Jul 31, 2009

Comment Soon on Medicare Fee Cuts

Aug. 31 is the deadline to comment on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' proposal for cutting Medicare payments to physicians by 21.5 percent next year.

Comment Soon on Medicare Fee Cuts
7/29/2009 7:00 PM

Blue Cross Settlement Checks on the Way

Physicians who filed claims in the $131 million settlement of organized medicine's antiracketeering lawsuit against Blue Cross and Blue Shield should receive their checks by mid-August, says Joe R. Whatley Jr., JD, one of the attorneys representing …

Blue Cross Settlement Checks on the Way
7/29/2009 7:00 PM

Jul 30, 2009

FTC Delays Red Flags Rule Three Months

Thanks in part to organized medicine's objections, the Federal Trade Commission postponed its "red flags rule" until Nov. 1 to give businesses, including physicians, more time to comply with the anti-identity theft rules.

FTC Delays Red Flags Rule Three Months
7/28/2009 7:00 PM

Newborn Bloodspots Destruction Available

Spurred by criticism from a group of parents, state lawmakers passed legislation allowing parents of children born in Texas to direct the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to destroy dried bloodspot samples.

Newborn Bloodspots Destruction Available
7/26/2009 7:00 PM

Jul 27, 2009

Treatments That Work; Free Facts from TMA

Newsweek writer Sharon Begley has written A Science Fact Check, about why it makes sense to study which treatments work and which don't. This article highlights the Cochrane Collection, one of the world's largest collections of volunteer scientist and …

Treatments That Work; Free Facts from TMA
7/26/2009 7:00 PM

TMA Committee Helps Prevent Pertussis

TMA's Committee on Infectious Diseases is working with Williamson County officials and health care workers to slow the spread of pertussis by campaigning for vaccinations. The project will focus on promoting Tdap vaccine in Williamson County, where …

TMA Committee Helps Prevent Pertussis
7/26/2009 7:00 PM

TMA Wants 'Meaningful Use' Meaningful

The Texas Medical Association agrees in principle with the federal government's attempt to define "meaningful use" of electronic medical records, especially with how it moves "from 'pay-for-reporting' in 2011 to 'pay-for-doing' in 2013 and then …

TMA Wants 'Meaningful Use' Meaningful
7/14/2009 7:00 PM

Jul 19, 2009

HR 3200 will cause medical care to cost more

(Guest post by Ken Mattox, MD, professor and vice chairman of surgery in the General Surgery Division of the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. In addition, he serves as Chief of the Surgery Service and Chief of Staff at Ben Taub General Hospital.)

See the editorial [Editor: column from David Broder] from today's Houston Chronicle. This AM (Sunday) Meet the Press (NBC) supported the same observation.

The current House of Representatives proposed bill will INCREASE the cost of health care, NOT address the 17-22 million of the 47 million uninsured that are undocumented aliens, and will increase the current problems with Medicare. This bill also gives increased money and independence to nurses and others for suggested independent practice. This bill does not address the cost drivers like futility, duplicate or unnecessary ordering of tests, nor the 50 percent of the health care costs that are administrative, hassle, and tort focused. CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf stated on Thursday that this bill would break the budget. I heard the President and others state that the overriding force to reform health care is to reduce costs and to address the economics to the benefit of all. HR 3200 does not do this, it does just the opposite. I do not understand.

The Texas Delegation to the AMA and others have also joined the AMA in making some overriding governing principles: QUALITY AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE, ADDRESS THE COSTS, ACCESS. We are even working on a Texas plan via the TMA. It seems to me that the senior congressional economic advisor as well as this morning's talk shows and the Chronicle editorial underscore that the current approach via HR 3200 is NOT addressing either the president's own priorities as stated to the AMA, nor the AMA's nor the TMA's overriding governing principles.

I for one do not know what HR 3200 really does address favorably. Yes, I did down load it and I did read it.

I would plead that as we create a bill in Congress to address Quality Care, Affordability, Access, etc, that we really address these issues. I am concerned that some of our professional organizations, such as my own American College of Surgeons, endorsed HR3200, even before it was out in any form to read, and did not add the overriding moral and governing principles (as did the AMA and the TMA) that are necessary for success and continuance of what is sacred in the ability to care for patients.

I totally agree that economically status quo is not an option, but this bill does not address, nor solve, the current economic death spiral. Those who are at the table writing legislation still seem afraid to address the root causes. I am proud to say that TMA is addressing many of the root causes while preserving the patient physician relationship.

HR 3200 seem to only INCREASE the cost of government AND forms thousands of NEW bureaucratic commissions to review just how we practice medicine and create even more hassle.

Jul 15, 2009

Free PQRI Webinar Coming from TMA, TrailBlazer

If you have wondered whether Medicare's quality incentive program is worth your while, or if you are not sure how to participate, take a free online seminar to learn more.

Free PQRI Webinar Coming from TMA, TrailBlazer
7/13/2009 7:00 PM

Texas Electronic Prescriptions Soar

Texas physicians are writing more prescriptions than ever, according to a survey by SureScripts, the organization that operates the country's largest electronic prescribing network.

