Proposed Legislation Targets Healthcare Price Transparency

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) is cosponsoring legislation aimed at fostering greater healthcare price transparency. Burgess, a former Flower Mound obstetrician, joined Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) in introducing the Health Care Price Transparency Promotion Act of 2012. The proposal would mandate that states have laws requiring hospitals disclose prices for inpatient and outpatient services. The legislation also instructs the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to study what healthcare cost information would be most useful to patients. “Patients could review their options with up-front information about the costs of a medical procedure and other expenses in healthcare services, said Burgess, in… Full Story

Annual Healthcare Cost for Dallas Families Tops $20,000

According to the 2012 Milliman Medical Index, the annual household cost of healthcare for a typical Dallas family has cracked the $20,000 mark. The Seattle-based actuarial and consulting firm annually calculates the total cost of care for a family of four enrolled in an employee-sponsored PPO plan. The $20,435 annual cost in Dallas was just below the U.S. estimate of $20,728. The national figure includes $12,144 in employer-cover insurance costs and $8,584 paid by the family—including $5,155 in insurance premiums paid by the employee whose family is covered by the plan, and $3,470 in out-of-pocket expenses. Dallas costs rose 7.1… Full Story

Emcare: The Largest Medical Group in Texas

The largest medical group in Texas is a company few have heard of outside the hospital sector. Emcare, a national leader in physician outsourcing services, is the nation’s largest emergency department (ED) contractor, according to Modern Healthcare. The nation’s 10th largest medical group has 158 offices nationally and nearly 800 physicians, according to SK&A. The company’s first client was Baylor, which was seeking to outsource its ED physician staffing in 1972. Three decades later, Emcare provides services to more than 500 hospitals in 40 states and treats more than nine million patients annually. Its ED services include management, recruiting, billing… Full Story

New Emergency Care Center on Tap for Texas Health Harris Methodist in Fort Worth

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth is constructing a $57.7 million emergency care center at the corner of West Terrell Street and Fifth Avenue. The goal of the clinic is to provide a continuum of care for geriatric patients and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. The three-story, 75,000-square-foot emergency care center, slated for completion in fall 2013, will be one block south of the hospital’s current emergency department and will connect to the main hospital through a sky bridge. It will nearly triple the square footage of the existing department and increase patient beds to 90 from the current 63.… Full Story

Thriving in the New Healthcare Environment

There were two big takeaways from the Health Industry Council’s 2012 Southwest Healthcare Transactions Conference in Dallas. First, regardless of whatever shape the health-reform law takes, its impact on delivery transformation will endure. The law has prompted physicians and hospitals—which historically have coexisted warily—to join forces to satisfy payers who are demanding greater value instead of volume. Accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes are rapidly forming to create higher-quality, lower-cost and better-coordinated patient care. Second, keynote speaker Paul Kusserow of Humana made it clear Dallas-Fort Worth has arrived as a center of healthcare innovation. He listed the North Texas… Full Story

Emergency Medicine Under Pressure

Emergency departments are frequently stereotyped as a hospital’s “money-loser.” Due to the concentration of resources needed to staff an ED, they are expensive to operate and increasingly becoming overcrowded. The Supreme Court’s June 28 ruling pushes forward The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will extend insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. Healthcare reform is likely to exacerbate the burden on EDs as health insurance does not guarantee access to care. More than 20 million additional people are expected to receive Medicaid, and it is likely that a substantial number of them will visit the ED because of… Full Story

NFIB v. Sebelius: More About Law Than Healthcare

As a healthcare lawyer, many friends and acquaintances have asked my opinion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Supreme Court case. Fortunately, the decision gave me a really easy answer to that question. Although it certainly didn’t break the way I thought it would—or, for that matter, hoped it would—it did vindicate what I have said all along about Obamacare and healthcare reform generally: The Affordable Care Act is much more focused on health insurance reform or health finance reform than it is on healthcare reform. And the Supreme Court case isn’t about healthcare at all; it’s all about… Full Story