Physicians have three more days to register
for the Physician Quality Reporting System
(PQRS) and avoid a 1-percent cut in Medicare payments. The American
Medical Association says it convinced the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid
Services (CMS) to extend the registration deadline from Oct. 15 to Oct. 18
because several hundred large-group practices were threatened with fee
CMS says the deadline extension applies to individual physicians and
group practices of all sizes.
AMA says it is working for a longer extension, but the government
shutdown may prevent it.
Individual physicians can registerhere; group practices can register here.
The TMA website has more information on
The Affordable Care Act requires CMS to apply a value-based modifier (VBM) to
all physicians' Medicare payments by 2017 and to some physicians' payments
starting in 2015. AMA says CMS intends to apply a 1-percent VBM penalty to the
Medicare payments of physicians in groups of 100 or more that did not
participate in PQRS in 2013. This VBM penalty would be in addition to another
1.5-percent penalty that would apply to all physicians who did not participate
in PQRS either as an individual or as part of a group.
AMA says the help desk telephone number listed in error messages on the
PQRS registration portal is incorrect. Instead, call the PV-PQRS Help Desk at
(888) 734-6433, option 3, for questions about registration. You may also contact
CMS' QualityNet Help Desk at (866) 288-8912.
The patient-physician relationship will be the focus of the TMA Fall Conference, Friday
and Saturday, Oct. 18-19, at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin.
Saturday's session begins at 7:30 am with a Dawn Duster session on TMA's new
Services Organization for Patient Care.
The general session begins at 8:45 am with remarks by TMA President Stephen
Brotherton, MD. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will follow with an update on
issues in Congress. Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) will then make a
presentation on the 10th anniversary of passage of tort reform in 2003.
Next on the agenda will be a panel discussion on Protecting the
Patient-Physician Relationship. Panel members will be state Reps. Susan King
(R-Abilene), Sarah Davis (R-Houston), and Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth).
The session ends with a recap of the 2013 legislative session by Evan Smith,
chief executive officer and editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune.
You can get your flu shot and other vaccinations recommended for health care professionals at the
conference. Physicians and their families, medical students, and office staff
can get a vaccination Saturday, Oct. 19, from 7:30 to 8:30 am. The event is
sponsored by TMA's Committee on Infectious Diseases and TMA's Be
Wise — ImmunizeSM program.
Flu shots, including the new quadrivalent vaccine, and flu mist will be
available. You also can get a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) or MMR
(measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccination.
The cost for a flu shot is $27; for quadrivalent vaccination (limited
supply), $40; for FluMist, $40; for Tdap, $80; and for MMR, $105.
Be Wise — Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians and the TMA
Alliance, funded by the TMA Foundation through generous grants from H-E-B and
the TMF Health Quality Institute. Since the program began in 2004, more than
235,000 vaccinations have been given to Texas children, adolescents, and
TMA councils, boards, committees, and sections will meet during the
Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical