Medicare Cuts will Cost Nearly 500,000 Healthcare Jobs

Mandatory spending cuts to Medicare in 2013 will result in large-scale job losses in physician offices and throughout the healthcare system, according to an analysis on the impact of the scheduled federal budget sequester on the entitlement program by Pittsburg-based research firm Tripp Umbach. As a result of a 2 percent cut to the Medicare program effective over the course of the next eight years (and a result of a lack of agreement between Congress and the Obama Administration regarding alternative spending reductions compliant with the Budget Control Act of 2011), between $10.7 and $16.4 billion will be made in annual… Full Story

Report: Physician-owned Hospitals Face More Challenges

Modern Healthcare reports that physician-owned hospitals face a growing threat of consolidation. More hospitals are aggressively pursuing medical specialists and see physician employment as the answer to staffing and on-call shortages. According to the report, physician-owned hospitals face a growing inability to replace aging physician with new doctors. Physicians are driving consolidation as they seek employment to help protect against reimbursement cuts and increasing costs for malpractice insurance and information technology.

Morning Rounds (09.20.12)

The Joint Commission has released its annual report of top performing hospitals as part of its Top Performers on Key Quality Measures program. This year, more than 30 North Texas hospitals made the cut.

According to a report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer jobs were added to the payrolls of physician offices over the summer as a result of a still-lagging economy.

The Vant Group has announced that Dallas-bast Vant Holdings has become a majority shareholder in InPursuit Inc., a premier Dallas-based healthcare IT recruiting firm.

Novation has awarded an agreement to Pulmodyne for their Blom cuffed tracheostomy tubes system that allows patients the ability to speak in their own natural voice. Full Story

Fewer Jobs Added to Physician Payroll

According to a report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer jobs were added to the payrolls of physician offices over the summer as a result of a still-lagging economy. Within physician offices, job creation increased in early 2012, peaking in May with 12,400 new positions. A decline and cut of 3,300 jobs came in June, 2,000 jobs were added in July, and 700 more were cut in August. Hospitals also saw a lower level of job growth in the summer of 2012 as opposed to earlier months. The overall U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 8.3 percent to 8.1… Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.18.12)

Sleeping in on the weekends doesn’t catch people up on sleep lost during the week, but only makes them sleepier on Monday morning, according to a UT Southwestern study.

Sodium intake in children and teens has reached an alarmingly high rate, according to the American Heart Association, causing high blood pressure to affect more young people.

Women with anorexia nervosa perceive themselves differently than those without, according to a recent study on brain pathways by researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas and UT Southwestern.

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ patient medical records program reached its millionth user last month, two years after its launch. EHR vendors look to this program as they prepare for stage two of the federal program that requires physicians to offer patients the ability to download their health information. Full Story

Morning Rounds (09.17.12)

The American Heart Association and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. have teamed up to perform research to find the best practices in workplace wellness.

The Altarum Institute’s says the national health spending increase of 4.2 percent is low compared to last year’s figure.

The Health Resources and Services Administration has decided to continue its relationship with Apexus by renewing for another year.

American Medical News offers strategies for physicians and practice managers to promote their practices beyond Twitter and Facebook. Here are its six top tips. Full Story

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.

Full Story

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