Texas Electronic Prescriptions Soar
7/13/2009 7:00 PM

Jul 14, 2009

State Plans for Swine Flu Surge

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) officials say they are planning for the potential resurgence of the H1N1, or swine flu, virus in the fall with a Texas Pandemic Influenza Summit in Austin on Aug. 10.

State Plans for Swine Flu Surge
7/12/2009 7:00 PM

Fall Conference Hotel Deadline Coming

Aug. 3 is the last day to reserve your hotel room for the 2009 TMA Fall Conference Sept. 4-5 at the Hyatt Hotel in Austin and take advantage of TMA's special rate of $159.

Fall Conference Hotel Deadline Coming
7/12/2009 7:00 PM

Jul 1, 2009

Add CHIP to Special Session, TMA Says

TMA President William H. Fleming III, MD, urged Gov. Rick Perry to add legislation expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to the agenda for the special session of the Texas Legislature that begins today, July 1.

Add CHIP to Special Session, TMA Says
6/29/2009 7:00 PM

Sign Up for Border Health Newsletter

You can stay up to date on the work of the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission by subscribing to the commission's E-Border Health bulletins.

Sign Up for Border Health Newsletter
6/29/2009 7:00 PM

TMA, AMA Question HIT Incentives Timeline

TMA, AMA, and dozens of other physician organizations told federal officials they generally support the federal government's attempt to define "meaningful use" of electronic health records (EHR), but they have some reservations.

TMA, AMA Question HIT Incentives Timeline
6/29/2009 7:00 PM

TMA Monitoring State Recoupment Actions

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is sending letters to approximately 125 physicians and 75 hospitals to recover payments HHSC says were made erroneously for services provided to patients residing in Institutions of Mental Disease …

TMA Monitoring State Recoupment Actions
6/29/2009 7:00 PM

2009 CME Conference in July

If you are involved in planning the content of continuing medical education (CME) activities for your hospital, county medical society, specialty society, or other organization, you'll find the upcoming 2009 Texas CME Conference Wednesday through Friday, …

2009 CME Conference in July
6/28/2009 7:00 PM

Medical Educator Award Nominations Sought

Do you know an outstanding medical educator deserving of recognition? If so, you can nominate him or her to receive the TIAA-CREF Distinguished Medical Educator Award. Nominations are accepted until Aug. 15.

Medical Educator Award Nominations Sought
6/28/2009 7:00 PM

Special Session Starts July 1

A special session of the Texas Legislature to finish up the business it didn't get to in the regular session begins July 1.

Special Session Starts July 1
6/27/2009 7:00 PM

TMA Classifieds Online

WOL+MED in Denton is hiring a physicians to work in its occupational medicine / family practice office.

TMA Classifieds Online
6/27/2009 7:00 PM

Encourage Parents to Vaccinate Kids Now

The Texas Department of State Health Services has changed vaccination requirements for children. Students entering kindergarten and seventh grade may need more shots before the school year begins.

Encourage Parents to Vaccinate Kids Now
6/27/2009 7:00 PM

Medicare Scam Alert!

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says someone posing as Medicare carriers or Medicare administrative contractors is sending faxes to physician offices.

Medicare Scam Alert!
6/23/2009 7:00 PM

Red Flags Rules A Month Away

The Federal Trade Commission says physicians who regularly bill their patients for services (includes billing for copayments and coinsurance) are creditors and must develop and implement written identity theft prevention programs for their practices by …

Red Flags Rules A Month Away
6/23/2009 7:00 PM

Reform Main Topic of TMA Fall Conference

At his speech to the annual American Medical Association meeting in Chicago last month, President Barack Obama emphasized the importance of physician participation in the debate over health system reform. The nation’s sharp focus on health care issues …

Reform Main Topic of TMA Fall Conference
6/23/2009 7:00 PM

Swine Flu as Tea Leaves for Seasonal Flu: Podcast TMA

This year's flu season could get hairy for physicians. That's because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and public health officials are forecasting the reemergence of the H1N1 flu strain that hit the nation this spring and spread to pandemic proportion. In response, the pharmaceutical industry is busy working on producing an H1N1 vaccine. Physicians can take steps now to get ready to amplify vaccination efforts to protect the public and themselves against seasonal flu and H1N1 flu this fall. This installment of podcast TMA examines the likely recurrence of H1N1 flu and the physician response necessary to prevent the spread of that virus and of seasonal influenza. Download the show now. The cover story of the July 2009 issue of Texas Medicine magazine takes a look at the state's response to H1N1 flu and efforts to produce an effective vaccine in time for flu season. Today, Edward Sherwood, MD, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System chief of staff, chair of TMA's Committee on Infectious Diseases, and Williamson County health authority; and Pedro Piedra, MD, professor of molecular virology, microbiology, and pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, discuss what physicians need to know to cope with H1N1 flu and seasonal influenza this fall. This installment covers:

  • Additional precautions health care workers should take to protect themselves from both types of flu;
  • Advantages and challenges of administering an H1N1 flu vaccine and a seasonal flu vaccine in physicians' offices;
  • Resources that help physicians stay up to date on both viruses; and
  • Federal and state governmental response to the H1N1 flu outbreak.

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.)