92 posts categorized "Healthcare"


Lewisville-based ER operator goes public

Adeptus Health, the Lewisville-based operator of First Choice emergency rooms with 15 free-standing facilities in North Texas, began trading today on the New York Stock Exchange after being priced at $22 a share, at the top end of its estimated range. The company sold 4.9 million shares (ticker: ADPT), which opened at $25 and were trading at $25.70 in early morning. The company has been growing rapidly, with 37 ERs in Texas and Colorado and plans to operate 53 by year's end, according to its regulatory filings. Last year Adeptus reported a $3 million loss on $115 million in revenue.

CEO Tom Hall, who rang the opening bell on the NYSE Wednesday morning, told us in a telephone interview that the company fills a need in markets where "emergency rooms are just overrun with patients, the waiting times are so long." He said the average wait time at a First Choice ER is four minutes and draws especially high marks from patients.

The company's model is not without critics, who maintain that too often patients who could have been treated at an urgent care center or other lower-intensity facility instead incur the higher costs of an ER. As a 24/7 facility, First Choice ERs and similar facilities generally receive for higher reimbursements from insurers. According to a 2012 report by the Urgent Care Association of America, freestanding ERs averaged between 35 and 40 patients a day, compared to 100-150 at hospital-based ERs, and realized about triple the net revenue per patient compared to an urgent care center.

Hall said First Choice treats appropriate patients and has an agreement with Concentra, an urgent care chain owned by Humana, the big health insurer, to refer patients who don't need the level of service offered by an ER. First Choice also last year signed an agreement with the HCA hospital chain to refer patients needing hospitalization to HCA facilities. About 3-5 percent of patients seen by First Choice ERs require hospitalization, he said. Freestanding ERs are a trend. HCA, Texas Health Resources and Baylor Scott & White, the largest hospital networks in North Texas, all have built stand-alone ERs, typically in growing suburban areas that might not yet require a full-service hospital.

-- Jim Fuquay 



Lillie Biggins inducted into Texas Women's Hall of Fame

Lillie_BigginsLillie Biggins, president of Fort Worth's largest hospital and current chair of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Board, was inducted to the Texas Women's Hall of Fame on Tuesday, one of nine honorees recognized at a ceremony at the state capitol in Austin. Biggins has headed Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital since 2012 and has been an executive in the Texas Health Resources health system since 1998.

Biggins started working at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth sweeping floors and changing beds, "the only position at the hospital that didn't require experience," THR said in a release on her induction. Encouraged by licensed vocational nurses she worked with, she graduated from the John Peter Smith School of Nursing in 1971, then earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington and a master's from Texas Woman's University in Denton.

"I believe that life is a journey of learning, and that no matter what job you have it is a blessing to be employed," Biggins says in the release. "Whoever thought when I was a nurse that I would become president of Texas Health Fort Worth? I'm leaving my mark at this hospital; you're going to know I was here."

Also inducted in the Texas Women's Hall of Fame on Tuesday by Gov. Rick Perry were state Secretary of State Nandita Berry; Houston Rep. Senfronia Thompson, Joanne Herring, Col. Kim Olson (Ret.), Texas Woman's University President Ann Stuart, Deborah Tucker, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Justice Carolyn Wright, and  Anita Perry, the governor's wife.

-- Jim Fuquay


Express Scripts plans big layoffs in Fort Worth, Irving

Express Scripts has notified the state it will cut 566 jobs in North Texas by the end of June, including 418 at a big Fort Worth mail-order pharmacy facility in the CenterPort Business Park south of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. It also said it will cut 148 positions at an Irving call center. The St. Louis-based company acquired the Fort Worth pharmacy when it merged with Medco Health Solutions in 2011. 

