Dec 22, 2009

Medicare Participation Deadline Extended

Congressional action to stop the 21.2-percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians on Jan. 1 prompted the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to extend the 2010 participation enrollment deadline until March 17.

Dec 21, 2009

Toolkit Helps Patients Start Year Healthy

As we ring in a new year, your patients likely are setting goals to improve their health. You are the key to ensuring your patients keep their New Year's resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, and eat better. And it's easy to do with office-based tools offered in TMA's new Healthier Life Steps toolkit. It focuses on these four key behaviors:

  • Healthy eating,
  • Increasing physical activity,
  • Quitting smoking, and
  • Reducing risky drinking.

Dec 19, 2009

Medicare Physician Fee Cuts Delayed

Physician Fee Cuts Delayed

Cuts in Medicare payments to physicians in 2010 were delayed until March when the U.S. Senate approved a $636 billion military appropriations bill today. The bill includes a provision delaying Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to reduce Medicare payments by 21.2 percent beginning Jan. 1. Physician payments are frozen at 2009 levels through Feb. 28.

The House passed it earlier in the week. The bill goes to President Obama for his signature.

TMA will continue to push Congress to adopt a permanent fix to institute a fair payment system that automatically keeps up with the cost of running a practice and is backed by a fair, stable funding formulaMedicare

Dec 14, 2009

If Congress Doesn't Act...

How will the planned cuts in Medicare payments to physicians affect your practice if Congress doesn't act before Jan. 1? The estimated average effect by physician specialty is posted on the TMA Web site. You'll find the Impact of Medicare 2010 Fee Schedule Changes and the Estimated Impact on Physicians of Medicare Change in Consult Billing.

Read more.

Dec 10, 2009

Member Survey: TMA Right on Health Reform

Member Survey: TMA Right on Health Reform Texas physicians and medical students say America's health system is in need of reform, but they don't prescribe radical change, and they believe the U.S. Congress' current treatment plan will do more harm than good. Those are the primary findings of a recent Texas Medical Association online poll of nearly 3,300 members.

2010 Medicare Enrollment Extended

Physicians have until Jan. 31 to decide if they want to change their participation status in the Medicare program next year. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the enrollment period another 30 days last month because of changes in the 2010 Medicare physician fee schedule.

Dec 1, 2009

UTMB Struggles to Shrug Off Impact of Hurricane Ike -- Podcast TMA

When Hurricane Ike swept in off the Gulf of Mexico in the early morning hours last Sept. 13, 2008, officials at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston were ready. They had evacuated all patients from their hospitals and secured research facilities. They had urged students, residents, and nonessential personnel to flee Galveston Island. And they had an emergency team of physicians, nurses, and other staff ready to ride out the storm and to provide care as needed.

Download the show now.

But UTMB officials were not prepared for the tremendous devastation that Hurricane Ike dealt to their campus. While there was very little damage from winds that topped 100 miles per hour, the storm surge Ike carried ashore from the gulf flooded more than 1 million square feet of ground-floor space throughout the campus.

The result was hundreds of millions of dollars in damages that disrupted training for both medical students and residents and shut down UTMB’s hospitals for months.

The cover story in the December issue of Texas Medicine chronicles the destruction Hurricane Ike wreaked on UTMB and the 15-month odyssey its students, faculty, and staff have gone through to put the pieces back together.>

In this installment of Podcast TMA, Ben Raimer, MD, UTMB’s senior vice president for health policy, and Steven Lieberman, MD, professor and vice dean for academic affairs, discuss the impact Ike had on UTMB’s educational and clinical operations and the continuing efforts to restore the campus and its hospitals.

This installment covers:

  • Extent of the damage to UTMB.
  • The impact of the storm on UTMB students and residents.
  • Status of the ongoing recovery efforts and how those efforts are being funded.
  • Future of UTMB in Galveston.
  • The status and future of “Old Red.”

Want to Subscribe to Podcast TMA through iTunes?

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  • 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.)