Table of Contents -- October 2005

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 101 No. 10  

COVER STORY

The New Workers' Compensation
Physicians, employers, and injured workers have complained about the workers' compensation system for years and have said something needs to be done. The Texas Legislature heeded those calls and reformed the system. It started by abolishing the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission, transferring the bulk of its duties to the Texas Department of Insurance, and introducing managed care-style provider networks into workers' compensation. The question now is, will it work?

By Ken Ortolon 

LAW

Read the Manuals
A San Antonio jury verdict against Humana in the death of a woman there illustrates why physicians should know the provisions of their patients' insurance coverage. Two doctors found themselves being held partially liable by the jury because they didn't read the patient's member handbook or the physicians' administration manual.

By Erin Prather 

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

Ending the Blame Game
A new federal law that creates a voluntary and confidential system for reporting medical errors is being touted as a way to help prevent medical errors and improve patient safety.

By Ken Ortolon 

PUBLIC HEALTH     

Dealing With Diabetes
Officials hope a new state law will improve the care of children with diabetes. It requires physicians to give public schools management and treatment plans that clearly state their patients' needs for services at school and during school activities. And, the schools must train appropriate personnel to assist students with medically ordered diabetes care tasks.

By Erin Prather 

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

The Medicare Squeeze
Many Texas physicians say they are losing money when they administer drugs to Medicare patients because the drugs cost more than the government pays them. Unless something is done, patients may have to go someplace else for their drugs, or they may have problems getting them at all.

By Ken Ortolon 

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

Primary and Secondary Payers
Wondering   about the rules for payment when you are contracted with both the primary and secondary insurers for a patient? TMA's Office of General Counsel has the answer.

It's Time to Go Electronic
If you're still submitting electronic Medicare claims that don't meet Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards, now is the time to update your billing software.

How to Manage Costs
In better performing practices, costs are closely monitored and controlled. There are some things to keep in mind that will help you maintain control of some practice expenses.

Before You Advertise
For those thinking about advertising a practice, the TMA Board of Councilors offers guidance. For starters, it's not unethical to list your name and practice in a directory for professional or lay use, but avoid false or misleading statements.

A KLASsy Wayto Select HIT Vendors
TMA has a tool that can help you decide what to buy when getting ready to use electronic health records. It's called KLAS Online. It specializes in monitoring health care information technology vendors. 

TMA ROUNDS

TEXPAC Dues Are Due
You're Gonna Flip Over the TMA Folio
TMA Joins Hospital CIT Survey Project
TMA Foundation Elects New Officers
Be Wise - Immunize: A Success Story
Hiring the Right Person for Your Practice
VistA-Office: A Free EHR? 

 

JOURNAL

Environmental Health: A Survey of Texas Primary Care Physicians (abstract)

By Winifred J. Hamilton, PhD, SM; Daniel J. Ryder; H. Paul Cooper Jr., MA; Darryl M. Williams, MD, MPH; Armin D. Weinberg, PhD 

 

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