Healthcare is Companies Biggest Barrier to Financial Growth, Study Says

Employee and company financial growth is hindered by cost of employee benefits, according to a Grant Thorton study of 400 CFOs. The same study says 56 percent identify healthcare and pensions as the main reason the cost has increased. And, as the cost of healthcare grows, 77 percent of those surveyed believe healthcare benefits such as life insurance and disability are expected to remain constant while both employee and employer contributions are expected to increase. The survey also shows that 45 percent of CFOs believe that deficit reduction is the number one initiative to improve overall economic optimism, while 27 percent believe… Full Story

Full ACA Expansion Would Cut Local Uninsured Rate By Half, Study Finds

Full expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Texas would cut the uninsured rate in the four-county Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area by more than half, according to an estimate by two Rice University demographers. A recent U.S. Census Bureau survey found that 23 percent of Texans lacked health insurance in 2011, which represents the nation’s leading uninsured rate. Demographers Steve Murdock and Michael Cline assert that about 3 million out of 5.9 million uninsured Texans would have insurance in 2014 if the state embraced health reform. Locally, that would mean more than 600,000 in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton… Full Story

Physician Income on the Decline

More than 86 percent of physicians said income in their practices has been flat or declining over the past three years, according to a survey from Merritt Hawkins. Primary care physicians were more inclined to see income increases while specialists were more likely to point out income declines due to their Medicare reimbursement cuts, Becker’s reported. The survey fielded responses from more than 13,500 physicians and covers topics, ranging from physician work schedule to job satisfaction. Below are 24 statistics on how physicians described income levels over the past three years.   Physicians aged 40 and younger Increasing: 22.6 percent… Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.27.12)

Prime Healthcare Services  has purchased Dallas Medical Center, a 155-bed full service acute-care hospital in Farmers Branch.

Three North Texas companies have made Modern Healthcare’s “Healthcare’s Hottest” list.

Two Dallas clinics have been awarded $500,000 in grants under the GE Foundation’s Developing Health initiative.

The U.S. Supreme Court has taken on three healthcare cases. Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.26.12)

Fred Meyer, vice chairman of the board and CEO of The Cooper Institute, died September 24 at the age of 84.

A co-defendant of a Dallas physician has pleaded guilty to Medicare insurance fraud in a $375 million case.

Parkland Health and Hospital System  reports that it’s more than 80 percent complete with its corrective action plan.

In rural communities, residents are more likely to travel more than 20 miles to larger medical facilities instead of going to local hospitals, study finds. Full Story

Co-defendant Pleads Guilty in $375 Million Medicare Scheme

Cyprian Akamnonu, a co-defendant of Dallas physician Jacques Roy, entered a guilty plea Tuesday to one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. The plea agreement calls for a 10-year maximum sentence. Akamnonu admitted he had his home health agency sign up Medicare clients to bill Medicare for more services than what were provided. Roy is accused of a Medicare scheme alleged to have reached more than $375 million, according to reports.

Down With OPM: Why Fixing Healthcare is so Hard

A few weeks ago, my family and I had dinner at a friend’s house in Irving. It was one of those refreshingly cool early September Saturday nights, so we lingered after dinner on the back deck, well past sunset. Jim is a dentist and I’m a healthcare lawyer, so it’s not surprising that our post-prandial conversation turned to the troubles of the American healthcare system. That gave me the opportunity to tell my favorite parable about the healthcare system—which is actually a story about working at McDonald’s. When I was a teenager, a McDonald’s restaurant was built in my home… Full Story

Looking beyond November

Signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2011, the Budget Control Act created a potential 2013 sequestration, a procedure where automatic spending cuts are triggered within the government. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction had to find these cuts by November, 2011 to prevent this sequestration from happening on Jan. 2, 2013. Due to rigid bipartisan politics, the committee failed to reach a workable solution. Mandated by the Budget Control Act, the automatic sequestration is now upon us, representing a massive $1.2 trillion in spending cuts evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending. Cuts to Medicare providers… Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.25.12)

Methodist Health System will break ground Sept. 27 on a $120 million hospital expansion at Methodist Richardson Medical Center.

Mandatory spending cuts to Medicare will mean large-scale job losses in physician offices and throughout the healthcare system.

UTA‘s College of Nursing and School of Social Work is using a $900,000 grant to help improve connections between nurses and social workers.

Those with high blood pressure tend to experience poorer sleep quality, according to a report presented to the American Heart Association.

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Expert Warns Health Benefit Managers: Time Is Running Short on Reform Changes

Jane Jensen, a senior consulting actuary for Towers Watson, asked for a show of hands: How many businesses have calculated the cost of continuing to offer health benefits, compared with sending employees to the health-insurance exchanges in 2014? Out of crowd of more than 100 attendees at last week’s Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health (DFWBGH) luncheon, you could count the raised hands on one hand. Jensen, Towers Watson’s lead actuary on health care reform issues, reminded the audience that the law requires that employers must notify their employees about the existence of the exchanges—and how their plans compare with those… Full Story