Jan 30, 2009

Stimulus Bill Addresses Health Issues

More money for Medicaid, additional funding for programs for the uninsured, and an investment in health information technology are included in President Barack Obama's $819 billion economic stimulus package the U.S. House of Representatives passed Jan. 28.

Stimulus Bill Addresses Health Issues

1/28/2009 6:00 PM

United Extends Appeal Deadline to Feb. 11

Thanks to complaints from the American Medical Association, the Texas Medical Association, and physicians nationwide, UnitedHealthcare has extended its deadline for you to appeal your rating in UnitedHealthcare's Premium Designation Program (PDP) if you …

United Extends Appeal Deadline to Feb. 11
1/28/2009 6:00 PM

Governor Outlines Legislative Agenda

Gov. Rick Perry took some forceful stands on issues critical to the long-term health of Texas and Texans in his State of the State address to the legislature last week.

Governor Outlines Legislative Agenda
1/28/2009 6:00 PM

TexMed Gives You Face Time with Lawmakers

Head to Austin for TexMed 2009, TMA's annual meeting, May 1-2. In fact, bring your white coat, come a day early, and make your voice heard on Thursday, April 30, for TexMed 2009's Lobby Day at the Capito

TexMed Gives You Face Time with Lawmakers

1/26/2009 6:00 PM

Medicare Makes Participation Even Harder

Medicare is curtailing physicians' ability to retroactively bill for services provided while they were waiting for Medicare to enroll them or update their enrollment information, such as when they move their offices.

Medicare Makes Participation Even Harder
1/22/2009 6:00 PM

Obama Cites Health Care Reform Basics

Health care reform didn't get a lot of attention in President Barack Obama's inaugural address, but he did mention it as one way to improve the nation's fiscal status.

Obama Cites Health Care Reform Basics

1/21/2009 6:00 PM

AG Backs Mental Illness Coverage

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) says it expects health plans to comply with an attorney general's opinion that "group health plans that provide more than 60 outpatient visits for physical illnesses must . . . provide the same number of visits for …

AG Backs Mental Illness Coverage

1/21/2009 6:00 PM

Use the Web to Keep Patients Safe

Physician practices now have free access to three new online resources to help improve patient safety. The Health Research and Educational Trust, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, and the Medical Group Management Association have released Pathwa …

Use the Web to Keep Patients Safe

1/21/2009 6:00 PM

Hurricane Ike Waivers Discontinued Feb. 1

Medicaid discontinued the special waivers for services rendered to clients in ZIP codes affected by Hurricane Ike on Feb. 1. You must file any remaining Hurricane Ike claims for services rendered from Sept. 9, 2008, through Jan. 31, 2009 within 95 days …

Hurricane Ike Waivers Discontinued Feb. 1

1/21/2009 6:00 PM

Eureka! Feds Delay ICD-10 for Two Years

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) got the message: Don’t rush to implement the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) code sets. HHS has just adopted a final rule that delays the compliance deadline from Oct.

Eureka! Feds Delay ICD-10 for Two Years

1/15/2009 6:00 PM

House Bill Limits Physician Ownership

Language limiting physicians’ hospital ownership rights is contained in bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that reauthorizes the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The bill raises the cigarette tax by 61 cents to fund CHIP …

House Bill Limits Physician Ownership
1/15/2009 6:00 PM

State Starts New Loan Repayment Program

State Medicaid officials say a new loan repayment program will help Texas increase the number of physicians, dentists, and specialists who provide care for children with Medicaid coverage. TMA, along with the Texas Pediatric Society and the Texas Academy …

State Starts New Loan Repayment Program

1/13/2009 6:00 PM

Count on TMA When Times are Tough

No one knows more about your practice and professional needs than your association. Since 1853, TMA has been the trusted source for Texas physicians, offering practical solutions to take care of the business side of your practice

Count on TMA When Times are Tough
1/13/2009 6:00 PM

We Need Your 'Lowball' Stories

Like New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, TMA is aggressively investigating how health plans determine "usual, customary, and reasonable" (UCR) out-of-network payments. These payments are widely inconsistent across health plans for the same …

We Need Your 'Lowball' Stories
1/13/2009 6:00 PM

United Scraps 'Usual and Customary' System

UnitedHealthcare has agreed to shut down the controversial system it uses to determine "usual, customary, and reasonable" (UCR) charges – a system the American Medical Association and New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo called a scheme to defraud …

United Scraps 'Usual and Customary' System

1/13/2009 6:00 PM

Silver Alert Helps Find Your Patients

Are any of your elderly patients likely to wander or disappear because of an impaired mental condition?

