Morning Rounds (08.20.12)

Lewisville’s ClearPoint Diagnostic Laboratories chosen as in-network provider for United Healthcare. UT System to add medical school in South Texas. Northstar Healthcare announces equity restructuring of Dallas-area surgery center. Dallas physician recounts surviving West Nile Virus.

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

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

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.

Low Birth Weight By County

Low birth-weight, defined as a baby weighing less than 5 lb. 8 oz. at birth, is a leading determinant of infant death. Women who drink, smoke, or have poor nutrition during pregnancy—as well as those who are physically or emotionally abused—are more likely to have low birth-weight babies. Infant mortality is often used to compare the health and well-being of nations, as well as population groups within nations. Compared to infants of normal weight, low birth-weight infants may have an increased risk for many negative circumstances: illness through the first six days of life, infections, and the longer-term consequences of… Full Story

Physical Inactivity by County

Physical inactivity can lead to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, physical activity can help control weight, reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve mental health. For these statistics, physical inactivity refers adults who report no physical activity or exercise other than their jobs. Across the United States, county-level estimates range from 10 percent to 43 percent. The nation’s average is 21 percent. Adults in DFW counties and the state of Texas are slightly less active, with averages ranging from 22 percent in Collin and Tarrant counties to 24… Full Story

Lewisville-based Orthofix to Pay $34 Million in False Claims Act Fines

Orthofix, a Lewisville medical-device company, will pay more than $34 million to settle allegations stemming from a whistleblower lawsuit. The suit, filed by Jeffrey Bierman, alleged that the company improperly waived patient co-payments, resulting in a misstatement of the device costs and resulting in excess reimbursement by the federal government. The suit also claimed the company “paid kickbacks to physicians and their staffs in the form of ‘fitter fee,’ ” as well as other fees, according to a Justice Department news release. Under to the agreement, Orthofix did not accept liability and denied the Justice Department allegations. The company will… Full Story

Life Expectancy By County

Life expectancy grew in two decades by more than seven years for Collin County men and about half that much for Collin County women. A recent report by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) found that the county closed the life-expectancy gap with the nation’s highest rate from about eight years in 1989 to about one year in 2009. The nation’s highest life expectancy for men is Marin County, CA, at 81.6 years. Collin County men are not far behind at 80.5 years. The County Health Rankings, prepared by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, ranked Collin… Full Story