Table of Contents -- August 2003

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 99 No. 8

COVER STORY

Protecting Tort Reform
We've won in the legislature, now we need to win at the ballot box. Texas lawmakers have passed a sweeping tort reform bill that includes a cap on noneconomic damages. The next step is getting voters to approve a constitutional amendment -- known as Proposition 12 -- that would protect the law from court challenges. Voters will make that decision on Sept. 13.

By Ken Ortolon

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

The Mother of All Loopholes
No one noticed it when Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996, but the law contains a loophole that could put many state and local employees' health insurance coverage in jeopardy. Physicians need to double-check to make sure patients are really covered, or they could be out big bucks.

By Walt Borges

MEDICAL EDUCATION

Medical Discontent
An alarming number of resident physicians say they would choose some profession other than medicine if they had to do it all over again. There are many factors for this, but the threat of losing everything they worked for in a lawsuit is the main one.

By Ken Ortolon

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

Medicine or Business?
Physicians who have turned to the business world and become CEOs or board chairs say it takes a whole different set of skills than the ones they learned in medical school. And many of them are often unprepared.

By Walt Borges

PUBLIC HEALTH 

Heavy Math
Our kids are getting fatter by the minute and something needs to be done before it's too late. Several groups say physicians should make body mass index calculations a routine part of their exam of kids.

By Ken Ortolon

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

HIPP, Not HIPAA
Some of your Medicaid patients may be eligible for the Health Insurance Premium Payment program (HIPP), which pays for medical premiums when it is less expensive to pay the insurance premiums than the projected Medicaid cost. The program reimburses qualified Medicaid families for health insurance obtained through a family member's employer. Call the state health department.

Stop, Thief
TMA Physician Services can help you reduce the chances that one of your employees will embezzle money from your practice. The first thing to remember is not to give any one employee complete control over all your cash.

Voice Mail Etiquette
Some people love voice mail. Others hate it. Here are 10 ways to make sure yours isn't on the hate list.

A Code for Codes
While a staff member may aid with coding claims, you are the one accountable to the government and other payers, so you must review the codes for accuracy prior to submitting them for billing. There are eight things you should do. 

Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right
Don't even think of withholding a patient's medical record if he or she doesn't pay a bill. The TSBME says you can't. TMA and AMA think it's unethical.

www.texmed.org: TMA Online

ROUNDS

Governor's Pen Is Busy Signing TMA-Backed Bills
TMA Summit 2003 is Sept. 19-20 in Austin
AMA to Focus on Priority Issues
OIG Cracks Down on Drug Company Deals
Scholarships Available for Houston Med Students
Study Herbs and Earn CME
Baylor, Botswana Open Pediatric AIDS Clinic

JOURNAL

The Prevalence and Patterns of Occupational Injury Among South Texas High School Students (abstract)

By Nancy F. Weller, BSN, DrPH; Sharon P. Cooper, PhD; Karen Basen-Engquist, PhD, MPH; Steve H. Kelder, PhD, MPH; and Susan R. Tortolero, PhD

Geographic Patterns of Cancer Mortality Clusters in Texas, 1990 to 1997 (abstract)

By F. Benjamin Zhan, PhD, and Hui Lin, PhD

DEPARTMENTS

Editor's Note
People
The AMA View
Information for Authors
Physician's Referral Directory
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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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