Preventable Hospital Stays By County

Preventable hospital stays reflect the hospital discharge rate for ambulatory care-sensitive conditions per 1,000 Medicare enrollees, according to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. Hospitalization for diagnoses that could be treated with outpatient services suggests quality of care provided in the outpatient setting was less than ideal. The measure may also represent the county’s  tendency to overuse the hospital as a primary source of care. Denton County’s rate of preventable stays per 1,000 Medicare enrollees is 80, which exceeds the Texas rate of 73. Tarrant, Collin and Dallas counties are below the state rate at 67, 66 and 60, respectively.

Regents Fire UNTHSC President Scott Ransom, Saying He Fought Merger

The University of North Texas Board of Regents has fired UNT Health Science Center (UNTHSC) President Scott Ransom. The board, which met Friday on the Fort Worth medical school campus, deliberated in closed session for nearly two hours before acting. According to a report in the Star-Telegram, the regents sent Ransom a letter Tuesday, accusing him of fomenting “internal discord” in opposition to a possible merger of the Fort Worth center and the main university campus in Denton. “Instead of allowing this study to proceed in a thoughtful and objective way, we discovered that you were conducting a personal campaign to… Full Story

Students Clamoring for Seats in New UNTHSC Pharmacy School

The University of North Texas Health Science Center’s (UNTHSC) School of Pharmacy is fielding hundreds of emails and telephone calls from prospective students and their parents. The school is planning to matriculate its first class in the fall of 2013. Because of the strong interest and the expectation of more than 500 applicants, UNTHSC is seeking to increase the size of its first class from about 80 to 100 students. The four-year doctor of pharmacy program will include three years of class work and one year of advanced pharmacy practice experience. UNT campuses in Denton and Dallas are developing plans… Full Story

Violent Crime Rate By County

Violent crimes are offenses that involve face-to-face confrontation between the victim and the perpetrator, including homicide, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, according to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps. High levels of violent crime compromise physical safety and psychological well-being. Crime rates can also deter residents from pursuing healthy behaviors such as exercising out-of-doors. Increased stress levels also may contribute to the obesity rate, even after controlling for diet and physical activity levels. The Dallas County rate of 618 per 100,000 residents far exceeds that of Texas. The Tarrant County rate of 501 is slightly below the state rate of 503.… Full Story

Dallas Medical Society to Discontinue Project Access Dallas in 2013

The Dallas County Medical Society has decided to shut down Project Access Dallas, its successful 10-year-old program that provides charity care to the uninsured, in 2013. The DCMS board voted Wednesday to discontinue the program after falling short of getting the funding it requested under the new 1115 Medicaid Waiver. The DCMS board withdrew its support for the waiver’s regional health plan in a Nov. 15 letter to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. Jim Walton, DO, the program’s medical director, and Richard Snyder, MD, DCMS president, issued a joint statement on the decision: “Dallas area hospitals will… Full Story

Cook Children’s CEO on What it Takes to be a “Best Place to Work”

Modern Healthcare has published online video interviews with some of its “Best Places to Work” winners, including Rick Merrill, president and CEO of Cook Children’s Healthcare System in Fort Worth. In the video, Merrill discusses what it takes to make employees and patients happy. He also shares his plan to integrate companies that provide care for Cook Children’s patients to help make the Fort Worth area one of the healthiest place to raise a child. To see the full video interview, click here.

Tarrant County Project Access Completes Successful First Year

M.D. Jahangir, a convenience store clerk, felt hopeless. He had cataracts in both eyes. He had three near misses on auto accidents. He was also laid off because he couldn’t drive himself to work and was making too many mistakes as a cashier. Jahangir was referred to Tarrant County Medical Society’s Project Access (PATC) for surgery. His worst eye was repaired, and is awaiting surgery on his other eye. “After surgery, I opened my eyes and saw everything clearly for the first time in many years. I was so excited to actually distinguish road signs, cars, and trees. I was so… Full Story

Fort Worth’s Healthpoint Biotherapeutics Sold to UK Company for $782 Million

Smith & Nephew of London has agreed to acquire Fort Worth-based Healthpoint Biotherapeutics for $782 million in an all-cash deal. The acquisition is expected to close next month, subject to regulatory approval. Privately owned Healthpoint Biotherapeutics was founded in 1992 by Paul Dorman, chairman and CEO. It specializes in acute, chronic, and burn-related wound care. Its lead commercial product is its Collagenase Santyl product. It also just completed a second successful trial of a promising new cell therapy product (see additional info below). A third trial is under way. “Healthpoint and Smith & Nephew have much in common,” Dorman said, in a statement.… Full Story

Insurance Prior Authorization “Unfunded Mandate,” Keller Physician Says

Keller family physician Erica Swegler was quoted earlier this year in an article in The Wall Street Journal about the growing number of insurance company prior authorizations for treatments. She said approvals take 48-72 hours and “costs me a tremendous amount of time. It’s a huge headache.” But that, she told D Healthcare Daily, is only part of the story. Swegler contends that prior authorization “is a symptom of a broken payment system. It is an unfunded mandate because healthcare isn’t paid for properly. Prior authorization does not address waste and abuse.” She believes insurance companies should focus on the top 10… Full Story

Moncrief Cancer Institute Unveils New Fort Worth Facility Today

The Moncrief Cancer Institute will unveil its $22 million cancer center today in the Fort Worth Medical District. The organization will hold an invitation-only dedication at 11:30 a.m. and conduct an open house at 4 p.m. at 400 W. Magnolia Ave. The 4-acre, 60,000-square-foot facility includes Moncrief’s Community Survivorship Clinic, along with an expanded fitness center, demonstration kitchen, and an education center featuring a 90-seat auditorium. It also includes areas for patient genetics counseling and evaluation for participation in UT Southwestern-based clinical trials of newly developed drugs. The institute is a nonprofit cancer prevention and support center. An affiliate of… Full Story