Nov 30, 2010

Health System Reform Affects Prevention

One of the provisions of health system reform that is already having an impact on physician practices is the provision on preventive health care services. Read TMA's Health Reform School white paper on prevention to make sure you're ready for this change.

Nov 29, 2010

Congress Grants Medicare Stay of Execution

The U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate Nov. 29 in delaying the 23-percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians, just two days before the reduction was to take effect.

Learn How TMA Makes Policy

Do you ever wonder how TMA physician leaders and staff develop association policies? This free video explains it all.

State Starts Medicaid Buy-in

Starting Jan. 1, families of children ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for reasons other than disability can buy in to the state Medicaid Program.

Nov 22, 2010

Five Fresh Faces Bring Health Care Perspective to 2011 Texas Legislature

The “Rookie Report” is always one of the most interesting segments of the TMA/Specialty Society State Advocacy Retreat. This year five incoming House members shared war stories from the campaign trail. I was quite impressed with this year’s crop of featured freshman, all of whom bring some important health care connections to the 2011 legislature. They were:
  • Rep.-elect Jose Aliseda (R-Beeville), whose father Jose is a retired anesthesiologist in McAllen.
  • Rep.–elect Sarah Davis (R-Houston), a cancer survivor whose Houston Medical Center district has more physicians and TMA Alliance members than any other in the state.
  • Rep.-elect J.M. Lozano (D-Kingsville), whose father, sister, and brother-in-law are all Texas physicians.
  • Rep.-elect Dan Huberty (R-Kingwood), who defeated two TEXPAC-member physicians in the spring primaries and now has a great working relationship with TMA.
  • Rep.-elect Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown), a surgeon who will become the fourth TMA member in the legislature next year.
(L-R) TMA EVP Lou Goodman, State Rep.-elect J.M. Lozano, and TMA Board Member Carlos Cardenas discuss the upcoming 2011 session of the Texas Legislature.

Nov 17, 2010

TMA and Texas AARP Team Up to Stop Medicare Meltdown

FORT WORTH – Today, the nation’s largest state medical society and one of the largest patient-advocacy groups united to stop the Medicare Meltdown. This is the first time these two immense patient-advocacy groups have joined forces to ensure Texas’ 3 million Medicare patients receive the care promised by the U.S. government.

Texas Medical Association (TMA) physicians, AARP representatives, and more than 30 patients gathered at the Trinity Terrace Retirement Community in Fort Worth, Texas, and called on Congress to fix the crisis.

Texas patients picked up their phones and asked their U.S. senators and representatives to stop a 23-percent cut to their physicians’ Medicare payments scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1. The cut grows even larger after the New Year.

“I can’t believe we are here again, for the fifth time this year, asking Congress to stop another drastic cut to physician payments,” said TMA President Susan Rudd Bailey, MD. Watch the video excerpt below (it will automatically right itself!) and read the full story.

Nov 15, 2010

TMB Drops Death Certificate Fines

Physicians already fined by the Texas Medical Board (TMB) for not filing death certificates electronically will get their money back, and pending cases will be dismissed because of physicians' problems in registering to use the state's registration system.

TMA's Flu Fighters Back in Action

TMA's Flu Fighters are back this fall. Their goal is to ensure you have the information you need for 2010-11 seasonal influenza.

TMA Developing BlueCompare Appeals Toolkit

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas plans to send letters to about 18,000 Texas physicians in 14 specialties informing them of their ratings under its BlueCompare program by the end of the year.

Nov 10, 2010

Advocacy Retreat Prepares You for 2011

The 2010 elections are over, now it's time to get ready for the 2011 sessions of the Texas Legislature and Congress, and the 2012 elections.

OIG Starts Anti-Fraud Training Program

The federal Office of Inspector General (OIG) has developed a training program to help physicians avoid Medicare or Medicaid fraud and abuse.

Nov 8, 2010

Busy, Successful Day for Texans at AMA Meeting

Texas physicians spent more than their usual amount of time at the microphone today at the interim meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates, but they came away with some big victories.


The quick-thinking, slow-talking Texans kept AMA out of some potential public relations and membership messes. They also pushed the house to force AMA leadership to articulate the major flaws in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and devise a plan to correct those flaws.


The delegates also unanimously approved a Texas resolution asking AMA to support pending federal legislation that would exclude from consumer credit reports, within 30 days, medical debt that has been fully paid or settled. This would motivate patients to pay off their medical debt as quickly as possible.


