Feb 28, 2010

Free Advice: Specialists Say Medicare Consultation Code Rule Undervalues Their Work

In March 2010 Issue of Texas Medicine:
Specialists are afraid a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services decision to stop paying for a set of CPT codes normally billed when specialists consult with other physicians will seriously limit Medicare patients' access to specialists. (Members Only)

Feb 26, 2010

Medicare Fees Drop 21 Percent on Monday

It's Time to Light up the Phones on Capitol Hill

Thanks to Senate inaction caused by the objections of one senator, Medicare payments to physicians will be cut 21 percent on Monday.

Feb 24, 2010

The TMB Explains Itself

How does the Texas Medical Board (TMB) regulate the way you practice medicine? Attend one of the outreach meetings that began Feb. 23 and you'll find out.

TMA Stands Up for Patient Safety

Physician assistants can't hire their bosses and it's not safe for chiropractors to perform and interpret vestibular diagnostic tests. Those are the patient safety and scope of practice messages TMA delivered to state regulators in February.

Feb 22, 2010

Williamson County Folks are Healthy

Williamson County is the healthiest county in Texas, according to the County Health Rankings the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute released in mid-February.

TMA Helps Head Off RACs

Medicare is looking for improper payments to physicians, hospitals, and other health care professionals under its new Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program.

Feb 12, 2010

New HIPAA Rules Enforcement Starts Feb. 17

TMA has compiled resources on its Web site to help physicians comply with changes to the privacy and security requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

Top Coding Resources Available Free Online

Make sure you coding practices are up to date! Two of the best-selling medical coding books are now available free to TMA members.

More Texas Physicians Turning to HIT

Texas physicians' use of health information technology continues to rise, according to the 2009 TMA Electronic Medical Record (EMR) survey. The survey measured physicians' utilization of office technologies such as EMRs, e-prescribing, and health information exchanges.

Medical School Loan Help Deadline Looming

April 1 is the deadline for physicians who agree to practice in Health Professional Shortage Areas to apply for assistance in repaying their medical school loans under the state Physician Education Loan Repayment Program.

Tell Congress We Want a Promise

Word out of Washington is that Congress likely will repeat history and put another short-term patch on the leaky Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula rather than devise a long-term fix for physicians' Medicare payments. That means physicians may avoid the 21-percent cut in fees scheduled for March 1 for a few more months.

Feb 9, 2010

TMA Foundation Honors Champions of Health

A volunteer-based program that embodies TMA's tagline, 'Physicians caring for Texans' was recognized at TMA's Winter Conference in January when the Volunteer Physicians of New Braunfels received the 2010 TMA Foundation John P. McGovern Champion of Health Award.

Judge Sets United Settlement Dates

May 18 and May 22 are key dates physicians need to keep in mind in the proposed settlement of the American Medical Association's lawsuit against United Healthcare over United's system for determining 'usual, customary, and reasonable' (UCR) charges.

Feb 8, 2010

Accountable Care Organizations Gaining Momentum as Cost, Quality Driver - Podcast TMA

Fee for service medicine has been under attack for decades. Insurers and employers have tried HMOs, capitation, pay for performance, and bundled payments to control health care spending or improve health outcomes. All have had little or no success.

Download the show now.

Now, a new health care delivery model is gaining national attention. Accountable care organizations, or ACOs, are collaborations between hospitals and physicians that assume full responsibility for all care of patients. Some have described ACOs as bundled payments, medical homes, and quality reporting all rolled into one.

In an ACO, physicians and other health care professionals have financial incentives to contain costs and improve quality by coordinating care for a specific group of patients. If they achieve quality and savings, the physicians and others in the ACO share the savings. If they don’t, they could take a finance hit.

But is ACO model really a viable effort to control cost and improve quality or is it just a new dress on an old pig? The February cover story in Texas Medicine asked that question.

In this installment of Podcast TMA, Stephen Ozanne, MD, president of the Dallas County Medical Society, and Spencer Berthelsen, MD, chair of the Kelsey-Seybold Medical Group, a large multispecialty group in the Houston area, discuss the pros and cons of accountable care organizations.

This installment covers:

  • How ACOs different from other care delivery models that were designed to cut cost and improve quality.
  • Why Congress and private institutions are pushing for rapid adoption of ACOs.
  • Reaction of Dallas-Fort Worth area physicians to plans by Baylor Health Care System to become an ACOP.
  • The likelihood that other Texas hospitals systems will move toward the ACO model.

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.)

Health Care Wants a Tablet, But Not Apple’s iPad

Health Care Wants a Tablet, But Not Apple’s iPad

Thanks to any TMA physicians who helped with this survey.

Last week, during the fever pitch surrounding the announcement of Apple’s iPad tablet, Software Advice surveyed 178 physicians, nurses, medical students and health care IT professionals about what the healthcare industry’s ideal tablet would look like. This isn’t our first time talking tablets and healthcare. In April of last year, we wondered if the Apple tablet would become the ideal device to run electronic health record (EMR) software.

Our goal with this survey: Find out what healthcare professionals want in a tablet and how well Apple’s iPad fulfills those wants. Let’s see what we found out from our survey results:

Feb 2, 2010

Science Teaching Nominations Set Record

TMA received a record 412 nominations for the 2010 Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching by the Dec. 18 deadline.

Feb 1, 2010

Comptroller Offers Tax Waiver

Watch your mailbox. The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts has a deal that might interest you.

Shopping for Health Software, Some Doctors Get Buyer's Remorse

Texas Medical Association offers free EMR Implementation Guide - just updated. Plus you can earn up to three hours of continuing medical education credit for reading it.

Successfully implementing HIT into an office practice can bring improvements in both quality of patient care and practice profitability. The implementation guide offers a nontechnical view of the steps necessary for the successful introduction of HIT with an emphasis on the needs of smaller practices. This publication will walk you through the process of acquiring and learning to use HIT.

Link is http://www.texmed.org/Template.aspx?id=7966

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost