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Physicians Help Create a Healthy Texas Economy

Physician practices add value to Texas' economy by producing tens of billions of dollars in revenue each year and providing hundreds of thousands of jobs. "The National Economic Impact of Physicians," a new study conducted for the American Medical Association (AMA) and state medical societies, found Texas' 47,000-plus practicing physicians boost the state's economy by supporting 522,619 jobs and generating $78.6 billion in economic activity.

Seminar Trains Your Staff on ICD-10 Documentation
TMA's new seminar, ICD Documentation and Auditing: Success Is in the Details, offers hands-on, detailed ICD-10 training for your staff. Participants will learn how to navigate the expansive ICD-10-CM code book, how to apply the new coding guidelines when assigning codes, and how to avoid denied claims through proper documentation and audit methods.

Register for the Texas Health Home Summit Today
Join your colleagues for the second annual Texas Health Home Summit May 8-9 at the Westin Austin at The Domain to learn about medical home models and best practices and to interact with experts at various stages of medical home implementation.

Take The Physicians Foundation's 2014 National Physician Survey
Let your voice be heard! Complete the 2014 National Physician Survey, sponsored by The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to improve physician satisfaction. The foundation's third national survey gives you and your colleagues a chance to comment on the current state of the medical profession in what may be the most comprehensive survey of American physicians ever undertaken.

CMS Releases Medicare Physician Payment Data
On April 9, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) gave the public unprecedented access to physician payments and charges for services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiaries. The CMS online database contains information on more than 880,000 physicians and other health care professionals who collectively received $77 billion in Medicare Part B payments in 2012.

Apply For Meaningful Use Exemption by July 1
Physicians who are not participating in the Medicare electronic health record incentive program, also known as meaningful use, will be penalized by Medicare beginning Jan. 1, 2015. To prevent the penalty, physicians must either attest to meaningful use by Oct. 1, 2014, or apply for a hardship exemption by July 1, 2014.

Attest by April 1 for Medicaid Primary Care Pay Increase
To qualify for the full Medicaid primary care physician payment increase authorized by the Affordable Care Act, eligible physicians must submit an attestation form by April 1. Physicians who submit a form before April 1 will be eligible for retroactive payments from Jan. 1, 2013. Physicians who attest after the deadline will receive only retroactive payments from the date Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership received the attestation.

Medicare End-to-End Testing Accepting Volunteers
Ready to test ICD-10 with Medicare? The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will select volunteer clearinghouses and physicians to participate in end-to-end testing of ICD-10 the week of July 21-25. The deadline to volunteer is March 24.

CMS Proposes New Medicare Advantage Network Rules
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced it is considering new rules aimed at safeguarding Medicare Advantage enrollees when health plans significantly reduce their physician networks.

Court Keeps Injunction in United Medicare Advantage Case
A federal appeals court has refused to allow UnitedHealthcare to continue kicking physicians out of its Medicare Advantage plans. On Dec. 12, the court declined United's request to lift an injunction against the insurer and referred the case to a three-judge panel. The appeals court ordered the parties in the lawsuit to file briefs later this month.

DPS Announces Interim CSR Renewal Solution
On Jan. 1, renewal of controlled substances registration (CSR) permits issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) should have become part of physicians' biennial online medical license renewal with the Texas Medical Board. TMA advocated passage of House Bill 1803 by Rep. Bill Callegari (R-Katy) and Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) to ease the administrative hassle and red tape on physicians when they renew their CSR permits and to avoid interruptions in patient care and in physicians' practices due to inadvertent expirations.

Congress Patches SGR, Delays ICD-10
Congress has done it again. For the 17th time, lawmakers slapped yet another Band-Aid on Medicare to stave off a 24-percent physician payment cut under the fatally flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. It sets the next SGR cliff for April 1, 2015.

Have You Talked To Your EHR Vendor About ICD-10?
Vendors are key partners who can help you prepare for ICD-10. You can assess an electronic health record (EHR) vendor's capabilities by answering key questions.

Nominate a Psychiatrist for DSHS Advisory Board
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is seeking physician nominees certified in psychiatry to serve on the department's Medical Advisory Board (MAB). Physicians appointed to the MAB work with DSHS and the Department of Public Safety on determining whether driver's license applicants or current license holders are medically capable of safely operating a motor vehicle. Physician members also review concealed handgun license applications.

