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

TMA Gives UNTHSC Grant to Immunize the Uninsured

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) medical student chapter at the University of North Texas Health Science Center-Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC-TCOM) has received a $2,000 grant from TMA’s Be Wise — Immunize program. The grant is helping students provide flu vaccinations to uninsured residents in Fort Worth. The student chapter gave more than 70 flu vaccinations to community members and participants in a UNTHSC geriatrics research study at Northside Community Health Center Nov. 3. Medical students will host another flu shot clinic Saturday with Mission Fort Worth, a volunteer-run health clinic that serves low-income, uninsured patients in a predominantly Hispanic… Full Story

FitWorth: An Obesity Impact Plan that Works

When Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price decided she wanted to focus some of her passion for biking and her vision for having young leaders shape the progress and culture in her city, I’m not sure she could imagine the results: nearly 27,000 kids having a greater awareness of their own healthy behaviors, a pilot school cafeteria program serving kale chips and hummus wraps, and big employers like Oncor being involved. Or maybe she did. Government officials around the United States are recognizing the link between high obesity rates and the vitality of a city or region. Leaders in Fort Worth… Full Story

Inadequate Social Support By County

Poor family support, minimal contact with others, and limited involvement in community life are associated with increased disease and disability, as well as premature death. Social support networks have been identified as powerful predictors of health behaviors, suggesting that individuals without a strong social network are less likely to participate in healthy lifestyle choices. Those who say they have family and friends they can count on to help them in times of trouble are more likely to be satisfied with their personal health. Collin County and Denton County residents have high levels of social support. Tarrant County scores better than… Full Story

Sexually Transmitted Diseases By County

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that individuals can get from having sex with someone who has the infection. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasite,s and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, HIV/AIDS, HPV, syphilis and trichomoniasis. Most STDs affect both men and women, but in many cases the health problems they cause can be more severe for women. If a pregnant woman has an STD, it can cause serious health problems for the baby. Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the risk of catching… Full Story

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

Three THR Hospitals Given Joint Commission Recognition for 2011

Texas Health Resources hospitals in Allen, Azle and Hurst-Euless-Bedford have been recognized as “Top Performers on Key Quality Measures” for 2011 by the country’s top accrediting agency for hospitals. Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford was recognized by The Joint Commission in more measures than any other U.S. hospital. The hospital was recognized for high-quality care of six conditions: heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, hospital inpatient psychiatric treatment and stroke. Texas Health Allen was recognized for pneumonia and surgical care, and Texas Health Azle was recognized for heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care. To be considered “Top Performers,”… 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

THR’s Alliance Hospital Set to Open Next Week

When Alliance area resident Megan Brooks went into labor last November, she had to fight the Interstate-35W morning rush-hour traffic  to make her way to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. “It took about an hour to drive 15 miles,” she said. Brooks was traveling on what has become the most congested piece of freeway in Texas—I-35W from I-30 to State Highway 183, according to a TxDOT report. It now even surpasses traffic on I-635 between I35-E and U.S. 75 Central Expressway. The Alliance area population in north Fort Worth more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, adding more… Full Story