Controversial Wellness and Multi-Level Marketing Company AdvoCare Makes a Change At the Top

The Plano-based wellness and multi-leveling marketing company AdvoCare International will get a new chief executive officer. The firm named Brett Blake this morning, replacing Brian Connolly. I’m bringing this to your attention in part because it gives me a reason to point you toward a story that’s worth your time. AdvoCare relies on hundreds of thousands of independent sales people to distribute its products, which include things like meal-replacement shakes, energy bars, supplements, and skin care products. It’s assembled an impressive, albeit somewhat random, cast of celebrity endorsers that range from football stars Drew Brees and Jason Witten, to golf’s Lee… Full Story

Report: The Nursing Shortage Is Hitting Texas Hard

A new report says Texas is among the states most severely hit by the nursing shortage. Moody’s Investors Service says the issue is most prevalent in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California, where growing and aging populations are combining with low numbers of new nurses entering the workforce. The report’s overarching finding is that not-for-profit hospitals are seeing “extreme” nursing shortages that could impact expenses and contribute to personnel issues for at least three to four more years. It’s a supply and demand issue, and it’s led hospitals to up pay, add sign-on bonuses, and attach fringe benefits, hence the crunch on… Full Story

Children’s Health Transplants Its 250th Heart

A high school freshman from Fort Worth was the recipient of the 250th heart transplant at The Heart Center at Children’s Health. The milestone procedure took place on Thursday, March 1. Children’s Health’s pediatric heart transplant program—the only one in North Texas and one of just two in the state—is celebrating its 30-year anniversary this year. In addition to hearts, the center does liver and kidney transplants. Overall, it’s performed more than 1,300 organ transplants in children. “This is a proud moment for the Heart Center as we reflect on the lives transformed through our heart transplant program,” said Dr.… Full Story

Sunspire Health Rolls Out Rehab Geared at Pro Athletes, CEOs, and Others in “High-Intensity” Careers

Sunspire Health – Texas is rolling out an addiction rehab program targeted specifically at careers they call “high-intensity,” ranging from elite athletes to healthcare professionals to high-visibility executives. Sunspire, a nationwide network of addiction centers with an HQ in New Jersey, says the Professionals Treatment Program will offer discreet and individualized care. Here’s how a news release sent out on Wednesday broke it down: Professionals operating in high-intensity careers can often be at risk for substance (e.g., narcotics, alcohol) or power (e.g., sexual or physical boundaries) abuse or addiction. This might include healthcare professionals, elite athletes, high-visibility executives and other… Full Story

Moody’s Issues Zero Texas Upgrades in 2017 as Ratio of Upgrades to Downgrades Dips

The ratio of upgrades to downgrades issued to not-for-profit hospital systems by Moody’s looked worse in 2017 than it did the year prior, and the Lone Star State failed to register a single upgrade, according to a new report by Moody’s Investors Service. North Texas played home to a pair of downgrades in 2017, the only two in Texas last year. They were Tyler-based East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System and Sulphur Springs-based Hopkins County Hospital District. Overall, Moody’s downgraded 41 hospital systems in 2017 versus just 12 upgrades. The ratio of 3.4-to-1 compares to 1.5-to-1 in 2016, when… Full Story

A Second North Texas Baby Is Born to a Mom Who Received a Uterine Transplant

Baylor Scott & White Health said this week that a second mother has given birth after receiving a uterine transplant through its ongoing clinical trial. The babies, both born at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, are the only two in the U.S. to be birthed by mothers who have received the transplant. The first came in December. The participants in the trial either did not have a uterus or had a uterus that didn’t function as intended prior to receiving the transplants. Baylor performed North America’s first four living-donor uterine transplants in September of 2016.

UTA and UNT Health Science Center To Create the North Texas Genome Center

UT Arlington and the University of North Texas Health Science Center will bring high-powered gene processing capabilities to North Texas, as they partner on a new biomedical facility that will house some of the most advanced gene sequencing machines in the world. The facility, called the North Texas Genome Center, will focus on genome sequencing’s potential within the budding field of precision health, which puts a focus on a patient’s genetic makeup to provide new solutions to medical problems. The NTGC’s centerpieces are five NovaSeq6000 gene sequencers, the top-of-the-line model from Illumina Inc, a San Diego company specializing in gene… Full Story

MedStar Took Fewer Flu Calls During the Second Half of February

Midway through February, ambulance service MedStar was seeing more flu-related calls a day than in January. That’s despite the fact that January brought the most flu-related deaths to the region. The numbers were an indicator that even if this season’s version of the flu had stopped causing as many fatalities, it hadn’t stopped putting significant stress on the Dallas-Fort Worth healthcare community. (That idea was backed up by a Parkland representative who told me that we might actually be in for a second peak this season, as the less-deadly type B strand was picking up steam.) Anyway, MedStar chimes in… Full Story

New System UT Health East Texas Names a CEO

UT Health East Texas will bring in a healthcare executive from St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to lead its flagship facility. It tapped Vicki Briggs to be chief executive officer of 502-bed UT Health Tyler. The system was rebranded last month after it was acquired in September through a deal between Nashville-based Ardent Health Services and UT System. Then called East Texas Medical Center, it includes 10 hospitals in total. Ardent said it would invest $150 million in the deal, while UT System regents recently signed off to throw $35 million toward the cause. East Texas won’t be… Full Story

How a Dallas Researcher Is Helping Bring A Specialized Radiation Treatment to the Mainstream

Two decades ago, targeting tumors with highly potent doses of radiation involved a technique reserved for the brain, where doctors could use a halo to stabilize the organ and ensure accuracy. But starting in the late 1990s, slow-rolling progress brought that therapy to the body, where radiation had traditionally been delivered with lower potency and over a longer period of time. A Dallas physician has played a key role in facilitating the evolution. Dr. Robert Timmerman, a professor of radiation oncology and neurological surgery with UT Southwestern Medical Center, was one of the first researchers in the world to bring… Full Story