Jun 30, 2008

CMS to Hold Medicare Claims

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) officials say they will tell Medicare contractors not to process any physician Medicare claims for the first 10 business days of July because Congress failed to block the cut in payments to physicians.

CMS to Hold Medicare Claims 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

Senate Betrays Medicare Patients, Physicians

A 10.6-percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians took effect July 1 because Congress failed to stop the reductions. The effort to block the cuts foundered because a bill that would have done that – and that the U.S. House of Representatives passed …

Senate Betrays Medicare Patients, Physicians 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

Rabies Vaccine in Short Supply

A reduced supply of human rabies vaccine nationwide has dictated a change in the way the physicians obtain the vaccine for patients who likely have been exposed to rabies.

Rabies Vaccine in Short Supply 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

Honor the Science Teachers

Nominations are being accepted for the 2008-2009 Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching. The TMA program was started in 1990 as a way for organized medicine to instill greater recognition for the value of science and of …

Honor the Science Teachers 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

Medicare Prescription Rules to Change

Upcoming changes to Medicare regulations may impact the way you prescribe for patients covered by the Medicare Part D program. Will you be in compliance?

Medicare Prescription Rules to Change 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

TMB Schedules New Town Hall Meetings

The Texas Medical Board says its town hall meetings across the state have been so successful it has decided to schedule eight more.

TMB Schedules New Town Hall Meetings 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

It’s McCain vs. Obama at TMA Fall Conference

Protecting the 2003 tort reforms and the presidential campaign's impact on the future of health care are on the agenda for the 2008 TMA Fall Conference on Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Austin.

It’s McCain vs. Obama at TMA Fall Conference 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

Electronic Death Registration Required Soon

Starting Aug. 31, physicians must submit all cause-of-death information and medical certifications to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) electronically through the state's new online death registration system, the Texas Electronic …

Electronic Death Registration Required Soon 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

Don't Let The Insurance Companies Lowball You

Physicians, patients, and regulators around the country are increasingly up in arms over how health insurance companies set “usual, customary, and reasonable” (UCR) charges to determine payments for out-of-network services.

Don't Let The Insurance Companies Lowball You 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

Promote Vaccinations During Immunization Month

TMA’s Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program helps you protect children in your community from vaccine-preventable illnesses, such as whooping cough. During August, National Immunization Month, Be Wise is encouraging physicians and medical students help educate …

Promote Vaccinations During Immunization Month 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

CMS Proposes RHC/FQHC Rules

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published proposed new rules affecting Rural Health Clinics (RHC) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC).

CMS Proposes RHC/FQHC Rules 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

CMS Names DMEPOS Metroplex Ombudsman

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) selected Elena Armstrong to be the Medicare durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program ombudsman for the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area.

CMS Names DMEPOS Metroplex Ombudsman 6/30/2008 7:00 PM

Jun 27, 2008

TEXPAC Withdraws Cornyn Endorsement

The Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee (TEXPAC), the political action committee of the Texas Medical Association, sent this letter today to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).
Dear Senator Cornyn: The Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee (TEXPAC) is outraged that you made the decision to follow the direction of the Bush Administration and voted to protect health insurance companies at the expense of America’s seniors, those with disabilities, and military families.
See "Tell Cornyn and Hutchison Their Vote Was Wrong"
On July 1 – just four days from now – the government will slash Medicare physician payments by at least 10.6 percent, even more in many parts of Texas. That will force physicians into an impossible choice: face financial crisis by continuing to see their Medicare patients, or protect their practices and cut off those patients. There is talk and then there is action. We expect our elected officials to show leadership and do the right thing. Absent that, TEXPAC has rescinded our endorsement of your candidacy. Sincerely, Manuel Acosta, MD Chair TEXPAC Board of Directors
TEXPAC speaks on behalf of more than 43,000 Texas physicians and medical students, and nearly 8,000 alliance members. Organized in 1962, TEXPAC is one of the oldest political action committees in Texas. TEXPAC also is one of the largest bipartisan PACs in the state and ranks first in size among other state medical association PACs.

Doctors Face Payment Cuts for Patients on Medicare

Doctors Face Payment Cuts for Patients on Medicare - NYTimes.com

Doctors face a 10 percent cut in Medicare payments next week, following the Senate’s failure on Thursday to take up legislation that would have averted the cuts.

