• Legal

    • TMA Offers Legal Information and Education

      Some of the most common, yet vexing, legal issues facing medical practices involve questions about medical records.  To whom may I release them?  How long do I have once a request has been made?  How long must I keep the records? What do I do when records are subpoenaed?  How much may I charge for copies? To that end, TMA has a variety of informational and educational resources to assist physicians and their staffs. 

  • Regulatory Compliance, Contracts, Ethics

    • Deadlines for Doctors

      Find out about upcoming state and federal compliance timelines and key health policy issues that impact Texas physicians.
    • Contracts

      Health care payment plan contracts and employment contracts can be a jungle of legal language; TMA identifies some of the contract clauses of which physicians should be aware. 
    • Ethics

      Look here for guidance on appropriate standards of conduct for the physician as well as links to ethics CME courses and tools such as the “do not resuscitate form” and physician directives. 
    • TMA HIPAA Resource Center

      TMA offers a variety of HIPAA resources, including the text of the regulations, standards, policies and procedures; HIPAA news; educational material; and links to HIPAA-oriented Web sites. 
  • Have questions about other legal issues?

    • Do your patients have questions about medical power of attorney?
      What duties does the health care provider have when presented with a principal's Medical Power of Attorney?  A principal's physician, health or residential care provider, or an employee of the provider shall follow a directive of the principal's agent to the extent it is consistent with the desires of the principal, the law, and the Medical Power of Attorney. 
    • Negotiate a Physician Salary With Eyes Wide Open
      With more physicians going into employment in a large group or hospital arrangement, it is important they understand the pros and cons of various compensation methods they might be offered in an employment contract.
    • HHSC Releases Marketing Guidelines
      The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) released "Texas Provider Marketing Guidelines" to help physicians and other health professionals assess their compliance with the rules, which took effect July 6.
    • New Information About Informed Consent
      Q: Are physicians required to use the disclosure and consent forms that the Texas Medical Disclosure Panel (TMDP) created for certain procedures? A: Use of these forms is not required. However, using them gives physicians an important measure of protection. TMA recommends that physicians always use them when applicable. Includes links to the forms.
    • Which Tests Need a CLIA Waiver Certificate?
      Q. I am a physician who performs urine dip sticks and finger sticks for blood glucose in my office as part of the patient’s visit. Am I considered to have a laboratory, and do I need a CLIA certificate?
      A. Yes, the testing you perform qualifies as waived laboratory testing, and you need a CLIA Certificate of Waiver. View the new tests that were added to the list by the FDA.
    • Informed Consent for Anesthesia and Other Procedures
      Physicians now need to inform patients of the risks and hazards of anesthesia and/or perioperative pain management (analgesia) and obtain their signed consent for these procedures. 
    • How Long Do I Have to Keep Patient Medical Records?
      Seven is the important number to remember in the Texas Medical Board rules for retention of medical records.
    • Medical Audits: What Physicians Need To Know
      One of the greatest challenges facing physicians and their staffs today is how to prepare for audits and financial reviews conducted by the Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) and private payers and how to appeal adverse audit findings. The Physicians Advocacy Institute, Inc., (PAI) is pleased to present this White Paper as part of an effort to assist physicians and their practice staff in understanding and appealing medical audits by RACs and commercial payers. 
    • Delegating Prescriptive Authority — to How Many?
      What is the ratio for the number of advanced practice registered nurses or physician assistants to whom a physician may delegate prescriptive authority?
  • Tax Fraud Scheme

    • Medicine's Bills Pick Up Speed
      With roughly six weeks to go in the Texas Legislature, lawmakers near the finish line in drafting a state budget for the next two years with significant improvements over last session that march the house of medicine closer to accomplishing its goals. With House and Senate committees in full swing as well, TMA is tracking a plethora of bills on the move that could help or hurt medicine's agenda.
    • Protect Yourself From Tax Fraud
      TMA has heard from a handful of member physicians who recently discovered they're the victims of tax fraud. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. Last year, more than 100 Texas Medical Association members notified the association someone had stolen their Social Security numbers and attempted to claim their tax refunds. The association learned the crime's victims also included physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, dentists, podiatrists, and pharmacists. Texas is one of 49 states and the District of Columbia affected by this con. So far, the perpetrators haven’t been caught.
    • Tax Relief, Medicaid Primary Care Pay Bump in Sight; Scope in Crosshairs
      As hearings get under way and lawmakers scramble to fashion a budget at the halfway mark of the 2015 legislative session, graduate medical education funding and tax relief remain a focal point for the legislature, and the House of Medicine has made early progress on both fronts. Lawmakers also heard TMA's call to reinstate the Medicaid-Medicare parity payments for primary care.
    • Comptroller Mails Business Transaction Forfeiture Notices
      Physician practices subject to the franchise tax should be aware that if the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts hasn't received their franchise tax returns or approved their extension requests, they may receive a "Texas Notice of Intent to Forfeit Right to Transact Business."
  • Get the latest news on legal topics.

    • TMB Adopts New Medical Records Rules
      Some of the most common, yet vexing, legal issues facing medical practices involve questions about medical records. Maintaining adequate patient records that adhere to legal requirements is vital.
    • TMB Rules: Telemedicine Requires In-Person Exam First
      Texas Medical Board (TMB) rules adopted last week send a message that technology is no substitute for physical patient exams. By voting to require physicians to conduct a face-to-face examination prior to making a diagnosis or prescribing drugs, TMB took a big step to protect patients who receive telemedicine services.
    • Put These Plans in Writing
      For some government programs, you need not only a compliance strategy but also a written compliance plan. A good written plan can reduce the number of innocent mistakes and will go a long way toward audit avoidance. Here are some of the written plans you have to have in your office.
    • Be Tech Savvy on the Road
      Are you traveling this holiday season? Be smart when using technology on the road!
    • Get Up to Speed on New Driving Rules, Medical Restrictions
      Physicians play an important role in helping to ensure drivers of all ages are medically fit to get behind the wheel. For the first time since 1991, Texas has updated its driving guidelines, with changes that better reflect advances in medical care in the past 23 years.