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

MedSynergies, Methodist, and NorthStar Anesthesia Named to Fastest-growing Healthcare Companies List

Three North Texas companies are among the 40 fastest-growing healthcare companies in the country, according to Modern Healthcare. The magazine released the names of the 40 contenders this morning; rankings will be revealed in September. Vying for recognition locally are Irving-based MedSynergies, Dallas-based Methodist Health System, and NorthStar Anesthesia, which is based in Arlington. One other Texas company—Hospital Housekeeping Systems of Austin—also made the list. The “fast 40” companies fall into four categories: hospitals/hospital systems, physician group practices, payers/insurers, and suppliers. Qualifying concerns must be based in the United States, have generated at least $20 million in revenue in 2011,… Full Story

Patience and Strategy Needed for Healthcare Reform

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Texas will need patience and strategy with two important decisions regarding Medicaid expansion and the implementation of the State Health Insurance Exchange. Texas Governor Rick Perry recently announced Texas would not expand Medicaid coverage or implement a state health insurance exchange. Texas leads the nation with an overall 27 percent uninsured population. Those numbers climb to 30 percent in North Texas. Within our state, 1.2 million children have no medical insurance and 40 percent of Texas women do not receive appropriate prenatal… Full Story

Two-thirds of Local Emergency Department Cases Could Be Treated Elsewhere, Avoided Altogether

A recent Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council report underscores how local emergency departments are being jammed by cases that either could be treated elsewhere or avoided by proper primary care. The most common conditions treated in local EDs were low-back pain; painful or aching joints; chronic bronchitis, and asthma. More than two out of three cases—other than asthma—either were not emergencies or could have been treated in a primary-care setting. Nearly all of the asthma cases were emergencies that could have been avoided with proper primary care, according to the report, which was released in May. Charges for ED visits are… Full Story

Children’s Medical Center Opens Three Area Primary Care Offices

MyChildren’s, a network of pediatric primary care offices affiliated with Children’s Medical Center of Dallas has opened three new practices in Oak Cliff, East Plano, and Lake Highlands. The clinics are located in neighborhoods where fewer options exist for families that depend on Medicaid and the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, Children’s says. The network selected office locations based on patient demographics, access to pediatric primary care services, and the top ZIP codes where families are using the Children’s Medical Center Emergency Department for primary care. MyChildren’s locations take both Medicaid and commercially insured patients. “Many families resort to the… Full Story

Morning Rounds (7.20.12)

Choice Cancer Care opens a new office in Carrollton.   UT Southwestern documents Nobel Prize-winners Drs. Michael Brown’s and Joseph Goldstein’s 40-year journey.   Texas Health Denton becomes one of the first hospitals in the country to receive Cycle IV Chest Pain Center Accreditation.   Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen releases a video to showcase its birthing options.

James Sammons Named CMO at Texas Health Arlington

Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital has named James H. Sammons Jr., M.D., as its chief medical officer. In this position he will promote clinical excellence and safety in patient care throughout all departments at Texas Health Arlington Memorial. He’ll assume his post July 30. Sammons will work with the hospital’s executive team and medical staff and report to Harold Berenzweig, M.D., Texas Health Resources’ executive vice president and Southwest Zone clinical leader. Kirk King, the hospital’s president, said Sammons’ expertise, clinical skills, and leadership will be a valuable resource throughout the Texas Health system. “We anticipate him helping us advance… Full Story

Methodist Health System’s Accountable Care Organization Will Be DFW’s Second

Methodist Patient Centered ACO, quarterbacked by the Dallas-based Methodist Health System, is one of 89 accountable care organizations (ACOs) selected this month by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Methodist ACO is the second in Dallas-Fort Worth. Texas Health Resources (THR) and North Texas Specialty Physicians were selected in December to participate in Medicare’s Pioneer ACO Model. An ACO is a network of healthcare providers willing to be accountable for achieving measurable quality improvements and reduced spending for a defined Medicare population. In exchange, an ACO would share the savings with Medicare. The government hopes the model… Full Story

Morning Rounds (07.19.12)

Texas Health Resources has agreed to participate in the work of the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare.   The American College of Surgeons has reverified Parkland’s trauma center as a Level One, the highest classification.   Denton Regional Medical Center wants to be first in cardiac care. See where it succeeded.   Baylor Health Care System has released a virtual tour of its new medical center in McKinney.   University of Texas Regents recognized 40 faculty members for outstanding teaching practices at UT health institutions.  

SDCMC Physician Assistant Pleads Guilty to Healthcare Fraud

Cal Graves, who worked as a physician assistant at South Dallas Community Medical Center, pleaded guilty earlier this week to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and restitution. Graves and physician Daniel Leong, who owned SDCMC, were charged in September 2011 with seven counts of healthcare fraud and conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud for their roles in a Medicare and Medicaid scheme involving prescription drugs and diagnostic testing. The offenses took place at a SDCMC clinic on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Dallas. According to Federal Bureau of… Full Story