Collaboration is Key to Improving Health Insurance Coverage

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the the Medicaid program into law as a part of Title XIX of the Social Security Act Amendments. Today, Medicaid covers one in five low-income Americans, as the majority of enrollees lack access to affordable health insurance. Each state administers the Medicaid program and must comply with federal standards. Amongst the successes and failures of the landmark legislation, misunderstandings persist. States have flexibility in determining covered populations, covered services, delivery models and reimbursement. They are also guaranteed federal matching dollars for services to beneficiaries, so the Medicaid program is financed jointly by federal… Full Story

Plastic Surgeon in Colleyville Accused of Solo Liposuction Procedure While Watching Football

The Texas Medical Board made a number of accusations against Colleyville plastic surgeon Peter Van Halen, including watching football during a procedure, performing it without any support staff in an inappropriate facility, and prescribing drugs to a woman with whom he was having an affair, the Dallas Morning News reports. One patient described her “botched” liposuction procedure as being performed on a Sunday when no support staff was in the office, even though the facility is only for consultations and not equipped for surgeries, DMN says. DMN reports that Medical Board’s complain says that Van Halen’s practice was “inconsistent with… Full Story

The Election is (Mostly) Decided – How It Impacts Healthcare in North Texas

It’s been a week since the election, and many may be wondering how the results will change the healthcare industry, if at all. Clearly top of mind for many, a Deloitte study said that 26 percent of voters said healthcare was their top issue and three out of four voters who responded that way voted for Democrats. We touched base with John McCracken, clinical professor of healthcare management at The University of Texas at Dallas Jindal School of Management and adjunct professor of family and community medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Thaddeus Miller, associate professor in the University of… Full Story

How Texas is Addressing its High Maternal Mortality Rates

Texas made ominous headlines a few years ago when studies found that the number of maternal deaths (women dying in pregnancy, childbirth or the first few postpartum weeks) were higher than any other state or any country in the developed world. The maternal death rate had been rising nationwide, as the Medical Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology showed the national rate rose 26 percent from 2000 to 2014. But the journal found that Texas’ situation was especially dire. From 2011 to 2014, it said the number doubled from 18 deaths per 100,000 to 36, a rate usually reserved for “war, natural disaster… Full Story

Garland Home Health Operators Convicted of $3.7 Million Fraud Scheme

Federal prosecutors obtained a jury conviction of two North Texas home health owners who stole over $3.7 million from Medicare and Medicaid. A joint investigation with the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Texas attorney general’s office brought Celestine “Tony” Okwilagwe, Tutu Kudiaratu Etti, Loveth Isidaehomen and Paul Emordi to a six-day trial where they were convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The investigation showed that Okwilagwe and Emordi, who owned and operated Garland-based Elder Care, had been previously barred from participating in healthcare benefit program. Etti and Isidaehomen, Okwilagwe’s wife, falsified ownership documents to hide the identity of the true… Full Story

How Fort Worth is Reducing Healthcare Costs for City Employees

Talk to any healthcare executive, and they will discuss “bending the cost curve.” That means most healthcare providers, insurance networks, and employers are hoping just to slow the increase in healthcare costs, not reduce them. But for Fort Worth’s 14,000 employees, dependents, and retirees, their healthcare spending is heading toward being $4.8 million under budget for fiscal year 2018, according to the Dallas Morning News. How are they doing it? The city is offering an option to sign up with  Southwestern Health Resources, an accountable care organization where UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources have partnered to offer coordinated care.… Full Story

Drug-Trafficking Couple Who Owned Richardson Clinics Convicted

A husband and wife team who ran medical clinics in Richardson have been convicted of drug-trafficking charges, according to the Dallas Morning News. Tad W. Taylor, 63, and his wife, 59-year-old Chia Jean Lee, were a doctor and nurse team who ran two locations of Taylor Texas Medicine in Richardson, and prosecutors said they distributed drugs to those without legitimate medical need. Between January 2010 and September 2011, the DEA investigators found that the clinics gave out 11,700 prescriptions for oxycodone, amphetamine salts (Adderall), hydrocodone, alprazolam (Xanax) and promethazine with codeine, according to DMN. “Dr. Taylor will give you anything you want,”… Full Story

PAC Used “Unauthorized” AARP Logo in an Anti-Pete Sessions Healthcare Ad

In a TV spot called “It Shows,” House Majority Political Action Committee quoted AARP while criticizing Pete Sessions’ record on healthcare, but the AARP says the use of its name was unauthorized. “While AARP is an advocate for affordable health care for older adults and their families, AARP did not authorize this ad to reference AARP or use AARP logo–nor did AARP participate in the production of such ads,” AARP said via release. The organization emphasized its non-partisan and encourages its members to ask questions and learn about the candidates themselves. House Majority PAC describes itself “As the super PAC focused… Full Story

Tenet Healthcare Joins Federal Program for Bundled Payments

Dallas-based Tenet hospitals joined two other healthcare providers by opting into a federal program that aims to improve care while reducing costs, Modern Healthcare reports. Tenet and Adventist Health Systems (who are opening a new hospital in North Texas soon) are two of 1,299 entities who signed agreements with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to participate in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced model. In all, 832 acute care hospitals and 715 physician group practices are included as well, according to Modern Healthcare. In the agreement, CMS pays providers a fixed amount for a certain set of… Full Story

Guilty Plea in Fraud Case From Forest Park Surgeon and Founder

Dr. Wade Neal Barker admitted to being part of a $200 million fraud, bribery and kick back scheme in federal court on Friday, the The Texas Lawbook reports. The bariatric surgeon helped found the since-closed Forest Park Medical Center. Barker is the seventh of the 21 indicted officials associated with the chain of luxury hospitals to admit guilt, according to the The Texas Lawbook. Barker is accused of handing out $40 million in bribes to cooperating doctors. As a founder with access to sources and documents, Barker’s plea may pay dividends for the prosecution. He could end up with a sentence of… Full Story