How Are Hospitals Posting Their Prices, and Is It Helpful?

The Public Health Act was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, which requires hospitals to make a public list of the hospital’s standard charges starting this year, but the posted price doesn’t tell the full story. Insurance, a person’s health, and the negotiated rate between insurers and providers complicates the out-of-pocket payment, the posted prices might not mean much to the average consumer. President and CEO of the DFW Hospital Council W. Stephen Love says the council’s member hospitals support transparency, but warn to proceed with caution. “We support transparency and want people to make informed decisions,” he says.… Full Story

Medical City President Re-Elected to Texas Hospital Association Board

Medical City Healthcare’s president Erol Akdamar has been re-elected to the Texas Hospital Association’s board of trustees. THA represents the needs of hospitals in the state and federal government. Via statement, the THA said that it would be focused on funding for physician residencies at Texas’ teaching hospitals, a more pressing need with the opening of another medical school at TCU. The association also wants to expand behavioral health funding, service availability and access, enhance Medicaid reimbursement rates for rural hospitals and trauma facilities among others, and to improve the number of Texans with health insurance. Akdamar has served in… Full Story

Parkland Names New General Counsel and Executive Vice President

Parkland Health & Hospital System’s new Executive Vice President and General Counsel will be Steven J. Roth, who was formerly Senior Deputy General Counsel there, where he led the transaction efforts. His role will also include being the chief counsel for Parkland Community Health Plan, Inc. and the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation. Roth has been with Parkland since 2001 and has more than 20 years in healthcare law. He led the effort to turn PCCI into a separate nonprofit research and software development corporation as well as the bond financing for the hospital’s new campus. Prior to going in house… Full Story

Judge Dismisses Blue Cross Lawsuit Over Low Reimbursement Rates

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas by 49 physician groups that claim the insurer is not paying enough for emergency medical care. The groups argue the there are 250,000 claims where Blue Cross’ reimbursement rate for out-of-network providers violates Texas insurance laws and regulations. In an emergency, patients are brought to the nearest hospital, which might not always be in network. “As out-of-network providers, the Provider Entities are not contractually bound to accept discounted rates of payment for the emergency medical services they provide to BCBSTX Members and instead expect to receive… Full Story

A Local Lawmaker and the Bipartisan Fight Against Balance Billing

Inside the halls of government, special interests often trample on the will of the people, and the Texas Legislature is no different. But over the course of nearly a decade, a local lawmaker has resisted push-back from physician groups and insurance companies to fight surprise medical bills, or balance billing to the tune of $21 million, and he hopes to continue battling in the upcoming legislative session. State Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) became aware of the problem when some of the employees at his church began describing an issue that was all too familiar to many who have… Full Story

Dr. Death’s Life Sentence Upheld in Appeals Court

Dr. Christopher Duntsch’s life sentence was upheld by the Fifth District Court of Appeals earlier this week, confirming the aggravated assault charges for operations conducted in the operating room, a legal first. Duntsch was charged with with five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of injury to an elderly individual, though there are reports about dozens of patients who were left in pain, paralyzed, or dead after he operated on them. The trial focused on just one patient, Mary Efurd, an elderly patient whose back was left mangled after Duntsch was done with her. The… Full Story

Collaboration is Key to Improving Health Insurance Coverage

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the the Medicaid program into law as a part of Title XIX of the Social Security Act Amendments. Today, Medicaid covers one in five low-income Americans, as the majority of enrollees lack access to affordable health insurance. Each state administers the Medicaid program and must comply with federal standards. Amongst the successes and failures of the landmark legislation, misunderstandings persist. States have flexibility in determining covered populations, covered services, delivery models and reimbursement. They are also guaranteed federal matching dollars for services to beneficiaries, so the Medicaid program is financed jointly by federal… Full Story

Plastic Surgeon in Colleyville Accused of Solo Liposuction Procedure While Watching Football

The Texas Medical Board made a number of accusations against Colleyville plastic surgeon Peter Van Halen, including watching football during a procedure, performing it without any support staff in an inappropriate facility, and prescribing drugs to a woman with whom he was having an affair, the Dallas Morning News reports. One patient described her “botched” liposuction procedure as being performed on a Sunday when no support staff was in the office, even though the facility is only for consultations and not equipped for surgeries, DMN says. DMN reports that Medical Board’s complain says that Van Halen’s practice was “inconsistent with… Full Story

The Election is (Mostly) Decided – How It Impacts Healthcare in North Texas

It’s been a week since the election, and many may be wondering how the results will change the healthcare industry, if at all. Clearly top of mind for many, a Deloitte study said that 26 percent of voters said healthcare was their top issue and three out of four voters who responded that way voted for Democrats. We touched base with John McCracken, clinical professor of healthcare management at The University of Texas at Dallas Jindal School of Management and adjunct professor of family and community medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Thaddeus Miller, associate professor in the University of… Full Story

How Texas is Addressing its High Maternal Mortality Rates

Texas made ominous headlines a few years ago when studies found that the number of maternal deaths (women dying in pregnancy, childbirth or the first few postpartum weeks) were higher than any other state or any country in the developed world. The maternal death rate had been rising nationwide, as the Medical Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology showed the national rate rose 26 percent from 2000 to 2014. But the journal found that Texas’ situation was especially dire. From 2011 to 2014, it said the number doubled from 18 deaths per 100,000 to 36, a rate usually reserved for “war, natural disaster… Full Story