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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

Five Strategies to Build a Better AMC

Academic Medical Centers are big, expensive and complicated—in a world that is moving toward faster, cheaper, and better. All three of those factors could work against AMCs under new payment models soon to go into effect, according to a recent PwC Health Research Institute study. The study found that up to 10 percent of future AMC revenue could be at risk due to reimbursement changes, including those that favor quality over the quantity of care delivered. That the payment system is moving from volume to value is hardly a secret. Yet a recent study revealed that only 5 percent of… Full Story

Changing the Model

The healthcare landscape is undergoing tremendous changes. We don’t know the outcome of the elections this fall, but we do know that healthcare reform will continue to be a critical issue because the system as it has existed for decades is not sustainable for the long term. No matter what happens in the nation’s capital, the most effective reforms will happen through cooperation at the local level, not because of directives from Washington, D.C., or Austin. Effective change will happen only through close collaboration among physicians, health systems, employers, community leaders, and payers. Here are some eye-opening statistics. Companies in… Full Story

Bracing for the Next Storm

Lessons learned in a crisis should not go to waste. In fact, the source of the next round of code and safety measure upgrades often comes from the previous round of disasters. Disasters during the early 1900’s in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York were the basis for the nation’s first earthquake, fire, and high-rise construction codes. In light of recent weather events, the topic of “storm hardening” critical facilities has been a topic of interest among our Healthcare Group. Storm hardening, or building-in protection against high-weather damage, has become an increasing priority for many of our healthcare and critical… Full Story

The Healthy Benefits of Texas Medical Liability Reform

NOTE: This article is written in response to D Healthcare Daily’s article: Studies: Texas Tort Reform Has Had No Effect on Physician Supply, Lowering Costs It’s clockwork. Nine years ago this week, Texas voters approved our desperately needed medical liability reforms. Just like every other year at this time, the trial lawyers’ propaganda machine is once again trying to convince Texans to ignore the improvements they’re seeing all around them. I’m pleased to report on some new research that soundly contradicts the naysayers’ rhetoric. In 2003, the Texas Legislature passed sweeping liability reforms to combat healthcare lawsuit abuse, reverse physicians’… Full Story