Steve Jacobs has the latest figures over at D Healthcare Daily. Teen births are down nation-wide and in Texas (good news) but repeat births are up in Texas (very bad news). This is a case where the argument over abstinence-only vs. sex education doe not apply. These young ladies know the consequences of their actions. So we are in entirely different territory. A second baby is fulfilling some perceived need that they believe will be met by the male (hope over experience) or in family-forming. Regardless, the social and fiscal costs are enormous: $1.2 billion in Texas alone.
If you haven’t read the (paywalled )Parkland story in this morning’s Morning News, do so. Here’s a shorter blog version. Then read this email, just sent over from the folks at Parkland (emphasis is Parkland’s):
Unfortunately, our latest message concerning the Dallas Morning News and its coverage of Parkland does not involve a lack of accuracy, but a lack of ethics.
This morning, the Dallas Morning News ran a story, in which its reporter inexplicably came to the conclusion that Parkland had hired advocates in Washington, DC in order to sway regulators who are overseeing improvement efforts at the health system.Â That is not true.Â Parkland has contracted an advocacy firm for many, many years.Â The advocates educate legislators and committees on issues vital to the survival of public hospitals.Â The Morning News is aware that a contract with an advocacy firm at the federal level is nothing new.
But we are used to misleading innuendo from the Morning News.Â What makes this case worse, the original version of the story this morning read, “Eddie Reeves, a Parkland board member who was absent for the unanimous vote on the agreement Tuesday, told The News he isn’t familiar with the contract’s wording but expects the lobbying effort to be “more policy [oriented] than regulatory.”Â
But just this afternoon, the story was updated to read, “A big question: Will Holland & Knight be lobbying the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or other government officials to try to somehow modify the monitoring process or seek leniency?Â Parkland officials won’t say.Â As readers of this blog know, they have consistently refused to divulge detailed information about the monitoring process or answer most questions that may pertain to it, usually citing fears of litigation.”
So, in the later version, the Morning News removed Mr. Reeve’s quotes and claimed that Parkland officials “won’t say.”
Both stories fail to note that Mr. Reeves specifically told the reporter that our advocacy firm would not be involvedwith the systems improvement agreement or corrective action plan we currently have with CMS.
Slate ran an interesting piece today under the head: “Democracy or Gerontocracy: Is Congress getting older?” In short, yes. The reasons:
“Life expectancy likely had something to do with the 19th-century preponderance of younger men: The average American born in 1900 expected to live onlyÂ 49 years, compared toÂ more than 78Â today. More importantly, the House of Representatives was widely viewed as an “up or out” institution in the 1800s, much like aÂ modern law firm. Most members served one or two terms, then either sought higher office or returned to private life. The average tenure in the House in 1860 was four years. It doubled to eight years in 1920, asÂ careerismÂ took hold. Changes in House rules made seniority increasingly important and provided a motivation for representatives to keep their seats. In addition, changes in ballot design allowed voters to select a presidential candidate from one party and a senator or representative from another, making it more difficult to unseat an incumbent.”
The average age of a congressman in 2011: 62 for the Senate, 57 for the House. Texas’ representatives make the House look like it’s full of co-eds. The average age for a Texas rep is 64, seven years older than the average. Even if you took Rockwall Rep. Ralph Hall — 89, the oldestÂ representativeÂ in history — out of the mix, the average is still 63.Â The senators are right in-line, and will get younger now that Ted Cruz is in the mix.
Time to step up your game, Young Republicans.
When I was five, my mother – inexplicably, without my consent – signed me up for gymnastics camp. I guess she thought I’d enjoy the jumping and flipping, plus it gave her a break from at least one head of her three-headed monster of a brood.
I did not enjoy the jumping and the flipping; I cried every day. There was only one other boy in the camp, and Jordan also seemed to dislike the jumping and flipping. Our only joy came from snack time, when we could finally get a goddamn rest from the jumping and flipping and just enjoy some cherry Kool-Aid
Earlier this month, I was invited to attend a media event for Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a show that featured the jumping and flipping that I so loathed as a child. They said I could try out some of the cirque acts, maybe have a dream of my own. I took them up on their offer.