Finally, the house sent the AMA Board of Trustees a Texas resolution asking AMA to take a closer look at turning itself into an organization of organizations instead of an individual-membership association. AMA is losing membership at an unsustainable rate at a time of unprecedented change and upheaval in the American health care system. It’s a time when physicians and patients need the support and strength that comes from the ability of AMA to say it represents the majority of America’s physicians.


Nov 7, 2010

Texans Offer Priorities for Reforming Health Reform

Texas physicians attending the 2010 Interim Meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates pushed AMA to set priority items for reforming the new health system reform law. Among the items on the Texans' agenda:

  • Medical liability reform
  • Repeal the IPAB
  • Loosen restrictions on physician-owned hospitals
  • Make physicians responsible for defining quality care.

The recommendation and many others will come before the house Monday and Tuesday. Stay tuned for more AMA news.


In the meantime, enjoy this slideshow from Sunday's Reference Committee hearings:



Dunnigan Wins Again

Congratulations to Erin Dunnigan, MD, a fellow in endocrinology at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. She was reelected alternate delegate to the AMA House of Delegates from the Residents and Fellows Section.

Nov 6, 2010

Dallas Cardiology Fellow Nabs AMA Leadership Post

Justin Bachman, MD, a cardiology fellow from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, is the new chair-elect of the American Medical Association Resident and Fellow Section Governing Council. Congratulations, Dr. Bachman.

Texas Med Students Elected AMA Delegates

Congratulations to four Texas medical students on their election as Region 3 delegates and alternates to the American Medical Association Medical Student Section House of Delegates.
The two delegates are Neil Parikh and Archit Gulati, both from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. The alternates are Jasmeet Kaur from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and David Savage, who is a student at the UT Houston School of Medicine.
Shown below, left to right, are Ms. Kaur, Mr. Savage, Mr. Gulati and Mr. Parikh.

Nov 5, 2010

Texas Health Reform School Principal Shares Successes With Other States

"When I became president of TMA in May, I also became principal of the Health Reform School," Texas Medical Association President Sue Bailey, MD, told her colleagues at the Organization of State Medical Association Presidents (OSMAP) today.

Dr. Bailey described the live and telephone conferences, the analyses, and the information pieces that TMA has used to educate thousands of members on the intricacies of the new health system reform law.

"We used education, education, education," she said, "to bring our physicians to a place where they can survive, and perhaps thrive, in the new health care landscape."

More than 1,000 physicians have attended the 13 free Reform School classes TMA has conducted so far in conjunction with county medical societies around the state. In addition to record attendance at some of these meetings, Dr. Bailey said the presentations "brought out doctors who had never been to a county medical society or TMA meeting before."

Five more Reform School classes are already on the schedule.

Are You Going to Stay in Medicare?

Physicians must decide their level of participation in the 2011 Medicare program by Dec. 31, even if Congress fails to stop the 23.5-percent cut scheduled for Dec. 1 or the 6.1-percent reduction slated for Jan. 1.

The Texas Medical Association cannot tell you what to do, but it is offering some help in making a decision through a record Web seminar, Evaluating Your Medicare Options, on the TMA website. The one-hour webinar, featuring TMA's in-house Medicare specialists, provides detailed information about participation options and the consequences of those choices. It also offers one hour of continuing medical education credit.

Keep Up With AMA Meeting at BloggedArteries.texmed.org

More than 100 Texas physicians and medical students will be in San Diego for the next five days for the American Medical Association's Interim House of Delegates meeting. Check back on -- or subscribe to the feed from -- Blogged Arteries for all the news. The Texas Delegation to the AMA has submitted four resolutions — including one that would reorganize AMA membership — for the house to consider at its interim meeting, which starts this weekend in San Diego:
  • First, we ask AMA to take another hard look into turning itself into an organization of organizations (PDF) instead of an individual-membership association. AMA is losing membership at an unsustainable rate at a time of unprecedented change and upheaval in the American health care system. It’s a time when physicians and patients need the support and strength that comes from the ability of AMA to say it represents the majority of America’s physicians.
  • Second, we ask AMA to sponsor an annual, state-by-state study of retention rates (PDF) for medical students and residents trained in each state. Such a study will help states, and state medical societies, plan how to invest in undergraduate and graduate medical education.
  • Third, we ask the house to support pending federal legislation (PDF) that would exclude from consumer credit reports, within 30 days, medical debt that has been fully paid or settled. This would motivate patients to pay off their medical debt as quickly as possible.
  • Finally, we ask AMA to restate its recent position on antitrust protections (PDF) for accountable care organizations (ACOs) to emphasize that those protections should apply only to physician-led ACOs. We need to give physicians — not hospitals or insurance companies — those protections.