Table of Contents -- October 2003

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 99 No. 10

COVER STORY

Power of Persuasion
After a long, tough fight that required a lot of lobbying by TMA and its members, it looks like the new rules that state insurance regulators adopted in August to make insurers pay physicians' claims on time give doctors a major weapon in the fight against slow-pay/no-pay practices. Still, TMA is keeping an eye on the Texas Department of Insurance.

By Walt Borges

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

A Win-Win Situation
The Texas State Board of Medical Examiners was considering some rules changes that would have made physicians very unhappy, but some lobbying by TMA persuaded the board to change its mind. The TSBME vote was the second physician-friendly action of the day by a state regulatory board.

By Walt Borges

PUBLIC HEALTH

Junk Food Junked
One of the first things the Texas Department of Agriculture did when it took over the school nutrition program from the Texas Education Agency was to ban the sale of carbonated beverages and other "foods of minimal nutritional value" at many elementary and middle schools. Although some may say it doesn't go far enough, the action has been hailed by physicians as part of an effort by the state to fight childhood obesity.

By Ken Ortolon

SCIENCE

Stemming the Tide of Disease
It's a controversial subject in some quarters but the promise of the use of stem cells in revolutionizing health care is unmistakable. Several Texas medical schools are at the forefront of the research.

By Ken Ortolon

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

The Carrot and the Stick
Congress is working on trying to establish a Medicare prescription drug benefit, but (stop us if you've heard this one), the Democrats and Republicans are playing their usual political games, so nothing is getting done. Complicating matters is the 2004 election year looming on the horizon.

By Ken Ortolon

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

Helpful Hints for Getting Paid
Insurance companies can't seem to pay you on time? TMA Physician Services offers five tips that will help.

A HIPAA Helping Hand From THIN
The Texas Health Information Network will continue to process electronic claims that do not meet HIPAA transactions standards beyond the Oct. 16 compliance date.

No Medicare Endorsement
When promoting programs or seminars, don't use Medicare symbols or emblems that imply endorsement. It's illegal.

Paper Still Needed
It may be an electronic age, but some Medicare claims must be filed on paper -- specifically, those claims with multiple primary payers.

TrailBlazer Lists HIPAA Compliers
Has your software vendor or clearinghouse successfully tested the HIPAA version of the X12N 837 Health Care Claim? You can find out on the TrailBlazer Web site.

www.texmed.org: TMA Online

ROUNDS

CMS Announces 4.2-Percent Cut in Physician Payments
Pediatricians Urge Annual BMI Calculations for Children
CMS Improves its Web Site
TMA Knowledge Center Answers Your Questions
Former TMA President Sam Nixon Dies at 76
New Law Requires Postpartum Depression Help
UT Southwestern Discovers Second Bone Loss Gene

JOURNAL

Health Care Fraud: Recent Developments and Timeless Advice (abstract)
By Robert S. Bennett, JD, and David M. Medearis, JD

Diabetic Renal Failure in Texas: Influence of Ethnicity and Household Income (abstract)
By Patricio A. Pazmiño, PhD, MD, and Alice K. Pazmiño, BA

DEPARTMENTS

Letters
Commentary
People
The AMA View
Information for Authors
Physicians' Referral Directory
Classifieds
MedBytes

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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