Jun 22, 2009

Governor Vetoes Bad Liability Bill

Responding to a request from the Texas Medical Association, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed legislation that would allow hospitals to hire physicians. TMA asked the governor to veto the bill because it would have weakened the landmark liability lawsuit reforms …

Governor Vetoes Bad Liability Bill
6/18/2009 7:00 PM

Jun 19, 2009

Rohack Takes the Stage - Podcast TMA

This special installment of Podcast TMA comes to you directly from the Hyatt Regency Chicago, where we hear the installation address of Jim Rohack, MD, the new president of the American Medical Association.

Download the show.

Dr. Rohack’s installation comes one day after President Barak Obama made an historic visit to the AMA and on the eve of a long hot summer of negotiations over health system reform. The former TMA president, a cardiologist from Temple, takes his audience through a history lesson – the evolution of medicine, of organized medicine, and of Jim Rohack himself.

“I can promise that our AMA is committed to offering guidance, our expertise, the benefits of our relationship with patients, and the powerful voice of our profession, to help the powers that be make the right decisions,” Dr. Rohack said. “This is an effort that will define our organization, define our nation and define each and every one of us.”


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Jun 18, 2009

Public Option Not Single-Payer, Obama Says

President Obama told American Medical Association delegates on June 15 that the Health Insurance Exchange Program, or public option, portion of his health system reform plan is not "a Trojan horse for a single-payer system."

Public Option Not Single-Payer, Obama Says
6/15/2009 7:00 PM

BCBS Settlement Money Coming This Summer

The final appeal surrounding the settlement of the antiracketeering lawsuit against the Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association have been resolved, and the more than $130 million in settlement funds will be …

BCBS Settlement Money Coming This Summer
6/15/2009 7:00 PM

Seminar Clarifies New HIPAA Provisions

TMA is offering a new seminar to help physicians comply with changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) contained in the economic stimulus package Congress passed earlier this year.

Seminar Clarifies New HIPAA Provisions
6/10/2009 7:00 PM

Jun 16, 2009

Rohack Installation as AMA President - Live Blog

Texans Help Set AMA Position on Health System Reform

For nearly three hours this afternoon, the AMA House of Delegates worked diligently on about 200 words. What should American medicine say about health system reform, especially after President Obama's historic visit to the house the day before? Should they condemn the "public plan," or just say what the AMA wants?

The Texas delegation to the AMA was actively involved in this debate, urging at every turn that the message stay positive -- what AMA wants, not what it opposes. TMA delegates spoke passionately at the microphone and huddled with colleagues from other states.

Just when it looked like Texas and her allies had prevailed, time was called. The house was unable to finish its business today and must pick up where it left off on 9 am Wednesday morning.

Below is a photo collage of the day's discussions ... from a Texas perspective, of course.

Jun 14, 2009

Texans Take Part in AMA Reference Committees

The AMA House of Delegates is a legislative body. As such, it discusses and debates action items and then adopts them as AMA policy, puts them off for further study, or defeats them. The items include reports prepared by the AMA Board of Trustees or various AMA councils, and resolutions submitted by state or specialty society delegations.

Like other "legislatures," much of the detail work of the House of Delegates is done in committee. Each item of business is assigned to one of eight reference committees for consideration. Each reference committee consists of seven physician or medical student members of the house. They hear testimony, which can come from any AMA member, on each item on the agenda. The reference committees then meet to make recommendations on each item to the full house. Those recommendations serve as the starting point for debate on the reports and resolutions by the full house.

Reference committees met throughout the day on Sunday, June 14. The House of Delegates will begin its debate on the reference committee reports on Monday, June 15.

Four members of the Texas delegation are serving on reference committees at the 2009 annual meeting. All of the remaining members of the Texas delegation are assigned to work groups that study the individual reference committees' agendas in-depth and testify on issues of specific interest to Texas physicians.

