State of Texas Confirms Two New Cases of Hantavirus

Two Texas residents have been diagnosed with Hantavirus, bringing the state’s total to three since the start of the year. The two patients live in the Texas Panhandle and South Plains. Between 2009 and 2012, there were no reported cases of Hantavirus. Last year, there was one diagnosis. The disease can be fatal and is categorized by fatigue, fever, and muscle aches occasionally accompanied by dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The virus is carried by rats and mice and is shed in their urine, droppings, and saliva. Humans can breathe it in and become sick. The Texas Department… Full Story

Texas’ Teen Birthrate Lags Behind National Rate

While teen birthrates in Texas decreased by more than 43 percent between 1991 and 2012, they did not fall as much as the nationwide average and cost taxpayers $1.1 billion in healthcare, foster car, and lost tax revenue. The Texas Tribune dug into the numbers behind the dip in teen births, which, nationally, shrunk by 52 percent during that same period. California went so far as to cut its rate by 64 percent. Experts say that Texas could impact its rate by championing sex education and access to contraceptives. Others, meanwhile, say that states like California have a higher abortion… Full Story

Baylor, Scott & White Finalize Merger

Baylor Health System and Temple-based Scott & White have completed a merger deal that will now create Baylor Scott & White, a company poised to become the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas, officials with both companies announced Monday afternoon. Baylor Scott & White Health will have more than $8 billion in assets, a combined 43 hospitals, more than 500 patient care sites, more than 6,000 affiliated physicians, 34,000 employees, and the Scott & White Health Plan. “Over time, patients in the communities we serve will begin seeing the new brand Baylor Scott & White Health emerge,” said Baylor Health… Full Story

D Healthcare Daily Expands Team, Hires Bradford Pearson as Editor

Building on the success of its first year, D Healthcare Daily is adding to its news team, hiring Bradford Pearson as editor. He joins founding editor Steve Jacob, who will shift his focus to in-depth, enterprise stories. Pearson will concentrate on breaking news and site operations, including daily and weekly e-newsletters. D Healthcare Daily was launched last summer to cover the business of healthcare in North Texas — a sector that adds $52 billion to the local economy each year and supports more than 600,000 regional jobs. It’s produced by the business media division of Dallas-based D Magazine Partners, which… Full Story

Bipartisan Bill Aims to Lower Health Costs Associated With Obesity

A day after the American Medical Association declared obesity a disease, bipartisan legislation was introduced with the aim of reducing costs and preventing chronic diseases related to obesity. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House on June 19, would require Medicaid to provide coverage for weight-loss counseling and drugs that help with weight management. Some experts, such as Jeffrey Cain, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, believe that the AMA’s declaration will lead to improved physician payments for obesity-related treatments, according to American Medical News. Others remain skeptical. Robert Gilchick, a member… Full Story