Wednesday, May 22, 2024 May 22, 2024
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White Rock Medical Center Temporarily Stops Receiving Ambulances and DFW Ranks 45th in Latest Hospital Safety Rating

Plus UT Tyler's new dermatology department, Children's Health's honor, and more.

White Rock Medical Center briefly ceased receiving patients transported by emergency medical services over the weekend after laying off nearly 35 percent of its staff due to ongoing litigation with the hospital’s former owner, as reported by The Dallas Morning News. The decision to temporarily suspend EMS patient admissions was made “out of an abundance of caution” to ensure that the 158-person reduction in staff did not compromise patient care at the Level IV trauma center, according to Terry Fokas, General Counsel and Chief Restructuring Officer of White Rock Medical Center. Prior to the layoffs, the hospital employed 460 staff members. The North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council, responsible for overseeing trauma and emergency health systems in the region, confirmed the temporary halt in EMS transportation to White Rock Medical Center. The hospital, which has undergone multiple ownership changes and name alterations throughout its history, was most recently acquired from Pipeline Health by Heights Healthcare of Texas last autumn. Originally established as Doctors Hospital in 1958, the facility was rebranded as Baylor Scott & White Medical Center White Rock in 2016. California-based Pipeline acquired the medical center from Texas healthcare giants Baylor Scott & White Health and Tenet Healthcare, who jointly owned the facility for approximately two years. Pipeline filed for bankruptcy in 2022 and subsequently sold two Chicago hospitals in 2023. Heights Healthcare, which owns five hospitals in Houston, and Pipeline are currently engaged in litigation proceedings in a Dallas County court regarding the sale of the medical center. Fokas attributed the recent layoffs to the financial strain of the ongoing court proceedings. A spokesperson for Pipeline stated that the health system had no comment. Ambulance coverage has resumed as of Tuesday. 

For the first time, The Leapfrog Group has introduced rankings for metro areas alongside states, based on the proportion of hospitals earning an “A” grade. Only 28 percent of the 64 graded hospitals in the DFW region attained an “A” grade, positioning the DFW Metro area at the 45th spot nationally for the percentage of “A” hospitals. The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit representing numerous influential employers and healthcare purchasers across the nation, released the spring 2024 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades this month. These grades assess preventable medical errors, accidents, injuries, and infections occurring in U.S. hospitals, which collectively claim over 500 lives daily in the United States. Texas slipped to 15th place in the country for the percentage of hospitals receiving an “A” grade, dropping from its 10th position in last year’s Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades. Among the 64 DFW hospitals graded in the recent report, 18 secured an “A” grade, 18 received a “B” grade, 25 were awarded a “C” grade, while 3 received a “D” grade, with none receiving an “F” grade.

Children’s Health has been honored as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2024 for its pioneering initiative aimed at training pediatricians and addressing children’s mental health concerns. The deteriorating mental well-being of today’s youth has been labeled as the “defining public health crisis of our time” by the U.S. Surgeon General, with 1 in 3 children in Texas experiencing a mental health condition annually. In 2022, Children’s Health, in collaboration with the Meadows Institute, launched the Behavioral Health Integration and Guidance Initiative. This groundbreaking program operates at the primary care level, providing prompt diagnosis and treatment for children’s mental health issues before they escalate into crises. To date, the initiative has garnered $28 million in donations, facilitating the training of 75 pediatricians to extend mental health services to 150,000 families.

U.S. Dermatology Partners and The University of Texas at Tyler School of Medicine have joined forces to establish a new Department of Dermatology, aiming to advance the understanding and treatment of dermatological conditions in East Texas. The UT Tyler School of Medicine Department of Dermatology wants to elevate standards of dermatologic care and education regionally and nationally. Within the next year, the Department plans to initiate educational programs for medical students at the university and recruit a Chair of the Department and a Dermatology Program Director, with aspirations to attain accreditation as an ACGME-accredited dermatology residency program. These educational initiatives will offer comprehensive training and practical experience in dermatology, equipping the next generation of healthcare professionals to serve East Texas communities with excellence. The Department will also embark on clinical research in collaboration with U.S. Dermatology Partners, focusing on advancing new treatments and methodologies in skincare. This program holds particular significance for Tyler and similar rural communities struggling with physician shortages. Residents in rural areas often encounter challenges accessing specialist care, leading to prolonged wait times and heightened reliance on primary care providers. The Department’s mission is to cultivate a fresh cohort of dermatologists committed to serving local communities while bolstering the expertise in and management of skin conditions among primary care physicians undergoing training within UT Tyler’s residency and fellowship programs.

Irving-based U.S. Oral Surgery Management (USOSM) unveiled the addition of five new partner practices, notably marking its debut in Maryland with Howard County Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. The new partner practices comprise Howard County Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in Maryland, Blue Ridge Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in Virginia, Collier Oral Surgery & Implant Center in Florida, Colorado Regional Oral Surgery in Colorado, and The Pogue Center in Arizona. Together, these practices house 10 surgeons and operate across seven locations spanning five states. With these latest incorporations, USOSM boasts a network of over 230 surgeon partners spanning 27 states.


Bridget Reis

Bridget Reis

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