Mar 30, 2009

What are You Doing May 1?

Physicians who blog, Twitter, or Facebook with their colleagues or patients are invited to attend one of two special sessions on communicating with patients on Friday, May 1, at TexMed 2009.

What are You Doing May 1?
3/29/2009 7:00 PM

Social Networking on TMA Web Site

Are you looking for a way to connect with other physicians or practice managers? Have you been trying to find other practices similar to yours using EMR? Do you want to discuss problems you’ve been having with payers?

Social Networking on TMA Web Site

3/29/2009 7:00 PM

McGovern Foundation Supports TMAF Again

For the third year, the John P. McGovern Foundation in Houston has approved a $10,000 challenge grant to the Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) as the basis of its Star/Superstar campaign.

McGovern Foundation Supports TMAF Again
3/29/2009 7:00 PM

Mar 28, 2009

Blogged Arteries Now on Alltop Health

Alltop, all the top stories Find your favorite TMA blog at Alltop Health along with Google Health, Mayo Clinic, the New York Times, and WebMD.

Mar 27, 2009

TMA's Health System Reform Principles

Your Texas Medical Association will not sit and watch as Congress and the Obama administration develop their plans to reform the nation's health care system. Acting at the direction of the TMA House of Delegates, the TMA Select Committee on Health System …

TMA's Health System Reform Principles
3/26/2009 7:00 PM

Mar 26, 2009

TMA Launches 'Right to Know' Initiative

Texans have a right to know exactly what their health insurance covers, and on March 25 the Texas Medical Association joined legislative leaders to launch an initiative to give them that right. TMA began its grassroots outreach campaign Patients' Right …

Slide1

TMA Launches 'Right to Know' Initiative
3/25/2009 7:00 PM

CMS Orders Ownership Disclosure

Medicare rules that take effect June 8 require Medicare physicians to tell their patients — in writing at the time of referral — if they or their immediate family members have an ownership or investment interest in the hospital to which they are …

CMS Orders Ownership Disclosure

3/25/2009 7:00 PM

Survival Help From TMA

Containing costs and enhancing efficiency are just some of the challenges a medical practice faces these days. To help you meet them, Elizabeth Woodcock, a nationally recognized author, speaker, and trainer in practice operations and revenue cycle …

Survival Help From TMA

3/25/2009 7:00 PM

Gimson to Head Cancer Institute

William Gimson, chief operating officer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, became the first executive director of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) on March 30.

Gimson to Head Cancer Institute
3/25/2009 7:00 PM

Mar 25, 2009

TMA Weighs in on Weighty Issues

TMA has joined the American Medical Association and other medical societies across the nation in expressing their views on new policies that would have a serious impact on physicians' practices.

TMA Weighs in on Weighty Issues
3/24/2009 7:00 PM

TMLT to Award Medical Student Scholarships

Four Texas medical school students will receive $10,000 scholarships, thanks to the 2009 Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) Memorial Scholarship program.

TMLT to Award Medical Student Scholarships
3/23/2009 7:00 PM

Mar 13, 2009

Poltical Prognosis: Fun's Over, The Work Begins

Texas Weekly Editor Ross Ramsey observed in early March that the "county fair" section of the legislative session was coming to a close. Indeed, the festival-like atmosphere that dominates the early days of a legislative session is over, and lawmakers …

Poltical Prognosis: Fun's Over, The Work Begins

3/12/2009 7:00 PM

State Changes Immunization Rules

New state health department requirements for school immunizations take effect Aug. 1. The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said it changed them so they more closely adhere to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention …

State Changes Immunization Rules
3/12/2009 7:00 PM

Red Flags Audio Conference Coming

TMA will host an audio conference from noon to 1 pm, Central Time, April 16 on the Federal Trade Commission's "red flags" regulations that require physicians to develop written identity theft prevention programs.

Red Flags Audio Conference Coming
3/11/2009 7:00 PM

Mar 12, 2009

Gov. Rick Perry Wins Nathan Davis Award

Acting on a nomination from TMA, the American Medical Association honored Gov. Rick Perry with its Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service.

