Table of Contents: February 2006

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Vol. 102 No. 2  

COVER STORY

Consequences of Living
There's good news for Americans who are surviving heart attacks and other major heart ailments that might have killed them a generation ago. But it also means more people live with serious heart disease that must be managed to help them avoid future heart attacks. Experts say that raises serious questions, ranging from how physicians will find time to manage large numbers of patients with complex illnesses and multiple risk factors to how America will pay for the care they will demand. It also poses some ethical questions.

By Ken Ortolon 

LAW

Read the Addendum
Aetna has sent physicians a contract addendum that reflects the changes in business practices it agreed to make when it settled its portion of a class-action federal antiracketeering lawsuit. Make sure you read it carefully so you'll know if Aetna is keeping its promise. If not, let the compliance dispute facilitator know.

By Erin Prather 

PUBLIC HEALTH      

Access Granted
Two Project Access programs in Dallas and Austin are helping to solve the problems uninsured patients have in getting health care anywhere but a hospital emergency room. The programs provide medical, hospital, pharmacy, and social services at minimal cost to eligible patients.

B y Erin Prather 

MEDICAL EDUCATION

Lessening the Burden
TMA's loans and scholarships help almost 300 Texas medical students pay for their education every year. It's a needed service, since the average medical school graduate now starts his or her practice $115,000 in debt.

By Ken Ortolon 

TRUSTED LEADER

The Delegate's Delegate
When it comes to organized medicine, Austin's William G. Gamel, MD, has just about seen it all. He stepped down as chair of the Texas Delegation to the American Medical Association House of Delegates late last year after representing Texas at the national level for almost two decades.

By Steve Levine 

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

Do Your Patients Like You?
If you ever wonder whether your patients are satisfied with the service they receive from your practice, you should find out.

1500 Claim Form Revised
A new version of the 1500 Health Insurance Claim Form that accommodates the reporting of the national provider identifier has been issued by the National Uniform Claim Committee. 

Billing for Verified Services
Yes, you still have to file a clean claim to receive payment under the state's prompt pay rules if your office receives verification from an insurer that it will pay for a medical service.

How to Deal With No-Shows  
Patients who don't show up for their appointments can disrupt a practice and cause lost revenue. You should consider a no-show policy.

What Not to Include in a Medical Record
Medical records can be your best defense -- or worst enemy -- if you're sued. Some items should not be included in a medical record.

Don't Collect From a Bankrupt Patient
Don't try to collect a bill from a bankrupt patient or terminate the patient-physician relationship. You might violate the law. 

TMA ROUNDS

TMA Thinking About Taxes, Again
TMA, TSP Seek State Review of UnitedHealthcare Pathology Payments
New TMA Member Service Helps Battle High Power Prices
2006 TMA Foundation Gala Presents an Opportunity to Make a Difference
TMA Answers Your Medical Records Questions
Be a Be Wise - Immunize Advocate
TMA Physician Services Can Help Reduce Your Embezzlement Risk 

JOURNAL

Guide for Herbal Product Use by Mexican Americans in the Largest Texas-Mexico Border Community (abstract)

By José O. Rivera, PharmD; Armando González-Stuart, PhD; Melchor Ortiz, PhD; José C. Rodríguez, CPhT; Jaime P. Anaya, PharmD; and Armando Meza, MD    

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