Morning Rounds (09.17.12)

The American Heart Association and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. have teamed up to perform research to find the best practices in workplace wellness.

The Altarum Institute’s says the national health spending increase of 4.2 percent is low compared to last year’s figure.

The Health Resources and Services Administration has decided to continue its relationship with Apexus by renewing for another year.

American Medical News offers strategies for physicians and practice managers to promote their practices beyond Twitter and Facebook. Here are its six top tips. Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.14.12)

UT Southwestern has been chosen as one of 25 sites for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials, or NeuroNEXT, that may lead them to receive $1.4 million in NINDS aid over the next seven years.

Extended doctors’ office hours are linked to a ten percent dip in healthcare costs for patients, according to an annual government survey.

Medical groups sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to halt Medicare provider cuts that, along with the expiration of the sustainable growth rate fix for Medicare are slated to take effect Jan. 1.

The American Heart Association has released a study concluding that mini strokes can lead to serious disability, highlighting that it occurs with conditions that doctors often consider too mild to treat with drugs.

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Morning Rounds (09.13.12)

The Red Cross has launched its Young Professionals Auxiliary for volunteers ages 21-30 in Dallas.

The American Hospital Association reports that up to 766,000 healthcare and related jobs could be lost by 2021 as a result of the 2 percent sequester of Medicare spending.

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare has announced a $67 million expansion to its Sierra Providence East Medical Center in El Paso.

All 12 Baylor Health System facilities are eliminating sugar-sweetened sodas and unhealthy snacks from on-site cafés and vending machines, with hopes of setting a healthy example for visitors. Full Story

Medicare Spending Cuts Could Lead to Job Loss of More Than 760,000 by 2021

The American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, and the American Nurses Association report that up to 766,000 healthcare and related jobs could be lost by 2021 as a result of the 2 percent sequester of Medicare spending required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. According to a study by economic impact firm Tripp Umbach, anticipated cuts in Medicare payments will result in 496,000 jobs jobs lost during its first year. The report also found that the job losses will affect economic sectors beyond healthcare. This is in contrast to the role the healthcare role usually plays. According to The Bureau… Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.12.12)

Beginning Oct. 1, a penalty of up to 1 percent for readmissions related to acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia will be set to impact hospitals in 2013 with the percentage increasing to up to 3 percent into 2015. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has identified ways to avoid the penalty.

Construction has begun on The Forney Emergency Center and Medical Office Building, the second phase of Forney Medical Plaza. The expansion will add 5,000 square feet of medical office space, and a 13,248-square-foot Forney Emergency Center.

According to the American Heart Association, heart attack victims who take common painkillers, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and prescription drugs such as Celebrex, run the risk of suffering a second heart attack as well as an increased chance of death.

Just 6.7 percent of medical students are African-American, and just 7.5 percent are Hispanic. To help change those stats, the AHA has teamed up with Macy’s to offer 16 scholarships to minority medical students.


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Medicare Offers Tips for Hospitals on Reducing Readmissions

Two-thirds of hospitals will soon suffer penalties for above-average readmissions, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Beginning Oct. 1, a penalty of up to 1 percent for readmissions related to acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia will be set to impact hospitals in 2013, with the percentage increasing to up to 3 percent into 2015. MedPAC has released extensive information to help hospitals reduce readmissions, including these tips: • Identify at-risk populations. • Improve communication with providers outside of the hospital. • Educate the patient on taking charge of his or her care. • Schedule follow-up appointments… 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

Morning Rounds (09.10.12)

Just half of all physicians meet federal standards for Electronic Health Record systems. Click to see which doctors are most and least likely to be in compliance.

An increase in cholesterol screenings has led to more diagnosed cases of high cholesterol, from 33.2 percent to 35 percent nationwide. Texas saw a 21.2 percent increase—the second highest increase in diagnoses behind Arizona (22.2 percent).

Fewer than 25 percent of people with hypertension treat it correctly. Out of 66.9 million, 35.8 million do not have their hypertension controlled, 14.1 million are unaware they have hypertension, and 5.7 million were aware of their diagnosis but not receiving treatment, while only 16 million were aware and receiving treatment.

The 2011 National Immunization Survey finds that nationwide vaccination coverage among children aged 19 to 35 months increased or remained stable in the last year and met or exceeded national objectives. Trends in Texas are consistent with national data, with the state experiencing a significant increase in coverage for the HepB birth vaccine since 2010.

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Morning Rounds (09.07.12)

Dallas officials will mark the ground-breaking of a six-story, $108 million Charles A. Sammons Trauma and Critical Care Tower at Methodist Dallas Medical Center on Sept. 11. Slated to open in 2014, the 248,000-square-foot facility will be completely dedicated to emergency and trauma care.

Patient spending among those seeking treatment for neck and back problems in the U.S. has nearly doubled since the late 1990s, with the bulk majority of spending in medical specialist care.

The American Heart Association reports that patients are more likely to survive cardiac arrest when longer resuscitation attempts are implemented. Revival rates were 12 percent higher at hospitals with median resuscitation times of 25 minutes, as opposed to hospitals treating for a median of 16 minutes.
The Institute of Medicine has released a report calling for a better healthcare system, in light of recent science and technological advances. An 18-member expert committee released its 382-page report, “Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America.” Here’s a synopsis.

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Morning Rounds (09.06.12)

Parker University will add three degree programs in January as part of a plan to develop 12 new programs through 2017. The programs were chosen in response to high demand among students, an increase in industry salaries, and changes in occupational healthcare trends, the university says.

About 7,000 women in DFW must now find an alternative to Planned Parenthood after the state officially cut its funding because the clinics offer abortions. An appeal of the ruling is under way.

A UT Southwestern medical student was featured on three episodes of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” The contestent didn’t win the big prize, but he certainly didn’t go home empty-handed.

Nearly one in three American adults has high blood pressure. The CDC reports that more than half of those people—36 million—don’t have it under control and recommends team-based approaches to help the problem. Full Story