hospitals | KERA News

hospitals

Annie Mulligan / The Texas Tribune

Weeks ago, Texas officials were scrambling to expand the state’s hospital capacity, seeking out external facilities that could house coronavirus patients and banning all nonessential procedures in an effort to preserve resources. Now, with many major cities saying their facilities seem prepared for the outbreak, some of those restrictions will be rolled back and some backup plans may prove unnecessary.

The Medicaid expansion promoted by the Affordable Care Act was a boon for St. Mary's Medical Center, the largest hospital in western Colorado. Since 2014, the number of uninsured patients it serves has dropped by more than half, saving the nonprofit hospital in Grand Junction more than $3 million a year.

But the prices the hospital charges most insured patients have not gone down.

Surgeons are known for their busy schedules — so busy that they don't just book surgeries back to back. Sometimes they'll double-book, so one operation overlaps the next. A lead surgeon will perform the key elements, then move to the next room — leaving other, often junior, surgeons to finish up the first procedure.

Consumer advocates and health insurers are pushing Texas lawmakers to address surprise medical bills during this year’s legislative session.

Bexar County is seeing more babies born with withdrawal symptoms related to their mothers' opioid addictions. One way hospitals help these babies overcome these often painful symptoms during their first weeks is to recruit volunteers to just cuddle them, touch them and love them. But because of the recent opioid epidemic, there are too many babies and not enough baby cuddlers.

San Antonio will receive a new $320 million psychiatric hospital to replace the slanted floors and sinking foundations of the city's decades-old facility, according to Texas officials.

Public domain

Texas has almost a dozen medical schools, but it also has a rural healthcare worker shortage. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is set to vote Thursday on whether to approve another medical school.

From Texas Standard:

A coalition of rural Texas hospitals says small-town hospitals in the state are facing a "closure crisis" after those in Crockett and Trinity ceased operations over the summer.

The group says the recent closures bring the total number of closed rural hospitals in the past four years to nearly 20. And if the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress don't act, more rural communities will be left without immediate access to quality health- and emergency care.

 

UTSW

If a hospital is doing well financially, what does that say about its patients? Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center evaluated the relationship between a patient’s health and a hospital’s profit.

Timberlawn

State health officials want to close one of the oldest psychiatric hospitals in Texas. Timberlawn Mental Health System in East Dallas has had a series of violations, including a suicide and fights between patients, dating back to 2009.

Facebook

The Forest Park Medical Center campuses were supposed to be more like spas than hospitals.  And they were —  from the hand cut stone and sculptures to the lavish trees and fancy menu.

Timberlawn Mental Health System

One of the state’s oldest residential treatment centers for people with mental illness could lose its federal funding on Tuesday. Timberlawn Mental Health System, a Pennsylvania-based chain that’s been in Dallas since 1917, is in trouble with regulators for violating patient care and safety.

Parkland Hospital/Facebook

Starting in January, you can legally carry handguns in public in Texas. And later next year, you can have concealed handguns on state university campuses. There are still a few strictly gun-free zones, like hospitals. Some Second Amendment advocates are trying to change that.

UT Southwestern Medical Center

You might say the William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital has an identity problem.

Inside, you could almost forget you’re in a hospital. The hallways look like art galleries, the bright patient rooms like spas, and the ER exam rooms like private law offices.

Shutterstock

In today's All Things Considered local block from the KERA newsroom: How did Texas stack up in federal healthcare signups? Lauren Silverman breaks down those numbers, and also looks at an innovative approach Parkland Hospital is taking to keep hospital re-admissions down. And on this edition of The Big Screen, Stephen Becker and Dallas Morning News movie critic Chris Vognar talk about the lasting influence of the original rom-com, It Happened One Night.

Justin Turveen

Last year North Texas hospitals created more than 265,000 jobs and pumped more than 14 billion dollars into the economy. That’s according to a new report from the Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council.

Comanche County Medical Center

Rural hospitals provide emergency and routine care for millions of people in Texas. But over the past few decades, their doors have been closing. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to help financially-strained rural hospitals stay open – but it doesn’t look like there will be much relief for those in Texas.

Comanche County Medical Center

Rural hospitals provide emergency and routine care for millions of people in Texas. But over the past few decades, their doors have been closing. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to help financially-strained rural hospitals stay open – but it doesn’t look like there will be much relief for those in Texas.

Shutterstock

In three weeks, the Texas health insurance marketplace will be open for business. There will be a variety of plans to choose from – the basic bronze and even platinum – but all of them, and many private insurance plans too – will be required to cover certain benefits like checkups starting in 2014.

Shutterstock

U.S. News & World Report has released its annual hospital rankings, and several North Texas systems can boast nationally recognized specialties. But Children’s Medical Center in Dallas has something special to brag about, a number one ranking in pediatric orthopedics.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Souce: Dartmouth Atlas Project at The Dartmouth Institute For Health Policy And Clinical Practices.

When you’re leaving the hospital, the last thing you want to think about is being readmitted in a couple weeks. The odds of that happening are surprisingly high. Starting in October, as part of the Affordable Care Act, more than 2,000 hospitals will be penalized for high readmission rates. Two hospitals in North Texas are trying to tackle the problem of high readmissions, with technology.

Bolstered by a recent study that found doctors performing hysterectomies performed using a pricey robot didn't produce better results for patients than ordinary — and cheaper — procedures, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently threw down a latex gauntlet against the use of robots.

Tim Baker / flickr

Some North Texas hospitals will lose Medicare money starting in October. They’re being penalized because certain elderly patients were readmitted to the hospital soon after being discharged.