Morning Rounds (01.28.13)

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. has formed a joint venture with California-based John Muir Health.

Hospital merger and acquisition activity in 2012 was the highest in a decade, according to Fitch Ratings.

Physician practices are now able to bill for coordinating care of patients who have been discharged from a hospital or for those who have more than one chronic condition. Full Story

Fed-Up Texas Physicians Eye Concierge Model

More than 1 out of 10 Texas physicians say they intend to move to a direct payment, or concierge, medical practice within the next three years, according to a Merritt Hawkins survey conducted for the Physicians Foundation. That is more than any other state. Mark Smith, Merritt Hawkins chief executive officer, said the response likely reflects a state culture that craves freedom and abhors what is considered government interference. “They look at healthcare and government and see the changes, and they’re not necessarily for the better. They are looking for ways to escape what is coming. It is not surprising… Full Story

Morning Rounds (01.25.13)

Fifteen local health professionals and more than 20 companies are recognized in this week’s edition of Accolades.

A coalition of healthcare groups is urging the Obama administration to follow private-sector approaches before it rules on essential health benefits.

Registered Texas voters overwhelmingly favor expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, according to a poll by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.


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State Lags on Public Health Preparedness, Study Finds

Texas is in the middle of the pack on emergency preparedness, according to a report by advocacy group Trust for America’s Health (TFAH). The report, Ready or Not? Protecting the Public from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism, was issued by TFAH and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It said the state met five out of 10 key indicators for public health preparedness: It could notify and assemble public health staff within an hour to ensure a quick response to an incident. It requires Medicaid to cover flu shots with no co-pays for beneficiaries under the age of 65. It requires licensed… Full Story

Genesis Physicians Group Names President and CEO

James W. Walton has been named president and CEO of the Genesis Physicians Group. He’ll assume the new role on March 1. Walton currently works as vice president of Network Performance and Baylor Quality Alliance at Baylor Health Care System. He joined Baylor’s management team in 1996, after he and his partners sold their internal medicine practice, Ellis County Diagnostic Clinic, to the health system. Walton has also served as Dallas County Medical Society’s Medical Director for Project Access Dallas. Founded in Dallas in 1986, Genesis Physicians Group is the largest IPA in North Texas, with more than 1,400 members.… Full Story

Morning Rounds (01.23.13)

Healthcare merger and acquisition spending fell near 40 percent in 2012, and was the lowest in nearly a decade.

The AMA, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and the Federation of American Hospitals are urging the federal government to suspend and evaluate its electronic health records incentive program.

Tenet Healthcare Corp. announces private offering of  $850 million in senior secured notes. Full Story

New Compass Accountable Care Unit Links High Quality and Low Costs

Employers are often flying blind when they try to control healthcare costs. Transparent pricing and quality metrics are hard to come by. Dallas-based Compass Care Engineering (CCE) believes it has an answer. The clinical care initiative was purchased Jan. 1 from ACAP Health Consulting, a subsidiary of Holmes Murphy. Parent Compass Professional Health Services acts as a health-system concierge for employees by seeking out the best values for specific healthcare procedures, vetting providers for cost and quality. It helps members find in-network physicians and sets up appointments. It tripled in size in 2012, according to company officials. CCE requests quality… Full Story

DFW Hospitals Require Flu Shots, But Allow Exemptions

As a stronger-than-normal influenza outbreak sweeps the nation, a growing list of groups are recommending mandatory flu vaccinations for all healthcare workers. The American College of Physicians (ACP) has urged mandatory immunizations, except for staff with valid medical reasons or religious objections. The ACP estimates that 40,000 to 50,000 Americans die each year from vaccine-preventable diseases.  The American Medical Association endorsed mandatory shots for nursing-home employees with direct patient contact. The American Nurses Association backs mandatory shots if required by individual states. Mandatory immunization appears to be the standard policy for healthcare workers at Dallas-Fort Worth hospitals. “We crafted our… Full Story