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

Premature Death Rate by County

An important health measure is premature death, or years of potential life lost. The standard age for this measure in the developed world is 75 years, meaning most people would live to be that age if not for extenuating circumstances. There is considerable debate about the causes of premature death. Some blame shortcomings in the U.S. health-care system. Others point to destructive health behaviors. Still others cite the effects of poverty. Nearly one-quarter of American women and one-third of American men die before age 75 of causes that potentially could have been prevented by timely and effective health care, according… Full Story

Plaza Medical to Begin Kidney Transplants

Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth will begin performing kidney transplants within the next month, according to a report in the Fort Worth Business Press. The United Network for Organ Sharing, the organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system under contract with the federal government, formally authorized Plaza Medical Center to start a kidney transplant program in early August. The new program 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.

Morning Rounds (08.30.12)

Three North Texas contenders—AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative, and West Dallas Community Centers Inc.—are in the running to win $30,000 as part of an Aetna program that rewards groups for closing racial and ethnic gaps in helping people live healthier lives.

A local infectious disease doctor must pay a former patient $5.2 million for negligence. The patient in the case, David Fitzgerald, filed a complaint in 2005 after an ulcer treatment went tragically awry.

To combat the rising number of West Nile infections, aerial spraying continues. Tarrant County will be sprayed tonight and tomorrow night.

Village Health Partners is expanding. The practice has opened a second location in Plano, at 5501 Independence Pkwy. Full Story

West Nile Infections Increase, Tarrant County Gets First Aerial Spraying

This year alone nearly 1,600 cases of West Nile and nearly 70 deaths have been reported to the CDC, rivaling the record-holding early 2000 years. US News Health reports cases of the virus are up 40 percent since last week, but that it’s likely West Nile activity has already peaked this month though it will continue through October. To combat the rising number of infections, aerial spraying for mosquitoes continues. Tarrant County will get it’s spraying Thursday and Friday, The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports.

Poor or Fair Health by County

The federal government tracks an index called health-related quality of life (HRQOL-4), also known as the Healthy Days Measures. The index is designed to be a measurable summary of a subjective self-evaluation of health, which can be a complex and difficult concept to define. One of the questions is: The questions is: “Would you say that in general your health is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?” Health-related quality of life captures a general sense of well-being comfort with life, and reflects the confidence in being to perform physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. It has been suggested that the… Full Story

THR’s Plus ACO Picking Up Momentum

Plus ACO, an accountable care organization partnership between Texas Health Resources and Fort Worth-based North Texas Specialty Physicians (NTSP) is more than halfway through its first year. The ACO, awarded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in December, was the first in North Texas and one of just 32 nationally under the Pioneer ACO model. NTSP, which serves patients in Tarrant, Parker, and Johnson counties, has more than 10 years of experience in population health management and has participated in quality initiatives tied to financial incentives. It cares for about 30,000 Medicare Advantage patients—including 25,000 in UnitedHealthcare’s Secure Horizons plan and… Full Story

Adult Obesity By County

Ten years ago, the percentage of people considered clinically obese was under 20 percent in 28 states. That is the case now in only one state: Colorado. Moreover, in nine states, more than 30 percent of the residents are now obese. The Centers for Disease Control, which now reports the nation’s obesity rate at 28 percent, indicated that it’s probably much higher, because people often underestimate or understate their weight in surveys. A previous CDC study based on actual measurements of height and weight found that almost 34 percent of Americans were obese. Obesity is based on a body-mass index… Full Story

UNT Eyes Merging Main Campus, Fort Worth Health Science Center

The University of North Texas System Board of Regents is expected to consider a proposal Aug. 16 to explore combining its Fort Worth-based Health Science Center with the main campus in Denton. If approved, the university would study the merger and report its initial findings to the board in November. According to Chancellor Lee Jackson, a combined entity potentially could enhance the university’s research reputation, increase research funding, and improve faculty recruitment and retention. Jackson noted the University of Texas system has started development of a medical school in Austin that would be part of the main campus, and the… Full Story