Mar 30, 2011

TMA Testifies on Concussions, Workforce, Vaccines

TMA Legislative News Hotline

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Rep. Dan Branch
(R-Dallas)
TMA TESTIFIES
Physician workforce: Charles B. Mullins, MD, a retired cardiologist from Austin, will testify today in support of House Bill 2908 by Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas). HB 2908 would direct the Higher Education Coordinating Board to determine how many graduate medical education slots are needed in Texas to keep up with the number of medical school graduates. Dr. Mullins will tell members of the House Higher Education Committee that Texas needs more graduate medical education slots so we can keep bright, young physicians in Texas.

Athletic concussions: Thomas Spinks, MD, a pediatric neurosurgeon in Austin, codirector of the Dell Children’s/Seton Center on Concussions and a member of TMA’s Ad Hoc Comitttee on Student Athlete Concussions, will testify before the House Public Health Committee today. He will testify on HB 2038 by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo), which addresses the prevention, treatment, and management of concussions affecting young athletes participating in interscholastic events. TMA is working with the bill sponsor to ensure Texas schools have a solid concussion management program in place.

Meningitis vaccinations: Carol Baker, MD, an infectious disease specialist from Houston with an impressive resume, testified before the Senate Higher Education Committee today.  Dr. Baker is chair of the U.S. Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP), executive director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research, as well as Professor of Pediatrics, Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Baker did a fantastic job testifying in support of Senate Bill 1107 on behalf of TMA, The Immunization Partnership, and the Texas Pediatric Society. The legislation authored by Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) would require proof that students have received a meningitis vaccination at least five years prior to their college entry.

Pertussis vaccinations: TMA submitted written testimony in support of HB 3336 by Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston). The measure would require that new moms receive information on pertussis (and the ability to get a Tdap vaccination if needed) before leaving the hospital. The House Public Health Committee will discuss the bill this evening.

BILL UPDATE
Neonatal Intensive Care: A few bills are before the House Public Health Committee today with the goal of reducing the cost of neonatal intensive care services for Medicaid. TMA supports:
  • HB 2636 by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), which directs the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to establish a commission to study neonatal intensive care units.
  • HB 1983 by Representative Kolkhorst, which directs HHSC not to reimburse physicians and providers who perform nonmedically induced deliveries prior to the 39th week for women covered under Medicaid. It also directs HHSC to conduct a study on the impact of the policy on infant health, on the frequency of infant admissions to neonatal intensive care units, and on readmission rates.
Bills Passed by Senate Committees:
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed several bills yesterday that TMA supported. These bills include:
  • SB 7 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville), which focuses on ways to save money in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Many provisions in the bill would reduce Medicaid and CHIP payments when patients are readmitted for preventable illnesses, establish copayments for unnecessary emergency department visits, provide incentives for hospitals and physicians to reduce waste and improve quality of care, and study whether pay-for-performance is workable for long-term care.
  • SB 8 by Senator Nelson would establish a statewide plan for improving quality and increasing efficiency through performance-based measures, test collaborative models between physicians and other health care providers, and require public reporting of preventable readmissions and complications.
  • SB 620 by Senator Nelson calls for changes in hospitals’ reporting of health care-associated infection information. The changes would allow the state to participate in the National Healthcare Safety Network supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Senate State Affairs Committee also passed a TMA-supported bill:
  • SB 894 by Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) would allow critical access hospitals, sole community hospitals, and hospitals in counties of 50,000 or fewer to employ physicians. Most of these are hospitals run by local governments. The bill also contains many features that protect the physician’s clinical autonomy against the corporate practice of medicine. The bill:
    • Places the responsibility for all clinical matters — bylaws, credentialing, utilization review, and peer review — under the medical staff;
    • Guarantees physicians’ independent medical judgment;
    • States that all physicians — employed or independent — are subject to the same rights and responsibilities;
    • Allows employed physicians to participate in the selection of their liability insurance and have the right to consent to settle in a liability action; and
    • Requires the medical staff to designate a chief medical officer (CMO) who must be approved by the hospital board. The CMO has the duty to report to the Texas Medical Board (TMB) that the hospital is hiring physicians under this bill and that the CMO is the contact for TMB. The CMO has a duty to report instances of interference to TMB.
BUDGET WATCH
State representatives could have a long weekend in store. Yesterday, lawmakers had pre-filed 371 amendments to HB 1 ― the House version of the state budget.

