Morning Rounds (07.25.12)

NTEC is accepting applications for MedVentures 2012. Last year’s presenting companies raised an average of $1.9 million. Deloitte surveys C-suite executives and HR professionals on the U.S. healthcare system, the ACA, and strategies for employee health benefits coverage and cost containment. Becker’s Hospital Review shares five best practices for cultural changes following a hospital transaction. Hospital leaders share their opinions on their organizations’ budgets for EHR deployment? Integrated Healthcare Strategies‘ 2012 national healthcare staff compensation survey results.    

Tenet to Treat Cigna-insured Patients at all of its Hospitals, Outpatient Centers

Tenet Healthcare has agreed to open access to healthcare services at all its hospitals and outpatient centers to those who are Cigna-insured beginning next May. Under the agreement, Cigna customers will have access to healthcare services at all hospitals owned by Tenet subsidiaries, as well as freestanding: • Diagnostic imaging centers • Ambulatory surgery centers • Urgent care centers • Outpatient centers in which Tenet holds majority interest • Physicians under Tenet Physicians Inc. (About 800) This new contract also will allow facilitates the creation of Tenet’s Clinically Integrated Organizations (CIOs) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) through Cigna’s proprietary Collaborative… Full Story

Patience and Strategy Needed for Healthcare Reform

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Texas will need patience and strategy with two important decisions regarding Medicaid expansion and the implementation of the State Health Insurance Exchange. Texas Governor Rick Perry recently announced Texas would not expand Medicaid coverage or implement a state health insurance exchange. Texas leads the nation with an overall 27 percent uninsured population. Those numbers climb to 30 percent in North Texas. Within our state, 1.2 million children have no medical insurance and 40 percent of Texas women do not receive appropriate prenatal… Full Story

Texas Ranks No. 49 Among U.S. States for Unmet Medical Needs

More than one out of four non-elderly Texas adults did not seek medical care in 2010 because of cost, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analysis. That rate was the second-worst in the nation, which was slightly better than Mississippi, and about 40 percent higher than it was a decade earlier. In raw numbers, that is nearly 3.8 million Texans who said they could not afford to seek medical treatment. The report underscores the devastating effects of being uninsured. Nearly one out of three Texas adults 18-64 years old lacks health insurance—a rate that is the nation’s worst. What’s… 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

Job Satisfaction Key Driver in Employee Healthcare Costs

A company’s health-related costs are not due simply to health problems, according to consultant and author Wendy Lynch. She contends that a rewarding job and performance-based compensation are the most cost-effective investments employers can make for employee health and performance. Lynch, co-director of Altarum Institute’s Center for Consumer Choice in Health Care, addressed the Dallas-Fort Worth Business Group on Health luncheon May 23 at the Westin Galleria Hotel in Dallas. Her speech—Rethinking benefits, wellness, and incentives strategies: How performance-based benefits and compensation policies improve both health and business outcomes—emphasized the role of human capital in the workplace. That capital is… Full Story

Meet the CEO: Bruce Sammis, Lockton Dunning

What kind of CEO is Bruce Sammis? The kind that holds onto good advice for 23 years. When Sammis was working for Cigna Healthcare in the 1980s, he found himself at the helm of a huge project. “I was put in charge way before I was ready,” he says. “I tried to fix everything from Day One.” A higher-up in the company gave Sammis advice that has since become a guiding tenet in his life. “He told me that when people ask how things are going, they want to hear the words, ‘Never better,’ not something negative,” Sammis says. “To… 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

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