Health Care Policy Articles

Medicare put an end to segregation in hospitals

Austin American-Statesman, August 16, 2015

I wonder how many folks realize that Medicare brought about the end of racial segregation in hospitals. I didn’t know because I was asleep in college when Medicare was signed into law. Heck, I didn’t even realize hospitals were segregated until a few years ago when a colleague made it real to me with a […]


Measles outbreak is understandable in West Africa, not in USA

Austin American-Statesman, March 17, 2015

As if 24,000 people being stricken and 10,000 people dying from Ebola in West Africa weren’t enough, now the area is being hit with a measles outbreak that could result in 2,000 to 16,000 children dying, according to a study released March 12 in the journal Science. The second of the one-two punch suffered by […]


Ebola errors in Dallas will rewrite disease protocols

Austin American-Statesman, October 19, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitals and the American public were taken totally off guard by our first Ebola patient. The CDC’s reaction has been at best overly confident and at worst incompetent, cavalier and smug. Especially when you consider that we’ve known about Ebola since the 1970s, that it has killed thousands […]


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 […]