Stories written by Ken Ortolon

Better Quality - 04/19/2018

Texas health care institutions are offering quality improvement courses for physicians, other clinicians, and administrators. Among the topics included in the courses are the development of guidelines and protocols; health services research methods; health policy and economics; cost-based accounting medical informatics; severity of illness measurement; and total quality management and continuous quality improvement.


Another Temporary Patch - 11/09/2017

Physicians and Medicare beneficiaries breathed a sigh of relief on Dec. 15 when President Obama signed a law delaying a 25-percent cut in physician Medicare payments rates until January 2012. It was the fifth time in a year that physicians and patients had seen Congress stop a fee reduction just days before – and sometimes after – it was to take effect. Both the Texas Medical Association and the American Medical Association praised the freeze, but said it is not enough.


The Price of Prevention - 05/13/2016

Supporters of the health system reform law hope a whole lot of prevention – and free prevention, at that – will significantly reduce Americans' mortality and morbidity from cancer, smoking, obesity, vaccine-preventable illnesses, and other diseases. A provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires health plans to cover a wide array of preventive care services without charging patients copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles.


Playing House - 05/13/2016

Small group, problem-based learning sessions began at The University of Texas Medical Branch in the late 1990s when administrators overhauled the school's curriculum. The new curriculum was intended to shift medical education away from passive learning and toward active learning. The results have been dramatic. Students' mean scores on Step 1 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam had been lagging behind the national mean but are now substantially higher than the mean.


Good for Texas, Good for U.S. - 05/13/2016

The way U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Texas), sees it, the 2003 Texas medical liability reforms are so successful that the rest of the country should follow suit. That is why a number of Texas members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, are either authoring or cosponsoring legislation to pass national legislative reforms similar to those in Texas or, at least, to ensure that no federal action could negate state-level reforms.