Stories from Texas Medicine, February 2019

All Together Now: Health Care Mergers Reshape the Way Texas Physicians Practice - 08/02/2019

Consolidation has touched just about every part of today’s health care industry. Hospitals, medical practices, pharmacies, insurance companies are all merging in various ways — a trend epitomized by the 2018 announcement that hospital systems Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas and Memorial Hermann in Houston plan to become one big nonprofit.


Talk to Patients About: Polio - 07/02/2019

Polio once terrified Americans. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the virus crippled around 35,000 Americans a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because polio often attacked abdominal muscles used to breathe, many died or permanently needed a respirator called an iron lung.


Colorectal Cancer Screening: Role of Family Physicians - 04/11/2019

The purpose of this study was to look at the differences in colorectal cancer screening awareness between two rural communities in Texas. In Clifton, patients have access to colonoscopies in their local hospital, while in Haskell, patients have to travel to a tertiary center. A 24-question survey pertaining to colon cancer from the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) was given to patients at primary care clinics in Clifton and Haskell. To take the survey, participants had to have been patients for at least 1 year in either Clifton or Haskell clinic and be at least age 50 years or older. A total of 168 surveys were collected, 92 at Clifton and 76 at Haskell. A higher odds ratio (OR=3.61; CI = [1.11, 11.69]) was seen in Clifton compared with Haskell for patient colon cancer screening awareness.  Also, a higher odds ratio (OR=2.50; CI = [1.13, 5.54]) was found of knowing at what age a person should be screened for colon cancer in Clifton compared with Haskell. A higher o...


Bypassing the Middle Man: Should Texas Allow Physician Dispensing? - 02/11/2019

The Texas Medical Association supports allowing physicians to dispense out of their offices, and TMA and the Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP) are supporting business groups and other leaders as they mount a legislative effort to bring the practice to Texas. Proponents are wielding data that illustrates potential benefits like reduced medication costs and increased patient adherence to their drug regimens.


Q&A: Hard Hats for Little Heads Advocates Alan Howell, MD, and Martha Howell - 02/05/2019

Promoting public health initiatives in local communities can help physicians build relationships with the people they care for every day. Martha Howell and her husband, infectious disease specialist Alan Howell, MD, have taken that idea a few steps further with Hard Hats for Little Heads.


You Can’t Care for Someone You Don’t Understand: Class Helps Med Students See Care From Patients’ View - 02/04/2019

Today’s medical students want to be prepared to provide the best patient care. More than ever, that means understanding not only how to provide quality care, but also the patient’s experience accessing that care. Students at UT Southwestern are addressing this deficiency in knowledge through an elective, Healthcare in Underserved Communities, offered to all UT Southwestern MD and physician assistant students in their first and second years of school.


The Long Lost Speech: Letter Offers Glimpse Into 19th Century Surgery - 02/04/2019

The fifth floor of the Texas Medical Association building in Austin houses an archival collection of thousands of books, photographs, and artifacts documenting the rich history of Texas medicine. And there’s always room for more. That’s what unexpectedly happened in October, when TMA staff found an 1892 hand-written letter tucked away in the pages of an old medical journal. The speech gives modern-day physicians a look at the tools and techniques surgeons used more than 100 years ago.


A Dedicated Professional: Medicine Says Goodbye to Former TMA President Hugh Lamensdorf, MD - 01/29/2019

Like all physicians, former Texas Medical Association President Hugh Lamensdorf, MD, made notes when he saw his patients. But the Fort Worth urologist, who passed away at age 82 in October, took this standard practice a bit further.