Dallas to be One of Optum’s “Wired Together” Markets

Dallas will be one of 10 markets where UnitedHealthcare’s Optum healthcare services is rolling out a plan to integrate medical care across the country. At the 2019 Forbes Healthcare Summit, UnitedHealth Group president and Optum CEO Andrew Witty said that hundreds of clinics, surgery centers, and urgent care facilities acquired by the growing group will be “wired together,” Forbes reports. The thought is that increased connection will increase access to health data revealing new insights that will improve patient care across the country. Dallas will join Denver, Seattle, Southern California, Las Vegas, and the New York and New Jersey markets in the… Full Story

Expert: Why Disc Replacement Might Be Right for Your Patient

One of the most innovative technologies in spine surgery within the past 20 years has been the ability to replace a damaged cervical or lumbar disc with an artificial joint instead of a fusion. Because cervical and lumbar disc replacements were considered “novel technologies” by the FDA, multicenter randomized studies were required for approval of each new device before commercialization.  These studies were performed under rigorous governmental oversight. The first lumbar disc replacement studies in the US began in 2000, and cervical disc replacement studies started in 2002. Interested patients had to meet strict inclusion and exclusion criteria before they… Full Story

Plano Physician Arrested For Child Sexual Assault and Drug Possession Charges

Following his arrest last month, the Texas Medical Board has temporarily suspended the medical license of Plano physician Dr. Timothy M. Collins. He was arrested by the Arlington Police Departments’ Crimes Against Children Unit for two counts of sexual assault of a child, possession of methamphetamine, a variety of pills, and other drug paraphernalia. The Dallas Morning News reports that the sexual assault charges resulted from incidents in 1995 and 2012, according to court records. Collins has been a practicing physician since 1995, and has had other disciplinary measures by the Texas Medical Board. In 2011, Collins agreed to complete… Full Story

Village Health Partners Merges with Texas Family Medicine

Plano primary care practice Village Health Partners has merged with Texas Family Medicine, expanding VHP’s reach into Frisco. Both practices are part of the Catalyst Health Network, whose goal is to empower independent primary care physicians while providing comprehensive care. “Village Health Partners is excited for the opportunity to continue to serve the North Texas community through our merger with Texas Family Medicine,” said Village Health Partners Chief Operations Officer Patrick Figures via release. “We believe this will help bring better services to patients, drawing on the strengths of both practices.” The merger will expand the two practices’ ability to… Full Story

Access Physicians Receives $9.3M in Funding to Expand Telemedicine Nationwide

Dallas-based telemedicine company Access Physicians secured $9.3M in Series A funding from Health Enterprise Partners, a private equity firm focused on healthcare with financial backing from some of the largest health systems and health plans in the country. “Today’s health care landscape continues to change rapidly. Telehealth is no longer the future – it is the present. The Texas Hospital Association identified a dependable telehealth partner for Texas hospitals in Access Physicians and we are excited to see what they do next,” said Ted Shaw, THA president and CEO via release. The investment will allow Access Physicians to grow its multispecialty telemedicine services… Full Story

Dallas County’s Growing Physician Shortage

In Dallas County, the shortage of primary care physicians is expected to grow by 90 percent in coming years, according to a Dallas County Health and Human Services Community Health Needs Assessment.  This complication is compounded by the fact that 60 percent of the ZIP codes in Dallas County are described as places with great “challenges and opportunities for addressing health disparities.” A tall test awaits the North Texas healthcare industry. The report dives deep into a number of health indicators, from sexually transmitted diseases and mortality to housing and physician shortage. Many of the disparities that exist in the… Full Story

Expert: Why Redefining the $40 Billion Allergy Treatment Industry is Good Business

Each year, more than 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, and it’s getting worse. Allergy seasons are growing longer and more intense. Environmental changes are lengthening the growing seasons of common allergenic plants. And the costs of doctor’s office visits, missed time from work or school, and over the counter symptom relievers are compounding the problem. The standard of allergy treatment for many years has been referral to outside specialists, which adds time and cost and thereby creates additional barriers for many. We can ease the burden on everyday Americans by providing greater access to ancillary services such as… Full Story

Walmart’s Local Pilot of a Physician Network Based on Quality

Walmart has launched a pilot benefits program that selects physicians based on quality, the Dallas Morning News reports. The Walmart network will be built from physicians accepting new patients who meet quality standards in primary care, cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, obstetrics, oncology, orthopedics and pulmonology. The network by Walmart is one of many moves across the country to shift healthcare spending to physicians who avoid unnecessary surgeries, follow evidence-based care pathways, and cut overall spending and waste, which is especially prevalent in musculoskeletal procedures, which are also some of the most expensive. City governments and private companies alike are incentivizing their employees… Full Story

Watch a North Texas Opioid Pill Mill in Action

In a report from WFAA, viewers can watch as an undercover agent posing as a truck driver obtains opioids from a pill-mill doctor in North Texas. In May, Dr. Tad Taylor and another North Texas physician were sentenced to federal prison for illegally distributing opioids and other controlled substances. The video of the DEA investigation shows a conversation between Taylor of Taylor Texas Medicine and Nick Bristow, who was then a DeSoto police officer. Bristow and Taylor speak briefly, and Taylor says that he needs to put something in the chart about an injury in case he gets audited. On a… Full Story

UnitedHealth Brief: High Value Physicians Can Save Medicare $286 Billion

If all the U.S. physicians who treat Medicare Fee-For-Service patients were to meet quality and cost-efficiency criteria, Medicare would save $286.8 billion between 2020 and 2029, according to a new UnitedHealth brief. The savings in 2020 would be $20.5 billion for Medicare fee-for-service. Meeting these criteria would create “high value” physicians, whose per-episode cost of care is 6.9 percent lower than other physicians according to the brief. These physicians also experience 21 percent lower risk-adjusted spending relative to other physicians, with 64 percent fewer inpatient hospital days and 35 percent fewer emergency department visits. If primary care physicians meet quality… Full Story