PHYSICIAN OF THE DAY 
The physician of the day at the capitol is Frederick L. Merian, MD, of Wimberley. Dr. Merian has practiced family medicine for more than 40 years. He graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1967. Dr. Merian is a member of AMA, TMA and the Hays-Blanco-Caldwell County Medical Society. He is a delegate for the Texas Delegation to AMA.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
It’s not too late. Register today for First Tuesdays at the Capitol on April 5.

Tell us your story. TMA wants to capture your story on video. Tell us why you decided to become a physician. What day did you leave your office or hospital and say to yourself, “Now, that’s why I became a physician”? Tell us what your profession means to you. Check out “physician moments” from some of your colleagues.

WHAT WE'RE READING
Fiscal expert says LBB jobs analysis ‘not a valid comparison’(Austin-American Statesman)
Texas budget crisis threatens anti-smoking program
(Houston Chronicle)
Zerwas: Texas Health Insurance Exchange May Be Dead
(Texas Tribune)

BCBS, AMA Set Webinars on v5010 Standards

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas will conduct five 60-minute webinars on the ANSI v5010 electronic standards under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for physicians and their staff in April. They will be at 1 pm CDT on April 21, 22, 26, and 29, and at 2 pm CDT on April 28. A 30-minute question and answer session will follow each presentation.

Mar 29, 2011

Nelson Seeks to Restore Medicaid Cuts

Sen. Jane Nelson
(R-Flower Mound)
A proposed 10-percent cut in Medicaid physician payment rates could shrink to 3 percent if lawmakers approve a recommendation from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

United to Release Doctor Ratings June 1

UnitedHealthcare says it will not publicize the ratings of physicians under its Premium Designation program until June 1 to give physicians time to question their ranking. The ratings were to be released March 30.

ImmTrac Takes Adult Immunization Data

Physicians now can submit immunization data for adult patients who want their records to be included in the statewide ImmTrac registry.

Flu Season Continues in Texas

Patients across Texas continue to visit physician offices with cases of influenza. Flu activity in the state is considered widespread, according to the Department of State Health Services' surveillance. Influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H3N2), and influenza B have been identified by laboratories as circulating in Texas.

The Truth About The $505 Medicare Fee

Despite what you may have heard, the new $505 fee for enrolling in Medicare applies ONLY to what the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) calls "institutional providers" and NOT physicians and non-physician practitioner organizations.

Health Reform Bills Heard in Senate Committee

TMA Legislative News Hotline

Tuesday, March 29, 2011



TMA TESTIFIES
Medicaid cost savings: TMA-member physicians this morning testified in support of a committee substitute for Senate Bill 7. The bill is authored by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville) and was taken up this morning in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  SB 7 focuses on ways to save money in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Many provisions in the bill would reduce Medicaid payments when patients are readmitted for preventable illnesses, establish copayments for unnecessary emergency room visits, provide incentives for hospitals and physicians to reduce waste and improve quality of care, and study whether pay-for-performance is workable for long-term care.


