In 2017, Tarrant County Will Be Down to Just One Carrier on ACA Exchanges

Tarrant County will be the largest in the state to have only one insurance provider offering plans through President Obama’s healthcare exchanges in 2017. Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Teresa Mcusik last week chronicled the departures in the state’s third most populated county (1.98 million residents there, according to Census data.) Only Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas remains. Aetna, Scott & White, Cigna, and UnitedHealth have all yanked their plans out of Tarrant County, leaving their only presence off exchange—and off from the subsidies that make the insurance plans affordable for 84 percent of Texans. At its height, the county… Full Story

Wisconsin City Uses Fort Worth’s Mental Health Program As A Model

Tarrant County’s mental health program is influencing others in states as far away as Wisconsin. The Gannett-owned Appleton Wisconsin Post-Crescent had an interesting piece on Sunday about how the Northeast Wisconsin Mental Health Connection has taken Tarrant County’s collaborative strategy of involving stakeholders from hospitals, public office, education, and philanthropy to build a well-rounded support system for those who need behavioral healthcare. Fort Worth redeveloped its behavioral health safety net system in 1999 after a man with an untreated mental illness killed seven people before shooting himself. Mayor Kenneth Barr charged the county, city, and healthcare providers to join and… Full Story

Kern Wildenthal To Retire, Brent Christopher To Become President of Children’s Medical Center Foundation

In a sort of bombshell announcement involving two of Dallas-Fort Worth’s most prominent philanthropy executives, Dallas-based Children’s Health said Tuesday that Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of its Children’s Medical Center Foundation, would retire and be succeeded by Communities Foundation of Texas President and CEO Brent Christopher. The change will be effective in July, when Wildenthal turns 75. Full Story

Timberlawn Will Stay Open Despite CMS Cutting Off Funding

The beleaguered Timberlawn Health System has reportedly cut a deal with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to stay open despite losing its funding after a litany of patient care violations. The Dallas Morning News reports that the longtime behavioral health provider will re-enroll for Medicare and Medicaid funding despite regulators finding that it repeatedly placed patients in danger. Going forward, Timberlawn’s East Dallas facility will retain the name of Timberlawn Mental Health System, while it will separately operate Garland Behavioral Hospital. The two will be individual entities, unlike before, and will each need to negotiate with payers. A U.S. District… Full Story

Conversation With: John Thomas, The Man Who Helped Bring REITs To North Texas

John Thomas spent five years as general counsel the Baylor Health Care System, eventually assisting in one of the first healthcare Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) in Dallas. It proved to be a model that would last in North Texas: Now 15 years later, nearly every major system in the region has an agreement with a REIT. Full Story