Table of Contents -- August 2004

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 100 No. 8

COVER STORY

Cheap or Good?
Physicians know better than anyone that diagnosing a patient's illness and deciding how he or she should be treated is often a tough call. Some insurance companies want it done as cheaply as possible. Saving money is good, but it's not always good medicine. That's why so many physicians are up in arms about a technique known as economic profiling.

By Walt Borges

LAW

Workers' Comp Broadside
The U.S Supreme Court has pulled the rug out from under patients and their ability to sue their HMOs for harmful decisions in state courts. The high nine say those suits have to be filed in federal court where potential damages are much less. But TMA will continue the fight to make HMOs accountable for their decisions.

By Walt Borges

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

Change Not Always Good
The state needs to save a lot of money, so it has come up with a plan to combine several agencies that deal with health and human services. The problem is that many physicians and some lawmakers are worried about the impact it will have on patients.

By Ken Ortolon

PUBLIC HEALTH

A Deceptive Disease
Just because the child who visits your office complaining about chickenpox has been vaccinated against the disease doesn't mean he or she doesn't have a form of it. Health department officials say the child may have what's called "breakthrough" varicella. It's been showing up in Texas schools and in other states, as well.

By Ken Ortolon

MEDICAL EDUCATION

Second Thoughts
The folks at the State Capitol are rethinking the cuts they made in graduate medical education funding last year as part of the budget-cutting frenzy. Some of that money may be restored when the legislature meets next year.

By Ken Ortolon

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

Collecting Overdue Accounts
Your collection staff's first and most important job is to resolve as many overdue patients accounts as soon as possible. Resolving means putting each overdue account into the right "box."

Dealing With Unemployment Compensation
You need to know what you're doing when you fire an employee and then have to deal with a claim for unemployment compensation. The Texas Workforce Commission is offering physicians some tips.

Don't Discount Quality; Recognize It
UnitedHealthcare and the National Center for Quality Assurance have teamed up to offer incentives to physicians to promote quality care. The program rewards physicians who follow evidence-based guidelines to treat diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.          

Duplicate Claims Filing Is Costly
Don't ever file a paper claim as an exact duplicate of an electronic claim without giving the health plan enough time to process the electronic claim. A second paper claims just slows the process.

TMA ROUNDS

Texans Lasso AMA Leadership Spots
Ride Along on Successful Hard Hats Program
TMA Expands Lobby Staff
Scholarships Available for Houston Medical Students 

JOURNAL

Impact of Community Efforts to Promote Helmet Use Among Central Texas Children Engaged in Four Types of Wheel-Related Leisure Activities (abstract)

By Samuel N. Forjuoh, MD, MPH, DrPH; John A. Schuchmann, MD; and Saundra Mason, BSN, RN

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Texas Medicine is available to TMA members and presents timely information on public health, medicolegal issues, medical economics, science, medical education, and legislative affairs affecting Texas physicians and their patients.


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