Why Eye-popping Jury Awards—Within Healthcare and Other Industries—Aren’t Always What They Seem

I’d like to point you toward a story that ran in the July issue of D CEO and hit dmagazine.com late last week. It is Tom Korosec’s column about giant jury awards in civil cases and why they’re generally more bark than bite. Korosec lays out the circumstances of a couple medical-related jury awards that landed here in Dallas—the $73 million awarded to a woman who sued Boston Scientific Corp. and the $502 million awarded to a group of patients who sued Johnson & Johnson. Because of a Texas law, those awards are ultimately slashed to much more manageable payouts,… Full Story

Fetal Remains Burial Trial Concludes, But No Ruling Yet

A judge says he expects to rule at the end of August on Senate Bill 8, a Texas law that requires health providers to cremate or bury fetal remains, according to the Texas Tribune. The trial concluded on Friday, but U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra says he’s waiting on final written arguments, which are due Aug. 3. SB 8 followed a U.S. district judge’s determination in 2017 that reversed a Texas Department of State Health Services rule that had the same effect. Here’s the Trib: Throughout the five-day trial, a wave of patients, health providers, state agency officials, bioethicists,… Full Story

Audit Uncovers More Contracting Woes At Texas Health and Human Services Commission

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission continues to rack up scandals related to its contracting process. The most recent: a state audit of 28 procurements found errors in all 28. The state couldn’t confirm that the correct applicants were awarded in five cases totaling more than $3 billion. From the Texas Tribune: Auditors said Tuesday they found errors in the evaluation processes for all 28 procurements they examined, totaling $4.6 billion in state money. For five of those procurements, those errors were more extreme: “auditors identified significant evaluation scoring errors and missing documentation” in procuring contracts worth over $3… Full Story

Trial About Fetal Remains Burial and Cremation Kicks Off

In 2017, Texas legislators passed Senate Bill 8, requiring hospitals to bury or cremate fetal remains. Monday, a Federal courtroom in Austin played host to the opening day of a trial pitting state attorneys versus reproductive rights attorneys, as the Texas Tribune reports. A similar rule by the Texas Department of State Health Services was axed by a U.S. District Judge in 2017, prompting the legislation. The Trib sums up the opposition to such a rule: Abortion opponents have argued that the rule was a means to bring human dignity to the fetuses, while reproductive rights advocates said it was another… Full Story

Irving-based HMS Settles $60 Million Breach of Contract Verdict for $20 Million

Irving-based HMS Healthcare has settled litigation with the founders of a business it bought in 2010, agreeing to pay plaintiffs Dennis Demetre and Lori Lewis $20 million. In November, a New York jury ruled in favor of Demetre and Lewis’ breach of contract claim, awarding the two $60 million in damages. HMS had filed a post-trial motion for an order granting it judgment notwithstanding the verdict or to set aside the award of damages, according to the most recent quarterly report of HMS-parent HMS Holdings. The two sides signed the settlement on June 27, and HMS—which surpassed $500 million in… Full Story

Bridal Shop Suing Texas Health Over Inadequate Ebola Training Wants Texas Supreme Court To Take A Look

An Ohio bridal shop is asking the Texas Supreme Court to look at its claims against Texas Health Resources, which the business says failed to adequately educate staff during the Ebola scare in 2014, Law360 reported last week. A Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas nurse who contracted the virus visited the Akron, Ohio-based shop—Coming Attractions Bridal and Formal—between her exposure to Ebola and her diagnosis, prompting Ohio authorities to force the store’s temporary closure for an analysis and cleaning. The store reopened three weeks later, but Coming Attractions claims its reputation took a permanent hit. The store announced in early 2015… Full Story

Amid Agency’s Struggles, CEO of Dallas County’s Largest Mental Health Provider Gets One-Year Contract

The Metrocare Services Board of Trustees renewed the contract of its chief executive officer for one year on Thursday afternoon, without a raise in salary but with the possibility of a bonus of up to $50,000. Dr. John Burruss will remain the agency’s leader amid its financial struggles and after a lengthy CEO evaluation process. The board will have discretion to grant the bonus and decide its amount, Board President Terry James said Thursday. Burruss makes a salary of $382,347 and has received two $50,000 bonuses in the last three years. Burruss’ three-year contract as CEO was set to expire… Full Story

Metrocare Board Likely To Decide CEO’s Fate This Week

The lengthy evaluation process of Metrocare Services CEO John Burruss will conclude at the agency’s board meeting on Thursday, and a decision about Burruss’ fate will likely follow. The closed-door executive session will include discussion on the “conclusion of CEO evaluation process and potential CEO contract renewal.” There’s an opportunity for the board to take action after executive session if need be. The behavioral health agency—Dallas County’s largest mental health provider, serving more than 57,000 adults and children annually—has for months been grappling with whether to extend the contract of its top executive amid the agency’s financial struggles. Burruss’ three-year… Full Story

Ten Days Before Its CEO’s Contract Expires, Dallas’ Largest Provider of Mental Health Services Is Silent

Ten days before the contract of its chief executive officer is set to run out, Dallas-based Metrocare Services is staying mum on the topic of its leadership future. The government agency—which has a budget north of $100 million and a board appointed by Dallas County Commissioners—has not answered repeated inquiries about the CEO process or about financial issues at the agency. It’s a spell of silence that dates back more than three months. In the most recent instance showcasing the lack of transparency that government agencies are expected to offer, Metrocare denied a records request seeking “minutes”—the play-by-play—from its most… Full Story

Abortion Advocacy Groups Sue Texas Over State Laws

Abortion advocacy groups sued the state of Texas on Thursday in an effort to walk back several state laws. The groups say in a suit filed in federal court in Austin that the laws, as the Texas Tribune reports, “promote the distribution of inaccurate information to patients, shame women who want abortions and create bureaucratic barriers to the operation.” They’re particularly harmful for women of color and low-income people, the lawsuit alleges. The groups involved are Fund Texas Choice, the Lilith Fund, the Texas Access Fund, Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, the Afiya Center, the West Fund, and Dr. Bhavik Kumar.… Full Story