Table of Contents -- December 2003

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 99 No. 12

COVER STORY

No Quick Cure
Proposition 12 has passed and one medical liability insurer already has announced plans to cut rates by 12 percent. The other two major policy writers in the state are waiting to see what impact the reforms have. TMA leaders are cautioning physicians that the full impact of the reforms enacted by the legislature may be several years in reducing payouts in medical liability lawsuits and, subsequently, reducing premiums to ease the economic stress for many physicians.

By Walt Borges

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

Talking to the Governor
Liability reform, Medicaid, the state's business climate, and antiterrorism efforts were only a few of the topics discussed when a delegation of TMA leaders sat down with the governor for conversation. The governor says he favored tort reform so strongly because it was clear Texas was facing a crisis.

By Ken Ortolon

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

Disappearing Doctors
An increasing number of physicians are dropping out of the state's workers' compensation system because of low reimbursement and administrative hassles. That's making access to physicians a major concern for patients and physicians.

By Walt Borges

PUBLIC HEALTH

Spreading to the Community
An antibiotic-resistant strain of Staphylococcus bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus has public health officials across the state worried. It's turned up everywhere from day care centers to high school football teams to a San Antonio jail.

By Ken Ortolon

MEDICAL EDUCATION

About-Face
The federal Council on Graduate Medical Education shocked everyone a couple of months ago when it reversed an almost-25-year-old policy and recommended increasing the number of U.S. medical school and residency positions by 15 percent by 2015 to stave off a looming physician shortage. The group previously believed America had too many physicians and had worked to limit expansion of residency programs.

By Ken Ortolon

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

How to Get a 10-Percent Bonus
If you treat Medicare patients within a federally designated health professional shortage area, you're eligible for a 10-percent bonus.  

Common Medicare Mistakes
TrailBlazer Health Enterprises has identified the top 10 billing errors it encounters when paying Medicare claims.

What They Can Ask For
The Texas Department of Insurance has laid out the rules specifying what the new prompt payment law allows insurers to request when they need more information within 30 days of receiving a clean claim. 

On-Site Coding with CME
TMA Physician Services now offers one-stop shopping for both a thorough understanding of coding and documentation and continuing medical education at your practice.

I Need a What?
Do you know what "taxonomy codes" are and where to get a copy of them? You'd better, because HIPAA requires them.

I Need to See Some ID
Yes, you do need to include another physician's Social Security number or employer ID number when you prepare HIPAA-compliant claims.

www.texmed.org: TMA Online

ROUNDS

Texas HHS Ordered to Increase Funding for Mental Health Services
Poll Shows Unhappiness With Health Care System
CMS Raises Flu Shot Reimbursement
HHSC Orders NHIC to Accept Legacy Claims
UT Medical Schools Conduct Bioterrorism Studies
TMAF Adds New Board Members
Diabetex Study Hopes to Lower Health Care Costs

JOURNAL

Duplex Screening for Asymptomatic Carotid Artery Disease in Hispanic Diabetic Patients Undergoing Lower Extremity Revascularization: Is It a Worthwhile Endeavor? ( abstract )

By W. Tracey Jones, MD; Boulos Toursarkissian, MD; Marcus Dayala, MD; Paula K Shireman, MD; and John Schoolfield, MS

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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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