...

President Bush had threatened to veto the bill, in part because it would reduce federal payments to private Medicare Advantage plans, offered by insurers like Humana, UnitedHealth and Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies

Sadly, Senators Cornyn and Hutchison both voted "no," on a measure that failed by one vote. More to come.

Jun 20, 2008

Congress Still Working on Medicare Fees

July 1 is only two weeks away, and Congress has not taken final action to stop the cuts in Medicare fees paid to physicians that are scheduled to take effect then.

Congress Still Working on Medicare Fees
6/15/2008 7:00 PM

PFHSE Physician Survey on TMA Web Site

The Physicians' Foundation for Health Systems Excellence (PFHSE) national survey of physicians can now be accessed through the TMA Web site.

PFHSE Physician Survey on TMA Web Site
6/12/2008 7:00 PM

New DME Rules Start in Metroplex

Starting July 1, Medicare patients in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area whose physicians prescribe certain durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) must obtain the items from a contracted supplier in the area, or they …

New DME Rules Start in Metroplex
6/11/2008 7:00 PM

Aetna Promises to Be Good

Aetna marked the June 2 expiration of its settlement of the federal anti-racketeering lawsuit by establishing Guiding Principles for Physician Relations that it says defines its "continued commitment to building the best possible relationships with the …

Aetna Promises to Be Good
6/10/2008 7:00 PM

Spending Hours on Research, Not Patient Care?

Ask a Librarian for help! As a TMA member, you don’t need to spend countless hours researching a patient's diagnosis. Let the TMA Knowledge Center do it for you for free or very little cost.

Spending Hours on Research, Not Patient Care?

6/10/2008 7:00 PM

Is HIT a Hit With Physicians?

Do you use health information technology (HIT) in your practice? What about other Texas physicians? You can find out by reading a special TMA survey on the subject.

Is HIT a Hit With Physicians?
6/10/2008 7:00 PM

TMA, H-E-B OK NPI Deal

 

The Texas Medical Association and a Texas pharmacy chain have teamed up to avoid headaches for you and for your patients who need their Medicare and Medicaid prescriptions filled.

TMA, H-E-B OK NPI Deal
6/10/2008 7:00 PM

Jun 17, 2008

AMA House Ends Early; Texans Ideas Win Favor

The 2008 annual meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates completed its business and closed up shop a day ahead of schedule Tuesday, something even the old-timers in the house said they had never seen happen before.

The session was missing some of the fire and contention that had marked recent house gatherings. The delegates calmly considered and debated new AMA policies and elected a new slate of leaders.

Among the highlights were:

Two of the three resolutions Texas brought to the meeting won approval from the house. Those resolutions call on AMA to:

  • Help physicians move toward e-prescribing, such as by winning approval to remove the requirement that physicians handwrite “brand medically necessary” on Medicaid prescriptions.; and
  • Study the penalties for using health savings accounts for nonmedical purposes.

The house also adopted a Texas proposal to have AMA support state legislation that would make it a felony for a person to misrepresent himself or herself as an MD/DO physician. "Patients need clear and evident protection from individuals masquerading as an MD or DO physician," said Dallas dermatologist Dan McCoy, MD, who developed the proposal.

Even More Texans Grab Victories in Chicago

Two more leaders of Texas medicine impressed themselves on the national organizations this week.

Jessica Nguyen-Trong, a third year student at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, was reappointed to the American Medical Association Council on Legislation. Jessica already has served as an intern with U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville), and has been a member of the TMA Council on Communication and the Council on Health Promotion. She's got quite a future in politics!

And Mia Price, the indominable immediate past president of the TMA Alliance, was elected to the AMA Alliance Nominating Committee.

Jun 15, 2008

Hot Chili in Chi-Town

What was originally scheduled as a campaign event turned into a Sunday-evening victory celebration for two Texas physicians who already have secured their spots in the pantheon of American Medical Association leadership.

TMA planned its traditional chili-and-fixins' reception to promote Jim Rohack, MD, in his race for AMA president-elect and Sue Rudd Bailey, MD, who was running for the AMA Council on Medical Education. Both physicians won their races uncontested at Saturday's session of the AMA House of Delegates.

