UTSW Faces Down Academic Medical Center Headwinds

Even before the Affordable Care Act was passed, UT Southwestern already was preparing for a more austere healthcare landscape. UTSW officials created a budget based on 90 percent of its revenue being equal to Medicare reimbursement. For more than two years, the academic medical center has been aligning expenses to meet that scenario. The result, according to president Daniel Podolsky, is that UTSW has had three strong years of expense management and care-volume growth. “There is an unprecedented amount of uncertainty in the healthcare system,” he said. “That requires an end to complacency. The new healthcare imperatives are accountability and… Full Story

As Doctor Shortage Looms, Medical Schools See Record Number of Enrollees

A record number of students applied to, and started, medical school this year, according to data released last week by the Association of American Medical Colleges. More than 20,000 students enrolled in medical school in 2013, a 2.8 percent bump from 2012. First-time applications were also up by almost 6 percent. “At a time when the nation faces a shortage of more than 90,000 doctors by the end of the decade and millions are gaining access to health insurance, we are very glad that more students than ever want to become physicians,” said AAMC President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D. “However,… Full Story

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Hits Record Enrollment Numbers

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center announced a new enrollment record Monday, with 4,200 students enrolling in the fall 2013 semester. The bump is an increase of nearly 5 percent. “Since the fall of 2006, student enrollment at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has increased by nearly 2,000 students,” Texas Tech University System Chancellor Kent Hance said in a statement. “This significant growth is a tribute to the hard work of our faculty, staff and administrators and is helping prepare the next generation of health care professionals for the West Texas region and beyond.” TTUHSC president Dr. Tedd… Full Story

Center for Brain Health Uses Technology to Help Autistic Children Practice Interaction

Carl Lutz can trace the genesis of his career to an event from his grade-school days: A friend of his got a Nintendo Entertainment System, a video-game console that had just come on the market. “He had Super Mario Bros. I watched him play it once, and I was instantly hooked,” Lutz said. “And I didn’t leave my mom alone until we got one.” Twenty-eight years later, he’s the creative director at UT-Dallas’s Center for Brain Health. What does such a job entail? “I like to say I turn neuroscience into video games,” Lutz said. After studying computer animation at… Full Story

New Texas Medical School Under Scrutiny For Ties to Catholic Healthcare Provider

As the University of Texas prepares to open its new Austin medical school in 2016, questions have popped up about the agreements between the university and the Catholic healthcare provider that will train its doctors. At the new medical school, most of the faculty and new doctors it trains will be employees of Seton Healthcare Family and required to follow the Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives the hospital system follows, including rules on birth control, abortion, and end-of-life care. The Austin American-Statesman reports that how the objectives of both institutions will be met is under scrutiny. Americans United for Separation of… Full Story

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

Texas Comptroller Joins Fight Against Childhood Obesity

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs recently announced a partnership between her office and the Texas Library Association that would provide all public libraries and more than 1,100 public elementary schools with nutrition and fitness-related media aimed to fight childhood obesity. The partnership is part of the Comptroller’s efforts to boost awareness of the agency’s Reshaping Texas site, a collection of resources and information to help Texans address the economic effects of obesity. Besides books and DVDs, the Comptroller is also supplying free sports equipment to public schools in areas identified as being at high risk for obesity. One in three Texas… Full Story

Texas Legislature Approves Fund Increase for Loan Repayment Program

The Texas Legislature has approved $33.8 million for the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program, which allows physicians who agree to serve four years in a primary care physician shortage area to apply for up to $160,000 to repay their medical school loans. The appropriation is a 500 percent increase from the $5.7 million that funded the program in the 2012-13 budget. PERLP is in the works to expand further in 2014 to allow physicians who treat high levels of Medicaid patients to apply for the loan repayment, even if they do not practice in a physician-shortage area. The deadline to… Full Story