Table of Contents: November 2006

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 102 No. 11  

COVER STORY

Work in Progress
Physicians and other health care professionals expected that reduced administrative hassles and negotiated fees would attract qualified doctors back into the system to treat injured workers, and workers were promised better access to higher quality care when the legislature retooled the state's workers' compensation system last year. But it hasn't quite worked out that way. Still, there is optimism the new system will be better than the old one.

By Ken Ortolon 

LAW

Keep an Eye on Them
Physicians who don't adequately supervise nurse practitioners or other nonphysicians in their practice may find themselves in trouble with the Texas Medical Board. Five physicians found themselves in that position last year. The bottom line is doctors are the ones responsible.

By Erin Prather 

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

19 Seconds
Humana says its new real-time claims-adjudication system will ease some of the administrative burdens for physicians and provide faster reimbursement. A San Antonio clinic using the system says there was trouble at first, but it's been a big help ever since.

By Ken Ortolon 

PUBLIC HEALTH

Quitters Can Be Winners
State health officials hope next year's legislative session will increase funding for antismoking campaigns. Such campaigns are proven to be effective, but Big Tobacco is spending way more on getting people to start smoking than Texas is spending on programs to get them to quit.

By Erin Prather 

MEDICAL EDUCATION

Old Red in the Red
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston hopes to solve its financial problems with layoffs and increased revenue from privately insured patients. But some community physicians fear the "town/gown" fight will be renewed.

By Ken Ortolon 

ROUNDS

Legislator May Tinker With Tax Reform, Senator Tells TMA Conference
Tort Reform Lowers Premiums, Improves Patients' Access
Tara Offers TMA Members Cheaper Electricity
DSHS Hopes to Lay Whooping on Pertussis
Death Claims Former TMA Presidents
Ask the TMA Knowledge Center 

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

How to Collect Delinquent Bills
There are four things you need to know before you try to collect a past-due bill from a patient. The first is to gather all the relevant facts about the outstanding bill, such as how much, how long past due, and number of previous collection attempts.

EMRs Mean More Productivity
Adopting an electronic medical record (EMR) in your practice can affect you productivity. And, EMRs offer increased income through, among other things, more accurate coding. TMA's Health Information Technology Department can answer your questions. Call (800) 880-5720, or email hit@texmed.org.

No Internet Access?
Haven't brought the Internet to your office? You should. But in the meantime, TrailBlazer Health Enterprises' Part B Provider Outreach and Education Department can help you stay in touch with all of the most current Medicare information. Its Small Provider Outreach Program offers one-on-one assistance and can provide a hard copy of material published on its Web site. Examples include information on changing Medicare policies and the top 10 billing errors, TrailBlazer's bimonthly newsletter, and educational manuals. 

JOURNAL

Indigent Health Care in Texas: The Health Services District Approach (abstract)

By Paul Villas, DEd, and E. Linda Villareal, MD 

DEPARTMENTS

Letters
Deaths
Physicians' Referral Directory
Classifieds
MedBytes

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