TMA Opposes Audiology Scope Expansion
Audiologists lack the "medical training necessary to perform the same duties as physicians" and aren't able to "provide patients with the medical diagnosis and treatment options they require." That's the message TMA, the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, 38 state and local medical associations, and dozens of specialty societies and national organizations sent in a letter to House and Senate leaders.

OIG Starts Fraud Education Series for Physicians
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has begun a Provider Education series to inform health professionals on OIG's efforts in detecting, deterring, and correcting fraud, waste, and abuse in the Texas Medicaid system. The first topic is Understanding Waste, Abuse, and Fraud.

Aetna Seeks to Axe $120M Ingenix Class Settlement
Late last year, Aetna Inc. announced a proposed class settlement of up to $120 million over its use of the flawed Ingenix database. The settlement covered physicians and health care professionals who delivered out-of-network services to Aetna subscribers any time between June 3, 2003, and Aug. 30, 2013, and received less than the billed charge.

Apply for the Texas Physician Practice Quality Improvement Award
Texas physician practices continue to make great strides in providing reliable preventive services by using health information technology and effective care management methods. If you're among these practices, you should be recognized for your hard work.

DocbookMD Adds MedPage Today News for Physician Users
All TMA member physicians will soon be able to receive breaking medical news from MedPage Today from the DocbookMD app. DocbookMD has partnered with MedPage Today to provide physicians with an instant, trusted news service.

Attend the Choosing Wisely CME Track at TexMed
TMA will offer a continuing medical education (CME) track titled Choosing Wisely: Quality and Patient Safety on Saturday, May 3, from 10 am to 2 pm at the Fort Worth Convention Center during TexMed 2014.

The Broadway Tenors Are Playing at TMAF’s 21st Annual Gala!
See some of Broadway's best, and enjoy a performance filled with musical hits when you join your colleagues and gala cochairs Dr. Joe and Susan Todd, Fort Worth, at the TMA Foundation's (TMAF's) 21st gala. A Masqued Ball is scheduled for Friday, May 2, 2014, at the Omni Fort Worth and will be held in conjunction with TexMed 2014.

CME Spotlight Brings CME to Your Inbox
Looking for continuing medical education (CME) that is timely and practical? Need help wrapping your head around new rules and regulations?

Register for the UT Nutrition Institute Conference
Registration for the second annual University of Texas Nutrition Institute Conference is now open. The theme for this year's event is "Nourish." The conference will take place May 22-24 on the UT-Austin campus.

Do EHR Mandates Exist?
It depends. What is your definition of a mandate? You do not have to use an electronic health record (EHR) in your practice, but if you don't, Medicare penalties will be incurred beginning in 2015.

Don't Use Code G8553 for E-Prescribing
Starting this year, you'll no longer need the G-code for the Medicare e-prescribing program. If you use the G8553 code, the claim will be rejected and you'll have to resubmit it to Medicare.

Board Pulls Plan for Pharmacists to Check Diagnoses
The Texas State Board of Pharmacy quickly killed a proposal that would have required pharmacists to contact the prescribing physician for each new patient with a prescription for a controlled substance.

Need a Cancer Expert? TMA Can Help
Are you looking for a speaker on the latest in cancer control and prevention? The TMA Cancer Speakers Bureau is here to help.

TMA Releases 2nd Edition of NPP Guide
Last year, the Texas Legislature passed legislation that replaces site-based requirements for the delegation and supervision of prescriptive authority for nonphysician practitioners (NPPs) with a framework of delegation and supervision that uses customizable prescriptive authority agreements.

Delegating and Supervising Prescribing Privileges for APRNs/PAs
New state law governing the delegation and supervision of prescribing privileges for advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants went into effect Nov. 1.  MembersOnlyRed

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.

TMA Wants Stronger Grace Period Notification
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) should require insurers who offer health plans on the Affordable Care Act exchanges to provide immediate notice when patients enter the first month of the 90-day grace period. That's what TMA, the American Medical Association, and more than 80 state medical societies and specialty organizations told CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a letter.

TMA Presses SGR Repeal
In a letter to leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, the Texas Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and more than 600 physician organizations throughout the nation pressed for passage of legislation by March 31 to "repeal the fatally flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula." A 24-percent cut to Medicare payments will occur April 1 if Congress fails to act.

Supreme Court to Review Antitrust Enforcement Case
The U.S. Supreme Court announced March 3 that it will decide whether a federal agency can second-guess the work of state medical licensure boards.