Silver Alert Helps Find Your Patients

1/13/2009 6:00 PM

AMA Offers PQRI Help, Too

The American Medical Association has participation tools on it Web site to help physicians who want to take part in the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative.

AMA Offers PQRI Help, Too
1/13/2009 6:00 PM

DocSite Simplifies PQRI

TMA-endorsed vendor DocSite off­ers TMA members a simple, free way to satisfy the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) requirements and qualify for incentive payments

DocSite Simplifies PQRI

1/13/2009 6:00 PM

Can You Top This?

When the TMA president asks for action, these three physicians ask, “How much and how soon?” Congratulations to Austin-area gastroenterologist Alice Friedman, MD; Abilene family medicine specialist D. Allen Schultz, MD; and Dallas hand surgeon H. Jay …

Can You Top This?

1/13/2009 6:00 PM

Jan 13, 2009

CMS Posts E-Prescribing Specs

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the specifications for the e-prescribing measure, which will be used to determine whether an eligible physician is a successful e-prescriber and may qualify for a 2-percent incentive …

CMS Posts E-Prescribing Specs

1/5/2009 6:00 PM

TEXPAC Membership, Election Success Grows

In December, the Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee (TEXPAC) enjoyed its third best membership recruitment month ever, dating all the way back to the Kennedy Administration. Congratulations and thank you to all who invested.

TEXPAC Membership, Election Success Grows

1/7/2009 6:00 PM

New on TMA Communities: 2009 PQRI

Need news, resources, and other the details about the federal government's Physician Quality Reporting Initiative? Then log on to TMA Online Communities.

New on TMA Communities: 2009 PQRI

1/8/2009 6:00 PM

TMB Takes a Holliday

Gov. Rick Perry appointed Scott Holliday, DO, to the Texas Medical Board for a term to expire April 13, 2013. He replaces Roberta Kalafut, DO, of Abilene.

TMB Takes a Holliday

1/8/2009 6:00 PM

A Bundle of Joy from CMS

Physicians who perform certain cardiac or orthopedic procedures on Medicare fee-for-service patients in the Baptist Health System in San Antonio will have their payments for those services bundled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as …

A Bundle of Joy from CMS

1/8/2009 6:00 PM

Fluoride Varnish Training Available

Physicians wanting to participate in the Texas Medicaid program's new fluoride varnish program can receive the required training in-person in Austin on Jan. 31, or via a Webinar on Feb. 17.

Fluoride Varnish Training Available

1/8/2009 6:00 PM

Jan 8, 2009

Greetings from UnitedHealthcare

Don't ignore that letter from UnitedHealthcare that showed up in your mailbox over the holidays. It tells you how you rank in United's Premium Designation program, which rates physicians' quality and cost efficiency.

Greetings from UnitedHealthcare
1/4/2009 6:00 PM

TMA Posts New Workers' Comp Fees

TMA has posted an updated workers' compensation medical fee guideline calculator on its Web site so physicians can look up the appropriate fee guideline by geographic area.

TMA Posts New Workers' Comp Fees

1/4/2009 6:00 PM

Jan 1, 2009

Doctor's Orders: Podcast TMA

TMA's Legislative Prescription for a Healthy Texas

A tight budget, narrow partisan margins in the House and Senate, and a likely all-out assault on scope of practice by allied health professions promise to make the 2009 Texas Legislature a particularly challenging one for organized medicine.

The Texas Medical Association plans to pursue an ambitious agenda when the 81st Texas Legislature opens January 13, but TMA leaders say the political climate definitely will impact TMA's ability to push through some of medicine's top priorities. Download the show now The cover story in the January 2009 issue of Texas Medicine provides a glimpse at some of the key issues that organized medicine will pursue this year, the challenges medicine likely will encounter in trying to achieve its goals, and the battles it may have to fight with nurse practitioners, trial lawyers and others.

In this installment of Podcast TMA, Texas Medical Association Council on Legislation Chair Albert Gros, MD, and PatientsFirst Coalition Chair David Teuscher, MD, discuss some of the top legislative concerns facing physicians and their patients.

This installment covers:

  • TMA’s top legislative priorities this year.
  • The impact a tight budget will have on efforts to gain funding for items such as higher Medicaid fees and graduate medical education.
  • Anticipated scope of practice fights with nurse practitioners and other allied health professionals.
  • Likely attacks on tort reforms by trial lawyers.


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