74 percent increased risk of high blood pressure for every 1,000 milligrams of increased sodium a day. The increase is only… Full Story

Wheels Beginning to Roll on THR, Methodist Home Health Care Partnership

The home health care partnership between Texas Health Resources and Methodist Health System has been nudged into motion by its Louisiana-based partner. The two systems announced July 1 that they contracted with LHC Group of Lafayette, La., to deliver home health care to their patients. Texas Health Dallas has ended its hospital-based home health unit, and will be the first hospital to begin using the partnership, with Harris Methodist not far behind. The partnership plans to integrate home health into 12 hospitals over the next 16 months. Karen Wyble, LHC regional vice president of operations, said the partners have several initiatives… Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.05.12)

Nearly every major health insurer recorded declining earnings in the second quarter of 2012, mainly because of something that happened more often than they expected: patients going to see their doctors, according to an American Medical Association report.

A Baylor Health Care System director of epidemiology and his team are executing a large national multicenter study to assess the effectiveness of preventive and management strategies and their impact on long-term survival.

The American Heart Association reports that taking vitamin D supplements to compensate for vitamin D deficiency may not improve cholesterol in short term.

A Texas Presbyterian Hospital Dallas Chief nursing officer has been named one of only 20 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows from across the country for 2012. Full Story

Kindred Expands DFW Presence with Acquisition of Grapevine-based IntegraCare

Post-acute care powerhouse Kindred Healthcare has finalized its acquisition of Grapevine-based IntegraCare Holdings for $71 million. Both companies have significant operations in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. Kindred CEO Paul Diaz said the transaction “continues the expansion of our continuum of post-acute services in our key Dallas and Houston cluster markets … IntegraCare already has home health and hospice operations, which can serve our Dallas cluster market.” Kindred had 13 North Texas facilities, including seven long-term acute care hospitals and three transitional care and rehabilitation centers. IntegraCare has hospice and home health facilities in Dallas, Tarrant and Denton counties. It operates a… Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.04.12)

As part of a deal with the Department of State Health Services, Parkland Health & Hospital System will pay a $1 million fine for patient safety and quality-of-care deficiencies. The agreement resolves and discharges all potential enforcement actions for compliance issues before May 31, 2012

The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) is calling on physicians and other health care professionals to participate in the upcoming large free clinic for uninsured persons at the Dallas Convention Center, Hall A, 650 South Griffin St., on Sept. 29.

Twenty new North Texas schools are joining Troy Aikman and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas in the fight against childhood obesity. Find out which area schools are now part of the Healthy Zone School Recognition.

Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth will begin performing kidney transplants next month. The initiative will operate under the name Fort Worth Transplant Institute, with Dr. George Rofaiel as the surgical director and Dr. Bala Sankar as the medical director. Full Story

DFW Ranks No. 73 on “Best Cities for Successful Aging” List

Dallas-Fort Worth ranks 73rd among the 100 largest metropolitan areas for healthcare and amenities that promote successful aging, according to a California non-partisan think tank. The study, called “Best Cities for Successful Aging,” by the Milken Institute in Santa Monica, looked for “safe, affordable, engaging and connected” communities for people 65 and older that offer “quality healthcare and an active lifestyle with ready access to transportation, education, employment and recreation.” Researchers developed 78 indicators of success for seniors to rank the “best cities for successful aging.” The factors were grouped in eight categories—healthcare, wellness, living arrangements, transportation and convenience of… Full Story

Morning Rounds (08.09.12)

Parkland says it has completed about 70 percent of the tasks on its corrective action plan. Tenet‘s stock climbed nearly 3 percent Wednesday, after the company reported its 2Q results. PwC offers tips for treating patients like a valued customer. HHS: Electronic payments could save hospitals $9 billion. Children with Crohn’s Disease may benefit from new treatment.  

Cornerstone Healthcare Group Issues New Loan Facility; S&P Rates Outlook as “Stable”

Cornerstone Healthcare Group Holding has issued a $150 million term loan facility; proceeds will be used to refinance existing debt and boost cash reserves. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has assigned the company a “B” corporate rating; it also assigned a “B” rating to the credit facilities, with a recovery rating of “3.” Its rating outlook on the company is “stable.” “Our stable rating outlook reflects our expectation that Cornerstone will continue to seek acquisition opportunities and that weak reimbursement trends will constrain profitability,” S&P said. Here are additional statements from S&P relative to Cornerstone Healthcare’s outlook and performance: • The… Full Story

Government Questions Bills from 45 Percent of Texas Home Health Care Agencies, Urges Moratorium

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has recommended a Medicare moratorium on new home health care agencies in Texas. In a report issued Thursday, the OIG said nearly 40 percent of the nation’s suspicious billings for home health care originated in Texas. Forty-five percent of the state’s home health agencies (HHAs)—or 1,000 out of 2,212—had questionable billing. The Texas rate was five times greater than the national average, the OIG said. In a response to the report, Acting Medicare Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said she agreed with the recommendation to limit the number of agencies permitted by Medicare. “CMS …… Full Story

Morning Rounds (07.31.12)

Parkland to temporarily close its psychiatric ER for renovation while suspending longer-term care for the mentally ill. Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare announces $110 million expansion at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. Eleven North Texas companies and organizations make the cut in Modern Healthcare’s 2012 “Best Places to Work in Healthcare.” Weekend patients have a higher chance of dying than those admitted during the week, reports American Medical News. Is mandated physician retirement at a certain age a thing of the future?