Oct 28, 2011

Tort reform worked

Letter to the editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Opponents of smart, common-sense legal reforms regularly release "reports" that rely on tortured data to back up their narrow view that reforms are bad for Texas. (See: "8 years after tort reform, its benefits are disputed," Oct. 12) Their twisted conclusions simply don't hold water.

Today, as a result of voter-approved reforms, Texas has more physicians per capita than ever before: adding enough doctors since 2003 to provide 6.4 million more patient visits than would have occurred without these reforms.

In all, more than 20,000 physicians have been licensed to practice in Texas since 2003, and many came here because of our reformed legal climate.

The change also has allowed hospitals to re-invest their liability savings to expand services, improve patient care and increase charity care in their local communities.

In short, needed reforms have provided a level of affordability and predictability for providers and allowed them to focus on what matters most -- keeping Texans healthy.

-- Evelyn Merrill, M.D., Fort Worth

Oct 27, 2011

Now Playing: The Video of Doom

Introducing: TMA's Calendar of Doom.

A panel seminar of TMA's Guide to Regulatory Compliance and Economic Survival, presented Oct. 22, 2011. The panel of physician and staff experts moderated by TMA President C. Bruce Malone, MD, discussed new compliance standards affecting physicians and their patients. They include HIPAA 5010 Compliance; ICD-10 Compliance (the complex new medical classification system of 14,400 new billing codes); E-Prescribing and Meaningful Use Incentives/Penalties; Fraud and Abuse/Audits; the Medicare Meltdown and need for SGR formula fix; and some political prognostications.

Between keeping pace with caring for patients, insurance company demands, government regulations, and the latest medical technology, there are never enough hours in a day. That's why TMA developed the Calendar of Doom, a web-based regulatory compliance tool giving you and your staff a big-picture view of upcoming state and federal compliance timelines and key health policy issues that impact Texas physicians.

Click on the compliance date to review background information, regulations, penalties and incentives, and suggested steps to help you meet the compliance date.

Get E-Prescribing Exemption by Nov. 1

Don't miss this deadline! Or any other. Visit TMA's new Calendar of Doom.

Physicians have until Nov. 1 to ask for an exemption from a 1-percent cut in Medicare payments next year for not meeting Medicare's e-prescribing requirements this year. You must submit the online hardship exemption form by then.

Oct 12, 2011

HIPAA 5010: Who's Exempt? Probably Not You

TMA President Bruce Malone, MD,
(center) at the TMA HIPAA 5010
Tele-Town Hall Meeting

Q. I have a small practice in a small town. Adopting HIPAA 5010 electronic standards by Jan. 1, 2012, is a huge hurdle for me — almost insurmountable. Is there a way I can get out of this requirement?

For more information on the new standards -- including a podcast featuring TMA experts -- please see our HIPAA 5010 Resource Center.

Modifiers 22, 52, and 53 for Medicare Claims

These three modifiers continue to trip up practices who use them when submitting Medicare claims. As is often the case, the key is to getting your claim paid is submitting good supporting documentation. Medicare won’t pay unless you explain why these procedures required more work or less work than usual, or why you stopped a procedure partway through.

Read more for practical tips and examples on how to use these modifiers correctly.

Oct 8, 2011

Stop the Medicare Meltdown


The Texas Medical Association unveils new statewide physician survey data showing the devastating adjustments to their practice physicians would be forced to make if Congress does not act by January. Only Congress can avert the almost 30-percent cut in Medicare doctor payments scheduled for Jan. 1. Unfortunately, Medicare patients — senior citizens and people with long-term disabilities — and Tricare patients from military families are likely to have coverage but not a physician of their choice.

Physicians: Contact Congress Now:
Contact Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison and your U.S. Representative today. Tell them that no other health care provider or pharmaceutical should get another payment increase until Washington fixes the broken physician payment system.
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