Rule Gives Patients Access to Lab Reports
Patients no longer have to call their physicians to get the results of a lab test under a new federal rule that gives them direct access to the reports.

March Madness Tips Off Hard Hats Giveaways
Spring is an ideal time to help Texas children be active and safe through TMA's Hard Hats for Little Heads bike helmet giveaway program. Sponsor a local giveaway in 2014 to help Hard Hats for Little Heads celebrate 20 years of keeping kids safe.

Virtual ICD-10 Training in Your Office
With ICD-10 preparation well underway and the transition date less than eight months away, it's time to determine how the new coding system will fit into your practice's daily operations. How does your current documentation stack up to the new guidelines, and what changes do your staff members need to make to their standard workflow to ensure a seamless transition and steady payment flow? Your practice's success is in the details.

Act Now! SGR Repeal Closer Than Ever
There's a light at the end of the SGR tunnel. Or is it a freight train? You can make the difference and help ensure that Congress permanently repeals Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula now.

TMA Knowledge Center Helps With Board Certification
Does your board certification process require journal articles? The TMA Knowledge Center can help you by obtaining articles and performing custom research requests.

Texas Physicians Call on Congress to Fix Medicare Formula Now
Physician leaders from the Texas Medical Association are in Washington today to urge every member of the Texas congressional delegation to cosponsor landmark legislation that would strengthen Medicare by updating the program’s troubled payment system.

Tell Congress March 5 to Repeal SGR
You can send a strong message to Congress to eliminate the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and establish new payment systems that support high-quality patient care by participating in a national call-in organized by the American Medical Association on March 5.

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.

DocbookMD Connects Texas Physicians in More Ways Than Ever
With the Care Team feature and new partnerships, DocbookMD has branched out to support physicians like never before.

Put Prevention Into Practice: Give Away Helmets in Your Office
Help your young patients get moving and stay safe by giving away free bicycle helmets in your office. TMA's Hard Hats for Little Heads program makes it easy.

Are You Choosing Wisely?
TMA wants to know if you have implemented the Choosing Wisely® recommendations in your practice.

Medicare Meaningful Use Attestation Extended to March 31
March 31 is the new deadline for physicians to attest to meeting the Medicare electronic health record meaningful use criteria for the 2013 program year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced. The previous deadline was Feb. 28. For physicians participating in the Medicaid EHR incentive program, the deadline is March 16.

Are You Ready for ICD-10?
The Oct. 1 compliance date to transition to ICD-10 will be here before you know it. A January report from the Medical Group Management Association suggests physicians, payers, and electronic health record vendors are all well behind the curve in preparing for implementation.

Find Out How Valuable Your TMA Membership Is
Do you ever wonder how hard your membership dues dollars are working for you? By delivering a wealth of benefits and services, your TMA and county medical society membership offers a great return on investment.

Recognize a Local Journalist’s Health Reporting
Flu. Health disparities. Obesity. Concussions. These are just a few topics already making headlines in 2014. If you read or hear a great health news story, nominate it for the TMA Anson Jones, MD, Awards, which recognize excellence in health journalism in Texas. TMA has honored award-winning Texas journalists for more than 50 years.

TMA Exhibit Focuses on Forensics
Forensics experts peer into microscopes to solve crimes almost nightly on television. How did forensic medicine, which has revolutionized investigations, begin? Find out with a visit to TMA's newest History of Medicine exhibit, “Bugs, Bones, and Blood,” which examines forensic medicine — the search for truth when someone dies suddenly or mysteriously.

New Stage 2 Meaningful Use Tool
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology have a new tool to help you meet the meaningful use Stage 2 transitions of care measure. The EHR Randomizer allows physicians to exchange data with a designated test electronic health record (EHR) system to meet part of the measure.

CMS Puts Recovery Audit Program on Pause
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in late February that it will pause additional documentation requests by recovery audit contractors (RACs) until new RAC contracts are finalized. The pause in requests began Feb. 21, the last day a recovery auditor could send postpayment additional documentation requests.

Aetna to Pay $120 Million in Claims Dispute
Aetna's creation of a $120 million fund to pay physicians for out-of-network claims moved closer to reality last month when a New Jersey federal judge tentatively approved a settlement of the class action lawsuit by the Texas Medical Association and its organized medicine partners. Final approval is scheduled for March.

