North Texas Legislator’s Bill to Fight Maternal Mortality By Extending Care

Representative Michelle Beckley of Carrollton is already making waves in Texas’ 2019 legislative section. The freshmen legislator defeated incumbent Republican Ron Simmons in November, and is now a joint author on a bill to extend care to mothers who received services through Medicaid. Co-authored with Houston-area representative Jessica Farrar, House Bill 241 would provide medical assistance for at least 12 months to a small group of women who were eligible for the Medicaid services prior to pregnancy. As it stands today, these post-partum women only receive the aid for 60 days after pregnancy. “Last year, Texas’s overall maternal mortality rate… Full Story

Self-Interested Altruism: Impacting Health Through Social Determinants

Social determinants of health have an outsized impact on the health of vulnerable populations. Access to quality housing, nutrition, and transportation can greatly improve communities’ health, but it can be difficult to sell to investors because these determinants are in effect public goods, and not limited to those who pay for them. But healthcare economists hope they can use the self interest of community health stakeholders to improve these determinants. During the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Conference, economist Len Nichols of George Mason University shared his research that details how to get self-interested healthcare systems to collaborate to… Full Story

Baylor Scott and White, Memorial Hermann “Discontinue Talks” of a Merger

Baylor Scott and White and Memorial Hermann health systems won’t be merging, according to a joint statement. In the fall, Baylor Scott and White Health announced a potential merger with Houston-area system Memorial Hermann in what would have formed the largest health provider in the state, with 68 hospitals and 73,000 employees worth over $15 billion. The two providers would have formed a contiguous coverage area that would have spanned Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Central Texas. Officials said that because there was no overlap in coverage areas, the merger wouldn’t have resulted in any job cuts, and that the scale… Full Story

How to Prepare for Texas’ New Maternal Care Levels

Last November, D CEO Healthcare detailed the steps that Texas has taken to address the state’s maternal mortality rate, which is unacceptably high even after a revision of the mortality data. One of the important initiatives enacted by the legislature and signed by the governor is maternal level-of-care designations (MLOCD). MLOCDs, which were endorsed three years ago by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, and others, are aimed at standardizing care and improving maternal and infant outcomes. Texas joins a handful of other states, including Indiana, Arizona, and Maryland in adopting maternal… Full Story

Can You Exercise Too Much? New Research Has an Answer

With the growing popularity of high-intensity interval training, Crossfit, and ultra-marathoning, scientists began to wonder if this level of intense exercise might be bad for the heart. Researchers from The Cooper Institute and UT Southwestern Medical Center analyzed how this type of heightened exercise impacts the risk of heart disease and death, but found no additional risk in highly active individuals. The study did find that these individuals have an 11 percent greater risk for coronary artery calcification, which can be a sign of atherosclerosis, a disease where plaque builds up in the arteries and gives risk to heart attack and… Full Story

Physician Convicted of Distributing Millions of Narcotics in “Pill Mill”

A Dallas area physician faces 20 years in federal prison for overseeing the illegal prescription of nearly a million units of narcotics. Dr. Carlos Luis Venegas was convicted of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance at his alleged “pill mill” in federal court on Friday. “These pill mills help to perpetuate the tragic opioid crisis gripping our country,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox via release. “Last year, America lost, on average, 116 people per day to opioid overdoses. We cannot allow unscrupulous conduct by physicians to add to the supply of dangerous drugs on the streets.” Trial evidence shower that Venegas supervised… Full Story

For Collin County Moms, Medical City Plano is the “Best Place to Have a Baby”

Medical City Plano has been voted the “Best Place to Have a Baby” by readers in CollinChild magazine. After polling 9,000 mothers last year, the facility was voted number one because “it really feels more like a hotel than a hospital.” The hospital also received top marks from the magazine for having the best childbirth classes. “Medical City Plano is honored to be recognized by our community for our commitment to providing exceptional, high-quality and specialized care for mothers and babies,” Medical City Plano CEO Charles Gressle said via release. “It is our privilege to help patients design a unique… Full Story

Sundance Behavioral Health System Files for Bankruptcy

After reports that the Arlington location of Sundance Behavioral Health System held patients against their will, the entire system filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday. Bankruptcy court documents show the system owes 50 to 99 creditors between one and 10 million dollars, and it reports having only $500,00-$1,000,000 in assets. In December, the Arlington location surrendered its license and ceased operations after the allegations were made. The Dallas Morning News reports that most of the 20 allegations made in November and December had to do with holding patients against their will, such as detaining a minor and illegally holding… Full Story

Children’s Health Makes ‘Difficult Decision’ to Close Home Care Division

Children’s Health will be closing its Home Care division this March. The 93-employee division includes a pediatrician, skilled nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and respiratory therapists that provided in-home care for children and their families. The Home Care team serves Dallas, Denton, Ellis, and Collin counties for some of Children’s most critical patients. The service has 24/7 availability, coordinated care between the physician and other providers, sends reports to providers, and helps parents answer questions about their medically complex children and the medical equipment used in the home. “After conducting an in-depth analysis to determine how we can best… Full Story

Blue Cross Insurance Data Reveals Texas’ Freestanding Emergency Department Charges

New research shows what many have already discovered: freestanding emergency departments may charge more than urgent care centers to fewer patients who have similar conditions. The study looked at three urgent care centers that were converted to FSEDs in Texas using insurance claims from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, based in Richardson. They show that patient volume went down between 29.5 and 94.8 percent, but reimbursement per patient increased between 970 and 1,369 percent. The study showed no significant difference in the age, gender, or conditions of patients managed by both the UCCs and FSEDs. Researchers did find a… Full Story