Table of Contents: August 2007

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 103 No. 8  

COMMENTARY

Medicaid Rate Hike an Enormous Opportunity
At the close of the 2005 session of the Texas Legislature, when the Texas Medical Association once again was unable to gain a modest increase in physicians' Medicaid payments, Medicaid reimbursement immediately became one of our top priorities for 2007. Our Ad Hoc Committee on Medicaid and Access to Care recognized that Texas Medicaid patients' medical homes were disappearing rapidly. Mounting evidence demonstrated the growing severity of the problem.

By William W. Hinchey, MD, president, Texas Medical Association 

COVER STORY

Victory!
TMA entered the 2007 session of the Texas Legislature with an ambitious agenda aimed at preserving patient care. And when the session ended, TMA emerged with an impressive list of victories for physicians and patients, thanks to the hard work of doctors, medical students, TMA Alliance members, the association's legislative champions, and key allies. Chief among TMA's success were a historic Medicaid fee increase, the defeat of attacks on tort reform, and restoration of cuts in graduate medical education and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

By Ken Ortolon 

LAW

Tort Reform Protected
TMA succeeded in blocking efforts by trial lawyers to weaken the 2003 tort reforms in the legislative session. The association prevented passage of a bill that would have reduced the burden of proof in emergency cases. Physicians meeting with their hometown legislators played a key role in fending off the plaintiff's attorneys one more time.

By Crystal Conde 

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

A "Clear" Win
Groundwork laid by TMA after the 2005 legislative session paid off this year with passage of legislation that is being hailed as a first step toward true transparency and accountability in health care. Senate Bill 1731 places new disclosure requirements on physicians, hospitals, and health plans alike. TMA and Texas Hospital Association officials say the new disclosure rules are critical for health care market transparency.

By Ken Ortolon 

PUBLIC HEALTH   

TMA Takes on Cancer
A TMA-backed bill passed by the legislature creates the $3 billion Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to elevate the state to the forefront of cancer research. The institute will enhance existing and create new cancer research facilities.

By Crystal Conde 

MEDICAL EDUCATION   

Keeping Them Home
TMA and its medical education allies persuaded the legislature to appropriate millions more dollars for graduate medical education. The money is needed to create new residency slots to slow the outflow of Texas medical school graduates to other states.

By Ken Ortolon 

ROUNDS

Judge Approves Frew  Settlement That Led to Medicaid Rate Hike
TMA Denounces Feds' NPI Internet Posting Decision
The Best of TexMed 2007 on CD or Podcasts
Workers' Comp Treatment Guidelines Scheduled Next Month
Surprise! Iraq War Bill Requires Secure Pads for Medicaid Prescriptions
TMA Blankets State With Helmets During Bicycle Month
Texans to Serve on CCHIT Panel
Who Has Time to Read 5,000 Medical Journals?
Introducing TMA's New Risk Management Audio Seminar Series
TMA Helps Strengthen Practice Operations
TMA Foundation Names New Officers
TMA Awards Record Number of Minority Scholarships 

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

Medicare to Scrutinize Surgical Debridement
Medicare investigators are urging carriers to audit surgical debridement services more diligently, focusing on claims that show common coding errors or unusual billing patterns. Federal officials say their review of 2004 Medicare payments for surgical debridement services shows that nearly two-thirds didn't meet Medicare's reimbursement requirements.

TMA Online Communities Can Answer Your Questions
Do you ever have questions about reimbursement, coding, billing, or collections? TMA Online Communities are networks that help TMA physicians and their staff connect with colleagues, learn solutions to practice management problems, and share best ideas. 

JOURNAL

Subnormal Prealbumin Levels and Wound Healing (abstract)

By Peyton Barnes Jr., MD; Tiffany E. Sauter, RD, LD, CNSD; and Shirin Zaheri, BSc 

DEPARTMENTS

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