AHA: Searching for the Best Practices in Workplace Wellness

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. and the American Heart Association have teamed up to perform pioneering research to help establish a healthier workforce in America. The joint-study looks to examine the overall impact of wellness programs on employees’ health, and the effectiveness of the tools and incentives used at these KKR portfolio companies. Currently, employers are responsible for designing and paying for the vast majority of health care for those under 65 years. An estimated 25 to 30 percent of companies’ annual medical costs are spent on employees with major risk factors for chronic diseases (such as heart disease,… 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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Medical Groups Speak Out Against Expiration of SGR Fix for Medicare

Healthwatch reports that medical groups sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to halt Medicare provider cuts. The cuts, along with the expiration of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) fix for Medicare are slated to take effect Jan. 1. The groups’ letter voices concern about the outlook of America’s healthcare system and timing of the cuts. The sequestration developed from August 2011 budget negotiations and would cut payments to Medicare providers by two percent unless Congress interferes before the end of the year. Additionally, if the current SGR fix expires, providers would see an addition cut of 27 percent. On Wednesday, the… Full Story

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