Spokesman David 

-- Jim Fuquay




Texas Health Resources, Cigna form care initiative

About 17,000 North Texas patients insured by Cigna health plans and treated by about 250 primary care doctors in the Texas Health Physicians Group on Jan. 1 became part of an accountable care program, the parties said Monday. "Under the program, THPG physicians will monitor and coordinate all aspects of an individual's medical care to proactively manage interventions and improve overall well-being," they said in a prepared release. Cigna said it's the insurer's fifth accountable care initiative in North Texas. Texas Health, the second-largest hospital system in North Texas, also has a number of accountable care programs with different partners. THPG has more than 800 medical professionals at more than 230 locations in the area.

-- Jim Fuquay 


New rehabilitation hospital planned in Arlington

Two area hospital systems will team with a Nashville company to build a 40-bed rehabilitation hospital in Arlington. Arlington-based Texas Health Resources, Dallas-based Methodist Health System and rehab specialist Centerre Healthcare Corp. plan to break ground on the facility this summer in southern Arlington. Centerre has previously partnered with those organizations on Texas Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Worth, a THR facility, and Methodist Rehabilitation Hospital in Dallas.

Texas Rehabilitation Hospital of Arlington will serve patients recovering from strokes and other brain or spinal cord injuries, amputations and other complex injuries. It’s expected to employ about 150 people when open. The companies did not disclose an address for the new facility, but said it will be between Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, at 800 W. Randol Mill Road in central Arlington, and Methodist Mansfield Medical Center at 2700 E. Broad St.

-- Jim Fuquay


Cook Children's to expand again with new tower

130909 REV2_Rendering Slide_Aerial (3)
It seems the dust has barely settled on the latest expansion at Cook Children's Medical Center, but the Fort Worth pediatric hospital is set to grow some more. Cook Children's Health Care System says it will expand its emergency department and add heart care and laboratory facilities, culminating in a new 314,000-square-foot tower on the south side of its campus. (The new tower is in the upper right part of the artist's rendering, above.) Construction is expected to take more than three years. The new project's site is currently used for a prayer garden and labyrinth, which will be relocated. Plans also call for a new urgent care center at Rosedale Street and Sixth Avenue.

Cook Children's recently finished a $250 million expansion. The biggest part of that opened in mid-2012 with new patient care space, doctor's offices and a parking garage on the north side of its campus (pictured in the foreground of the rendering). It concluded with the opening this fall of a new office tower and parking garage for employees at the corner of Rosedale Street and Eighth Avenue. That building isn't pictured in the rendering.

-- Jim Fuquay


Baylor to build new surgical hospital in Fort Worth

Baylor SH at FW rendering Nov 2103
Baylor Health Care System will build a three-story surgical hospital near its Baylor All Saints Hospital to replace a smaller unit nearby. Baylor Surgical Hospital at Fort Worth, at 1800 Park Place Ave., will have 30 inpatient beds as well as a three-bed emergency department. The 82,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to break ground Thursday and has a September 2014 estimated completion date.

“We have literally outgrown this current building,” Roger Rhodes, CEO of Baylor Surgical Hospital, said of an existing surgery facility at 750 12th Ave. Rhodes said about 75 percent of the facility’s surgeries will be outpatient, and those done as inpatient will typically involve stays averaging about 2.5 days.

The facility is a joint venture with Dallas-based United Surgical Partners International, a for-profit company that owns and operates more than 200 surgery centers, many with not-for-profit health systems. USPI already partners with Baylor on a number of facilities, including surgery centers in Trophy Club, Arlington, Bedford, Mansfield and Granbury.

-- Jim Fuquay


Latest hospital safety rankings include local facilities

Texas Health Resources hospitals grabbed many of the best report cards handed out by The Leapfrog Group, which uses its own survey plus data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Leapfrog, which releases its grades in spring and fall, graded 2,539 general hospitals, of which 32 percent got an "A," 26 percent got a "B," 35 percent got a "C," and the rest got a D or an F. One North Texas hospital on the survey got a "D."

