Table of Contents -- February 2004

Texas Medicine Logo

  

Vol. 100 No. 2  

COVER STORY

What Medicare Reform Means to You
The Medicare bill Congress passed last year was welcome relief for Texas physicians who faced a cut in reimbursement. Thanks to intense lobbying by TMA and AMA, the planned 4.5-percent fee reductions were shelved, patient access was preserved, pay disparities between urban and rural physicians were eliminated, and bonuses will be paid to physicians working in underserved areas.

By Walt Borges

LAW

Just Say No
Patients began calling physicians' offices after the Medicare bill was passed, asking for their help in getting access to cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. TMA's legal department has some simple advice: Don't do it. Doctors could get in trouble with the feds, and there's no way to guarantee the safety of imported drugs.

By Walt Borges

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

Good-bye, Robin Hood?
The legislature is looking at ways to finance the state's public school system and get rid of the unpopular Robin Hood plan. Possibilities include a franchise tax on physicians and expanding the sales tax to cover medical treatment. TMA is working to make sure that whatever legislators come up with is fair.

By Ken Ortolon

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

A Thankless Job
The Texas State Board of Medical Examiners has faced some tough challenges in recent years and now has to deal with another one: the sunset review process by the Texas Legislature. Being the chair of the board that licenses and regulates physicians is not an easy chore. Fort Worth ophthalmologist Lee S. Anderson, MD, tells Texas Medicine what he and the board have to deal with.

By Ken Ortolon

PUBLIC HEALTH   

October Surprise
State health officials thought they were ready for this year's flu season, but an outbreak in October caught everyone by surprise. The deadly outbreak appears to have been felt first in Texas and then spread to much of the rest of the country.

By Ken Ortolon

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

Don't Ignore This
If you get a request for documentation of a Medicare claim from the Comprehensive Error Rate Testing Operations Center in Richmond, Va., you must respond.

Listen Up, Aetna Physicians
Aetna has some information for physicians on its network about digital mammography and a change in the Texas Teacher Retirement System's preferred provider organization network access.

Retroactive Payments
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is allowing retroactive payments in the wake of Gov. Rick Perry's order to restore mental health and substance abuse services for the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Stronger Practice Options
If your staff turnover rate is high and your cash flow is down, call TMA Physician Services for a complete operations assessment and a customized plan for improving staffing, work flow, collections, overhead, and more.

Dealing with Medicare
Do you have a strategy to deal with all the changes in Medicare? If not, coding and billing will be an uphill struggle. TMA's Medicare seminars can help.

www.texmed.org: TMA Online

ROUNDS

AMA focuses on tort reform -- Texas-style
Winter conference to feature prompt pay, TSBME, planning
High school smoking drops, middle school stays the same
Older doctors fed up, ready to quit
AG stops colon therapy without physician approval
Airport food getting healthier
Study shows seizure drug helps MS patients
Dispatches From the Front

JOURNAL

Prevention of Relapse to Addiction: Information for the Practitioner (abstract)

By Richard E. Wilcox, PhD, and Carlton K. Erickson, PhD

DEPARTMENTS

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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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