Apr 28, 2010

DSHS Issues Newborn Screening Advisory

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is sending physicians and other health care professionals an advisory outlining their responsibilities in collecting blood specimens from newborns.

CMS Lifts Fraud Training Requirement

Responding to complaints from organized medicine, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) no longer requires physicians and suppliers in the Medicare Advantage program to obtain training in preventing fraud, waste, and abuse.

BCBSTX Begins Care Improvement Project

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) says it wants to work with physicians to make sure patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, get regular follow-up care.

Save Medicare Petition Gains Momentum

Another dozen national and state specialty societies have joined TMA's petition drive to "Stop the Medicare Meltdown."

Apr 26, 2010

Helping Haiti - Podcast TMA

As Austin orthopedic surgeon Scott Smith watched the news coverage of the Jan. 12 earthquake that virtually destroyed the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince he decided he had to do something to help the thousands of people left injured.

Similarly, Joanna Gibbons, a second-year medical student at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, saw the devastation and the suffering and felt the same. As she put it, “I couldn’t not go.”

Dozens of Texas physicians, medical students, nurses, physician assistants, and other health professionals flocked to Haiti in the days and weeks following the earthquake. Their efforts saved countless lives and eased the suffering of many.

Download the show now.

The cover story in the April issue of Texas Medicine tells the story of a few of the Texas physicians and medical students who responded to the tremendous need for medical care in Haiti and what they found there.

In this installment of Podcast TMA, Dr. Smith and Fort Worth trauma surgeon Robert Sloane discuss their experiences helping Haitian quake victims.

This installment covers:

  • Why Texas physicians such as Drs. Sloane and Smith felt compelled to volunteer in Haiti.
  • The devastation and traumatic injuries they encountered there, as well as the conditions under which they had to work.
  • Experiences with patients that touched them personally.
  • The continuing need that the Haitian people will have for ongoing medical care from volunteer physicians and others.

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.)

Apr 19, 2010

Surprise! Congress Delays Medicare Cut

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

Congress put fresh lipstick on the Medicare physician fee pig late Thursday (April 15) when it once again postponed a 21.3-percent reduction – this time until June 1 – rather than find a real solution to the payment problem.

Apr 15, 2010

Gala Supports the TMA Foundation

You may win a superb bottle of wine or a first-class trip to a luxury destination when you attend "Texas Legends: Celebrating Lone Star Trailblazers," the TMA Foundation's 17th annual benefit from 6 to 11 pm, Friday, April 30, at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel during TexMed 2010.

Vaccinate During Infant Immunization Week

National Infant Immunization Week, April 24-May 1, is a great time to step up vaccinations in your office.

Loan Application Deadline Extended

The Department of State Health Services is giving some physicians more time to apply for help in repaying their medical school loans under the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program.

Lehrmann Wins Supreme Court Nomination

Endorsed by the Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee (TEXPAC), Judge Debra Lehrmann, of Fort Worth, posted a convincing win over Rick Green of Dripping Springs in the April 13 runoff election to gain the Republican nomination for the Texas Supreme Court.

Medicare Cuts Kick In; Take Action Today

The April 14 deadline came and went with no action from the U.S. Congress, so the 21.3-percent cut in physicians' Medicare payments officially took effect today (April 15).

"It is absolutely unacceptable for the United States Congress to inflict this kind of perpetual uncertainty on Medicare patients and their physicians," said Texas Medical Association President William H. Fleming III, MD. "This is an all-too-real reason why Congress needs to quit dithering and get to work on a permanent new Medicare payment formula today.

We need every physician, every patient, every nurse, every spouse, and every health care professional in Texas to join our million-signature petition drive now.

Apr 9, 2010

Texas RECS Funded

Four Texas regional extensions centers (RECs) received $35.4 million from the Office of the National Coordinator to help physicians implement and 'meaningfully use' electronic health records (EHRs).

HHSC Seeks Medicaid Home Proposals

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is requesting proposals for a children's Medicaid 'health home' pilot.

Medicare Fees Affect Medicaid Patients

Responses to TMA's March survey thus far so far show that ongoing problems with the Medicare fees are affecting physicians' acceptance of Medicaid patients.

Blue Cross Ranking Physicians' Performance, Again

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) is notifying physicians of their rankings under its BlueCompare Evidence Based Measures system, and doctors have until May 15 to respond or face possible termination from the Blue Cross networks.

Apr 1, 2010

Support Medicine's Candidates: Vote

The Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee (TEXPAC), TMA's political arm, urges you to support medicine-friendly candidates in the April 13 Republican and Democratic primary runoff elections.

Blue Cross Ranks Physicians' Performance -- Again

Physicians who don't practice medicine the way Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas thinks they should have until May 15 to explain their performance or face possible termination from the Blue Cross networks.