Perry Wins Nathan Davis Award
3/10/2009 7:00 PM

Mar 11, 2009

Dr. T’s Capitol Hill Report – Live from the American Medical Association’s National Advocacy Conference

By Lyle S. Thorstensen, MD Chair, TMA Board of Trustees
We have had an outstanding meeting. Today is an example. Ezekiel Emaunel, MD, (special White House advisor for health care) presented the Obama principles in detail and answered questions. The talk was based upon the eight principles of Health Care System Reform that everyone can agree on. Things like access to care for all, doctor choice, portability, waiver of preexisting conditions exemption, quality and safety measures, affordability, accountable costs, HIT…etc. During Q&A, he was asked about anti-trust relief. He responded, “Yes, it needs to be considered.” Asked about national medical liability reform, he responded, “Yes, it needs to be considered”. (As you recall, even Rep. John Dingle said it needs to be visited). Finally as I was preparing to make some Hill visits, I sent a note to the moderator, the distinguished AMA President Nancy Nielsen, MD. She was able to present my questions before I left. The questions had to do with the exclusion of certain groups, most noticeably from my perspective, the American College of Surgeons, from the White House Forum on Health Reform last week. Dr. Emaunel replied that before final passage of a bill, all parties would be invited to participate. He explained that the first meeting was not intended to slight any of the stakeholders. Transparency and inclusion are the requirements for meaningful solutions. My final concern dealt with fear of a payment system that would “rob Peter to pay Paul,” analogous to the inadequate pay of our primary care colleagues. He again assured us that this would not happen, and the implication was that “new money” was coming to the system. Finally, the discussion brought agreement (between TMA President Josie Williams, MD; EVP Lou Goodman, and me) that an effort should be made to invite Dr Emanuel for a Texas presentation. At the very least, we should try to get a copy of his slides. Because of the huge success medical liability reform has brought Texas, Rep. Mike Burgess, MD, feels he has an obligation to share the good fortune of Texas’ successes with the nation. He has prepared another run at it with a standalone bill or one that can be attached. He reports that the Congressional Budget Office has reviewed his bill, and it seems to be supported with a fiscal note that his national medical liability bill would save the nation $3.2 billion. He is planning to attach it to every bill that comes out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to provide additional resources for spending bills that come forth. Ya gotta love it. BTW, we are not giving up on the Medicare Economic Index (MEI). SGR has to be reconciled by “rebasing,” so that Representative Burgess can bring back MEI. He said he will bring it! Now all we need is another 217 votes in the House and at least 60 in the Senate Governor Perry and the First Lady Anita had a tremendous time last night. Accepting the prestigious AMA Nathan Davis Award, the governor gave an inspiring and spirited invitation to all those in attendance to move and to live in Texas. With enviable medical liability reform and low taxes, we welcome new doctors to our state. Oklahoma may steal our football players, so we will gladly take their doctors. Reps. Pete Session and Michael Burgess were present as well, soliciting our ideas for health care system reform. AMA NAC ‘09 was a memorable and proud moment for all Texans. (Editor’s note: Dr. Thorstenson joined TMA President Josie Williams, MD, and 22 other physicians, alliance members, students, and TMA staff on Capitol Hill this week. As part of the AMA National Advocacy Conference, they have met with Texas senators and representatives to press our position on health system reform. “Please keep our patients at the forefront of your minds as you work through this reform debate,” Dr. Williams wrote to our congressional delegation.)

Keep Kids Safe with a Helmet Giveaway

You can help keep kids safe this summer by strapping a helmet on their heads during Bike Month in May. TMA's Hard Hats for Little Heads program makes it easy to sponsor a head injury prevention event in your community.

Keep Kids Safe with a Helmet Giveaway

3/10/2009 7:00 PM

UT Regents Approve UTMB Restoration Plan

University of Texas regents have done their part to save The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston. Now it's up to the Texas Legislature.

UT Regents Approve UTMB Restoration Plan
3/10/2009 7:00 PM

ICD-10 Delay Confirmed

The two-year delay in implementing the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) code sets has received the final approval from the Obama administration.

ICD-10 Delay Confirmed

3/8/2009 7:00 PM

Medicaid Takes on Smoking

State Medicaid officials say they are trying to help clients stop smoking by changing the program’s coverage policy and starting a pilot program to see if counseling helps.

Medicaid Takes on Smoking
3/8/2009 7:00 PM

Mar 10, 2009

Political Action at Work - March 2009 video update

Welcome to the March 2009 installment of TMA's Political Action at Work, our monthly video update of how TMA is fighting for you and your patients at the Texas Capitol. This month’s video includes:

  • TMA physicians and lawmakers working on bills to require health insurance companies to disclose just how much of the premium dollar goes into health care … and how much goes elsewhere; and
  • Progress on bills to improve our fight against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Mar 9, 2009

Stimulus HIT Money: Promises and Questions

The $19 billion in funding for health information technology (HIT) in the federal economic stimulus bill offers some big promises to physicians who use electronic medical records (EMRs) in a “meaningful” way. But the bill also leaves many important …

Stimulus HIT Money: Promises and Questions

3/8/2009 7:00 PM

Mar 7, 2009

Liability Reform Saves a Life

Texas' medical liability reform of 2003 has lured thousands of talented physicians to practice medicine in the Lone Star State. Just a month after establishing his practice, one such doctor was able to provide a patient with urgently-needed care. Watch and listen to Austin cardiologist Stan Wang, MD, and his patient tell their story.