But the show must go on.

Hundreds of physicians from around the country flocked to the Texas reception to congratulate Drs. Bailey and Rohack. Spouses of the Texas delegation members ladled up the chili and (virgin) maragritas -- with and without salt.

Check out the slide show of Texans' celebrating their magnificant victories.

TMA Teams Work House Committees

The Texas Delegation to the American Medical Association House of Delegates has a reputation for being one of the best-prepared, hardest working groups of physicians in Chicago. This year is no exception.

Today, the Texans split into eight teams to monitor and testify at AMA reference committees, which took comments from all comers. The topics covered all the hot issues in medicine today: Medicare, Medicaid, ethics, pollution, medical students' debt, scope of practice, and health plan excesses.

After the hearings, the refence committees caucused and began work on their recommendations, which go before the full house beginning Monday afternoon.

Check out the slide show of Texas physicians in action at the reference committees:

Shah Grabs IMG Seat

Jayesh Shah, MD, has won election as vice chair of the American Medical Association International Medical Graduate (IMG) Section. Dr. Shah, a San Antonio internist, has long been an active leader in the Texas Medical Association IMG Section.

Jun 14, 2008

Texans Hit the Books

The Texas Delegation to the American Medical Association House of Delegates spent hours studying "the book" Saturday. We're talking about the 8-inch high handbook, crammed with all the reports and resolutions up for debate at this week's meeting of the house.

The delegates and alternates broke into eight workgroups to study the handbook and decide whether Texas would support, oppose, or monitor each report or resolution. Sunday, each workgroup will participate in an AMA reference committee, where the reports and resolutions will receive their first hearings. Then it's on to the floor of the house on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Watch the Texas Delegation in action:

Bailey Wins Med Ed Seat

Sue Rudd Bailey, MD, today was unanimously reelected to a four-year term on the American Medical Association Council on Medical Education.


"I pledge to continue to represent the voice of the practicing physician," Dr. Bailey told the AMA House of Delegates.

Rohack to be Next AMA Chief

Jim Rohack, MD, who has been a leader in organized medicine since he was a medical student in Galveston, was unanimously chosen president-elect of the American Medical Association today. Dr. Rohack, a cardiologist from Temple, Texas, will be installed as the 164th AMA president next June.

Under his leadership, Dr. Rohack pledged, the AMA will be "clear, focused, and forceful" in advocating on behalf of American physicians and their patients.

Click the "play" button below to listen to Dr. Rohack's three biggest challenges:






Sue Rudd Bailey, MD, the chair of the Texas Delegation to the AMA, nominated Dr. Rohack for office.

"In everything that Jim does," she said, "he's always the best prepared, always has the deepest understanding, always has the highest standards, and never, ever forgets his love for the medical profession and the physician-patient relationship."

Dr. Rohack, a former TMA president, is senior staff cardiologist at Scott & White Clinic in Temple. He is a professor in both the Department of Medicine and the Department of Medical Humanities at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. He is treasurer of the board of commissioners of the Joint Commission. He also chairs the National Advisory Council to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and is one of the principals of the Hospital Quality Alliance.

Another Texan Claims an AMA Post

Congratulations to Reid Orth. The third-year medical student from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio won reelection as vice chair of the American Medical Association Medical Student Section.

UT-Houston Students Honored



Medical students from the University of Texas-Houston swept the top two awards at the American Medical Association Medical Student Section.

UT-Houston was named Chapter of the Year, and UT-Houston medical student Spencer Pruitt received the 2008 Leadership and Excellence Award.

Jun 13, 2008

Two Win AMA Posts

Here's a quick update on the action at the American Medical Association meeting. Two Texans have won their bids for AMA office:
  • Dawn Buckingham, MD, an Austin ophthalmologist, is the new chair-elect of the AMA Young Physician Section; and
  • Spencer Pruitt, a medical student from the University of Texas-Houston, is the new chair of the AMA Medical Student Section, Region 3.

Congratulations to Dr. Buckingham and Spencer.

More election news on Saturday.

