Feb 27, 2009

What Stimulus Means to Texas Health Care

State health officials have released preliminary information on major health and human services allocations for Texas in the $789 billion economic stimulus bill President Obama signed. The largest portion is $5.45 billion for Medicaid through the first …

What Stimulus Means to Texas Health Care

2/25/2009 6:00 PM

TMA Releases Quality Studies Paper

At the behest of TMA President Josie R. Williams, MD, the TMA Councils on Scientific Affairs and Socioeconomics launched a series of case studies to examine what Texas physicians are doing to improve quality and patient safety. The result is “A Texas …

TMA Releases Quality Studies Paper
2/25/2009 6:00 PM

Ike Relief Fund Deadline Looms

March 16 is the deadline for physicians to apply for financial help to rebuild their practices damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Ike.

Ike Relief Fund Deadline Looms
2/24/2009 6:00 PM

Feb 17, 2009

The-Truth-on-Out-of-Network-Billing

Over the past few months, the Texas Association of Health Plans (TAHP) has distributed flyers and held a tutorial for legislative staff on balance billing. The Texas Medical Association reviewed TAHP's materials and found its assertions neither accurate nor addressing the real reasons patients incur additional costs for out-of-network medical services.

TMA believes it is time to set the record straight. We developed a fact sheet outlining our response and distributed these to legislators and their staff last week. TMA expressed to lawmakers that the reasons a physician may bill a patient for an out-of-network medical service include these:

  • The patient's health plan benefits do not cover the medical care,
  • A physician who did not have a contract with the health plan provided the patient's medical care,
  • The patient has not met the annual deductible amount or paid the coinsurance portion, or
  • Most important, the patient's health plan single-handedly determines what it is willing to pay for the out-of-network care. In many cases, health plans arbitrarily use inaccurate data to establish their payment.
The Truth on Out of Network Billing

Feb 16, 2009

What's NOT in the Stimulus Bill

You may have heard or read some glaring inaccuracies during the debate over the stimulus bill, specifically widespread reports and commentaries that mischaracterize some provisions of the package pertaining to health information technology (HIT) and to …

What's NOT in the Stimulus Bill
2/14/2009 6:00 PM

Stimulus Has Billions for Texas Medicaid

Texas will receive $5.45 billion for Medicaid through the first quarter of 2011 from the $789 billion economic stimulus bill Congress sent to President Obama, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The bill allocates $86.6 billion for …

Stimulus Has Billions for Texas Medicaid
2/13/2009 6:00 PM

Political Prognosis: TMA's Ambitious Legislative Agenda

The 2009 session of the Texas Legislature opened session Jan. 13 but lawmakers didn't exactly bolt from the starting gate like thoroughbreds. Political observers say the legislature is off to a slow start, due largely to the transition to a new speaker …

TMA's Ambitious Legislative Agenda
2/12/2009 6:00 PM

Feb 13, 2009

Autism, Vaccination Not Linked, Court Says

Citing evidence, not sentiment, a special court of three federal judges on Feb. 12 said it found no link between autism and vaccinations.

Autism, Vaccination Not Linked, Court Says

2/11/2009 6:00 PM

Feb 12, 2009

TMA Sues CIGNA, Aetna Over Secret Data

The Texas Medical Association has joined a pair of class-action lawsuits against CIGNA Corp. and Aetna Health, Inc. for using a flawed system to underpay physicians for out-of-network medical services and force patients to pay an excessive portion of the …

TMA Sues CIGNA, Aetna Over Secret Data

2/10/2009 6:00 PM

Feb 11, 2009

Spend Your First Tuesdays in Austin

Don’t miss your chance to influence legislation that affects you and your patients. TMA urges physicians, medical students, and TMA Alliance members to make their presence felt in Austin this year by participating in First Tuesdays at the Capitol.

Spend Your First Tuesdays in Austin

2/10/2009 6:00 PM

Robinson, Dr. Moore Take Key TMB Spots

Mari Robinson, JD, will become executive director of the Texas Medical Board (TMB) and Alan T. Moore, MD, will become the agency’s medical director on March 1. Both have served in interim capacities in recent months.

Robinson, Dr. Moore Take Key TMB Spots
2/9/2009 6:00 PM

RACs Back On

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) officials say the Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) Program will resume after the agency resolved a protest that delayed its attempt to recoup improper Medicare payments to physicians and health care …

RACs Back On

2/9/2009 6:00 PM

Physician Ownership Limits Scrapped

Limitations on physicians' hospital ownership rights are not contained in the $32.8 billion bill reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for the next four and half years that President Obama signed Feb. 4

Physician Ownership Limits Scrapped

2/9/2009 6:00 PM

Feb 9, 2009

TMA's Health Insurance Code of Conduct

This is the centerpiece of TMA's 2009 health insurance reform agenda at the Texas Capitol. Texas needs a health care system that allows all patients to receive the care they need when they need it. Removing barriers to affordable health coverage is critical. To get there, legislators should enact a code of conduct that curtails skyrocketing health insurance premiums, brings more transparency to the business operations and coverage designs of this multibillion-dollar industry, and holds health insurance companies accountable for the promises they make to the Texans who pay their premiums.

Feb 6, 2009

Dollars for Scholars

Do you know a student who plans to enter a Texas medical school in the fall? If so, please visit TMA's scholarship page to find out whether they qualify for any of the scholarship opportunities available later this year.

Dollars for Scholars
2/4/2009 6:00 PM

DSHS Issues Pentacel Advisory

State health officials say physicians should use Pentacel only for the first three doses of the diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTaP), inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccination series until the U.S. supply of the …

DSHS Issues Pentacel Advisory

2/4/2009 6:00 PM

Feb 5, 2009

The Magic of First Tuesdays -- Podcast TMA

The great tradition continues. On Feb. 3, nearly 200 Texas physicians and TMA Alliance members came here to exercise one of the great rights of American democracy … the right to petition their government for change. We call it First Tuesdays at the Capitol because it happens on the First Tuesday of every month when the Texas Legislature is in session. For 2009, physicians and spouses become white-coated lobbyists for a day on Feb. 3, March 3, April 7, and May 5. It doesn’t take any special background. Just bring your white coats and stories of what’s going on in your practice. TMA leaders brief you on the issues, give you some tips on how to lobby effectively, and send you and your colleagues over to the capitol. This segment of Podcast TMA contains the comments of rookie and veteran First Tuesday participants, lobbyists and former lawmakers. We found out about some real snakes in the Texas capitol and discovered why it is so important to have a doctor in the house.

Download the show.

This installment includes interviews with:

  • TMA President Josie Williams, MD
  • Former legislators Diane White Delisis and Jaime Capelo
  • TMA Alliance leaders Bridget McKeever and Keely Hunsaker of Corpus Christi and Susan Todd of Fort Worth, the founder of First Tuesdays
  • Drs. Robert Jackson, Tomas Garcia, and Dennis Brown of Houston
  • Drs. Pamel Hall, Mary Dale Peterson, and Jerry Hunsaker of Corpus Christi
  • Andrew Diehl, MD, of San Antonio
  • Lisa Swanson, MD, of Mesquite
  • Darren Nelson, MD, of Midlothian
  • Linda Villarreal, MD, of Edinburg
  • TMA Vice President for Advocacy Darren Whitehurst

To learn more about First Tuesdays at the Capitol – or register for the March 3, April 7, or May 5 – go to the TMA Web site or call the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955.


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