Apr 24, 2012

Report: Texas Medical Residency Slots Not Keeping Up

NOTE: The Texas Tribune reports on a new study from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board that our state continues to slip in terms of having enough residency slots to keep pace with our intentional effort to increase medical school class size. This is a critical issue for Texans. The lack of enough physicians to keep up with growing demand (from our growing population, or aging population, and the requirements of the Affordable Care Act) is a huge concern for TMA and Texas physicians.

by Emily Ramshaw, The Texas Tribune

Responding to calls to meet the state’s physician shortage, Texas medical schools have increased their enrollment by roughly 30 percent in the last decade. But the slots available for students to complete their medical residencies in Texas are not keeping pace, according to a new report from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The report — commissioned by lawmakers in the last legislative session, and going before the coordinating board for approval tomorrow — found that without an increase in the number of first-year residency positions, at least 63 graduates of Texas medical schools will not be able to enter a Texas residency program in 2014. By 2016, the shortfall will nearly triple to 180. Research shows that if Texas medical students leave the state for their residency, they’re far less likely to return, meaning the state’s investment in their first four years of medical education — a total of $168,000 per student —  “will not benefit the state.”

According to the report, in 2011, Texas had more than 550 residency programs, offering a combined 6,788 residency slots. By 2014, Texas will need 220 more residency positions in order to have one for every Texas medical school graduate.

Despite some federal funding and limited state financing, the bulk of the cost for training these students — estimated at $150,000 per student per year — falls to the residency programs, many of which are cash-strapped themselves.

The report recommends that the Legislature provide an additional $11.7 million in funding in the 2014-15 biennium to support “10 percent of the cost for new first-year entering residency training positions” — but only if funding is available. Considering Gov. Rick Perry’s vow to further curb state spending, finding money for residency slots isn’t likely to be a priority. 

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/higher-ed-coordinating-board/report-texas-medical-residency-slots-not-keeping/.

Apr 13, 2012

TMLT Enhances Medefense Coverage

Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) policies covering individual physicians include the Medefense Endorsement, which provides reimbursement for legal and tax audit expenses for disciplinary proceedings.

The endorsement covers:

  • Review actions by the Texas Medical Board (TMB);
  • Hospital actions regarding clinical privileges;
  • Actions by the Texas Department of State Health Services or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Non-compliance with Medicare/Medicaid regulations, including the Recovery Audit Contractor Program;
  • Proceedings alleging violations of EMTALA, HIPAA, or Stark Laws; and
  • Federal tax audits.

Apr 12, 2012

Appeals Court Backs TMA in Chiro Lawsuit

Texas chiropractors may not perform needle electromyography (EMG) or manipulation under anesthesia (MUA), the Third Court of Appeals ruled earlier this month. The 58-page appellate court decision supports arguments from TMA and the Texas Medical Board that the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners exceeded its legal authority when it adopted rules allowing chiropractors to perform needle EMGs and MUA.

Apr 2, 2012

Aetna Deselecting 130 Texas Physicians

Aetna has notified 130 Texas physicians it will terminate them from its networks on July 1, TMA's Payment Advocacy Department has learned. Aetna says it told the physicians a year ago it was concerned about their billing patterns. Evaluation and management (E&M) codes were the only ones Aetna examined, and its concern involves primarily levels 4 and 5 E&M codes.