Emily Ramshaw Editor

Emily Ramshaw oversees the Trib's editorial operations, from daily coverage to major projects. Previously, she spent six years reporting for The Dallas Morning News, first in Dallas, then in Austin. In April 2009 she was named Star Reporter of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the Headliners Foundation of Texas. Originally from the Washington, D.C. area, she received a bachelor's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Recent Contributions

As Texas Gets Increasingly Red, Dallas Goes Blue

Dallas County has grown increasingly Democratic in the last decade. In the map, darker precincts represent support for Democrats Tony Sanchez and Bill White, who ran in 2002 and 2010, respectively.
Dallas County has grown increasingly Democratic in the last decade. In the map, darker precincts represent support for Democrats Tony Sanchez and Bill White, who ran in 2002 and 2010, respectively.

Texas may be reddening, but Dallas County’s turning a darker shade of blue. While the GOP picked up hotly contested Dallas-area state House seats in November, the county voted for challenger Bill White over incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Perry by a margin of 12 percentage points. Straight-ticket voters also helped Democratic District Attorney Craig Watkins cling to his office in a squeaker and gave the County Commissioners Court its first Democratic majority in nearly 30 years.

Injured ER Patients Can't Find Attorneys, Blame Tort Reform

Connie Spears had to have both legs amputated above the knee, and blames an emergency room doctor for missing a critical diagnosis. The San Antonio woman's search for an attorney to take her case has been futile.
Connie Spears had to have both legs amputated above the knee, and blames an emergency room doctor for missing a critical diagnosis. The San Antonio woman's search for an attorney to take her case has been futile.

The tort reform state lawmakers passed in 2003 made it more difficult for patients to win damages in any health care setting, but none more so than emergency rooms, where plaintiffs must prove doctors acted with "willful and wanton" negligence. Tort reform advocates say the law is needed to protect ER doctors operating in volatile environments. But medical malpractice attorneys argue the threshold is nearly impossible to cross. “You’d have to be a Nazi death camp guard to meet this standard,” says one.

Murdered British Tourist Doesn't Qualify for State Funds

British tourist Thomas Reeve was shot and killed in an Amarillo bar last fall by an armed robber, leaving behind an infant daughter. His parents’ efforts to claim financial assistance from the state’s Crime Victims Compensation Fund have been rebuffed because their son wasn’t a U.S. resident.
British tourist Thomas Reeve was shot and killed in an Amarillo bar last fall by an armed robber, leaving behind an infant daughter. His parents’ efforts to claim financial assistance from the state’s Crime Victims Compensation Fund have been rebuffed because their son wasn’t a U.S. resident.

British tourist Thomas Reeve's murder in an Amarillo bar last fall shattered his family, which has been unable to claim financial assistance from the state’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund because he wasn't a U.S. resident.

Feds Slated to Reduce Texas Medicaid Match

Patients check out at the People's Community Clinic in Austin, a safety-net clinic that serves Medicaid recipients and the under-insured. The federal government is preparing to reduce the percentage of Texas Medicaid expenses that it currently pays, adding to the state's fiscal problems.
Patients check out at the People's Community Clinic in Austin, a safety-net clinic that serves Medicaid recipients and the under-insured. The federal government is preparing to reduce the percentage of Texas Medicaid expenses that it currently pays, adding to the state's fiscal problems.

Already facing a record budget shortfall, Texas has received more bad news: The portion of state Medicaid costs paid by the federal government is about to drop. Texas’ Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, a mathematical formula linked to a state's per-capita personal income, will fall more than 2 percentage points in late 2011, equivalent to a $1.2 billion hit. Only two states — Louisiana and North Dakota — will face a bigger percentage drop. And that’s after federal stimulus funds that have been artificially enhancing this match dry up in the spring, another blow to cash-strapped state Medicaid programs in Texas and across the nation.

Private Providers Fight Back Over Service Change

Health care assistant Crystal Kreig plays a card game with Steve Parker (center) and Eulalio Alvarada (right) at a group home operated by D&S Residential, Inc. Companies like D&S used to handle case management for their clients, but a budget change sent that responsibility to local Mental Retardation Authorities.
Health care assistant Crystal Kreig plays a card game with Steve Parker (center) and Eulalio Alvarada (right) at a group home operated by D&S Residential, Inc. Companies like D&S used to handle case management for their clients, but a budget change sent that responsibility to local Mental Retardation Authorities.

For years, the state paid private providers who care for people with disabilities to handle their clients’ case management. But an 11th-hour change inserted into the budget last session stripped them of that responsibility, giving it instead to quasi-governmental Mental Retardation Authorities — and potentially creating a conflict of interest.

Deborah Peel: The TT Interview

Deborah Peel, founder and chair of the non-profit Patient Privacy Rights
Deborah Peel, founder and chair of the non-profit Patient Privacy Rights

The patient privacy advocate on why our electronic medical records are in grave danger, how they could be used to discriminate against us and what Facebook can teach health care professionals about informed consent.

Can Texas and a Dozen Other States Drop Medicaid?

The waiting room at People's Community Clinic in Austin, TX in November 2010.
The waiting room at People's Community Clinic in Austin, TX in November 2010.

A week after newly emboldened Republicans in the Texas Legislature floated a radical cost-saving proposal — withdrawing from the federal Medicaid program — health care experts, economists and think tanks are trying to determine just how possible it would be. The answer? It’s complicated. But it’s not stopping nearly a dozen other states, frantic over budget shortfalls and anticipating new costs from federal health care reform, from exploring something that was, until recently, unthinkable.

Helmet Manufacturer Challenges Repair Practices

Whether reconditioned football helmets sufficiently protect young players from concussions and other serious injuries has become a subject of fierce debate. Texas parents are torn between the desire of their kids to play and increasingly hard-to-ignore studies about the relationship between football and long-term brain damage. Coaches struggle to balance safety with fans’ cries for harder hits, bigger players and crushing wins. And at least one upstart manufacturer is contributing to the public's unease by challenging the industry’s long-standing practice of refurbishing old helmets.

After Monitor Departs, A Teenager Is Killed

The same Houston-area residential treatment center where staffers forced disabled girls to fight each other — prompting child welfare officials to halt admissions and hire a safety monitor — is now under fire for the asphyxiation of a 16-year-old boy who died Friday after a restraint was applied by a staffer in a closet.