Mar 6, 2009

Workers' Comp Fines Levied

State Workers' Compensation Commissioner Rod Bordelon fined nine insurance companies and two physicians $169,800 for violating state workers’ compensation regulations.

Workers' Comp Fines Levied

3/5/2009 6:00 PM

Make Medical Collections Less Taxing

TMA's endorsed provider of collection services, I.C. System, offers two suggestions for recovering more money:

Make Medical Collections Less Taxing

3/5/2009 6:00 PM

Two More First Tuesdays Remain

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 in the 2009 legislative session by participating in First Tuesdays …

Two More First Tuesdays Remain

3/4/2009 6:00 PM

Supreme Court Sides With TMA Against Wyeth

The U.S. Supreme Court says the Texas Medical Association and others are right that federal law does not protect pharmaceutical giant Wyeth from lawsuits in state court. The justices voted 6-3 to side with TMA, the Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT), …

Supreme Court Sides With TMA Against Wyeth

3/4/2009 6:00 PM

Mar 3, 2009

Averitt Files Health Plan Code of Conduct Bill

State Sen. Kip Averitt (R-Waco) today filed Senate Bill 1257, TMA's Health Plan Code of Conduct Act of 2009.

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.

Health Care Code of Conduct

Mar 2, 2009

Insurance Watchdog Needs Testers

The Physicians Advocacy Institute has a new database that gives you the tools to tell exactly how insurers are processing the claims you file and allows you to keep an eye on them to make sure they are keeping their promises to change the way they do …

Insurance Watchdog Needs Testers

3/1/2009 6:00 PM

Medicaid Starts Loan Repayment Program

State officials have launched a physician loan repayment program as part of their effort to enhance the Medicaid program. Applications are due by June 1.

Medicaid Starts Loan Repayment Program
3/1/2009 6:00 PM

Patients' Right to Know

Health insurance reform is TMA's main priority in the 2009 legislative session, and the association is taking bold steps to convince lawmakers to make insurers' business practices more transparent and accountable to physicians and patients.

Patients' Right to Know

3/1/2009 6:00 PM

TMA, AMA: Red Flags Raise Red Flags

TMA has joined the American Medical Association and 25 other medical associations in objecting to defining physicians as creditors, thus making them subject to the Federal Trade Commission's regulations that would require them to develop written identity …

TMA, AMA: Red Flags Raise Red Flags

3/1/2009 6:00 PM

RACs Recoupment Wrong, TMA Says

Medicare's effort to recoup improper payments to physicians through its Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program "is an enormous burden on the affected physicians and has failed to further the worthy goal of eradicating frequent billing mistakes."

RACs Recoupment Wrong, TMA Says

2/26/2009 6:00 PM

BCBS Coding Provisions in Effect

Several coding provisions of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield settlement agreement, which provide for greater transparency in claims processing and payment practices, took effect Jan. 21.

BCBS Coding Provisions in Effect

2/26/2009 6:00 PM

DSHS Changes Lab Submission Rules

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will adopt more stringent acceptance/rejection criteria for submitting laboratory specimens for syphilis (RPR and TPPA), HIV, and Hepatitis C testing on March 12. Starting that day, the DSHS laboratory will …

DSHS Changes Lab Submission Rules

2/26/2009 6:00 PM

Mar 1, 2009

Texas in the Health Cellar: Podcast TMA

Texas has lost ground in the fight against obesity and tobacco use. That's according to America’s Health Rankings: A Call to Action for Individuals & Their Communities 2008 Edition, a report by United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association, and Partnership for Prevention. Dismal findings show the state plummeted from ranking ninth in 2007 for prevalence of smoking to 19th in 2008. And Texas slipped from 32nd for prevalence of obesity in 2007 to 39th in 2008.
This installment of Podcast TMA looks deeper at the issue, as reported in the cover story of the March 2008 issue of Texas Medicine magazine. Today, Kimberly Edwards, MD, an Austin pediatrician and chair of the Texas Pediatric Society's Obesity Committee, and Jeffrey Levin, MD, chair of the Texas Medical Association's Council on Public Health and a Tyler occupational medicine physician, discuss the findings of the America's Health Rankings report and suggest ways the state can improve its overall public health performance.

Download the show.

This installment covers:

  • The factors contributing to why Texas has lost ground in the fight against obesity;
  • The challenges the state faces in spending more on preventive public health initiatives;
  • What physicians can do in their practices and communities to help reverse the trends of increasing obesity and smoking rates; and
  • Changes that need to occur in how the state approaches obesity and tobacco use.



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.)