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D CEO Healthcare’s Top Stories of 2023

Healthcare fraud and other crimes lead the way, but other profiles caught the interest of readers as well.
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D CEO's CEO of the Year Anurag Jain is featured in the December issue.

In many ways, 2023 was a return to relative normalcy in the healthcare industry following several years of the pandemic dominating the system’s operations, finances, and mental health. But the residual financial impact of the pandemic is still being felt by health systems large and small, with inflated labor and supply costs straining balance books throughout the industry.

In a sector as large, deep, and diverse as North Texas healthcare, there were plenty of news stories to report on and leaders to profile. Here’s a look at some of the most-read D CEO Healthcare stories of 2023.

Two Dallas Physicians Charged in $12 Million Fraud Scheme

Our most-read story of 2023 was about Drs. Desi and Deno Barroga, brothers, were indicted for allegedly receiving $12 million from fraudulent claims and illegally distributing hydrocodone to patients from the Dallas pain management clinic where they operated. The Barrogas allegedly hosted fraudulent appointments and once allegedly scheduled 80 injections on one patient in a single visit. Read more about the elaborate scheme here.

The Adventures of Tom Luce

Tom Luce has been one of Dallas’s most influential people over the last several decades and now leads biotech initiatives for Lyda Hill Philanthropies. His work has been integral to Pegasus Park’s growth and the federal government’s choice of Dallas to host its new $2.5 billion healthcare agency to tackle healthcare’s biggest problems. Luce spent much of his career as Ross Perot Sr.’s lawyer and problem solver. His work with Perot would take him worldwide and include everything from purchasing the Magna Carta to arranging a circumnavigation of the Earth by helicopter. He also ran for governor and spent time in leadership at the Department of Education. Read more about one of the most interesting people in Dallas here.

Children’s Health and UT Southwestern Plan New $2.5 Billion Dallas Pediatric Medical Campus

In one of D CEO Healthcare’s biggest scoops of the year, we got our hands on some solicitation documents detailing plans for a new children’s hospital to replace Children’s Medical Center Dallas. According to the proposal and information from UT Southwestern President Dr. Daniel Podolsky, the new hospital will be built across the street from Clements University Hospital, include a labor and delivery unit (the current children’s hospital doesn’t have L&D), and was at one time priced at $2.5 billion. The hospital site is being prepped for construction, and buildings were imploded earlier this year to make way for the new facility. Learn more about the proposed hospital here.

Woman’s Death After IV Therapy Leads to License Suspension for Frisco Anesthesiologist

In another tragic story, a woman died after the owner of a med spa in Wortham, Texas, administered hydration therapy to her. The spa is 106 miles from the address of the supervising medical director, who allegedly was rarely at the spa. The physician, a Frisco anesthesiologist named Dr. Michael Gallagher, had his license suspended by the TMB after the mother-of-four died. The owner of the medical spa lacked any medical licenses or certifications to be able to administer prescription-level hydration. Read on here.

Texas Nurse Practitioners Want to Be ‘Free’

Another story that was shared widely and attracted readers was the battle between physicians and nurse practitioners for the right to practice independently. Texas is one of only 10 states that doesn’t allow NPs to operate their own clinic, and interested parties took the opportunity during the 2023 legislation session to advocate for their position. NPs says their independence is working just fine elsewhere and will increase access during a provider shortage, but opponents say NPs lack the training to operate independently and that their lack of training drives up costs. Nothing changed during this year’s legislation session, but both parties will unlikely give up anytime soon. Read more about the ongoing battle here.

Southlake Plastic Surgeon With a History of Texas Medical Board Discipline Has His License Suspended

In another example of physicians getting in trouble, Southlake plastic surgeon Dr. Jon Ver Halen’s history of disciplinary issues with the Texas Medical Board caught up with him when he performed a surgery when he was listed as a surgical assistant due to past discipline. His license was suspended as a result. The TMB documents tell a story of a physician performing surgeries in which he was prohibited from participating, performing surgeries without support staff when the office was closed, and other issues. Read more about Ver Halen here.

Flower Mound Father Says an Urgent Care Doc Wrongly Reported Him to CPS

Another top story involved a local entrepreneur who was reported to CPS after being critical of what he calls a “transactional” experience with a provider at an urgent care clinic. CPS eventually cleared Deric Cahill of any abuse, and another provider gave his child a good report hours after CPS was called because the child appeared dehydrated. Cahill says much of the worrying information in the provider’s note and subsequent CPS report was fabricated and not reflective of the appointment or the child’s appearance. Read more about the saga here.

UTSW Settles Discrimination Lawsuit With Renowned Scientist Dr. Ellen Vitetta

After nearly a decade in legal battles, UT Southwestern settled its lawsuit with one of its most celebrated researchers, Dr. Ellen Vitetta. Vitetta came to UTSW in the 1970s, and her research on vaccines and cancer immunobiology was impactful enough to be featured on a wall of influential women at UTSW. But when the university began cutting her salary and lab space, she cried foul and claimed she was being mistreated because of her age and gender. After jumping through legal hoops to be able to sue a state institution and numerous COVID delays, the university settled with Vitetta. She hopes to use the funds to establish better end-of-career protocols at UTSW. Read more about her legal battle and how she felt it was a pattern of behavior at UTSW here.

CEO of the Year: Anurag Jain, a Modern-Day Warrior Poet

One of our final stories of the year shouldn’t get lost in the holiday shuffle, as it features D CEO magazine’s CEO of the Year, Anurag Jain. Jain has proven himself to be an immensely successful manager and entrepreneur and recently added ownership of a cricket team to his other roles as CEO of revenue cycle management company Access Healthcare and managing partner of venture capital firm Perot Jain, which he operates with Ross Perot Jr. His journey to success is a harrowing tale that almost failed dozens of times, but his perseverance and abilities helped him become one of the most successful and generous businessmen in North Texas. Read more here.

Author

Will Maddox

Will Maddox

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Will is the senior writer for D CEO magazine and the editor of D CEO Healthcare. He's written about healthcare…
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