Market vs. Government: Two Ways Inevitable Recession May Change Healthcare

The United States spends 3.7 trillion dollars a year on healthcare, more than all but three nations’ entire gross national product. UT Dallas and UT Southwestern professor John McCracken, speaking at the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce’s Healthcare Conference, says that economic recession could be what forces the U.S. to change its healthcare spending habits. McCracken noted that the U.S. debt is 108 percent of its gross national product, and with the unfunded pension liabilities, it creates a precarious situation for the economy where a recession could force a massive change. “Time is running out, and there is  potential for… Full Story

The Texas Medical Association’s 2019 Legislative Priorities

With Texas making headlines regarding its uninsured rate and rural hospital closings, the Texas Medical Association has a tall task ahead of the 2019 legislative session in Austin. The 2018 election saw Democratic gains across the country, including Texas, but the state still remains in Republican hands. Legislators will have a chance to improve some of the state’s most persistent problems, and the TMA hopes to represent physicians and uphold its mission of improving the health of all Texans. The TMA is the country’s largest association with 52,000 physician members, and D CEO Healthcare spoke with the organization’s president Dr.… Full Story

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