Dec 26, 2007

A Lump of Coal

A Lump of Coal:

Congress has headed off the planned 10.1-percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians scheduled for Jan. 1 and replaced it with a wholly-inadequate 0.5-percent fee increase for six months, which will result in the continued slow-bleeding of physicians …

Dec 13, 2007

Workers' Comp E-Billing Starts Jan. 1

Workers' Comp E-Billing Starts Jan. 1:

Physicians who treat workers' compensation patients in Texas must be able to bill electronically by Jan. 1 if they did not qualify for and file for an exemption waiver by Oct. 31.

Dec 10, 2007

Medicare Fee Cut Two Weeks Away

Medicare Fee Cut Two Weeks Away:

Time is running out for you to let Congress know that it must do something to avoid the 10.1-percent cut in physicians' Medicare fees scheduled for Jan. 1.

2008 TMA Minority Scholarships Are Available

2008 TMA Minority Scholarships Are Available:

Eight in 2008! For the second consecutive year, the TMA Minority Scholarship Program is offering $5,000 scholarships to eight qualified incoming Texas medical students.

TDI Bans Temporary Agents

TDI Bans Temporary Agents:

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has banned temporary agents from selling Medicare Advantage plans during the annual enrollment that ends Dec. 31.

TEXPAC plans San Antonio Retreat

TEXPAC plans San Antonio Retreat:

TMA, TEXPAC, the TMA Alliance, and specialty societies will start the 2008 election year with the TEXPAC Grassroots Forum Jan. 4-6 at the La Cantera Resort in San Antonio.

Some Lenders Ignoring 20/220 Reinstatement

Some Lenders Ignoring 20/220 Reinstatement:

Even though the U.S. Department of Education has temporarily reinstated the "20/220 pathway" economic hardship loan deferment option that Congress eliminated in September, the American Medical Association says several residents have reported that some …

Texas Medicaid Program Gets a PERM

Texas Medicaid Program Gets a PERM:

Starting in January, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin using the Payment Error Rate Measurement process to measure improper payments in the Texas Medicaid Program and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Dec 4, 2007

Tell Leavitt What You Think

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt wants all physicians to put electronic health records in their offices and use e-prescribing if they want Congress to prevent the pending 10-percent cut in Medicare payments. The secretary outlines his reasoning on his blog, which accepts comments. There's an excerpt below, but log on and read Secretary Leavitt's musings ... and then let him know what you think.
Doctors want Congress, in the next couple of weeks, to once again override the Sustainable Growth Rate law. It will cost taxpayers at least $4 billion. This year it’s a 10% reduction they will be overriding. Next year it will be 15%. We just dig a bigger and bigger hole. We need to begin the process of moving toward a longer-term solution. It is the position of the Administration that any new bill overriding the SGR law should require physicians to implement health information technology that meets department standards for interoperability in order to be eligible for higher payments from Medicare. The benefits of utilizing interoperable health information technology for keeping electronic health records, prescribing drugs electronically and other purposes are clear. This technology will produce a higher quality of care, while reducing medical costs and errors, which affected an estimated 1.5 million Americans last year through prescription drug errors. Such a requirement would accelerate adoption of this technology considerably, and help to drive improvements in health care quality as well as reductions in medical costs and errors. I’m confident that many members of Congress are of a like mind on this issue and I look forward to discussing it with them in the next few days.