Aug 31, 2012

DocbookMD Enhances Care

A new mobile app, DocbookMD, addresses the many issues surrounding the convenience, speed, and legality of physician-to-physician communication. It's your latest membership benefit from TMA.

Read more and find out how to download the app on your smartphone.

Aug 30, 2012

Don't Leave $5,000 on the Table!

Physicians planning to participate in the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program must begin their 90-days of meaningful use by Oct. 1 or they will forfeit $5,000 of the maximum $44,000 bonus. Physicians who begin the program in 2013 will be eligible only for $39,000 over the next four years.

Read more about the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs and what you need to do to qualify.

Aug 29, 2012

Can You Give Prompt Payment Discounts?

Giving patients “cash” discounts patients can be problematic. However, a carefully developed, written prompt payment discount policy could work for your practice.

Read more.

Aug 28, 2012

Identify Your Own Fraud and Abuse Red Flags

One way to help keep your practice operations squeaky clean and in compliance with fraud and abuse laws is to develop an internal set of warning indicators.

These might include:

  • Significant changes in the number and/or types of claim rejections and/or reductions,
  • Correspondence from carriers and insurers challenging the medical necessity or validity of claims, Illogical patterns or unusual changes in coding patterns or usage, and
  • High volumes of unusual charge or payment adjustment transactions.

Find out what you can do about it.

Aug 27, 2012

It's Official; It's Bad: ICD-10 Starts in 2014

Federal officials' decision to go ahead with the ICD-10 coding system does not improve patient care and only helps bureaucrats, Texas Medical Association President Michael E. Speer, MD, said after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the new system would take effect Oct. 1, 2014. The ICD-10 announcement was contained in a news release about a CMS rule establishing a unique health plan identifier system officials say will save physicians time and money.

Read more of TMA's reaction.

Aug 21, 2012

Medicaid Infographic

JAMA has just published a Kaiser Family Foundation infographic entitled "Medicaid: Its Role Today and Under the Affordable Care Act." We reprint a low-resolution version below.You can download the high-resolution PDF from the JAMA website.

Aug 18, 2012

Doctor-Patient Battles West Nile Virus in Dallas

At the urging of area physicians, Dallas County declared a state of emergency and began aerial spraying yesterday to combat West Nile virus. Learn more about the dangers of the virus, its origins, how it is transmitted, and more by watching this informative video by DocDano. Dan McCoy, MD, interviews West Nile virus survivor and Dallas physician Don Read, MD.

Watch Dr. Read's compelling story and learn how he's using his personal experience to protect Dallasites from reliving his odessey.

Aug 17, 2012

You CAN Negotiate a Health Plan Contract

Many physicians assume that attempting to negotiate a health plan contract is hopeless — but that is a myth. New survey data from TMA shows that practices’ negotiation attempts are successful more often than not. Members report winning both payment and term changes in their contracts.

Read TMA's step-by-step advice.

Aug 16, 2012

Feds Begin Meaningful Use Audits

You’ve achieved meaningful use and received a federal electronic health record (EHR) system incentive payment. Next, you might get audited.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun auditing physicians who have received Medicare EHR incentive payments. The Garden City, N.Y., accounting firm of Figliozzi & Company is conducting the audits. Physicians being audited will receive a letter from Figliozzi on CMS letterhead.

Find out more.

Aug 15, 2012

TMLT Lowers Rates Again

The Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) is reducing liability premiums an average of 4 percent for policyholders who renew in 2013. It is TMLT's 10th rate cut since 2004, following passage of the liability reforms TMA pushed through the legislature in 2003.

Read the details.

Aug 14, 2012

Medicare Fees Reward Some, Punish Others

Total Medicare payments to family physicians could increase 7 percent and fees for other physicians providing primary care could rise 3 to 5 percent, due mostly to a proposal to create new payment codes for outpatient discharge care management. Payments to some specialists would decrease in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS') proposed 2013 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. However, unless Congress intervenes again, CMS will slash overall Medicare payments 27 percent next year because of the Sustainable Growth Rate formula.

Read more.

Aug 13, 2012

DPS Tracks Drug Shoppers

Physicians can check patients' controlled substance prescription history through the Texas Department of Public Safety's (DPS) new secure online Prescription Access in Texas (PAT) database. The program -- designed to reduce patients' prescription drug abuse -- allows physicians and police to go online to see what controlled substances a patient has been prescribed in the past year.

Read more.

Aug 7, 2012

TMLT Makes First Trust Rewards Payout

Arthur Brock, MD, and his wife Myrna enjoying retirement in Cape Coral, Florida. Dr. Brock retired in May 2012 and was one of the first physicians to receive a Trust Rewards payout from Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT).

Trust Rewards is TMLT’s nest egg program for enrolled policyholders. To learn more about the program, go to

Aug 6, 2012

West Nile Webinar Today

An outbreak of the West Nile virus across Texas -- and especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth area -- prompted the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to hold a free webinar, Nile Virus: An Update for Clinicians, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm CDT today, Aug. 6.

Read more and find out how to register.

Aug 1, 2012

TMLT Declares Dividend Again

Physicians who hold policies from the Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) will save about $20 million in premiums in 2013, thanks to the TMLT Board of Governors' approval of a 15-percent dividend for policyholders who renew in 2013. TMLT says this is the eighth time it has declared a dividend, saving policyholders approximately $226 million since 2005.

See all the details.

Prepare for New Medicare Payer

Novitas will become the new Medicare carrier for Texas on Nov. 19, taking over from TrailBlazer Health Enterprises to administer Medicare claims for Texas and the six other states in Medicare Jurisdiction H (JH).

Here are some things you ought to do now to ease into the switch.