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The Retailing of Healthcare

Say the word “Dallas,” and many people immediately think of pastures filled with Longhorn cattle, tumbleweeds along an empty highway, and J.R. Ewing. Luckily, anyone who has visited Dallas in the last half-century knows that the city is a premier destination for business, innovation, tourism, and residential communities. Dallas has become a mecca for several industries, including retail and healthcare. These sectors are long-standing elements to the city’s growth. With hospitals like Baylor, Methodist, and Texas Health Resources dotting the map of North Texas, it’s clear that we know a thing or two about caring for the health of others.… Full Story

Readmissions–A Complex Issue

In October each year, we enjoy the State Fair of Texas, fall festivals, carving pumpkins, and Texas football at all levels. This year a new event began Oct. 1, 2012, resulting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). A readmissions provision imposes financial penalties on hospitals for “excess” readmissions, when compared to “expected” levels of readmission. Generally, hospitals will be tagged for Medicare readmissions occurring within 30 days of discharge, which may sound reasonable to the general public. Hospitals support appropriate value-based purchasing and the ACA as signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. However,… Full Story

Healthy Leaders, Healthy Businesses

A company is only as healthy as its employees. This is a scary reality, as employee health is declining and healthcare costs are at an all-time high, posing a serious threat to the ability of U.S. businesses to compete in today’s global marketplace. The benefits of getting and staying healthy are well established. In order to promote wellness in the workplace, company leaders have to be willing to lead by example. It is critical for company leaders to take healthy lifestyle principles and apply them to maintaining a healthy business. Most business leaders now know that the indirect costs of… Full Story

Finding Balance through Leadership

We live in one of the nation’s most active cities for business, and we work in an industry that is constantly evolving. As health care providers, we also tend to want to do everything and be all things to all people, regardless of the market or circumstances. As we continue through health care reform, there is a delicate balance our industry must achieve through focusing on matters of most importance, knowing each other’s strengthens and seeking opportunities for partnership to better meet the needs of those we serve. But how do we get there? In order to strengthen our industry… Full Story

What Employers Should Do

Dare I be presumptuous enough to address the issue of “what employers should do?” You decide, but note, from working with my peers at many Dallas-Fort Worth companies over the past 25 years I have some insight into employer attitudes and the dynamics between employers and the healthcare community. In my last narrative, titled “What Employers Want,” I remarked that there is a veil separating employers and the healthcare community. To be more direct, employers and the healthcare community have each historically functioned within their own silos, neither reaching out to the other to address the common goal of improving… Full Story

Healthcare Reform: The Changing Patient Experience—and How Doctors Can Help

As the dust settles following the Supreme Court’s healthcare reform ruling, early provisions and preparation for full implementation in 2014 have affected how patients receive care and provided the medical community with many opportunities for our approach to patient care. I frequently get asked what I think about the ruling and the ACA.  Most people want a black or white answer. I generally tell them that it is way too broad to label it good or bad.  There are positive aspects, areas of concern and general opportunity for healthcare providers—especially those in primary care. Positive Changes As a family doctor,… Full Story

Starr Frame—From Concept to Commercialization

My friend David Ewing’s experience was much the same as others who’ve suffered sudden major trauma.  “I didn’t understand what happened. One moment everything was fine,” he said.  “I was driving to meet a friend for lunch, and then I was waking up in an ambulance on the way to a hospital.”  The collision that knocked him unconscious had shattered his pelvis. The treatment he would receive in the next few days would determine if he walked normally again, and how much pain he would have in the coming weeks and for the rest of his life. The medical devices… Full Story

Meet the Dean of UNT’s New College of Pharmacy

Over the last few months I have received a number of questions related to the new University of North Texas System College of Pharmacy. I was able to deflect a few questions but realized it was time I got up to speed on this initiative. I had the chance to visit with Myron K. Jacobson, Ph.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy and a Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences. I have to admit that I half expected the program to be designed for training up those pharmacists at Kroger or Tom Thumb. Although that, of course, is true, I quickly learned… Full Story

Down With OPM: Why Fixing Healthcare is so Hard

A few weeks ago, my family and I had dinner at a friend’s house in Irving. It was one of those refreshingly cool early September Saturday nights, so we lingered after dinner on the back deck, well past sunset. Jim is a dentist and I’m a healthcare lawyer, so it’s not surprising that our post-prandial conversation turned to the troubles of the American healthcare system. That gave me the opportunity to tell my favorite parable about the healthcare system—which is actually a story about working at McDonald’s. When I was a teenager, a McDonald’s restaurant was built in my home… Full Story

Looking beyond November

Signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2011, the Budget Control Act created a potential 2013 sequestration, a procedure where automatic spending cuts are triggered within the government. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction had to find these cuts by November, 2011 to prevent this sequestration from happening on Jan. 2, 2013. Due to rigid bipartisan politics, the committee failed to reach a workable solution. Mandated by the Budget Control Act, the automatic sequestration is now upon us, representing a massive $1.2 trillion in spending cuts evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending. Cuts to Medicare providers… Full Story