If you’re into that sort of thing, follow along at home:
Kidney stones are no joke..its good when im doubled over because that means its mo
ving, right.. #twitterpaindistraction
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) December 19, 2012
Tell Em I’m doing this stone grandpa style.No really, …. #stuffyouthinktryingtopassakidneystone
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) December 19, 2012
I don’t even know what “grandpa style” is.
Governor Rick Perry sat down with ForbesÂ contributor Avik Roy last week, chatting about tort reform, Obamacare, and what Republicans need to push — healthcare-wise – in 2016. Roy was a Romney advisor, so take the questions and answers with a grain of salt:
On tort reform:
But good, courageous people have stayed hitched, if you will, to the concept [of innovation]. And they paid great dividends. So whether it was passing tort reform, putting tax policy, regulatory policy in place, that sent a predictable, stable message to innovators and job creators, that this was a state where you could come and risk your capital and have a good chance to have a return on your investment.
I think that is the underlying foundation that you must have in your state. Innovators are entrepreneurs. And if you don’t first give them clear messages of predictability and stability, then they may not stay in your state. So we first had to create the environment where innovators knew that they would get support from the state, that the state had “skin in the game,” so to speak.
On Obamacare, and its implementation in Texas:
So on its face, Obamacare may fail because they don’t have the expertise nor the money. And they’re trying to push this off on the states. And I think wise governors and wise legislatures will say, “No, thank you.” Medicaid is a broken system. And the idea that we would expand and put more money and more people into a broken system is not unlike putting another 1,000 people on the Titanic. You know how this is going to turn out. And it’s going to be a disaster.
The last time we saw Sid, he was dropping out of Navy flight school, getting his marriage proposal rejected, and killing himself in a motel room. If that’s a spoiler for you, sorry; the movie’s 30 years old.
Since then, Sid (actor David Keith) has spent his time in more than 100 titles, but his latest role is “actor/activist who came to Dallas today to talk about dog DNA, specifically Poo Prints, which, yes, is a real thing.”
Krista wrote about Poo Prints Dallas back in our October issue, but the basic gist is this, in her words:
“When a resident with a pet signs a lease, the dog’s cheek is swabbed. This sample is sent to the BioPet Vet Lab in Tennessee, which extracts the dog’s DNA and keeps it on file. When a waste sample is found [ed: in a public place, lawn, etc.], Welch puts it in a container with enzymes, shakes until it’s the consistency of a “milkshake slurry,” and sends it to the lab. Within five days, the DNA is analyzed, and, with 99.9 percent certainty, the culprit is identified.”
Dog DNA has become Keith’s pet project, travelling the country to extoll its virtues, which include genetic disease research, veterinary medicine advances, and the closure of puppy mills. It’s a leap from using DNA to identify jackasses who don’t pick up their dog’s crap, but Keith seems comfortable with it.
“DNAÂ is the silver bullet that protects humans – and the animals that protect us – from the impurities in life,” he said to council members, not at all sounding like late-night television huckster.
Councilwoman Delia Jasso urged Keith and Poo Prints Dallas head Cedric Moses to speak with Dallas-based animal rights groups, effectively saying “Please leave and talk about dog poop to someone else.”
New Children’s Medical Center Dallas Report: Health Care Picture Bleak for Suburban Children: Eight percent of children in the United States don’t have health insurance. In Texas, that number increases to 14 percent uninsured. But according to a report released today by Children’s Medical Center DallasÂ (sub. req.), in five suburban North Texas counties, including Collin, Denton, Cooke, Fannin, and Grayson, that number doubles to 23.9 percent of children who have no medical insurance. Compounding the problem for children seeking healthcare is the fact that now only 31 percent of Texas physicians accept Medicaid patients.
Squatter Could Get Life Imprisonment: David Cooper isn’t just the latest squatter trying to take control of a home by citing an obscure Texas law that protects people who move into abandoned properties but perform upkeep and pay taxes. No, Cooper moved into the home of a man who had vacated temporarily because he was receiving cancer treatment. That makes Cooper, who is being charged with theft of over $200 thousand, very uncool.
Four Years After Throwing Kids Off Overpass, Mother Walks Free: In 2008, Khandi Busby threw her 6- and 9-year-old boys off an overpass and then jumped herself (in her mind, she was being chased by Satan and the military). Remarkably everyone survived. Perhaps even more remarkably, Busby, who was diagnosed with a schizoaffective disorder, will walk free today, moving from a mental institution to a boarding house. She is forbidden to have contact with her children.