Dr. Asa Lockhart
 Collaborative hospital/physician arrangements: Asa Lockhart, MD, chair of TMA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Accountable Care Organizations and an anesthesiologist from Tyler, testified in support of a committee substitute for SB 8. The bill, authored by Senator Nelson, is before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee this morning. The measure would establish a statewide plan for improving quality and increasing efficiency through performance-based measures, test collaborative models between physicians and other health care providers, and require public reporting of preventable readmissions and complications. For the past several weeks, TMA, the Texas Association of Health Plans, and the Texas Hospital Association have negotiated how the new paradigm in the bill would play out in the real world. As a result of these negotiations, three important provisions have been added to SB 8 to protect physicians in collaborative arrangements:
  • Physicians would have an equal say and vote in a collaborative arrangement’s governing board.
  • They also would have due process protections and the ability to participate in more than one collaborative arrangement in their community.
  • The bill also protects Texas’ ban on the corporate practice of medicine.
Physician employment: Yesterday, Susan Strate, MD, a pathologist from Wichita Falls and past chair of TEXPAC, testified against SB 1255. The bill by Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) was heard in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. The measure would allow hospitals in Wise County to employ physicians. Dr. Strate testified against the bill because its provisions fell outside the scope of TMA’s and Sen. Robert Duncan’s agreed-upon physician-employment bill, SB 894, to help certain Texas counties. Dr. State told committee members that many of the small hospitals in larger markets are asking for the ability to hire doctors even though they currently don’t have problems recruiting physicians. She also said the measure would create an unlevel playing field for physicians in independent practice and inhibit market dynamics.

Health care associated infections: TMA also submitted a letter in support of SB 620 by Senator Nelson that calls for changes in hospitals’ reporting of health care-associated infection (HAI) information. The changes would allow the state to participate in the National Healthcare Safety Network supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. SB 620 would help guarantee a standardized reporting process and conserve precious state dollars. SB 620 is before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee today.

Tobacco cessation program: TMA also will support House Bill 1166 by Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Richmond), today. The bill would require the Employees Retirement System of Texas to develop a plan to provide smoking cessation benefits through Texas’ employee health plan, including prescription drugs to help people to quit smoking. The measure will be heard today in the House Insurance Committee.

BUDGET WATCH
The Texas House will vote Thursday on whether to use $3.1 billion to cover part of the state’s current (2010-11) budget shortfall of $4 billion. Then on Friday, House members will begin debate on House Bill 1 — the House version of the state budget. The House Appropriations Committee approved the measure last week. Here is a copy of the 2012-13 budget proposal. The Senate Finance Committee is on schedule to finalize its budget bill, SB 1, next week.

PHYSICIAN OF THE DAY 
The physician of the day at the capitol is Kurtis W. Davis, MD, of Bryan. Dr. Davis specializes in family medicine. He graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 2008. Dr. Davis is a member of the Brazos-Robertson County Medical Society.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
It’s not too late. Register today for First Tuesdays at the Capitol on April 5.

Tell us your story. TMA wants to capture your story on video. Tell us why you decided to become a physician. What day did you leave your office or hospital and say to yourself, “Now, that’s why I became a physician”? Tell us what your profession means to you. Check out “physician moments” from some of your colleagues.

WHAT WE'RE READING
Legislative process reveals hard truths (Austin-American Statesman)
Senate Committee Endorses Rural Hospital Hiring Doctors
(Texas Tribune)

