Table of Contents: October 2006

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 102 No. 10  

COVER STORY

Who's Worth More?
The failure of an Austin hospital for women is being blamed on low reimbursement for obstetrical services. It's a prime example of what many are calling gender bias in reimbursements. One national study of 24 different procedures shows those performed on men paid 44 percent higher than those on women. One physician calls the situation "a disservice to the women of our country."

By Erin Prather 

MEDICAL EDUCATION   

Teaching Patient Safety
TMA and the state's medical schools are developing a patient safety and medical errors prevention curriculum designed to keep patients safe. TMA hopes the curriculum - aimed at both medical students and practicing physicians - will raise awareness of and prevent potential problems such as medication errors and surgical site infections.

By Ken Ortolon 

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

When Hope Fades
Right-to-life advocates are at odds with physicians and hospitals over who has the final say - doctors or families - when treatment should be stopped because a patient has a terminal or irreversible condition. Physicians say the current law is sufficient; opponents, however, believe it gives doctors too much power.

By Ken Ortolon 

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

The "New" CIGNA
Health insurance giant CIGNA is using a methodology called Six Sigma to change the way it does business, including paying physicians' claims faster. It has helped, statistics show, but some physicians remain dissatisfied.

By Ken Ortolon 

TRUSTED LEADER

New Job, New Challenge
State Health Commissioner Eduardo Sanchez, MD, is leaving the Department of State Health Services this month to become director of the Institute for Health Policy at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

By Erin Prather 

ROUNDS

Medicare Announces Physician Fee Cut for January
Agreement Ends Aetna EKG Payment Dispute
CMS Does Not Extend Physician-Owned Hospital Moratorium
Physicians Foundations Signs HIT Deal With DocSite
TMA Physician Services Offers On-Site Coding Class With CME
Ask the TMA Knowledge Center 

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

Flu Shots: Don't Forget Senior Citizens
It's almost flu season, so now is the time to talk to your Medicare patients about pneumococcal and influenza immunizations. Medicare covers the cost of giving patients both immunizations. There is no beneficiary coinsurance or copayment, and a patient does not have to meet his or her deductible to be immunized.

Keep Your Policy Manual Updated
Make sure your office policy and procedure manual is updated throughout the year, not just when you think about it. And be sure all of your employees have a copy.           

Medicare May Pay for IV Boniva
If you have a patient who cannot tolerate the oral form of Boniva, Medicare may pay for the intravenous version. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is expected to assign a J-code for the Boniva Injection effective January 2007, with average sales pricing developed for the next quarter. 

JOURNAL

Pediatric Obesity inTexas: Does the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy Affect Child Nutrition? (abstract)

The Pediatric Obesity Prevention Study 

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