Table of Contents -- November 2004

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 100 No. 11

COVER STORY

God, MD
Can a patient's religious beliefs help determine his or her outcome? Does religion play a role in medicine? Why does an atheist live and a believer die? Religion seems out of place in a field dedicated to science, and many physicians are reluctant to talk to patients about religious issues. But there's a renewed interest in recent years in the role spirituality and religion play in influencing a patient's outcome.

By Ken Ortolon

MEDICAL EDUCATION

Let's Play Doctor
You've finished medical school and are ready to begin your career in medicine. Not so fast. A new testing requirement means graduates have to prove their clinical communication skills. One recent test taker says it's an okay test, but anyone can fake it for one day. And it's expensive, too.

By Ken Ortolon

LAW

More Good News
The Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) has lowered its rates by 5 percent. That's on top of the 12-percent cut it made after Proposition 12 was passed by voters last year. TMLT officials say the rate cut is proof the 2003 tort reforms are working. State insurance regulators, meanwhile, say 13 new companies are now writing policies in Texas.  

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

Wired
President Bush and members of Congress from both parties say it's time every physician started transmitting patient information electronically. That would require a major investment by physicians, many of whom say they can't afford it. But one expert says the expense will be worth it in the long run.

By Ken Ortolon

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

Better Communications w ith Patients
The Bayer Institute for Health Care Communication has some tips to help you polish your communications skills.

No More Grace Period
The 90-day grace period for ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes has been eliminated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.          

Are You Up To Date?
You can avoid trouble by keeping your office policies and procedures manual up to date.

You Can't Be Too Careful
Don't overlook what can happen when an employee quits as you bring your office computer system into compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Security standards.

CMS Revises 'Incident-to' Rules
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has changed the Medicare Claims Processing Manual to clarify how to indicate ordering and supervising professionals for incident-to services on the CMS-1500 paper claim form.

Medicare CD on the Way
The Texas Medicare carrier is mailing CD-ROMs to inform Medicare physicians about the 2005 fee schedule.

TMA Rounds

House of Delegates Sets TMA Policy on TSBME, Workers' Comp, Medicaid
Dewhurst Asks for Physicians' Help to Change Health Care Delivery
Reform to Turn Workers' Compensation Into True insurance Product
Be Wise - Immunize Aims to Increase Immunizations
TMA Arranges Discount to Help Recover CIGNA Claims
PBF Helps Care for Our Physicians in Need
TMA Helps With Coding Compliance

Journal

What We Know and Don't Know About Asian American Health in Texas (abstract)

By Jenny K. Yi, PhD, MPH; Beverly Gor , EdD , RD, LD; and TruongSon Hoang, BS

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Texas Medicine is available to TMA members and presents timely information on public health, medicolegal issues, medical economics, science, medical education, and legislative affairs affecting Texas physicians and their patients.


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