Mar 28, 2011

TMA Testifies for Employment Bill

TMA Legislative News Hotline

Monday, March 28, 2011


Dr. Curran
TMA TESTIFIES
TMA Board of Trustees member Doug, Curran, MD, a family medicine physician from Athens, testified before the Senate State Affairs Committee this morning. He testified in support of Senate Bill 894 by Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock). The bill would allow critical access hospitals, sole community hospitals, and hospitals in counties of 50,000 or fewer to employ physicians. The bill also contains many features that protect the physician’s clinical autonomy against the corporate practice of medicine. It:
  • Places the responsibility for all clinical matters — bylaws, credentialing, utilization review, and peer review — under the medical staff;
  • Guarantees physicians’ independent medical judgment;
  • States that all physicians — employed or independent — are subject to the same rights and responsibilities;
  • Senate State Affairs Committee Chair
    Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock), left, and
    Vice Chair Robert Deuell, MD (R-
    Greenville) listen to testimony
  • Allows employed physicians to participate in the selection of their liability insurance and have the right to consent to settle in a liability action; and
  • Requires the medical staff to designate a chief medical officer (CMO) who must be approved by the hospital board. The CMO has the duty to report to the Texas Medical Board (TMB) that the hospital is hiring physicians under this bill and that the CMO is the contact for TMB. The CMO has a duty to report instances of interference to TMB.
TMA also supported these three bills, which were voted out of the House County Affairs Committee last week. All three bills are a product of local consensus-building among the county medical societies, medical schools, and hospital districts. And all three apply only to the districts’ statutory mission to serve indigent patients.
  • HB 1568 by Rep. Garnett Coleman (D-Houston) would allow the Harris County Hospital District to employ physicians with a structure of physician control over all aspects of medical care delivered by physicians — independent or employed — caring for patients in the district’s facilities. The legislation is result of local consensus-building that brought agreement on the bill by the hospital district, Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and the Harris County Medical Society.
  • HB 840 by Rep. Naomi Gonzalez (D-El Paso) would allow the El Paso Hospital District to employ physicians. It is based on the Harris County model, with minor changes to reflect the existing structure of a medical executive committee under the leadership of physicians. Again, this bill came together from local consensus-building among the district, the El Paso County Medical Society, and the medical school.
  • HB 2351 by Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon (D-San Antonio) would allow the Bexar County Hospital District to employ physicians. It is based not on the Harris County model but on a model utilizing a nonprofit healthcare corporation. It is an alternative that best meets the needs of Bexar County. More importantly, again, it is based on a consensus among the district, the Bexar County Medical Society, and the medical school.
UNDER THE ROTUNDA
Progress on the state budget: The Texas House will vote Thursday on whether to use $3.1 billion to cover part of the state’s current (2010-11) budget shortfall of $4 billion. Then on Friday, House members will begin debate on HB 1 — the House version of the state budget. The House Appropriations Committee approved the measure last week. Here is a copy of the 2012-13 budget proposal. The Senate Finance Committee is on schedule to finalize its budget bill, SB 1, next week.

Redistricting: The House Redistricting Committee will meet again this week to hear testimony on potential State Board of Education districts in light of the 2010 census data. Here are the redistricting maps and Census Bureau demographics. Stay tuned.

PHYSICIAN OF THE DAY 
The physician of the day at the capitol is Kurtis W. Davis, MD, of Bryan. Dr. Davis specializes in family medicine. He graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 2008. Dr. Davis is a member of the Brazos-Robertson County Medical Society.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
It’s not too late. Register today for First Tuesdays at the Capitol on April 5.

Tell us your story. TMA wants to capture your story on video. Tell us why you decided to become a physician. What day did you leave your office or hospital and say to yourself, “Now, that’s why I became a physician”? Tell us what your profession means to you. Check out “physician moments” from some of your colleagues.

Mar 24, 2011

Senate Panel Votes to Trim Planned Medicaid Pay Cut

TMA Legislative News Hotline

Thursday, March 24, 2011


BUDGET WATCH
Health and Human Services cuts: Last week, Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville), chair of the Senate Finance Subcommittee for Medicaid, asked Tom Suehs, executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), to develop a list of the top funding priorities necessary to for the state. After receiving the commissioner’s recommendations, the subcommittee divided the list into two levels of priority for funding. Priority 2 items are on the committee’s “wish list,” meaning they will be funded if dollars become available. Here are the items from the list that the subcommittee approved this morning:

