Health Care | Texas Public Radio

Health Care

Shelley Kofler / KERA-Dallas

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission says it is moving forward with cuts to Medicaid rates which were voted on by state lawmakers in the last legislative session.

Health care advocates say the plan will cause a $350 million drop in Medicaid payments to health care providers.

Supporters of the cuts have said this will bring Medicaid rates in Texas more in line with where rates should be.

David Martin Davies

The Rio Grande Valley along the Texas Mexico border is one of the most impoverished regions in the nation. For many who live there receiving quality health care is not a possibility. But last week Operation Lone Star provided many with a chance to get needed medical treatment.

There are two rows of portable dental chairs along the baseline at the Palmview high school gym in Mission, Texas. The chairs are filled with patients - many are having extensive work done on their teeth after a lifetime of neglect.

We all know that listening to music can soothe emotional pain, but Taylor Swift, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys can also ease physical pain, according to a study of children and teenagers who had major surgery.

Flickr user Adam Fagen (afagen) / cc

Before the end of the month the U.S. Supreme Court will make several ruling that will directly impact Texas – one could upend the Fair Housing Act, another could make same sex marriage legal and another could basically end the Affordable Care Act in Texas by ruling that the Federal government can’t provide health insurance subsidies to states that didn’t set up their own ACA exchanges.

Federal officials have spent years locked in a secret legal battle with UnitedHealth Group, the nation's biggest Medicare Advantage insurer, after a government audit detected widespread overbilling at one of the company's health plans, newly released records show.

Online health insurance marketplaces are central parts of the Affordable Care Act. And HealthCare.gov, the federally run exchange, is where 27-year-old Kathryn Ryan, a restaurant server in Philadelphia, turned for health coverage, as soon as the law took effect.

"I was excited because if it weren't for Obamacare, I wouldn't be insured at all," she says. "I wouldn't have the ability to go to the doctor."

She can afford health insurance thanks to a $200 a month subsidy that brings her premium down to $60 a month.

More than 1,300 people in South Korea are under mandatory quarantine as health officials scramble to contain the largest outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, outside the Arabian Peninsula. So far, at least 30 people in South Korea have contracted the virus, which has no known vaccine or cure. Two of them have died since the outbreak began May 20.

Source: Teladoc

DALLAS — A federal judge has determined claims made by the Texas Medical Board in adopting new telemedicine rules were “suspect” and barred the rules from taking effect until a civil trial can be held in lower court.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman hinges largely on a revised rule the board adopted in April that requires a patient to have a “face-to-face visit or in-person evaluation” before a prescription can be dispensed. The board has argued such a measure is crucial to ensuring patient safety and quality care.

But Dallas-based Teladoc, which challenged the board’s action, argued the panel violated federal antitrust laws because the rule significantly impairs its business model.

On a recent trip to Chicago, Patti Broyles felt like she was looking at the world from the bottom of a fish bowl.

"This weather was really cold and rainy and I had a lot of pressure in my sinus areas," Broyles says.

Since she was nowhere near her primary care doctor in Dallas, she called Teladoc, the largest telemedicine provider in the U.S., for advice. Patients whose employers or insurers have deals with the Dallas-based company can call any time and be connected with a physician on duty within minutes.

A hospital at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center has a robot filling prescriptions.

The $15 million system works like this: a doctor writes out an electronic prescription. At the pharmacy, a mechanical arm scoots past dozens of shelves and picks out the medicine. The pills are then sorted and dispensed into little packets. The packets are grouped together into these little rings--one ring for each patient.

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