Texas Resident Reelected to AMA Council

Congratulations to Jason Sharp, MD, a resident physician from Dallas. The American Medical Association House of Delegates today unanimously reelected Dr. Sharp to a second term on the AMA Council on Constitution and Bylaws.

Dr. Sharp, who was the first student member of the TMA Board of Trustees, is working in a radiology residency at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas.

Live Blog - AMA Health System Reform Briefing

San Antonio Physician Wins AMA Leadership Post

Congratulations to San Antonio internist Jayesh Shah, MD. He is the new chair of the American Medical Association International Medical Graduate Section.

Jun 13, 2009

Reaves on the Campaign Trail

Fort Worth plastic surgeon Larry Reaves, MD, is one of three physicians running for two positions on the AMA Council on Constitution and Bylaws. Today, Dr. Reaves and his competitors got their workouts, scrambling from one room to another in the massive Hyatt Regency Chicago to speak before various screening committees who interview candidates and recommend choices to their colleagues in the AMA House of Delegates.

The election is Tuesday, June 16.

AMA Health System Reform Presentation

AMA President-elect Jim Rohack, MD, was kind enough to share the presentation he is using during the 2009 AMA Annual Meeting to outline the American Medical Association's priorities and positions on health system reform. You might want to pay close attention to Slide 16, which shows the effect of "bending the curve" on the rate of health care spending in the U.S.

Don't forget, upcoming live blogs from the AMA meeting:

  • Sunday, June 14, 8:20 am: AMA Health System Reform briefing
  • Monday, June 15, 11 am: President Obama speaks to the AMA House of Delegates
  • Tuesday, June 16, 5 pm: Installation of Jim Rohack, MD, as AMA president

All times are CDT.

Jun 12, 2009

TMA Staff Lauds Rohack

TMA Executive Vice President Lou Goodman, PhD (left), and the TMA staff spent a private evening with incoming AMA President Jim Rohack, MD, tonight. TMA staff thanked Dr. Rohack, a former TMA president, for his service to organized medicine since his days as a medical student leader. The staff presented Dr. Rohack with a Texas tuxedo cufflink and stud set.

Dr. Rohack takes office as AMA president on the evening of Tuesday, June 16. TMA will live blog his installation address that night and post it as a special edition of Podcast TMA.

Texas Students Nab AMA Positions

Two Texas medical students won leadership roles today with the American Medical Association Medical Student Section (MSS) today. Ankit Shah, a second year student from the Baylor College of Medicine, was elected MSS Region 3 vice chair. Elizabeth Carroll, a third year student at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, was elected Region 3 secretary-treasurer. Ankit and Elizabeth will play host to their fellow students from throughout the south-central states when the Region 3 annual meeting comes to Dallas next year. Congratulations!
Below: The Texas Medical Student Delegation

Live Blog - Obama Speech to AMA on Monday

Read more about the event.

Jun 11, 2009

Live Blog - AMA Health System Reform Sunday

Obama to Push Reform at AMA Meeting

President Obama will make his case for health system reform Monday when he addresses the annual American Medical Association meeting in Chicago. It may be tough sell, though.

TMA will live blog the president’s speech on Blogged Arteries.

Obama to Push Reform at AMA Meeting 6/10/2009 7:00 PM

TMHP Seeks Workshops Feedback

The Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership (TMHP) is conducting a physician survey to help it decide how its educational workshops can better help physicians and their staff.

TMHP Seeks Workshops Feedback
6/10/2009 7:00 PM

CMS Posts PQRI Resources

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted an article on its Web site to help medical practice office managers get physicians started reporting 2009 Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) measures.