HHSC (Priority 1):
  • Restore 7 percent of the proposed 10-percent cut to physician payments in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This means physicians would face a 3-percent cut, instead of 10 percent. The 3-percent cut would apply for all adult and children’s services.
  • Stop paying coinsurance for patients who receive coverage from Medicaid and Medicare (dual eligibles) if the coinsurance would exceed the Medicaid rate.
  • Restore 5 percent of the proposed 10-percent cut to hospitals and other providers.
  • Reduce funding for labs and durable medical equipment providers by 20 percent, with the goal of mitigating those cuts by half if funds become available.
  • Approve continuation of the Women’s Health Program, pending passage of legislation to extend program beyond 2011.
  • Fund Medicaid caseload growth.
  • Priority 2: Restore partial funding to Medicaid utilization.
Department of State Health Services (Priority 1):
  • Restore full funding for community-based mental health services and crisis services for adults and children,
  • Restore funding for mental health hospitals,
  • Initiate “Healthy Babies” programs to help reduce prematurity and birth trauma, and
  • Fund targeted initiatives to reduce preventable hospitalizations and health care- associated infections.
  • Priority 2: Add $13 million for tobacco cessation and full funding for human immunodeficiency virus medications.
Department of Aging and Disability Services (Priority 1):
  • Restore 7 percent of home and community care provider rates, and
  • Restore 5 percent of nursing home rates.
Department of Family and Protective Services (Priority 1): Restore full funding for foster care caseload growth and eliminate cuts to foster care providers.

House Bill 1: Here is a copy of the 2012-13 budget proposal, HB 1, approved by the Texas House Appropriations Committee yesterday. The budget bill likely will hit the House floor on April 1 to begin debate.

UNDER THE ROTUNDA
The Texas House passed the voter ID bill last night on second reading. The Senate passed its version of the bill in January. Senate Bill 14 by Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) and sponsored by Rep. Patricia Harless (R-Spring) would require Texans to show a valid photo ID — such as a driver license or state-issued ID card, a military ID, or a passport — to vote. Once the bill passes on third reading, it will be sent back to the Senate, where the author can either accept the House changes or request a conference committee to work out differences between the two versions of the bill.

The House Redistricting Committee will meet today and Friday to hear testimony on potential State Board of Education districts in light of the 2010 census data. Here are the redistricting maps and Census Bureau demographics. Stay tuned.

PHYSICIAN OF THE DAY 
The physician of the day at the capitol is Tamara Dominguez, MD, of San Antonio. Dr. Dominguez has practiced family medicine for 13 years. She graduated from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1994. Dr. Dominguez is a member of the American Medical Association, TMA, and the Bexar County Medical Society.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Tell us your story. TMA wants to capture your story on video. Tell us why you decided to become a physician. What day did you leave your office or hospital and say to yourself, “Now, that’s why I became a physician”? Tell us what your profession means to you. Check out “physician moments” from some of your colleagues.

Register today for First Tuesdays at the Capitol on April 5.

WHAT WE'RE READING
House panel OKs budget that spends less than current budget (Austin-American Statesman)
UPDATED: Texans deeply divided as health care reform law marks one-year anniversary
(Houston Chronicle)

Mar 23, 2011

House Appropriations Committee Passes 2012-13 State Budget

TMA Legislative News Hotline

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


BUDGET WATCH
The House Appropriations Committee passed its 2012-13 budget bill, House Bill 1, this morning. The total budget (Texas and federal dollars) totaled $164.5 billion, a cut of $23 billion from the current (2010-11) budget. It still would cut Medicaid payment rates to physicians and providers by 10 percent. The budget bill is expected to be up for debate on the House floor next Friday

Meanwhile in the upper chamber, the Texas Senate is working on its own version of a budget bill ― it’s called Senate Bill 1. Yesterday, the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Matters met for the first time to identify $5 billion in additional non-tax revenue for its budget. Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock), chair of the subcommittee, handed out assignments to each member. Their mission is to find new ways of balancing the budget through the sale of state property, tax exemptions and new ways to improve tax collections, review of state fees, maximizing the use of dedicated revenue, and more. Stay tuned.

TMA TESTIFIES
Women’s Health Program: Yesterday, Janet Realini, MD, MPH, a family physician and a volunteer for the Healthy Futures Alliance (HFA), a community coalition dedicated to reducing teen and unplanned pregnancy in San Antonio, testified on behalf of TMA before the House Human Services Committee. Dr. Realini testified in support of House Bill 419 by Rep. Mike Villarereal (D-San Antonio). In 2007, Texas launched the Women’s Health Program (WHP) as a pilot to reduce Medicaid costs by providing low-income women access to family planning services, excluding abortion. Without legislative action, the program will expire in December 2011. HB 419 would extend WHP through 2021. It also strengthens the program by requiring the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to automatically enroll women in the program when their pregnancy-related Medicaid benefits end 60-days postpartum.

