March 2023 Newsletter

Happy St. Patrick’s Day An Irish Blessing for you!

May you always find blue skies above your head, shamrocks beneath your feet, laughter and joy aplenty, kindness from all you meet, good friends and kin to miss you if you ever choose to roam and a path that’s been cleared by angels themselves to carry you safely home.


Keep Austin Weird! Fun times at the TSHA Convention 2023, good to see everyone in the classes, exhibit hall and group happy hours! BACK in FORT WORTH in 2024!!!

DiagnosTEX Open House

Thank you for all who attended the DiagnosTEX Open House last month. We are excited at to be able to advance our outpatient services to both adults and pediatrics at our location in North Richland Hills. We appreciate your support as always!

March 16 is Swallowing Awareness Day

Like breathing, swallowing is essential to everyday life. This is the perfect month to educate on proper instrumental evaluations. Swallowing Awareness Day 2022 is an opportunity to bring attention to swallowing disorders and to connect people with speech pathologists, the professionals who can help. This is needed more this year than ever! The greatest challenge in the pandemic is the invisible one: How do we help people who are afraid to seek care to begin with or those overlooked? Head injuries, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, ALS did not go away. Dysphagia treatment is just as important in 2022 as it was before 2020. All patients deserve all of the options available to them for treatment success. Our advocacy book and more is just what you need, available for purchase in the store on our website

An SLP Should NEVER Lose Their Voice

Advocate for Proper Dysphagia Evaluations

Material to assist in educating Physicians, Administrators, Nurses and other Medical Professionals on Dysphagia and Modified Barium Swallow Studies

What You Cannot See at the Bedside

Educational MBSS videos on DVD and jump drive

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

In Texas, close to 150K people sustain TBI each year, and this does not account for those who went to ER and were released or those who never went to ER. TBI hospitalization totals are approximately 1.8 billion each year and only 5% of the survivors receive the rehab they need. In Texas there is no TBI Medicaid waiver to support long term needs. Advocacy efforts can help by contacting area government representatives and asking that funding be made available to acquired

brain injury survivors. Local companies such as Centre for Neuro Skills (CNS) and BIND empower those with TBI and other neurological conditions though rehab to maximize their strengths while developing compensatory strategies to assist with meeting their personal goals for functional living and community reintegration.

Patient files/MBSS images on DVD Versus Jump drives

We have had a lot of questions regarding this topic. As most of you know now, DiagnosTEX began phasing out the free copies of digital images of the MBSS (DVD) to the home health and facilities last year. This occurred due to increasing cost, major supply issues, and more importantly, the unprecedented misuse of images on social media resulting in HIPAA and liability concerns for the patient. This portion of the medical record can always be requested and DVD copies ordered by family for a charge of $10.83. DiagnosTEX will not allow MBSS images to be uploaded to a jump drive from our medical records. Flash drive. Thumb drive. Jump drive. USB stick. Whatever you call it, most of us have at least one of these ubiquitous, simple devices. Today, they not only hold countless gigabytes, but they may also hold numerous USB security risks; so can charging ports, memory sticks and other common devices. The mobile workforce is a boon to business agility, customer engagement and employee productivity but it’s also created a cybersecurity nightmare. Every device that employees use to conduct business—smartphones and smartwatches, tablets and laptops—is a potential security vulnerability. There are large HIPAA fines for stolen thumb drives due to the drives being unencrypted. Data shows that since 2012, it costs an average of $925,000 in HIPAA fines for a single stolen thumb drive. There’s a lack of credible solutions for encrypting thumb drives. Managing thumb drive inventory is a HIPAA compliance nightmare. While IT managers can identify and properly encrypt computer hard drives (desktops and laptops), allowing small, cheap, hard-to-encrypt thumb drives is a recipe for HIPAA fines. The HIPAA Security Rule states PHI stored on a USB Drive is “ePHI” (electronic Protected Health Information) and automatically subject to a slew of requirements in terms of storage, transport, and destruction of that data. Most of these requirements are unknown to or not met by the casual healthcare practitioner, leaving them automatically out of compliance. A lost or stolen USB drive with ePHI on it is an automatic breach of HIPAA which can and will subject your organization to fines, negative publicity, and possibly criminal charges if willful negligence of HIPAA is determined. This is not a joke or over exaggeration — companies are already being fined millions of dollars for breaches involving even just ONE lost or stolen hard drive. In addition to these serious liability risks, additional liability risks with information downloaded to jump drives has been subject to unprecedented unprofessional use of protected information on social media daily (Tik-tok videos, uploaded images and/or altered images), sad, disappointing, but nevertheless fact.

Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery (ACSS)

It is surprising how many patients we get on the van after a facility has provided a hx but nothing documented indicated ACSS, yet there it is when we turn fluoro on. Just more proof of the things you can not see at bedside and so important to do an MBSS if there is any concern of pharyngeal dysphagia. More than 70% of patients report dysphagia within 2 weeks following ACSS. Contributing factors may include posterior pharyngeal wall swelling, or altered sensation secondary to nerves being affected during surgery. Investigators found that patients in the early phase of recovery had significantly more dysphagia and a higher incidence of aspiration compared to patients in the late phase of recovery. Findings showed improvement in swallowing after 2 months post-ACSS, with most patients able to return to normal diets shortly thereafter. The thickness of the throat/neck tissues was significantly greater in the ACSS patients at all points in time following their surgery compared to healthy individuals. The perception of swallowing difficulty can persist for more than two months following ACS and this can be a frustrating situation for patients who are given no specific explanation for their complaints.

John P. Ziegler et al, Characterization of dysphagia following anterior cervical spine surgery, Advances in Communication and Swallowing (2021). DOI: 10.3233/ACS-210034