Morning Rounds (09.14.12)

UT Southwestern has been chosen as one of 25 sites for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke’s Network for Excellence in Neuroscience Clinical Trials, or NeuroNEXT, that may lead them to receive $1.4 million in NINDS aid over the next seven years.

Extended doctors’ office hours are linked to a ten percent dip in healthcare costs for patients, according to an annual government survey.

Medical groups sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to halt Medicare provider cuts that, along with the expiration of the sustainable growth rate fix for Medicare are slated to take effect Jan. 1.

The American Heart Association has released a study concluding that mini strokes can lead to serious disability, highlighting that it occurs with conditions that doctors often consider too mild to treat with drugs.

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Medical Groups Speak Out Against Expiration of SGR Fix for Medicare

Healthwatch reports that medical groups sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to halt Medicare provider cuts. The cuts, along with the expiration of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) fix for Medicare are slated to take effect Jan. 1. The groups’ letter voices concern about the outlook of America’s healthcare system and timing of the cuts. The sequestration developed from August 2011 budget negotiations and would cut payments to Medicare providers by two percent unless Congress interferes before the end of the year. Additionally, if the current SGR fix expires, providers would see an addition cut of 27 percent. On Wednesday, the… Full Story

AHA: “Mini Strokes” May Lead to Disability

The American Heart Association’s journal Stroke has released a study concluding that transient ischemic attacks (TIA), or “mini strokes,” can lead to serious disability. The study highlights a condition that doctors often consider too mild to treat with drugs. “Our study shows that TIA and minor stroke patients are at significant risk of disability and need early assessment and treatment,” said Shelagh Coutts, M.D., lead author of the study in a statement. “We should be imaging patients earlier and be more aggressive in treating patients with thrombolysis if we can see a blockage no matter how minor the symptoms are.”… Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.13.12)

The Red Cross has launched its Young Professionals Auxiliary for volunteers ages 21-30 in Dallas.

The American Hospital Association reports that up to 766,000 healthcare and related jobs could be lost by 2021 as a result of the 2 percent sequester of Medicare spending.

Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare has announced a $67 million expansion to its Sierra Providence East Medical Center in El Paso.

All 12 Baylor Health System facilities are eliminating sugar-sweetened sodas and unhealthy snacks from on-site cafés and vending machines, with hopes of setting a healthy example for visitors. Full Story

USMD Holdings Formed by Merger of Four DFW Groups

USMD Inc., Urology Associates of North Texas LLP, Medical Clinic of North Texas PA, and IMPEL Management Services LLC have completed their business combination, resulting in the formation of Irving-based USMD Holdings Inc. Although the companies will continue to operate under their existing brands, the merger means patients now have access to more than 240 physicians and associate practitioners in 18 different specialties operating in 64 facilities across North Texas. In addition to operating two local hospitals with more than 400 physicians, USMD Holdings manages cancer treatment centers and kidney stone treatment facilities in 10 other states. “This is a… Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.11.12)

Four of the 10 med-tech startups selected to present at NTEC’s MedVentures 2012 are from North Texas. Last year, presenting firms went on to raise a total of about $14 million.

Dallas-based hospital operator Tenet Healthcare Corp. has promoted Daniel Cancelmi to chief financial officer. The former senior vice president replaces Biggs Porter, who left Tenet in late March to join Irving-based global engineering firm Fluor Corp.

Irving-based CHRISTUS Health has launched a free mobile app to provide 24/7 healthcare information, offering everything from first-aid tips to a symptom navigator.

The American Heart Association reports that nearly 5 percent of pregnant women are prescribed drugs to treat high blood pressure, including some that aren’t considered safe for mothers or their babies. Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.10.12)

Just half of all physicians meet federal standards for Electronic Health Record systems. Click to see which doctors are most and least likely to be in compliance.

An increase in cholesterol screenings has led to more diagnosed cases of high cholesterol, from 33.2 percent to 35 percent nationwide. Texas saw a 21.2 percent increase—the second highest increase in diagnoses behind Arizona (22.2 percent).

Fewer than 25 percent of people with hypertension treat it correctly. Out of 66.9 million, 35.8 million do not have their hypertension controlled, 14.1 million are unaware they have hypertension, and 5.7 million were aware of their diagnosis but not receiving treatment, while only 16 million were aware and receiving treatment.

The 2011 National Immunization Survey finds that nationwide vaccination coverage among children aged 19 to 35 months increased or remained stable in the last year and met or exceeded national objectives. Trends in Texas are consistent with national data, with the state experiencing a significant increase in coverage for the HepB birth vaccine since 2010.

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Less than Half of All Physicians Meet Federal Standards for EHRs

The 2011 Physician Workflow Survey indicates that 42 percent of all physicians have Electronic Health Record systems that meet federal standards. Among the most likely physician specialties to meet this requirement were cardiovascular disease specialists (69 percent) and practitioners of internal medicine (50 percent), while ophthalmologists (25 percent) and psychiatrists (19 percent) were least likely.

Fewer than 25 Percent With Hypertension Treat it Correctly

According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 66.9 million Americans suffer from hypertension, a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease that can lead to morbidity or mortality. Of this population, 35.8 million do not have their hypertension controlled, 14.1 million are unaware they have hypertension, and 5.7 million were aware of their diagnosis but not receiving treatment, while only 16 million were aware and receiving pharmacologic treatment. Nearly 90 percent of American adults with hypertension have a healthcare provider and insurance, so it is believed that improved hypertension control across the board will require increased focus… Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.07.12)

Dallas officials will mark the ground-breaking of a six-story, $108 million Charles A. Sammons Trauma and Critical Care Tower at Methodist Dallas Medical Center on Sept. 11. Slated to open in 2014, the 248,000-square-foot facility will be completely dedicated to emergency and trauma care.

Patient spending among those seeking treatment for neck and back problems in the U.S. has nearly doubled since the late 1990s, with the bulk majority of spending in medical specialist care.

The American Heart Association reports that patients are more likely to survive cardiac arrest when longer resuscitation attempts are implemented. Revival rates were 12 percent higher at hospitals with median resuscitation times of 25 minutes, as opposed to hospitals treating for a median of 16 minutes.
The Institute of Medicine has released a report calling for a better healthcare system, in light of recent science and technological advances. An 18-member expert committee released its 382-page report, “Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America.” Here’s a synopsis.

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