BILL UPDATE
Neonatal Intensive Care: Several bills are before the House Public Health Committee today with the goal of reducing the cost of neonatal intensive care services for Medicaid. TMA will support these bills:
  • HB 2636 by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenahm) directs HHSC to establish a commission to study neonatal intensive care units.
  • HB 1983 by Representative Kolkhorst directs HHSC not to reimburse physicians and providers who perform nonmedically induced deliveries prior to the 39th week for women covered under Medicaid. It also directs HHSC to conduct a study on the impact of the policy on infant health and frequency of infant admissions to neonatal intensive care units as well as readmission rates.
  • HB 2505 by Rep. Armado Walle (R-Houston) would establish a task force for lowering the incidence of premature births and improve the care of premature infants.
Immunization: The Senate Higher Education Committee will take up SB 1107 by Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth). The measure, which TMA supports, would require first-time or transfer students at a public or private college to be vaccinated for bacterial meningitis, regardless of where they live. Senator Davis sponsored legislation in 2009 that made Texas the first state to make this vaccination a requirement for all first-time college students that live on campus.

Undocumented immigrants: The House State Affairs Committee will take up HB 608 by Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Richmond). The legislation would require each state agency to submit a report of the costs of services and benefits provided to undocumented immigrants. The comptroller would use these reports to produce a biennial report to the legislature on the estimated financial impact of undocumented immigrants on the budget and economy. TMA supports the bill.

If you want to read letters and TMA physicians’ testimonies submitted to Texas lawmakers, you can find them on the TMA website.

UNDER THE ROTUNDA
Physician’ licensing: The Senate passed SB 240 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Southside Place) yesterday. The legislation streamlines the process for out-of-state physicians to obtain a medical license in Texas. Under the measure, doctors who have held a medical license in another state for at least five years, have never had any disciplinary orders or probation, and agree to practice medicine in an underserved area would be given an indefinite amount of time to complete their licensing certification in Texas.

Voter ID: The Texas House will take up the voter ID bill today. The legislation requires Texans to show a valid photo ID — such as a driver license or state-issued ID card, a military ID, or a passport — to vote.

PHYSICIAN OF THE DAY 
The physician of the day at the capitol is Keith Miller, MD, of Center. Dr. Miller has practiced family medicine for 23 years. He graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Medicine in 1985. Dr. Miller is a member of AMA, TMA, and the Shelby-Sabine County Medical Society.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Tell us your story. TMA wants to capture your story on video. Tell us why you decided to become a physician. What day did you leave your office or hospital and say to yourself, “Now, that’s why I became a physician”? Tell us what your profession means to you. Check out “physician moments” from some of your colleagues.

Register today for First Tuesdays at the Capitol on April 5.

WHAT WE'RE READING 
Opponents of Medicaid cuts warn of devastating ripple effect
(Austin American-Statesman)
Healthcare Reform's First Birthday Is No Piece of Cake
(Medscape Today)
Health Insurance Exchange Bill Bottled Up In Committee
(Quorum Report)

Mar 7, 2011

Stay Clear of Medicare Fraud Charges

Cracking down on fraud, waste, and abuse in government health care programs has taken a front seat in the U.S. government's drive to control health care costs. To wit: The Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a joint effort of the U.S. Health and Human Services and Justice departments indicted 111 people for $225 million in Medicare fraud, including seven from Texas, in February. While none are physicians, doctors are on federal auditors' radar.

Burgess Files Texas-Style Tort Reform Bill

U.S. Rep. Michael C. Burgess, MD (R-TX) has again filed legislation to improve patient access to physicians by ending unnecessary lawsuits by trial lawyers, just like a similar law has done in Texas since 2003.