Excessive Drinking By County

Excessive drinking measures reflect the percent of adults who report either binge drinking, defined as consuming more than four (women) or five (men) alcoholic beverages on a single occasion in the past 30 days, or heavy drinking, defined as drinking more than one (women) or two (men) drinks per day on average. Unlike moderate drinking, binge drinking is unequivocally bad. It is a leading preventable cause of death, killing about 79,000 Americans annually and shortening lives by an average of about 30 years. Binge drinkers consume an average of eight drinks at a time. They tend to be men younger… Full Story

Morning Rounds (08.14.12)

The Magic Johnson Clinic at Fort Worth’s AIDS Outreach Center hosts its grand opening. UT Southwestern shares a video of the quintuplets born at its medical center. Texas’ JAMP initiative helps disadvantage students attend med school. Remote patient monitoring market projected to more than double to $20.9 billion by 2016. FDA approves vaccine formulation for the 2012-2013 influenza season.

Morning Rounds (08.13.12)

UT Southwestern Medical Center to provide more details on the quintuplets delivered last Thursday. Dallas County is conducting aerial sprays to combat the West Nile Virus. The CDC has updated its treatment guidelines for STDs. Hospital mass layoffs spiked in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. AMA: Patient satisfaction scores seen as critical to physician success.

Solo Physicians Practices Melting Away as Costs Rise and Reimbursements Drop

As Dallas physician Darrel Jordan strode past his receptionist’s desk, he heard her tell a patient: “Yes, ma’am. This is the last day Dr. Jordan will be seeing patients.” “That,” said the obstetrician and gynecologist, “put a knot in my stomach.” Jordan closed his Forest Lane office July 31. He is becoming medical director for an organization he declined to identify that runs 21 North Texas family planning clinics. Although Jordan said he was “eager about the new opportunity,” it was clear he simply has had enough of running a solo physician practice. In a letter sent to his patients… Full Story

S&P Upgrades Methodist Health System Bond Rating

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) rating service has upgraded Methodist Health System’s overall bond rating, as well as for bonds used for its recently acquired Richardson facility. The Dallas-based not-for-profit health system’s underlying rating was upgraded by S&P to “AA-” to “A+.” It also raised its long-term rating from “A” on the Richardson Hospital Authority’s series 2004 bonds, originally issued for what is now Methodist Richardson Medical Center. “The upgrade to ‘AA-’ reflects our view of Methodist’s continued improvement to operating and excess incomes, significant balance sheet strength and operational liquidity, and solid market share,” said S&P’s credit analyst Kevin Holloran… Full Story

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is First in Region to Perform Lariat

Brian Le, M.D., of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, is the first in the North Texas region to perform the Lariat, a minimally invasive procedure to prevent strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation. The Lariat, involves tying off the appendage responsible for 90 percent of strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation, which affects roughly 3 million Americans. To tie off the left atrial appendage, a tiny incision is made in the patient’s leg vein; a wire is then inserted into the vein, which guides it into the heart. A 3.5 millimeter access in the pericardium guides the wire to the… Full Story

Adult Smoking By County

The reduction in cigarette smoking is arguably the most successful achievement in U.S. public health in the last 50 years. However, smoking remains the most common cause of preventable death. The adult smoking rate has declined by half, to about 19 percent, since the early 1960s. If the trend continues, the smoking rate will be less than 17 percent by 2020 and stabilize at about 13.5 percent by 2050, according to an Institute of Medicine computer simulation. Nevertheless, the rate essentially has hovered around 20 percent since 2004. Adult smoking rates in Collin and Denton counties are significantly below the… Full Story

Baylor Receives State’s First Joint Commission Advanced Certification for Palliative Care

Baylor University Medical Center (BUMC) at Dallas is the first hospital in Texas—and one of the first 10 in the nation—to receive advanced certification for palliative pare from The Joint Commission. The certification process included an on-site visit and review of quality metrics and evidence of effective, timely palliative care using a multidisciplinary approach. It recognizes hospital inpatient programs that demonstrate exceptional patient and family-centered care. Baylor University Medical Center expanded its palliative care team in 2011. The Joint Commission’s certification requires that palliative care patients interact with the specially trained members of four core disciplines: physicians, nursing, social work, and… Full Story

NAFC Bringing Free Clinic in Dallas, Targets Medically Underserved

The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, or NAFC, will host a free C.A.R.E. clinic from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 29 in the Dallas Convention Center. “With future implementation of the Affordable Care Act and expansion of Medicaid in question in Texas and other states, we recognize that it is critical for the medically underserved to receive access to healthcare today and in the immediate future,” said NAFC Executive Director Nicole Lamoureux, in a statement. Nearly 26 percent of adults and children in North Texas are uninsured, Lamoureaux said. Among people living in poverty, the rate… Full Story

Morning Rounds (08.01.12)

Texas has the country’s lowest physician-to-patient ratio. UNT Health Alliance Clinic hires one of few physical therapists in Tarrant County who treats pelvic problems in both men and women. Dallas is one level away from citywide mosquito spraying to prevent West Nile. Beginning today, Parkland’s Youth and Family Centers will offer expanded hours of operation. Top 21 code reasons  for denied claims, as compiled by RemitDATA.