Jun 12, 2008

Texas Brings Three Resolutions to AMA House

When the American Medical Association House of Delegates convenes in Chicago on Saturday for its annual meeting, the agenda will include three resolutions sent forward last month by the TMA House of Delegates. They are:
  • Resolution 213, which asks AMA to help physicians move toward e-prescribing, such as by winning approval to remove the requirement that physicians handwrite “brand medically necessary” on Medicaid prescriptions.
  • Resolution 123, which would have AMA urge Congress to increase penalties for using health savings accounts for nonmedical purposes.
  • Resolution 616, which calls on AMA to hold all its meetings at completely smoke-free facilities, “within all reasonable means.”
AMA House news coverage:

Four Texans Likely to Win AMA Posts

Three Texas physicians and a San Antonio medical student are poised to win American Medical Association leadership positions in Chicago this weekend. So far, none of the four has drawn an opponent. The Texans on the AMA ballot are:
  • Jim Rohack, MD, a cardiologist from Temple, is running for AMA president-elect. (Listen to our Podcast TMA interview with Dr. Rohack)
  • Susan Rudd Bailey, MD, a Fort Worth allergist, is running for reelection to the AMA Council on Medical Education.
  • Dawn Buckingham, MD, an ophthalmologist from Austin, is seeking to become chair-elect of the AMA Young Physician Section.
  • Reid Orth, a third-year medical student at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, is running for reelection as vice chair of the AMA Medical Student Section.

Jun 6, 2008

Rohack for President - What's In It for You?

This installment of Podcast TMA features an interview with Dr. Jim Rohack, a cardiologist from Temple, Texas, and a former TMA president. Download the show. Dr. Rohack is the only announced candidate to be the next president-elect of the American Medical Association. If all goes as expected, on the afternoon of Saturday, June 14, the AMA House of Delegates will elect him to that post unanimously. Just about one year later, he will become the 164th president of the AMA. (By the way, we'll be blogging from the AMA meeting, June 14-18. Watch this space for news on Dr. Rohack's election and coverage of all the issues.) We talk with Dr. Rohack about why he wants to be AMA president and what he hopes to accomplish. We explore AMA issues and projects that would attract more Texas physicians to the fold. And we discuss what attracted him to leadership positions in organized medicine and why others should be interested as well.
Want to Subscribe to Podcast TMA through iTunes? Here's the link. It takes you to the iTunes store. Subscription is free. What's a Podcast, how do I get it, and what do I with it once I have it? (See the short tutorial on the iTunes Web site.)

Listen and Learn

TMA's Risk Management Audio Seminars give you and your staff important information on issues that could pose a liability risk for your practice.

Listen and Learn

5/28/2008 7:00 PM

Reminder! PFHSE Conducting Survey

A reminder to members that the Physicians’ Foundation for Health Systems Excellence (PFHSE) is conducting a national survey designed to give physicians a voice.

Reminder! PFHSE Conducting Survey

5/28/2008 7:00 PM

Help Protect Tort Reform

We held them off last year, but trial lawyers and other evildoers are lining up again to attack TMA's hard-won 2003 tort reforms in the next session of the Texas Legislature. They claim they weren't necessary, don't work, and are bad for Texas. We need …

Help Protect Tort Reform 5/28/2008 7:00 PM

The TMB is Listening

The Texas Medical Board (TMB) will hold town hall meetings across the state in June and July to hear what physicians and the public think about the way the board regulates the medical profession. The board also will hold seminars in conjunction with the …

The TMB is Listening 5/28/2008 7:00 PM

CMS Offers PQRI Tool

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted on its Web site a new educational resource to help physicians comply with the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI).

CMS Offers PQRI Tool 5/28/2008 7:00 PM

NPI Problems Cause Medicaid Claims Rejections

State Medicaid officials say some physicians "are experiencing a higher-than-usual rejection rate" of their claims because of National Provider Identifier (NPI) errors. The Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership (TMHP) says clearinghouses and third-party …

NPI Problems Cause Medicaid Claims Rejections 5/28/2008 7:00 PM

Appeals Court Puts Foot Down Again

The Third Court of Appeals has left the podiatrists without a leg to stand on in their ongoing battle to expand their scope of practice.

Appeals Court Puts Foot Down Again 5/28/2008 7:00 PM