Texas Medical Board Withdraws Surprise Billing Rules

The Texas Medical Board is changing its tune about how to interpret Texas’ latest surprise billing legislation. Last week, controversy arose about rules written by the Texas Medical Board in the interpretation of Senate Bill 1264, which was meant to prevent patients from being involved in the balance billing process, were criticized for creating a large loophole for physicians to exploit. Critics said the rules would have put confusing paperwork in the hands of patients, with a potential result being that patients may sign away their protections under the new legislation. The Texas Medical Board said it would not have… Full Story

Parkland One of 622 Hospitals to Sue HHS for Reimbursement Reduction

Parkland Hospital and Health System is one of 622 hospitals suing the Health and Human Services Department for cutting hospital reimbursement by around $840 million per year nationwide. For each hospital that participates in Medicare reimbursement, the suit alleges a loss of about $200,000 per year. An adjustment to the way HHS paid hospitals in 2008 resulted in overpayments to providers, and the government made adjustments to the reimbursement rates to recoup $11 billion from the hospitals between 2014 and 2017.  The suit says that the law required that the reimbursement cuts be reversed in 2017, but the suit alleges that… Full Story

Texas Can Expand Coverage Without Expanding Medicaid – Here’s How

Texas remains one of 14 states in the country that has yet to expand Medicaid, as its Republican leadership has refused to accept more federal money for expanding health insurance to more of our state’s poor families. DFW’s hospitals are behind Medicaid expansion, in part because Dallas is the largest city with the worst insured rate in the nation. Nationwide, 5.7 percent of children don’t have health insurance, but in Dallas county, that number is 14.3 percent. A number of factors have also decreased the number of children in rolled in CHIP. Hospitals (via taxpayers and consumers) end up paying… Full Story

Parkland Police Officer Arrested on Rape Charge

Authorities say a Parkland Hospital police officer was arrested on a rape charge over the weekend, WFAA reports. An altercation between a woman in the parking lot and officer Keivon Gamble, 28, led police to make the arrest. Gamble was booked into Dallas County jail on a rape charge and two assault charges, and is accused of raping and assaulting the woman earlier this month. Police say he is accused of pulling the woman’s hair, punching her to cause bruising, and forcing her to have sex with him, WFAA reports. Gamble, a former TCU football player, is on administrative leave… Full Story

Texas’ Balance Billing Legislation May Be Threatened by Loophole

Consumer advocates are worried that a proposed rule could undo the protections in Texas’ balance billing legislation. After a law was passed this summer to keep Texas patients out of arbitration between providers and insurers when there are surprise medical bills, some worry that a loophole in the legislation will be used to confuse patients and increase balance billing. Stacey Pogue, a senior policy analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, says that the Texas Medical Board is proposing a rule to implement the law that would expand the use of a section of the law for patients who knowingly… Full Story

Parkland’s Lawsuit: Are Drug Distributors to Blame for the Opioid Epidemic?

Earlier this year, dozens of health systems in Texas filed a civil lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. Two local entities, Parkland Hospital and Health System and McKesson Corp., are on opposite sides of the lawsuit. But why are the health systems taking legal action, and should distributors be held accountable for what physicians are prescribing? In 2010, opioid prescriptions peaked when providers wrote 81.2 prescriptions per 100 persons. In 2017, around 57 million people had at least one prescription for opioids, with 191 opioid prescriptions dispensed, according to CDC data. Darren Nicholson, of Burns Charest LLP in Dallas,… Full Story

Medicare-for-All: The DFW Hospital Perspective

What to do about the United States’ ever-expanding medical costs has been a key issue during the presidential primary season. Medicare-for-All, Medicare-for-more, Medicare-if-you-want-it, and a bevy of other healthcare policies have been key talking points for every serious Democratic presidential candidate. Steve Love is the CEO of the DFW Hospital Council, a 90 member hospital organization that helps hospitals collaborate and advocate for initiatives they value, and he says that while the hospitals want to be politically neutral and are for increased coverage, Medicare for all is not the answer. He calls it a “cry for help.” There is a… Full Story

Judge Temporarily Stops Cook Children’s from Taking Baby off Life Support

A judge has temporarily stopped physicians at Cook Children’s hospital in Fort Worth from removing a nine-month-old from life support. The hospital says that her health will not improve, but her family is still looking for a facility that will accept and treat her. Tinslee Lewis was born with Ebstein’s anomaly, a rare heart defect that has required several surgeries to improve heart function. She also has chronic lung disease and severe chronic pulmonary hypertension. Lewis has spent her entire life in the hospital, and has been on a ventilator since July. “Despite our best efforts, her condition is irreversible,… Full Story

Collin Allred’s Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Insulin Prices

North Texas Democratic Congressman Colin Allred is cosponsoring the Insulin Price Reduction Act, a bipartisan measure to bring down the price of insulin for millions. Additional sponsors are Colorado Democrat Diane Degette and New York Republican Tom Reed. The new bill would reduce the price of most insulin products by more than 75 percent, and gives drugmakers an incentive to keep insulin prices set at 2006 levels. It would require Medicare and private insurers to waive deductible requirements for insulin set at 2006 prices, and would give protection to drug makers who comply by allowing them to not make any… Full Story

The Top Killer No One is Talking About, and the Executive Order that Could Help

Chronic kidney disease kills more people than breast or prostate cancer each year, but you won’t see NFL players wearing socks and gloves to increase awareness, or massive fun runs raising money to treat it. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 37 million people in the U.S., or 15 percent of adults, are impacted by CKD, and around 90 percent of those with the disease don’t even know they have it. The costs of kidney disease are unsustainable. Medicare paid $114 billion for people with all stages of renal disease in 2016, which was nearly 20 percent of all Medicare spending… Full Story