THR Names New Chief Clinical Officer: Former KentuckyOne Exec Daniel Varga

With an eye toward advancing clinical quality and operational excellence, Texas Health Resources has named Daniel Varga, M.D., as chief clinical officer and senior executive vice president. He’ll assume his new post on Jan. 14. Varga comes to THR from KentuckyOne, the largest health system in Kentucky, where he served as chief clinical officer. He resigned from that post in late November. At THR, Varga will be responsible for integrating clinical enterprise, including quality, patient safety, and patient experience initiatives. He’ll also oversee physician relationships, clinical integration, care design, and clinical research, and education. Doug Hawthorne, Texas Health Resources’ CEO,… Full Story

Morning Rounds (11.18.12)

Former American Board of Internal Medicine executive Christine Cassel, M.D., has been named president and CEO of the National Quality Forum, effective mid-summer 2013.

More than $2.3 trillion was spent on healthcare in 2010, the latest year for which detailed information is available. Here’s a breakdown of where that money went.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released its final sets of approved test procedures providers will need to follow for the EHR Incentive program. Full Story

Dallas-based US Memory Care to Add Two Texas Centers; 20 More Expected in Three Years

Dallas-based US Memory Care is opening two new Texas centers, one in North Dallas and one in the Houston. The North Dallas and Houston locations are slated break ground in January 2013 and to open later in the year in addition to a Colleyville location that is set to open next month. This is just part of the growth plan for US Memory Care, which aims to build up to 20 new communities over the next three years throughout the Southwest. The North Dallas location will be built on 4.4 acres at Silverglen and Mapleshade. That center and the one… Full Story

Morning Rounds (12.17.12)

American’s Health Rankings for 2012 finds Texas has one of the lowest rates of cancer deaths in the U.S., but also claims a higher obesity rate than the national average and an increase infectious diseases.

Shorter work rotations for attending physicians cut down on the burnout rate without increasing the number of patients who needed to come back to the hospital, JAMA reports.

The looming fiscal cliff could mean $142 million in cuts to Texas HHS, a move that could impact more than 325,000 Texans.

A one-year Yale University study finds that proton-beam therapy is no more effective for treating prostate cancer than standard radiation. Full Story

Baylor Health Care and Scott & White Merge to Form the Largest Not-for-Profit Healthcare System in Texas

Dallas-based Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White of Temple are joining forces to create Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in the state of Texas. The two companies announced the merger Friday afternoon at simultaneous press conferences held in Dallas and Temple. The boards of both hospital systems unanimously approved the merger. The new organization will have a 50/50 governance structure with two operating divisions, Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White. Joel Allison, president and CEO of Baylor Health Care, will continue to be CEO of Baylor and will also serve as… Full Story

Morning Rounds (12.14.12)

The Leapfrog Group has engaged the Armstrong Institute, part of Johns Hopkins Medicine, to provide analytical and scientific guidance for its Hospital Safety Score and Leapfrog Hospital Survey.

The increasing rate of chronic conditions among Medicare beneficiaries is placing greater financial pressure on the nation’s hospitals.

Operating costs for doctors in physician-owned groups increased at a slower rate than for those in hospital-owned groups.

At least 50 federal lawsuits in nine states have been filed against the New England Compounding Center, the company believed to be behind the a national meningitis outbreak earlier this year. Full Story

Physician-founded Collection Agency, Debt M.D., Aims to Revolutionize Practice

Hubert Fu, M.D., is a self-acclaimed efficiency nut. It’s what led him to practice medicine as an anesthesiologist—and to become an entrepreneur who is turning the debt collection business on its head. In anesthesia, everything is streamlined; not so in other areas of practicing healthcare, Fu said: “Once you extend that to everything else in medicine, including billing, it kind of snowballs on itself. Having been on both the receiving and the giving end of billing, I know it just doesn’t have to be this way.” After personal billing system issues and hearing coworkers complain, Fu decided it was time… Full Story

DFW Workers Could Be Paying $7,300 for Family Insurance by 2020

Dallas-Fort Worth employees will be paying more than $7,300 for a family premium in 2020 if healthcare costs follow historical trends, according to a Commonwealth Fund analysis. The local average worker contribution to health-insurance premiums more than doubled for a single policy to $1,106 for a single policy, and grew by more than 50 percent for a family policy to $4,435 between 2003 and 2011. The average family premium rose in DFW from $9,516 in 2003 to $15,977 in 2011. The analysis projected that the cost would rise to $19,943 in 2015 and $26,313 in 2020. The $7,300 contribution estimate… Full Story

Morning Rounds (12.13.12)

Wise Regional Health System will break ground Friday on a 29,000-square-foot specialty surgery facility in North Fort Worth.

The Physician Foundation has come out with a list of the top five concerns for doctors in 2013.

Parker University has named a new president, following the retirement of its longtime leader, Dr. Fabrizio Mancini.

Sustainable practices could save hospitals $5.4 billion over the next five years and more than $15 billion over a decade. Full Story

USMD Holdings Appoints New President, Chief Development Officer

USMD Holdings has named Gary L. Rudin its president and chief operating officer, and Karen Kennedy its executive vice president and chief development officer. The Irving-based company was formed in September  when four companies—USMD Inc., Urology Associates of North Texas LLP, Medical Clinic of North Texas PA, and IMPEL Management Services LLC—decided to combine. In his new role, Rudin will oversee the areas of physician practice management, outpatient services, hospital division, human resources, communications and marketing, information technology, and strategic planning. Kennedy will focus on growing the company through physician recruitment and practice acquisitions. Rudin, a former longtime executive at… Full Story