There are so many different flavors of hospital ratings we sometimes don't know what to make of them; it often appears that as much depends on how the institution reports its data as it does on how it takes care of patients. But the trend is for greater transparency and accountability for results, and that's for the best. The full results and more detail on each hospital are at www.hospitalsafetyscore.org.

THR hospitals getting an "A" are: Arlington Memorial, Harris Methodist Azle, Harris Methodist Cleburne, Harris Methodist H-E-B, Huguley, Presbyterian Allen, Presbyterian Dallas, Presbyterian Denton, Presbyterian Kaufman, Presbyterian Plano and Presbyterian Rockwall. THR hospitals with a "B" are: Harris Methodist Fort Worth, Harris Methodist Southwest and USMD Arlington. Baylor Scott & White had two hospitals with an "A," in Irving and in Plano. Its Garland hospital got a "B," while the rest of the Baylor members rated a "C": All Saints Fort Worth, Carrollton, Southwest Fort Worth (closed last year), Waxahachie, Grapevine, and its flagship, University Medical Center.

Hospital Corp. of America, HCA, saw its Denton Regional, Medical Center Arlington, Medical Center of Plano and Plaza Medical Center get an "A," while Las Colinas Medical Center, Medical Center of Lewisville, Medical City Dallas and North Hills all got a "B." Methodist Health System earned an "A" at its Mansfield and Richardson hospitals, a "B" at Charlton (Dallas), and a "C" at Dallas Medical Center. North Texas' two county-supported hospitals, JPS in Fort Worth and Parkland in Dallas, both got a "C." Tenet Healthcare's two North Texas hospitals, Centennial Medical Center in Frisco and Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake, both got a "B."

Among hospitals that aren't part of one of the big chains, Dallas Regional Medical Center (Mesquite) and Weatherford Regional Medical Center got an "A," while Lake Granbury Medical Center and Wise Regional Health System each got a "C." Texas Hospital for Advanced Medicine (now known as Dallas Medical Center), which according to its website is chartered by the city of Farmers Branch, got a "D."

-- Jim Fuquay


United Way schedules health insurance exchange help sessions

United Way of Tarrant County will hold information sessions starting Thursday to individuals interested in using the new Health Insurance Marketplace to gain coverage under the Affordable Care Act. United Way is responsible for training and managing Navigators, who help people use the marketplace, commonly called "the exchange." Here are upcoming sessions:

Thursday, Oct. 24
12 – 3 p.m.
Tarrant County College South Campus, Student Center dining room 

Saturday, Oct.  26
1 – 4 p.m.
Azle Memorial Library 

Tuesday, Oct. 29
5 – 7:30 p.m.
Tarrant County College Southeast campus, Main Ballroom


Tuesday, Nov. 12
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Azle Memorial Library, Conference Room

-- Jim Fuquay



Navigating the health insurance exchange, inch by inch

You've probably read plenty about how the government's Health Insurance Marketplace, AKA "the exchange," has had a rough start. We've chronicled our own attempts to use the exchange in various posts, but it's been a while since we had anything new to report. Frisco health insurance agent Charles Peeler (www.peelerinsurance.com) got our hopes up earlier this week when he called to say he actually got a client a policy using the exchange. But when he tried to share his method for getting into the exchange, lo and behold it shut him out. Judging by that experience and news reports, getting all the way through is sort of random at this point. It might happen, but probably not.

But those are technical difficulties. Here's a design problem. Take a look at the page below. Where do you click to apply?

Click here

Here's the answer.

No here

It's not underlined, like a typical link is. It's not in bold type or highlighted, but that's the magic button. A  colleague saw it right away, but we still think it should be really obvious. As it turned out, clicking the right link didn't move us very far down the line. After we agreed to let Homeland Security and other agencies check out our information, an online form told us to re-enter our email address. We did. It rejected our efforts, even though we typed an exact copy. So we're still not in.

Stay posted. It'll work one day.

-- Jim Fuquay


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