Projected ICD-10 Conversion Costs Triple
The costs for physician practices to implement the federally mandated transition to the ICD-10 code set are three times earlier estimates, according to a new American Medical Association study.

Projected ICD-10 Conversion Costs Triple
The costs for physician practices to implement the federally mandated transition to the ICD-10 code set are three times earlier estimates, according to a new American Medical Association study.

TMA, AMA Tell Feds to Expedite RAC Audit Appeals
It’s a terrible idea to announce a 28-month delay in handling appeals just as physicians’ frustration and ire with Medicare recovery audit contractors (RACs) are mounting, TMA, the American Medical Association, and nearly 100 other physician organizations told a federal official. They called for an immediate solution to the appeals hearings backlog that has caused the delay.

Deadlines to Attest for EHR Incentive Programs Approach
For physicians who participated in the 2013 Medicare electronic health record (EHR) incentive program, the deadline to attest to meaningful use is quickly approaching. Physicians hoping to receive the incentive must attest no later than March 31, 2014, by 10:59 pm CT. The previous deadline for physicians to attest for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program was February 28, but it was recently extended. For physicians participating in the Medicaid EHR incentive program, the deadline is March 16.

Two Meaningful Use Deadlines Coming Up
Physicians participating in the Medicare meaningful use electronic health record program have until Feb. 28, 2014, (precisely at 10:59 pm CT) to complete their attestations. Physicians participating in the Medicaid meaningful use program have until March 16.

Updated Child Mental Health Guide Available
Physicians who provide mental health care to children and adolescents have an updated, valuable resource at their fingertips. The 2013 version of Psychotropic Medication Utilization Parameters for Children and Youth in Foster Care is available on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website.

What to Report to the Health Authorities
The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has released the latest Texas Notifiable Conditions for 2014. DSHS updates the list yearly to identify all conditions, diseases, and expressions of disease that under state law must be reported to state or local public health authorities.

TMA Applauds CVS Caremark’s Decision to Stop Selling Tobacco
Texas physicians applaud CVS Caremark’s decision to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its stores. TMA physicians agree with CVS that preventing tobacco use will improve the health of Texans.

TMA Opinion
TMA Opinion

Preceptorship Program to Accept Applications
The General Internal Medicine Statewide Preceptorship Program will begin accepting applications on Jan 7.

TMLT Puts $20 Million Into Policyholder Rewards
The Board of Governors of the Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) has voted to dedicate $20 million to its Trust Rewards Program for 2014. TMLT uses Trust Rewards to reward policyholders for their loyalty.

Ten Years of What Has TMA Done for Me Lately?
Jim Bob Brame, MD, a family physician in Eldorado, turns 85 this year. Dr. Brame is a former TMA president who still cares deeply about organized medicine. In a recent speech to the Concho Valley County Medical Society, he gave his colleagues 10 years' worth of reasons for belonging to TMA.

TexMed 2014 Registration Is Now Open
Register today for TMA's free annual conference, and join thousands of fellow Texas physicians, as TexMed 2014 descends on Fort Worth May 2-3 for a weekend of continuing medical education events, networking, policymaking, and all-around fun. This year's keynote speaker is Zubin Damania, MD ― perhaps better known for his alter ego and street persona, ZDogg, MD.

Physicians Foundation Examines ACA Rollout
Physicians continue to grapple with confusion over implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including political and budget issues at the federal and state levels and how those issues will affect their practices in the years ahead. The Physicians Foundation's new report, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: From Theory to Boots on the Ground, examines critical issues facing the implementation of health insurance exchanges and ongoing challenges of health reform, including state Medicaid programs.

Free DocbookMD Update Now Available
Version 5.3 of TMA's endorsed secure communication app DocbookMD is now available for free in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. This latest update sees some major improvements to the user interface, most noticeably in the organization and navigation of messages and upgrades for your "favorites" list.

TMA Flu Fighters Are Back
With influenza now widespread across Texas, TMA's Committee on Infectious Diseases has resurrected the TMA Flu Fighters. The project provides physicians timely advice on how to prevent, recognize, diagnose, and treat influenza.

Claim Your Claim From Aetna Settlement
March 28, 2014, is the deadline for physicians to postmark claims for part of the $120 million settlement in a lawsuit against Aetna over payments for out-of-network services.

