Health Care Policy Articles

Solid alternatives to ERs still lacking

Austin American-Statesman, January 22, 2014

On the second day of the new year, I slipped on a rock and fell into Shoal Creek. When I saw the gigantic splash coupled with the look of abject terror on Ian’s face, I laughed out loud. But about an hour later my right arm began to hurt. I looked down and as I […]


Plugging the mental health care gap in Austin

Austin American-Statesman, December 8, 2013

The Seton Healthcare Family’s announcement Tuesday to open the region’s first psychiatric emergency department raises a simple question: How has Austin gotten by for so long without one? The answer is equally simple: Not very well. A patient in an acute psychiatric crisis needs a medical assessment that often requires laboratory or imaging studies to […]


The story behind a plaque

Austin American-Statesman, September 8, 2013

Emergency rooms, psychiatric facilities and geriatric units can be pressure cookers for patient-on-worker violence, with nurses bearing the brunt. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of 17 RNs are killed while on duty each year. A new Texas law enhances the penalty for assaulting ER personnel to a felony. I wonder if it […]


Emergency rooms often dangerous; new law helps protects staff

Austin American-Statesman, September 7, 2013

On the outside of an emergency department door, it’s a felony to assault emergency personnel. On the inside, it’s a misdemeanor. That is, until now. Last session, Texas joined at least 26 other states to make it a felony to assault emergency room staff. Nurses are the most likely to be assaulted and injured in […]


Poor diet and obesity take a toll on Mexico

Austin American-Statesman, July 23, 2013

Saturday’s column described how in the span of one decade, Mexico achieved universal health care by enrolling its 52.6 million uninsured people (half the population) and dramatically improved health. But during the same decade, the eating habits of the population changed, and a diet has emerged in Mexico that is a far more efficient killer […]


Universal health care works well in Mexico

Austin American-Statesman, July 20, 2013

In 2003, half of Mexico’s 100 million people lacked health insurance. Self-employed farmers, street vendors and those with odd jobs had to pay out of pocket for medical care. But that year, Mexico joined the other industrialized nations (besides the U.S.) by making the ideological shift from health insurance as a benefit of employment to […]


Drug pitches over TV foster unseen hazards

Austin American-Statesman, April 9, 2013

In February, 150 federal agents descended on The Scooter Store’s national headquarters in New Braunfels searching for evidence of Medicare fraud. The case shines a light on the hazards of direct-to-consumer advertising by medical equipment and prescription drug companies. TV ads have driven the nearly $1 billion U.S. market for power wheelchairs and scooters, showing […]


Governor, do the math on Medicaid expansion

Austin American-Statesman, March 3, 2013

I’ve never been a fan of former hospital executive Rick Scott, but he did the right thing last month in making the decision as Republican governor of Florida to expand Medicaid. His campaign three years ago was based on his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, so his hard-right supporters have since vilified him as […]


Proposal offers Texans better health care access

Austin American Statesman, February 15, 2013

While Gov. Rick Perry was in California this week attempting to woo insurance, high tech and film industry leaders to the Lone Star State’s business-friendly, low-tax environment, I’ll bet one thing he didn’t mention is the elephant in the room: that Texas ranks last in access to health care. That might be of some concern […]


Toni Inglis Dec. 2012 UT-Austin School of Nursing Convocation Address

Bass Concert Hall, December 8, 2012

Thank you, Dean Stuifbergen, distinguished faculty, friends and families. Congratulations, Class of 2012! Here you are. You’ve completed something extremely difficult, been in school, many of you, your whole lives. You’ve probably questioned yourselves again and again. Something incredible is happening to you right now, and I’ve been asked to delay the moment you get […]