Oct 29, 2008

Apply Now for TMA’s Ike Relief Fund

The Physicians Benevolent Fund of the Texas Medical Association is now accepting applications for the Hurricane Ike Disaster Relief Fund. “The program’s purpose is to reestablish the delivery of medical care to the hardest-hit areas of Texas by providing physicians in need with financial assistance,” said TMA House Speaker Stephen L. Brotherton, MD, chair of the Disaster Relief Fund. “Grants are available if your practice incurred uninsured or non-reimbursable property damage and you do not have adequate funding to cover the damage.” Grants are available if the practice incurred uninsured or non-reimbursable property damage and does not have adequate funding to cover the damage. This includes relocating or rehabilitating the physician's medical office, obtaining replacement equipment, rebuilding patient records, and aiding staff; and paying temporary operating expenses, including rent for temporary offices and other working capital requirements. Practices in Angelina, Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Cherokee, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Hardin, Harris, Houston, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Madison, Matagorda, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, Walker, Waller, and Washington counties are eligible for assistance. Applications must be received by Jan. 5, 2009.

Oct 16, 2008

FDA Fluoroquinolone Alert Coming via HCNN

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to issue a fluoroquinolone alert to physicians on Monday, Oct. 20.

FDA Fluoroquinolone Alert Coming via HCNN
 
10/14/2008 7:00 PM

CMS Cracks Down on Medicare Abuse

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says it taking "aggressive new steps to find and prevent waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare."

CMS Cracks Down on Medicare Abuse
10/13/2008 7:00 PM

Obama Driving Doctors' Opinions

TMA's unscientific poll has produced some interesting results so far: With 615 TMA and TMA Alliance members responding, Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin lead Democrats Barrack Obama and Joe Biden by a 52-41 margin.

Obama Driving Doctors' Opinions

10/13/2008 7:00 PM

CMEs Help You Help Patients Kick the Habit

Help your patients quit smoking by taking either of two continuing medical education (CME) courses offered by the TMA.

CMEs Help You Help Patients Kick the Habit

10/13/2008 7:00 PM

POEP Reminds Physicians of Cancer Resources

Texas has "valuable programs" for uninsured low-income women with breast or cervical cancer, according to A. Marilyn Leitch, MD, chair of TMA's Physician Oncology Education Program (POEP).

POEP Reminds Physicians of Cancer Resources

10/13/2008 7:00 PM

UTMB Students Need Help, Too

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) has started the long process of recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Ike. UTMB sustained hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to its facilities and equipment

UTMB Students Need Help, Too 10/13/2008 7:00 PM

It's Time to Learn About Improving Quality

Physicians are ripe for education on the benefits of current quality of care programs, including the use of patient satisfaction surveys to assess performance and quality.

It's Time to Learn About Improving Quality

10/13/2008 7:00 PM

TEXPAC Endorses Champions for Medicine

The Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee (TEXPAC), TMA's political advocacy arm, has endorsed legislative and judicial candidates that its chair says will be "champions for patients and their physicians."

TEXPAC Endorses Champions for Medicine

10/13/2008 7:00 PM

TMA Helps Physicians Recover From Ike

With as many as 1,000 Gulf Coast area physicians needing help to pay for uncovered losses caused by Hurricane Ike, the Texas Medical Association and TMA Foundation are trying to raise $1 million help them get back on their feet.

TMA Helps Physicians Recover From Ike
10/13/2008 7:00 PM

Oct 7, 2008

Cracking the Code: Podcast TMA

Physicians go to medical school so they can learn how to take care of sick and injured people. They want to focus on diagnosis and treatment, not on putting the right codes in the right boxes in a billing claim. But we all know that correct coding is essential if you want to be paid correctly. And incorrect coding – if it’s bad enough – can get you in a heap of trouble. Download the show. Today’s conversation is based on the release of our third volume of “greatest hits” from TMA’s practice management e-tips. To download the greatest hits or read through our other tips on coding, please check out the TMA web site. Our guests today are two of Texas medical association’s expert staff members. Drena James and Erin Gregorcyk are both reimbursement specialists in TMA’s Division of Medical Economics. Erin and Drena know their stuff. They speak at seminars. They answer questions over the phone. Today, they’re here to share their knowledge with all of us. This installment covers:

  • Why is coding such a difficult problem for physicians’ offices?
  • What are some of the most comment E&M coding errors and what can doctors’ offices do to prevent them?
  • Coding for Medicare vs. Medicaid and commercial insurance.
  • How should physicians code for telephone consults?
  • Coding modifier and how they cause problems.
  • Consultations vs. referrals.
  • How TMA can help member physicians avoid coding problems and fight coding misinterpretations.


Resources


Want to Subscribe to Podcast TMA through iTunes?

Here's the link. It takes you to the iTunes store. Subscription is free.

Catch up on all the old Podcast TMA episodes on the TMA Web site.

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.)