Cowboys Season “Saved:” Yes, now that the ‘Boys defense beat a pitiful Eagles offense, we actually have to keep paying attention to the Cowboys’ season.
New Dallas Police Unit Seeks To Curb Prostitution: The Dallas Police Department has devoted more resources than most city departments to combating child trafficking and prostitution, according to this Austin-American Statesman article, with a specialized unit trolling the internet trying to find prostitution ads with pictures of underage girls. It’s a time consuming process, but in June, a four-day sting led to more than 40 arrests.
Woman Killed For Having HIV: Cicely Bolden didn’t tell Larry Dunn that she was HIV positive before they had sex. When he found out, he stabbed her to death. “She killed me, so I killed,” Dunn reportedly told the police, demonstrating his obvious command of the science behind HIV transmission and treatment.
City’s First Non-shared Bike Lane Opens in Oak Cliff: It’s just a block long, sitting outside Rosemont Elementary school, but the new bike lane is being touted by bike advocates as a major step in implementing the city’s bike program. Unless you are one of those bike advocates who hates designated bike lanes.
Slightly more than two weeks remain to nominate a nurse for our Excellence in Nursing Awards. If you know a nurse who deserves recognition for what he or she does, then you owe it to that person to spend a few minutes telling us why they are so awesome. Get to it.
We’ve made it pretty clear on this blog, I think, that the aerial spraying to combat West Nile has given us the fantods. With the EPA’s imperfect track record in mind (see: DDT, Malathion), I asked some experts how we should protect ourselves against the aerial assault. The foregoing led Dr. Rick Snyder to reach out to me. He’s the president of the Dallas County Medical Society. He’s also my cardiologist and one of the smartest guys I know. Rick finally got me on the phone a bit ago and spent 30 minutes beating me up with his big brain and all the information it contains about West Nile and spraying mosquitoes and epidemiology in general. Way too much to convey to you in this space. So I’ll just say this: if, like me, you’re predisposed to think that any large-scale aerial application of a poison is a bad idea, spend some time poking around on this page set up by the DCMS. But here are some points that Rick made to me that changed my thinking a bit about aerial spraying (of which there will be more).
– The stuff they are spraying is essentially the same thing you wash your kid’s hair with if he has lice.
– None of us were that freaked by the truck spraying, yet the exposure is greater from truck spraying than it is from aerial spraying.
The Anson Jones Awards are given out by the Texas Medical Association to folks who do a bang-up job of health reporting. They’ve got good schtick, too, when it comes to announcing the awards. A real, live doctor swings by the various media outlets with a plaque and a check for $1,000, but the winner himself has no idea what’s coming. I got a note from the TMA about a month or so ago, informing me that Bradford Pearson won an Anson for the story he wrote last year for us about a woman whose breast cancer went undetected because she has dense tissue. Henda Salmeron fought to get a law passed in the Texas Lege that requires all FDA-approved mammogram facilities to inform women with dense breast tissue of the limitations of their mammogram results. It’s called Henda’s Law.
Behold a map that I don’t fully understand. Ad Age asked consumer research firm GfK MRI to share its survey data showing the prevalence of certain types of sickness in the various community segments in our country (as defined by Patchwork Nation).
What’s up with the all the muscle strains we’ve been suffering around here? And who knew that so much of the Northeast suffers from a plague of Restless Legs Syndrome?
Advertisers can use this information to sell us more medicine. Or to sell the medicine to the right people.
I know this little girl named Eva. Actually, that’s not exactly true. I’m friends with Eva’s parents and grandparents, but I haven’t gotten to know Eva very well, because she has cystic fibrosis. So she really shouldn’t be around people who are sick that often. And I have two snot-nosed sons, so we’ve deliberately reduced her exposure to them.
But I plan to spend time with Eva’s family on Saturday, and you can too. “Giving CF The Boot” is a fundraiser for the Eva’s Alliance Great Strides team. It’ll happen from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Plano location of Love and War in Texas, where music will be provided by Darryl Lee Rush and Lost Immigrants. If the tunes don’t entice you, perhaps the raffles for golf equipment and tequila will?
The suggested donation for admission is $10 per person or $25 per family. See you there?