Morning Rounds (11.02.12)

The CMS has laid out plans for the Medicaid primary-care payment increases.

UNT Health received a NIH grant exceeding $600,000 for the next two years in partnership with the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is looking to double last year’s estimated 460,000 veterans who connected through telehealth within the coming year.

State health officials have announced that Texas’ Planned Parenthood will not lose federal funding for the time being.


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VA Looks to Increase Telehealth Usage

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is looking to double last year’s estimated 460,000 veterans who connected through telehealth within the coming year, according to Healthcare IT News. The VA’s program utilizes video consults, digital images, and clinical data stored on a client device and forwarded to caregivers to monitor roughly 75,000 veterans who suffer from one or more chronic conditions. It was instituted in 2003, and records about 1.3 million consultations in the past year. Video consults in the home should reach about 825,000 veterans by the end of 2013, with an emphasis on the chronic disease management program.… Full Story

UNT Earns NIH Grant of $600,000 in Partnership with Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium

The UNT Health Science Center is one of five partners in the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortium (TARCC) that is working to improve diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Alzheimer’s. Last year, TARCC researchers, led by Sid O’Bryant, PhD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, announced progress on a blood test for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. The blood test, which measures concentrations of key blood proteins, is not available to the public yet. To continue this work, O’Bryant and his research team at UNTHSC received a two-year National Institutes of Health grant exceeding $600,000. This project will be the first to compare… Full Story

Morning Rounds (10.31.12)

The influenza vaccine may reduce the risk of heart-related disease and death—by as much as 50 percent, according to two separate studies. In a 3-2 vote, the Commissioners Court has approved extending medical benefits to domestic partners of Dallas County workers. New senior living communities are coming to McKinney and Fort Worth, courtesy of SRP Medical and Frontier Management. Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. has extended its cash offer for senior notes due in 2013 to Oct. 31, 2012.

Morning Rounds (10.30.12)

Baylor Surgical Hospital at Fort Worth has purchased of 5.3 acres of land with plans to construct a three-story, 77,000-square-foot, acute care replacement hospital.

Everest College in Fort Worth has launched a two-year nursing program.

Prices paid for physician services has grown faster than inflation in the economy for the fourth month in a row.

Four ways social media may improve business intelligence, customer service, and reporting for the medical practices. Full Story

Morning Rounds (10.29.12)

The pharmacy linked to the fungal meningitis outbreak may have known it was contaminated by mold and bacteria.

Dallas-based ambulance billing services company Emergicon has opened a new facility in Gun Barrel City.

Baylor Health Care System researchers tackle an approach that could help normalize blood pressure without medication.

Parker University creates EHR program to respond to healthcare IT trends that are reflected in a graphic. Full Story

Baylor Explores Alternatives to Blood Pressure Medication

Baylor Health Care System researchers are studying an approach that could help normalize blood pressure without medication. The Symplicity trial tests a minimally invasive procedure known as renal denervation that uses heat generated by radio frequency to disrupt nerve communication to and from the kidneys. This treatment can reduce overactivity in the sympathetic nervous system, which is a frequent cause of chronic high blood pressure. “The sympathetic nervous system controls blood pressure and can cause hypertension initiated by life and stress,” says David L. Brown, M.D., principal investigator at THE HEART HOSPITAL Baylor Plano in a statement. “This investigational device… Full Story

Morning Rounds (10.26.12)

 Medicaid spending slowed this year to 2 percent as enrollment dipped for the third consecutive year.

Nearly half of physicians use mobile tools to collect, store, or transmit patient information do nothing to protect the devices they use.

Medicaid is overpaying for prescription drugs, and may enact a new policy to reduce percription reimbursements.

The United States spends 2.5 times more on healthcare than most developed nations.

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Accolades (10.23.12)

PEOPLE Joseph H. Harmison, owner of Harmison Pharmacies in Arlington, has received the 2012 National Community Pharmacists Association Drug Safety Award for community outreach regarding patient education on the correct uses of prescription drugs. Gary Looper, CEO of Memorial Health System of East Texas, has been named the 2012 recipient of the third annual President’s Leadership Excellence Award by the Community Hospital Corporation for his motivational and visionary leadership and advancement of the Memorial Health System. David Helfer, who has served as president of Texas Institute for Surgery at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas since July 2011, has received fellow status in the American College… Full Story

UT System Allocates $7.5 Million to Expand STEM Research at UTA

The University of Texas System Board of Regents has allocated $7.5 million from its Permanent University Fund to the development of the Institute for Research Technologies at Arlington—a $25.2 million project that will expand research capabilities and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education across the UT System. The Institute will encompass three facilities: the existing Shimadzu Center for Advanced Analytical Chemistry, a new Center for Imaging, and a new Center for Environmental, Forensic and Material Analysis. This endeavor is a collaborative effort between UT Arlington and Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, an international leader in analytical instruments production that made a… Full Story