Medical City Builds In-House Telepsych Program To Address Psychiatrist Shortage, Discharge Patients Faster

A new telepsychiatry program at Medical City Healthcare allows the North Texas system to address the region’s shortage of psychiatrists through technology. Contrary to the more commonly discussed telemedicine application, in which the patient is at home, Medical City’s telepsych brings psychiatrists to in-hospital psychiatric patients. A doctor “beams in” to consult with a patient, as Shannon Winburn-Raitt, Medical City Green Oaks’ director of behavioral health-telepsychiatry, puts it. Nurses move a robot to the patient’s bed, and psychiatrists, who often perform the consults from their own homes, can address suicide attempts, substance abuse or withdrawal, or any other behavioral health… Full Story

Dallas Company Begins Offering Drug, Alcohol Treatment Digitally

Enterhealth, a Dallas-based drug and alcohol treatment center, has designed a telemedicine program in-line with the company’s aim of treating dual-diagnosis disorders. “It’s a combination of real medical care but it’s very anonymous, very convenient and it’s not intrusive into their life at all,” Enterhealth Chief Medical Strategist Harold Urschel says. “You don’t have to go the doctor’s office, travel, park [or] pay a copay.” The 12-week treatment is managed through their telehealth service platform, Enterhealth Connect, which includes telepsychiatry and teletherapy. Patients use a video conferencing platform called Zoom to talk to doctors and therapists via smartphone, tablet or… Full Story

Amid Agency’s Struggles, CEO of Dallas County’s Largest Mental Health Provider Gets One-Year Contract

The Metrocare Services Board of Trustees renewed the contract of its chief executive officer for one year on Thursday afternoon, without a raise in salary but with the possibility of a bonus of up to $50,000. Dr. John Burruss will remain the agency’s leader amid its financial struggles and after a lengthy CEO evaluation process. The board will have discretion to grant the bonus and decide its amount, Board President Terry James said Thursday. Burruss makes a salary of $382,347 and has received two $50,000 bonuses in the last three years. Burruss’ three-year contract as CEO was set to expire… Full Story

Metrocare Board Likely To Decide CEO’s Fate This Week

The lengthy evaluation process of Metrocare Services CEO John Burruss will conclude at the agency’s board meeting on Thursday, and a decision about Burruss’ fate will likely follow. The closed-door executive session will include discussion on the “conclusion of CEO evaluation process and potential CEO contract renewal.” There’s an opportunity for the board to take action after executive session if need be. The behavioral health agency—Dallas County’s largest mental health provider, serving more than 57,000 adults and children annually—has for months been grappling with whether to extend the contract of its top executive amid the agency’s financial struggles. Burruss’ three-year… Full Story

Ten Days Before Its CEO’s Contract Expires, Dallas’ Largest Provider of Mental Health Services Is Silent

Ten days before the contract of its chief executive officer is set to run out, Dallas-based Metrocare Services is staying mum on the topic of its leadership future. The government agency—which has a budget north of $100 million and a board appointed by Dallas County Commissioners—has not answered repeated inquiries about the CEO process or about financial issues at the agency. It’s a spell of silence that dates back more than three months. In the most recent instance showcasing the lack of transparency that government agencies are expected to offer, Metrocare denied a records request seeking “minutes”—the play-by-play—from its most… Full Story

Does Bringing The Arts Into Healthcare Make Business Sense? Panelists Explore

For Todd Frazier, earning buy-in from his health system’s higher-ups to build out a musical therapy program took a concerted effort to shift the conversation. Rather than discussing reimbursement and how the system could pay for it, Frazier put the focus on why what he proposed to offer was essential for any leading-edge provider. It ultimately worked, with Frazier—who directs the Center for Performing Arts Medicine at the eight facilities that make up Houston Methodist Hospital—earning backing through philanthropy in the early stages. The juice has proved worth the squeeze, and Houston Methodist now employs seven full-time musical therapists, making… Full Story

Before Layoffs, Clinic Closure, Metrocare Quietly Issued CEO A Two-Month Extension

Metrocare Services and CEO John Burruss have inked a short-term contract extension while the Dallas County behavioral health agency considers a longer term deal. Metrocare and Burruss agreed on the deal in late March, extending Burruss’ contract through June 30, according to documents obtained through an open records request. The contract had been set to expire on April 28. The largest mental health provider in Dallas County, Metrocare has had a difficult last 18 months, including the recent news that it will lay off more than 40 people, close a clinic, and freeze salaries for executives, administrators, and managers. In… Full Story

Dallas County’s Struggling Mental Health Provider will Implement Layoffs, a Clinic Closure, and a Salary Freeze

Metrocare Services will lay off more than 40 people and close another clinic as Dallas County’s largest purveyor of mental health services tries to steady itself after a financially torrid 2017. Metrocare CEO Dr. John Burruss notified staff on Monday in an email. He said executive, administrative, and management salaries also will be frozen “for the foreseeable future.” According to a source close to the company, the number of people impacted by layoffs could be as many as 60. That would be about 7 percent of Metrocare’s 900 employees. The agency serves more than 57,000 people and is budgeted to… Full Story

Early Childhood Intervention Providers in North Texas, Elsewhere Face Shrinking Funding

For more than 20 years, The Warren Center Executive Director Amy Spawn has been a speech therapist within the state’s Early Childhood Intervention program, which is built for kids younger than three with disabilities or developmental delays. When she started, there were seven Dallas County providers under ECI. Today, there are three. Spawn says shrinking state funding has made it increasingly difficult for the Warren Center—a Richardson-based organization that serves more than 800 ECI children each month—to keep up with higher demand through the years. But recent cuts to Medicaid children’s therapy funding has put even more stress on ECI… Full Story

Digital Health Company Lands in Dallas To Build Out Its Text-Based Counseling Service

In the March issue of D CEO, we have a story about a digital health company that’s providing treatment for mental health issues like depression and anxiety via completely text-based exchanges with counselors. The exchanges occur within “secure virtual therapy” rooms, but the two sides never actually meet eye-to-eye. The company, Ieso Digital Health, is headquartered in Cambridge, England, but now has a Dallas-based CEO leading expansion in the U.S. Readers might approach the subject with some skepticism, but it’s difficult to argue with the potential benefits of tele-solutions to behavioral health problems. Exhibit A: The shortage of psychiatrists, particularly… Full Story