Didn't Report PQRS in 2013? You Can Still Avoid Penalty
Eligible physicians not participating in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) for the 2013 reporting year will pay a 1.5-percent penalty on their Medicare claims in 2015. However, individual physicians and group practices that have not yet reported PQRS data, did not elect the administrative claims-based reporting option in October, and do not plan on meeting the full requirements to earn the 0.5 percent bonus still can avoid the penalty.

Now Accepting Quality Poster Submissions
TMA's second annual Quality Poster Session will take place at TexMed 2014 in Fort Worth in May. You will have the chance to share your successes and breakthroughs in improving patient care with your peers from around the state.

Get AccessMedicine Textbooks from TMA
The TMA Knowledge Center is adding an innovative textbook resource to our online databases. AccessMedicine from McGraw-Hill Medical provides TMA members with access to more than 75 medical titles from the best minds in medicine, updated content, thousands of images and illustrations, interactive self-assessment, case files, timesaving diagnostic and point-of-care tools, a comprehensive search platform, and the ability to view from and download content to a mobile device.

TMA PHW Conference Focuses on Cultural Competence
"Cultural Competence: Putting Patients First" will be the theme of the Physician Health and Wellness (PHW) Training Session and 21st Annual Retreat, Feb. 14-15, at the Inn on Barons Creek in Fredericksburg.

CMS Gives Refunds, Guidance on Incarcerated Patients
If you had a Medicare payment recouped for providing services to patients mistakenly identified as "incarcerated," refunds and guidance are on the way. Novitas Solutions began issuing refunds to affected physicians in December. CMS has also published a fact sheet titled "Medicare Coverage of Items and Services Furnished to Beneficiaries in Custody Under a Penal Authority" to guide physicians on the agency's policies and procedures.

TMAF to Fund More Programs in 2014
TMA has launched two new health improvement initiatives, bringing the total number of TMA Foundation-funded grant programs to seven this year. This represents nearly $390,000 in grant support from TMA's philanthropic arm, up from $329,000 in 2013.>

Let's Protect 34,000 Little Heads This Year
Texas Medical Association's Hard Hats for Little Heads bicycle helmet giveaway program celebrates its 20th birthday this year. Help us make it an extraordinary year by sponsoring a helmet giveaway in your community.

Train Your Staff in State and Federal Privacy Compliance
TMA is offering a lunch-hour webinar on Jan. 22 titled HIPAA Training for Medical Office Staff that provides training on state and federal medical staff compliance. Among other topics, your staff will learn about common HIPAA myths, protected patient information, and disclosure of protected health information. The webinar concludes with a live question-and-answer session.

EHR Safe Harbor Exception Extended Through 2021
An exception to Stark self-referral and antikickback rules for physicians who accept donations of nearly-free electronic health records (EHRs) items and services from certain health care entities was set to expire last year, but it will continue through 2021. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published companion rules that extend the regulatory exemptions.

Cultural Competence Focus of Physician Health and Wellness Conference
"Cultural Competence: Putting Patients First" will be the theme of the Physician Health and Wellness (PHW) Training Session and 21st Annual Retreat held Feb. 14-15 in Fredericksburg. Presented by the TMA Committee on PHW, the conference has been accredited for a maximum of 10.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, 7.5 of which are designated as ethics and/or professional responsibility education.

Is Your Practice Compliant With HIPAA Privacy Laws?
Do any of your vendors come under the expanded HIPAA definition of business associate? Is your notice of privacy practices up to date? TMA is offering a replay of Complying with HIPAA and Texas Privacy Laws webinar from noon to 1 pm CT on Jan. 15 to ensure you can answer these questions.

SGR Repeal Bill Good, Could Be Better, Must Pass
A bipartisan plan to repeal the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula is a good start but still needs work, the Texas Medical Association and eight other states in the Coalition of State Medical Societies say in a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee.

Congress Moves Toward Temporary Medicare Fee Hike, SGR Repeal
The annual avert-the-impending-Medicare-disaster effort is in full swing as Congress tries to avoid a devastating cut in Medicare payments to physicians caused by the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. If that effort does not succeed, physician fees will be cut 23.7 percent on Jan. 1.

TMA: Don't Make Docs Pay For Inaccurate Plan Directories
Calling it either "an enormously unfortunate oversight" or "a government grab at discount health care services," TMA is vehemently opposing a new federal policy regarding physician participation in the Affordable Care Act exchange marketplace health plans. The policy is one of the "smooth transition" policies the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended in an interim final rule published Dec. 17, 2013.