CMS Posts PQRI Resources
6/10/2009 7:00 PM

Jun 9, 2009

Texas Physicians Bringing Five Resolutions, Two Candidates to AMA House

The Texas Delegation to the American Medical Association House of Delegates will be a very busy bunch when the AMA meeting convenes in Chicago on June 13. In addition to celebrating the installation of Jim Rohack, MD, as the new AMA president, we are asking the house to back two Texas candidates for office and five resolutions from our own House of Delegates. They include:

  • Electing Fort Worth plastic surgeon Larry Reaves, MD, to the AMA Council on Constitution and Bylaws; and Dallas internist Lynne Kirk, MD, to the Council on Medical Education;
  • A resolution calling for legislation mandating clear and transparent health insurance company language so patients know their financial responsibility when receiving care out of network;
  • A resolution calling for legislation requiring insurers to adopt standardized verbiage spelling out coverage for preventive care, including adequate payment for recommended vaccines;
  • A resolution calling for the use of standard commercial physician payment rates in all government health care benefit programs;
  • A resolution requiring all Medicare patients to register the advance directive of their choice; and
  • A resolution asking AMA to help physicians and medical staffs establish transparent policies to implement and conduct Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluations.

Jun 8, 2009

TMA Scores Wins in Legislative Session

It's all over but the crying -- and possibly the vetoes. The 2009 Texas Legislature wrapped up its 140-day session on June 1 with a flurry of last minute activity resulting largely from House Democrats' successful efforts to "chub" the controversial …

TMA Scores Wins in Legislative Session
6/1/2009 7:00 PM

Humana Purges Physicians From MA Networks

Humana is notifying physicians across Texas that is it kicking them out of Humana's Medicare Advantage (MA) PPO and/or Preferred PPO/Preferred Point of Service networks as of Aug. 1.

Humana Purges Physicians From MA Networks
6/1/2009 7:00 PM

Jun 2, 2009

Patients’ First Health System Reform – Podcast TMA

Candidate Barack Obama promised change. Now President Barack Obama is preparing to deliver that change, at least in the health care system. The president has held health care summits to get input on his health system reform plans from physicians, health plans, and other health care industry stakeholders. Meanwhile, Democratic leaders in Congress are developing health reform issue papers and crafting reform proposals of their own. Those leaders say a reform plan could be on the House and Senate floors for debate before the end of the summer.

Download the show now.

The June cover story of Texas Medicine magazine looks at what is likely to come out of those efforts and Texas Medical Association’s advocacy to try to influence that debate. TMA has put together a series of principles that it believes should guide any reform plan and created a task force to vet any proposals put forward against those principles.

In this installment of Podcast TMA, Athens family physician Douglas Curran, MD, and former American Medical Association President Nancy W. Dickey, MD, discuss the health system reform proposals as they stood in early June. They also explore the work of TMA’s Task Force on Health System Reform whose job is to measure those proposals against TMA’s guiding principles.

This installment covers:

  • The current status of reform proposals.
  • The development of TMA’s guiding principles for health system reform.
  • The efforts of TMA’s Task Force on Health System Reform to vet reform plans.
  • The outlook for passage of health system reform this year.

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.
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Physician Testimony Aids Legislative Wins

TMA's success in the just-completed session of the Texas Legislature was due in large part to physicians who provided key testimony to House and Senate committees as they conducted hearings on health-care related bills

Physician Testimony Aids Legislative Wins
6/1/2009 7:00 PM

DSHS Clarifies Lab Flu Testing

Public health laboratories' role in influenza testing is primarily surveillance to monitor the distribution and spread of the virus, the detection of new variants of the virus, and to assist in outbreak investigations, the Texas Department of State …

DSHS Clarifies Lab Flu Testing
5/31/2009 7:00 PM

No Pertussis Vaccine Equals Big Risk

Children who are not vaccinated for pertussis have 23 times the chance of contracting the illness than those who are immunized, the June issue of Pediatrics reports.

No Pertussis Vaccine Equals Big Risk
5/27/2009 7:00 PM

Heard from HRI?

Have you received a letter from Health Research Insights (HRI) saying it has analyzed your claims information and It is demanding recoupment of overpayments caused by incorrect claims? If so, please contact Erin Gregorcyk in TMA's Payment Advocacy …

Heard from HRI?
5/27/2009 7:00 PM