THR Awards $5.2 Million to Address Social Determinants of Health

In Johnson County, the suicide rate for seniors is 25 percent above the Texas average, but a grant from Texas Health Resources is working to help isolated seniors. THR will be distributing $5.2 million worth of community impact grants all across North Texas to address everything from depression to food scarcity. The initiative is called Texas Health Community Impact and focuses on specific ZIP codes where chronic disease and premature death are more common, and partners with agencies in education, healthcare, and government. The funds will be directed toward 12 agencies across five geographic regions made up of 401 ZIP codes… Full Story

Autonomous Vehicles and Drones May Help Address Rural Healthcare Disparities

Autonomous vehicles, drones, and tele-enabled ambulance services are being considered to address rural health disparities by a partnership between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and Texas A&M Health Science Center. The joint project will research innovative care delivery strategies and other rural health issues. BCBS of Texas is contributing $10 million to the Health Science Center as a part of the Affordability Cures program to reduce healthcare costs, address health disparities and improve social determinants of health. Projects will look at engaging vulnerabilities and improving access to healthcare, which will include the use of autonomous vehicles, drones, and… Full Story

Prism Health North Texas and Uptown Physicians Group Join Forces Against HIV

Prism Health North Texas and Uptown Physicians Group are teaming up to expand access and specialty care for those living with HIV, at risk for HIV, or other care needs. Prism Health North Texas is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide care for those living with HIV/AIDS in North Texas, and Uptown Physicians Group has been practicing for 30 years in Dallas, specializing in treatment of infectious and sexually transmitted diseases. Both locations will maintain the same location, staff and providers, as well as name and branding. PHNT has the opportunity to benefit from UPG’s expertise with health insurance and… Full Story

Physician Partners of America is Expanding From Texas to California

The root causes of the United State’s opioid crisis are numerous and complex, but at least some of the blame lays at the feet of overprescription of pills in order to reduce pain for patients. Hospital evaluations were tied to patients’ pain, and many patients were prescribed addictive opioids for chronic pain to keep their evaluations positive. According to Physicians Partners of America founder Dr. Rodolfo Gari, physicians believed these medicines were not as addictive as they ended up being. At the 13 Dallas-area PPOA clinics, physicians focus on avoiding addictive painkillers and look for alternative ways to treat pain.… Full Story

Two Miles in Dallas Improves Men’s Life Expectancy by 26 Years

A new study from the University of Texas health systems shows that just two miles can mean 26 years of life expectancy in Dallas. Researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center Department of Population and Data Sciences has created an interactive map that shows how life expectancy changes between ZIP codes. Within each ZIP code, it allows users to see life expectancy differences between male, female, black, white, and Hispanic residents. While much of the data lines up with what other social determinants of health have been telling us about how education, poverty, environmental and social factors impact overall health,… Full Story

Blue Cross Teaming Up With 11 Texas Institutions to Address Healthcare Costs

Richardson-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas will be teaming up with 11 universities to address the root causes of high cost of health care. The research institutions and insurer will be working on projects that focus on behavioral health, vaccine adherence, and analyzing usage data to improve efficiency.  The collaboration is part of Blue Cross’ Affordability Cures initiative, and hopes to address care delivery, unequal distribution, and waste in the system. “Failure to address access and affordability of health care has real consequences. We need to challenge the status quo by bringing transformative research and ideas to the table,”… Full Story

Blue Cross Blue Shield Addresses Social Determinants of Health With Dallas Meal Delivery

Health Care Service Corporation and the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Institute will be delivering meals to 15 South and East Dallas zip codes to address some of the social determinants that impact health outcomes. The service is called foodQ, and is meant to address food deserts where access to healthy food is less common. Anyone in the included zip codes can participate, regardless of whether they are a Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan carrier. Residents can go to the foodQ website and choose healthy ready-to-eat lunch and dinner options that will be delivered to their door. A $10 subscription… Full Story

The U.S. Wastes $8.3 Billion Annually on ER visits. Is There a Local Solution?

Preventable healthcare spending in the emergency room topped out at $8.3 billion, according to a white paper from Premier Inc. The paper analyzed 50 ACOs and 750 hospitals across the U.S. to unearth the unnecessary spending. Premier found that 30 percent of visits to the emergency department could have been treated by primary care doctors or other care settings. The average cost of an visit to the emergency room is estimated to be nearly $1,917 by the Health Care Const Institute, and the study found 4.3 million visits to that could have been avoided, resulting in $8.3 billion in wasted… Full Story

Texas Health and the Arlington Fire Department are Cutting Readmissions in Half

Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital and Arlington Fire Department have helped reduce emergency department or inpatient readmissions by 50-75 percent through a home visit program. Patients with complex medical issues are identified by clinical staff who may need a nurse, a social workers, or other medical care to help them manage their chronic illness. Providers make home visits to Arlington patients who enroll in the program and are at risk of mismanaging their condition after leaving the hospital. They have 24/7 access to paramedics and are given a direct line for non-emergencies. The program has impacted frequent 911 callers and keep… Full Story

Self-Interested Altruism: Impacting Health Through Social Determinants

Social determinants of health have an outsized impact on the health of vulnerable populations. Access to quality housing, nutrition, and transportation can greatly improve communities’ health, but it can be difficult to sell to investors because these determinants are in effect public goods, and not limited to those who pay for them. But healthcare economists hope they can use the self interest of community health stakeholders to improve these determinants. During the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Conference, economist Len Nichols of George Mason University shared his research that details how to get self-interested healthcare systems to collaborate to… Full Story