• Other Issues

    • Demand for Telemedicine Increasing

      Imagine “visiting” the doctor via video, similar to a Skype call. Some physicians currently use telemedicine — in which physicians and health care providers use electronic communication tools to care for patients — and it’s growing more common. James Luecke, MD, credits telemedicine with helping save the life of a baby he was delivering in tiny Alpine, Texas, where a specialist miles away was only available by telemedicine. Physicians, patients, and policymakers alike recognize telemedicine can help improve access to care — especially for patients who are miles from the doctor. TMA wants to make sure patient safety is paramount in this practice, and the first step is establishing a proper patient-physician relationship: The physician first must see the patient in person.
  • The Sunshine Act and What You Need to Know

    • Sunshine Act Review and Dispute Period Now Open
      CMS announced today that the Open Payments system is once again available for physicians and teaching hospitals to register, review and, as needed, dispute financial payment information received from health care manufacturers. The system was taken offline on August 3 to resolve a technical issue. To account for system down time, CMS is extending the time for physicians and teaching hospitals to review their records to September 8, 2014. The public website will be available on September 30, 2014.
    • Sunshine Act Physician Registration Process Has Begun
      Later this year under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will make public physician payments reported by manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, and biologicals that participate in federal health care programs.
    • Law Sheds Light on Industry Payments to Physicians
      Later this year under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will make public physician payments reported by manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, and biologicals that participate in federal health care programs.
    • No Light Shining on Drug Samples
      Are the drug companies now required to report drug samples they give my practice, per the “Sunshine Act”?
  • TMA Caring for Veterans

    • Reporting for Duty
      As Congress and the embattled U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs work to resolve overwhelming backlogs in medical care for the nation's veterans, TMA and physicians across the state are enlisting to stand in the gap and help alleviate the documented access-to-care problems. TMA was one of the first state medical societies to establish a registry of private-sector doctors willing to see veteran patients.
    • Congress Passes VA Overhaul
      On Thursday, Congress approved a widespread overhaul of the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). TMA has been calling on the nation's leaders to clear existing bureaucratic landmines — slow payment and lack of interaction between the VA and the private sector, for instance — so private-sector physicians can help get veterans the timely care they need.
    • We’re Giving Our Veterans Unacceptable Care
      It’s an eight-hour drive from the Rio Grande Valley to my office here in Abilene. It takes just as long for someone to drive from Abilene to Albuquerque, New Mexico. And that’s just part of the problem that military veterans here in Texas face when they try to get health care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ― the VA.
  • More Top Stories

    • State Pilot to Streamline Medicare-Medicaid Patient Care
      When San Antonio pulmonologist John Holcomb, MD, treats patients enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, he knows he's dealing with a particularly fragile population that has little to no income and is elderly or has a disability. Neither these so-called "dual-eligible" patients nor the physicians treating them have it easy.
    • ACA Exchange Plans: Questions and Answers for Texas Physicians
      Confused by all you’ve heard about the Affordable Care Act marketplace insurance plans? Do you know whether you're in — or out — of the narrow networks? How will you tell if a patient is on an exchange plan? What happens to you if patients don't make their premium payments? What, if anything, can you do about all of this? TMA answers these and other tough marketplace exchange questions. MembersOnlyRed
    • Marketplace Means Decisions for Doctors
      The opening of the health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Jan.1 means you must be vigilant in your dealings with the health insurance companies. Or you could face major problems. For example, do your existing contracts with insurers mean you're already included in an exchange network? And, it's possible you'll have to refund payments to an insurer if a patient who bought coverage in the ACA marketplace doesn't pay his or her premiums.
    • Medicare Meltdown Fact Sheet: Stop the Medicare Meltdown — repeal the SGR
      Since the turn of the century, nothing has so regularly and completely vexed and frustrated physicians more than our annual game of chicken with Congress over Medicare payments. Medicare patients and military families are never out of danger. Year after year, the specter of congressional action or lack of action threatens to jeopardize health care for Medicare patients. And, because TRICARE rates for military families are based on Medicare, they’re in danger, too.