New Rules for Safety Net Hospitals Reduce Readmission Penalties, UTSW Research Shows

In order to reduce health system costs nationwide, legislation created penalties for hospitals if patients are readmitted within a certain time frame after being treated, but new research from UT Southwestern Medical Center reveals that a rule adjustment  is causing penalties to drop for hospitals that treat riskier patients. Hospitals such as Parkland that care for socioeconomically disadvantaged patients are more likely to have patients who leave the hospital and go back to unstable environments where they can’t or don’t follow doctor’s orders closely, which can result in a return of symptoms. Patients may have transportation hurdles that keep them… Full Story

Parkland’s First Patient Family Advisory Panel is Already Having Impacts

In order to improve efficiency, safety, quality, and patient satisfaction, Parkland Health and Hospital System formed its first Patient Family Advisory Panel in 2018. Made up of 15 patients, family members, and caregivers, their role is to give voice to the patient in the healthcare system. The role of PFAC will be to share ideas and feedback about health system programs, services, facilities and research with leadership at Parkland. The group’s input has already impacted the literacy level of patient education materials, the ease in which patients can refill prescriptions, and navigating Parkland’s neighborhood health centers with increased signage. “The work… Full Story

Studies Show Diabetes Medication Reduces Risk of Heart Attack as Well

Every 80 seconds, an American with diabetes is hospitalized for heart disease, and every two minutes a diabetic adult is hospitalized for a stroke. But new studies show that medicine used to treat diabetes also lowers the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or death from either one. Patients with diabetes are twice as likely to die from heart disease, but research is showing how diabetes medication can reduce that risk. The American Diabetes Association says the disease affects 11.8 percent of Americans, as more than 30 million are diabetic, with another 85 million have above normal blood sugar and… Full Story

How Much Money Are North Texas Health Plans Making?

The latest version of Allan Baumgarten’s Texas Health Market Review came out this year, revealing enrollment, profit, and marketshare for Texas’ Health Plans for 2017. Some plans appear to be raking in the cash, while others are losing millions of dollars. First, let’s look at what the review says about insured rates in Texas, which has the greatest percentage of uninsured people in the nation. According to the report, Texas’ uninsured rate decreased from 21.9 percent in 2013 to 17.3 percent in 2017, though it ticked up from 16.9 percent since 2015. Texas is one of 14 states that hasn’t adopted… Full Story

Parkland Joins National Cooperative to Reduce the Healthcare Divide

Parkland Health and Hospital System will be one of 10 hospitals nationwide to participate in a program meant to close the health divide called Hospital Community Cooperative. Studies have shown that one’s zip code has an outsized impact on life expectancy, with the five miles between Lakewood and South Dallas resulting in a difference of around 18 years in life expectancy. The cooperative is meant to engage the community and prevent gaps like that from happening. The partnership was launched by the American Hospital Association and its affiliate the Institute for Diversity and Health Equity with support from the Aetna… Full Story

Parkland Names Executive Director of Its Community Health Plan

Parkland has named John W. Wendling as its Executive Director of the Parkland Community Health Plan, which is Parkland’s Medicaid Managed Care Organization. According to a release, Wendling has experience in managed care, the integration of services, accountable care organization development, and patient-centered medical home models. Parkland’s Community Health Plan started in 1999 as an effort to provide insurance services for children, teens, pregnant women and adults. The programs cover doctor visits, checkups, immunizations, and more. There are more than 3,000 doctors and 25 hospitals in network, which include Parkland and Children’s Medical Center. Wendling has 30 years of experience… Full Story

How Are Hospitals Posting Their Prices, and Is It Helpful?

The Public Health Act was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, which requires hospitals to make a public list of the hospital’s standard charges starting this year, but the posted price doesn’t tell the full story. Insurance, a person’s health, and the negotiated rate between insurers and providers complicates the out-of-pocket payment, the posted prices might not mean much to the average consumer. President and CEO of the DFW Hospital Council W. Stephen Love says the council’s member hospitals support transparency, but warn to proceed with caution. “We support transparency and want people to make informed decisions,” he says.… Full Story