New Claim Form Adopted for Workers' Compensation
Texas Commissioner of Workers' Compensation Rod Bordelon adopted rules requiring the use of the newly updated 1500 Health Insurance Claim Form Version 02/12 (CMS-1500).

Not Using NDC Numbers on Medicaid Claims? Start NOW
If you're not already doing so, start including National Drug Code (NDC) numbers on your Medicaid fee-for-service and HMO claims for prescription drugs because Texas will begin enforcing the provision on Jan. 1, 2014. The requirement applies to all outpatient prescription drugs, except vaccines, and to long-acting reversible contraceptives.

Proposition 12 Produces Healthy Benefits
Proposition 12 continues to produces healthy benefits. Improving access to medical care is critically important to all Texans. This is especially true for children, pregnant women, the aged, the poor, those in an emergent condition and those in rural Texas. Charity care has greatly increased since the passage of the 2003 reforms.

Medical Liability Reform’s Promises Kept
10-Year Anniversary TMA Survey Documents Increased Access to Care

When Patients Don’t Pay Their Premiums in the ACA Marketplace
Will physicians have to refund payments to an insurer if a patient who bought coverage from that insurer in the Affordable Care Act marketplace doesn’t pay his or her premiums?

Second Annual Quality Poster Session at TexMed 2014
TMA's second annual Quality Poster Session will take place at TexMed 2014 in Fort Worth in May. You will have the chance to share your successes and breakthroughs in improving patient care with your peers from around the state.

Medicaid Seeks Medical Director
The state's Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program is looking for a medical director.

News From Workers' Comp
Insurance carriers in the workers' compensation system cannot require injured workers to get their prescriptions filled at pharmacies designated by the insurer, a Texas Department of Insurance official said in a Dec. 9 memo.

2014 Medicare Participation Deadline Extended
Jan. 31 is the new deadline for physicians to decide whether to participate in the Medicare program in 2014. The deadline originally was Dec. 31, but the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended it because CMS released the 2014 physician fee schedule later than usual.

TMA Answers Your Health Insurance Exchange Questions
If you missed the live health insurance exchange (HIX) webcast but still have questions about how the Affordable Care Act and the exchange health plans will play out in your practice, you have two upcoming opportunities to view an encore presentation. On Thursday, Dec. 19, TMA will replay the HIX webcast in its entirety at 7 am CT and again at 5 pm CT. This hour-long discussion led by TMA's Lee Spangler, vice president of medical economics, will help answer the HIX questions you need to ask yourself.

TMA: Meaningful Use Delay Not All That Meaningful
The government's decision to postpone Stage 3 meaningful use by extending Stage 2 for a year is not the good news it appears to be, TMA says in a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials.

New SGR Replacement Plan Unveiled
Once again, Texans in Congress are playing key roles in fixing our broken Medicare payment system. The latest joint proposal comes from the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee. Rep. Kevin Brady chairs the Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, and Sen. John Cornyn sits on the Senate Finance Committee and its Subcommittee on Health Care.

Pediatrician Suggests You Choose Wisely With Patients
Marylou Buyse, MD, pediatrician and chief medical director of Scott & White Memorial Hospital Health Plan, wants Texas physicians to spark discussion with patients by using Choosing Wisely.

ACP Conference Focuses on Medical Home
You can learn how to make quality work for your practice and your patient and to transform care for diabetics and others with multiple comorbid conditions by attending a conference sponsored by the American College of Physicians (ACP) Texas Chapter next month in San Antonio. "In Search of Joy in Practice: Innovations in Patient-Centered Care" will take place Jan. 24-25 at the Omni La Mansion del Rio.

Find It, Fix It, Keep It: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Affordable Care Act: Find What’s Missing. Keep What Works. Fix What’s Broken.

Are You on the Medicaid Fee Increase List?
The Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership (TMHP) has compiled a list of primary care physicians eligible for the temporary fee increase for treating Medicaid patients that was authorized by the Affordable Care Act. On the list are the names of physicians who filed the required form by Oct. 16, attesting that they are eligible for the increase.

Texas RECs Offer Free Help to Some Medicaid Specialists
A grant from Texas Medicaid now allows the four Texas regional extension centers (RECs) to help physicians participating in the Medicaid electronic health record meaningful use incentive program. Physicians with at least 30 percent Medicaid volume can receive up to $63,750 in incentives over six years.























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