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

Morning Rounds (09.05.12)

Nearly every major health insurer recorded declining earnings in the second quarter of 2012, mainly because of something that happened more often than they expected: patients going to see their doctors, according to an American Medical Association report.

A Baylor Health Care System director of epidemiology and his team are executing a large national multicenter study to assess the effectiveness of preventive and management strategies and their impact on long-term survival.

The American Heart Association reports that taking vitamin D supplements to compensate for vitamin D deficiency may not improve cholesterol in short term.

A Texas Presbyterian Hospital Dallas Chief nursing officer has been named one of only 20 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows from across the country for 2012. Full Story

What’s the Cost of Not Incentivizing Preventative Care?

When 50-year-old Michael Kelly recently ended up in a Dallas emergency room, he was told his diabetes was out of control and was now threatening his life. He already knew he was diabetic—he was actually diagnosed 10 years earlier; but he says he simply wasn’t eating right or taking care of himself and didn’t realize the impact that would have on his condition. Mr. Kelly was referred to the Baylor Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute in Southern Dallas, which offers free diabetes education classes. It wasn’t necessarily a diagnosis that he needed, or a prescription. Kelly needed to learn exactly… Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.04.12)

As part of a deal with the Department of State Health Services, Parkland Health & Hospital System will pay a $1 million fine for patient safety and quality-of-care deficiencies. The agreement resolves and discharges all potential enforcement actions for compliance issues before May 31, 2012

The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (NAFC) is calling on physicians and other health care professionals to participate in the upcoming large free clinic for uninsured persons at the Dallas Convention Center, Hall A, 650 South Griffin St., on Sept. 29.

Twenty new North Texas schools are joining Troy Aikman and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas in the fight against childhood obesity. Find out which area schools are now part of the Healthy Zone School Recognition.

Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth will begin performing kidney transplants next month. The initiative will operate under the name Fort Worth Transplant Institute, with Dr. George Rofaiel as the surgical director and Dr. Bala Sankar as the medical director. Full Story

Dallas Has Second-Highest Uninsured Rate Among Large U.S. Counties

Dallas County had the second-highest rate among the nation’s large counties of uninsured residents under 65 years old in 2010, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data released this week. Slightly more than 31 percent of Dallas County residents lacked insurance. The nation’s highest uninsured rate was Miami-Dade County, at 35.8 percent. The rates for other Texas counties of more than 1 million residents were Harris, 29.9 percent; Tarrant, 23.6 percent; and Bexar, 23.1 percent. The uninsured rates for Collin and Denton counties were 16.7 and 17.2 percent, respectively. The U.S. Census Bureau summary is the only source of health… Full Story

Morning Rounds (08.30.12)

Three North Texas contenders—AT&T Performing Arts Center, Dallas Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative, and West Dallas Community Centers Inc.—are in the running to win $30,000 as part of an Aetna program that rewards groups for closing racial and ethnic gaps in helping people live healthier lives.

A local infectious disease doctor must pay a former patient $5.2 million for negligence. The patient in the case, David Fitzgerald, filed a complaint in 2005 after an ulcer treatment went tragically awry.

To combat the rising number of West Nile infections, aerial spraying continues. Tarrant County will be sprayed tonight and tomorrow night.

Village Health Partners is expanding. The practice has opened a second location in Plano, at 5501 Independence Pkwy. Full Story

HHS Extends Deadline for ICD-10 Compliance

The federal government has extended the compliance deadline for a nationwide conversion to ICD-10 code sets. The new deadline—Oct. 1, 2014—gives healthcare organizations an additional year to prepare for the changeover. The rule is one of a series of changes required by the Affordable Care Act to cut red tape in the healthcare system. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it will save up to $6 billion over 10 years. “These new standards are a part of our efforts to help providers and health plans spend less time filling out paperwork and more time seeing their patients,”… Full Story

New CMS Audit Program Gets Under Way

A CMS antifraud program that kicks off today is targeting hospitals and physicians in Texas and 10 other states. The project allows recovery audit contractors to review the medical necessity of claims before the providers are paid. The Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor project aims to stop improper fee-for-service payments before they happen. Initial reviews will target hospitals and focus on short inpatient hospital stays. The efforts will focus on seven states with providers prone to errors and fraud (California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, and Texas), and four with large volumes of short inpatient hospital stays (Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio,… Full Story

DFW Medical Costs Rising Three Times Faster Than Inflation Rate

Medical costs are growing nearly three times faster than all consumer costs in Dallas-Fort Worth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The cost of medical care grew 3.8 percent locally in the 12 months ending July 31, compared with 1.3 percent for the DFW Consumer Price Index. However, DFW medical costs grew at less than the national rate of 4.1 percent. For the past 12 months, only rental costs grew faster than medical costs at 5 percent. The index reflects the cost of services rather than the volume increase. A May report by the Health Care Cost Institute… Full Story