Morning Rounds (07.27.12)

Texas Woman’s University of Dallas receives $452,500 grant from the National Institutes of Health. Medical City Children’s Hospital sees a baby boom in June, with births setting a 12-year record. launches tool to help consumers determine if their insurer is providing value for premiums under new 80/20 rule. The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation is examining the “gray market” impact on drug shortages. The Advisory Board Co. releases fun infographic comparing Olympic athletes to average Americans. Plus: Who’s healthiest in a hospital—nurses, physicians, or patients?

Nine Texas Vascular Associates Doctors Sued for Alleged Medicare, Insurance Fraud

A former employee of Dallas’ Texas Vascular Associates is suing the practice and its nine doctors. Cortez Mills, a former medical coding professional at TVA, alleges that she was fired in May after discovering fraudulent billing practices. According to the complaint, Mills discovered the irregularities while reviewing and releasing patient bills to Medicare and private insurers for payment. They include double-billing insurance carriers, coding insurance claims so certain services would not be bundled, and billing for services that were never performed. TVA is based in the Baylor Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital on the Baylor Dallas campus near downtown Dallas. Baylor, however, is not… Full Story

LHP Doubles Employees Since January; Well-positioned for Continued Growth

Plano-based LHP Group Inc. is on a roll. The company just moved into a 41,000 square-foot facility off the Dallas North Tollway in Plano, after expanding twice in its previous location. It now has 60 employees—double what it had in January. The new facility has the capacity for 120 employees. It closed a deal this month on a joint venture with Hackensack (N.J.) University Health Network  to take over ownership of Mountainside Hospital in Monclair, N.J. The two partners previously had HackensackUMC at Pascack Valley. In June, LHP opened a new 83-bed facility with Austin-based Seton Family of Hospitals in… Full Story

Morning Rounds (07.26.12)

Health IT mergers and acquisitions up 28 percent in the first half of 2011. Dallas-based T-System is among the most active, with three acquisitions this year. Dallas Regional Medical Center will open new Bariatric Surgery Institute at its Mesquite campus in August. Dallas-based AT&T aligns with National LambdaRail to connect researchers in the area of genomic medicine. The U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services on changing policies and practices regarding patient input on health records. Harvard researchers find Medicaid expansion may lower death rate.

Texas Ranks Near Bottom in Overall Child Well-being

One out of every 11 of the country’s children lives in Texas—yet the state ranks 44th in overall child health and well-being, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2012 “Kids Count” Data Book. The book looks at four areas to determine well-being: economic standing, education, health, and the family/community. Texas also has the third-highest teen birth rate in the country, and ranks 49th in children without health insurance, with an uninsured rate of 14 percent in 2010. This is a 22 percent decrease from 2008, likely due to increased coverage through programs such as Medicaid and CHIP. “These numbers cry… Full Story

The Perry Effect: Half-million Fewer Texas Women Will Be Insured Under ACA

Call it The Perry Effect. The Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based health-policy think tank, recently estimated the impact of health reform on the rate of uninsured women in Texas. The authors estimated that the percent would decrease from the current rate of more than 30 percent to less than 12 percent. That decrease did not take into account Gov. Rick Perry’s decision that Texas would not expand the Medicaid program in 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). D Healthcare Daily asked the authors to recalculate their estimate in light of Perry’s announcement. The result: 20 percent of… Full Story

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

Local Health Information Exchange Battles the Clock to Wire DFW Healthcare Organizations

Implementing electronic health records (EHRs) in hospitals and physicians offices is difficult enough. Getting the systems to talk to each other—for coordinated care, patient safety, and to improve quality—seems even more daunting. The inter-facility chatter is called a health information exchange (HIE). A North Texas HIE cooperative is fighting the clock, among other things, to get one established before the federal funding runs out. Texas received funding from the 2009 federal economic-stimulus legislation to help develop HIE. However, those monies will run out by the end of 2013. The Texas Health Services Authority and Texas Health and Human Services Commission… Full Story

Legislation Could Stave Off Medicare Cuts for Doctors

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) has introduced legislation to provide a one-year extension for Medicare physician payment rates to ensure continued access for Medicare beneficiaries and TRICARE recipients. The legislation, called H.R. 6142, The Assuring Medicare Stability and Access for Seniors Act of 2012, is the latest in a set of attempts from Congress to stave off a nearly 30 percent pay cut for doctors accepting Medicare. “Despite Congress’ continual enactment of last-minute legislation to prevent these cuts from going into effect over the last few years, 11th-hour legislative maneuvers should no longer take the place of a stable and secure… Full Story