UTD Healthcare Studies Degree Grows to Nearly 250 Students in Second Year

Despite being created only last fall, the bachelor’s degree program in healthcare studies at UT-Dallas already boasts more than 200 students, many of whom are pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy, among others. Offered through the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, the degree combines existing health-related courses across different schools to create a program that students can customize based on specific interests. The major is split into three foundations: the first including courses such as Human Nutrition and a required internship; the second including biology, physics, and chemistry courses; and the third foundation which allows students to pick from a… Full Story

Medical City Children’s to Begin Ewing’s Sarcoma Trial Vaccine Program

Medical City Children’s Hospital will soon begin offering a trial vaccine for Ewing’s Sarcoma, an aggressive and malignant tumor of the bone and soft tissue The Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center at the hospital was approved to expand the Phase 1 FANG vaccine trial based on previous patient results. One of those patients is Carley Rutledge, a 19-year-old survivor of Ewing’s Sarcoma, who was successfully treated with the trial vaccine at Medical City Children’s. Rutledge spoke at a press conference Tuesday, along with Mary Crowley chief operating officer Shannon Cagnina. Ewing’s Sarcoma most commonly affects children, teens, and young adults.… Full Story

Hospice Care Providers Will Get Raise, Mandate to Report Quality Measures

As hospitals and physicians are being pushed away from fee-for-service models and the industry faces an aging baby boomer population, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said last week that hospice care providers will receive a 1 percent raise and a mandate to report quality measures. Those who fail to meet reporting requirements by Oct. 1 will receive a 2 percent reduction to their market basket update in FY 2014. Hospices will also be required to begin using the Hospice Experience of Care Survey in 2015. “The survey will include questions on hospice provider communications with patients and families, hospice… Full Story

New Medicare Rule to Allow for Payment Increases

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have issued a new Medicare rule to implement inflation-adjusted payment increases for acute-care hospitals and long-term care facilities. Hospitals will receive $1.2 billion for capital and operating costs, while long-term care facilities will receive $72 million. A new patient safety program and refining of the hospital readmissions reduction program will also be included in the final rule to implement changes in the Affordable Care Act. “This rule helps improve hospital care and establishes clearer guidance to hospitals for when we will consider inpatient care to be appropriate so the system works better for… Full Story

FDA Proposes Safety Measures for Imported Food

After an 18-month delay, the Food and Drug Administration recently published a set of proposed rules that aim to ensure the cleanliness and safety of imported foods. The new standards are intended to enforce the Food Safety Modernization Act signed by President Barack Obama in 2011, and will require the same standards to be set at United States farms and processing plants. Importers must know whether suppliers are taking the necessary steps to cut risks, and must work with third-party auditors to ensure that steps are being followed. Officials and food-safety groups are lauding the rules as a long overdue and necessary… Full Story

Manufacturers, GPOs to Begin Reporting “Transfers of Value” Today

A lesser-known Affordable Care Act requirement will go into effect today, when group purchasing organizations and drug and medical device manufacturers will be required to report “transfers of value”of $10 or more to doctors and teaching hospitals. The responsibility for collecting and reporting data will be on the industry side, but physicians should keep their own records and will have 45 days to dispute anything that is reported to them. Manufacturers and GPOs must also report ownership interests in their company from physicians and from physicians’ immediate family members. The requirement, called the Open Payment Program, is part of Section… Full Story

Bryan’s House Receives $100,000 for Special Needs Health Program

Bryan’s House, a nonprofit that provides healthcare and educational care for children with special health needs, received a $100,000 grant from The Rees-Jones Foundation. The grant will support the Medically Managed Child Care Program, which provides early childhood education and on-site nursing services for low-income children who are prevented from attending traditional programs because of medical and developmental challenges. The Rees-Foundation is dedicated to supporting the disadvantaged, providing relief for the suffering, and promoting childrens’ growth and well-being. “The Rees-Jones Foundation has helped so many in the Dallas community with its generous funding of many excellent programs through the years,”… Full Story

UTSW Researchers Discover How Seafood Contaminant Causes Illness

UT Southwestern researchers have identified the process by which the seafood contaminant vibrio parahaemolyticus causes gastroenteritis. The bacteria injects proteins called effectors into the host cells; one of the effectors, called VopQ, then begins to disrupt the process of autophagy with a channel-forming mechanism. Autophagy is a process that recycles nutrients in cells and fights off pathogens. “Disruptions of autophagic pathways are implicated in many human diseases, including neurodegenerative disease, liver disease, some cancers, and cardiomyopathy,” said Anju Sreelatha, one of the authors of a study about the process. Sreelatha explained that during infection, VopQ is injected into the host cell… Full Story

Physicians Put Blame for High Costs On Others In Health Industry

Lawyers, hospitals, and drug and device makers are the drivers for rising healthcare costs, according to physicians surveyed by the Mayo Clinic. Only one-third of physicians believed they were part of the cause, despite half of the respondents stating that they “try not to think about the cost to the healthcare system when making treatment decisions.” The national survey revealed a wide variety of opinions regarding who or what was responsible for the high cost of healthcare. Since physicians are largely responsible for the extent of a patient’s care, they’re increasingly being looked upon to avoid unnecessary tests or procedures.… Full Story

Accolades

Recognized this week are Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Rockwall and Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle, plus a dean at UT-Arlington’s nursing school. Institutions Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Rockwall has been recognized as an Aetna Institute of Quality Orthopedic Care Facility for total joint replacement and spine surgery. Facilities are chosen based on consistent delivery of evidence-based safe care. “Being recognized, once again, by a major insurer is gratifying to everyone at this hospital,” said hospital president Cindy Paris. “Texas Health Rockwall intends to continue to provide the finest quality care possible; living up to the expectations of… Full Story