Hospitals offer incentives for healthy living

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on April 17, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 17 at 5:28 PM

DALLAS — At 300-plus pounds, Bob Owen was a heart attack waiting to happen.

"I had a heart attack nine years ago, and I was fairly close to death," he said. "My artery was 100 percent blocked."

Owen knows a hospital could make a lot of money should he need another expensive heart surgery.

But Texas Health Resources is announcing a bold system-wide wellness program to keep patients like Owen out of the hospital. It affects all 24 of Texas Health Resources hospitals in North Texas.

"We will incent physicians to keep people well... keep the disease away from the individual through education, through behavior changes," explained Texas Health CEO Doug Hawthorne. "That will keep them away from the most expensive part of health care, which is the emergency room or the ICU."

Hawthorne said an important goal will be altering the habits of so called "frequent fliers" — those who use the emergency room often or who take multiple medications.

It took a near-fatal heart attack for 55-year-old Bob Owen to drop 100 pounds and permanently change his ways.

"I have finished six full marathons and 13 half-marathons," Owen boasted.

He is now on the healthy track Texas Health Resources wants for all North Texans.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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