Oct 6, 2008

Voices of Ike -- Galveston tent city

11:27 am, Monday, Oct. 6, 2008 Louise Geerts, executive director, Galveston County Medical Society This is a photo at the "tent city" in Galveston that is temporarily housing citizens who have lost their homes, have no place to go and no resources to relocate even if places were available. There are four tents that are half the size of football fields with cots lined up as far as you can see. This photo is Red Cross Disaster Relief Shelter 2. On the left is Rebecca Risinger, MD, UTMB Dept of Pediatrics. In the center is Frederick Zaunbrecher, MD, UTMB Dept of Internal Medicine, with his wife on the right, Michele Zaunbrecher. All three are also volunteers for The Luke Society that provides medications through its street ministry for the homeless every Saturday morning. The Luke Society won the complimentary grant of $2,500 in 2007 for the TMA Foundation's Champion of Health Award. I will send some more photos. Louise

Oct 2, 2008

CMS Announces PQRI Look-up Tool

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) says a new self-service look-up tool is now available on the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) Portal that allows physicians to see if their 2007 PQRI Feedback Report is available.

CMS Announces PQRI Look-up Tool

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

CMS Revises RAC Rollout Timeline

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has a new time line for the nationwide rollout of the Permanent Recovery Audit Contractor Program (RAC), the American Hospital Association reports.

CMS Revises RAC Rollout Timeline

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

Webinars Explain Fluoride Varnish Program

The Texas Medicaid program recently implemented a new fluoride varnish program allowing primary care physicians, physician assistants, and advance practice nurses to provide and be reimbursed for a limited oral health evaluation and application of …

Webinars Explain Fluoride Varnish Program

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

Medicare's Competitive Acquisition Program Delayed

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has postponed the 2009 Medicare Part B Competitive Acquisition Program for physicians until further notice.

Medicare's Competitive Acquisition Program Delayed

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

Earn CME Credit While Improving Patient Care

TMA e-Resources allows you to earn continuing medical education credit for improving patient care

Earn CME Credit While Improving Patient Care

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

E-Prescribing Improves Patient Safety

Each year in the United States, medication errors cause approximately 7,000 deaths, according to the electronic prescribing network SureScripts-RxHub. The reasons for such errors include illegible prescriptions, incorrect doses, and drug-drug or …

E-Prescribing Improves Patient Safety

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

AMA Webinar Targets Performance Improvement

An American Medical Association webinar on Wednesday, Oct. 8, will outline the increasing importance of continuing medical education (CME) in performance improvement (PI) for all physicians and will help doctors understand how and why to advocate for PI …

AMA Webinar Targets Performance Improvement

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

TEXPAC: 33 Days Until the General Election

TEXPAC, TMA's political arm, urges physicians to vote by Nov. 4 in the 2008 General Election. Early voting begins Oct. 20.

TEXPAC: 33 Days Until the General Election

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

Myriad Marketing Genetic Testing

Myriad Genetics Inc. has begun a direct-to-consumer marketing campaign in Texas for its BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene tests. Similar marketing in other states substantially increased demand for this type of genetic testing

Myriad Marketing Genetic Testing

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

How TMF Does Reviews

Do you understand the Texas Medical Foundation (TMF) review process? If not, the TMF Web site can explain it to you.

How TMF Does Reviews

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

Help Rebuild the Governor's Mansion

Physicians can help the state restore the 152-year-old Texas Governor's Mansion, heavily damaged by a fire started by an arsonist in June.

Help Rebuild the Governor's Mansion
9/30/2008 7:00 PM

Flu Season is Coming!

It’s not too early to start vaccinating as soon as you receive vaccine. Encourage your patients to get a flu shot as it is still their best defense against the influenza virus.

Flu Season is Coming!

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

Comptroller Clarifies Office Sales Policy

Physicians who sell health care products in their offices need to be aware of policy clarification from the State Comptroller.

Comptroller Clarifies Office Sales Policy

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

TMA Dues Statements Coming

TMA and many county medical societies will begin mailing 2009 membership renewal statements this month

TMA Dues Statements Coming

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

Chemical Dependency Counselors Back Down

TMA has persuaded the state's Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) Program not to allow counselors to diagnose substance disorders. State law allows only properly trained physicians to make such diagnoses, TMA believes.

Chemical Dependency Counselors Back Down

9/30/2008 7:00 PM

HHSC Posts Ike Information List

 

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) says it expects legislation to be filed in Congress to provide relief for uninsured Hurricane Ike evacuees who seek medical care.

HHSC Posts Ike Information List
9/30/2008 7:00 PM

Voices of Ike - Galveston will rise again

5:18 pm, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008 Galveston endocrinologist Kevin McKinney, MD

I believe that those of us at UTMB are going to do our darnedest to make it work on the Island. The contractors are swarming the campus at this time to make it ready for students and faculty, hopefully within a month. My wife, a full-time academician and researcher, is getting her hands and knees dirty every day down there. We have a very large research enterprise and infrastructure that can't be placed anywhere else, and a newly-built BSL-IV lab, so we have no choice but to stand and deliver! I agree that we will need to work with TMA, our county medical society and community physicians, and our alumni association when going forward.

We took a hard hit from this storm, but the Island and the County will rise again.