Table of Contents -- May 2003

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 99 No. 5

COVER STORY

Cures From the Cosmos
NASA is not spending taxpayers' money to send astronauts into space just for the heck of it. Medical care has benefited greatly. While not trying to minimize the tragedy of the space shuttle Columbia disaster, researchers say the rewards medicine has reaped from the space program far outweigh the risks of manned space flight.

By Ken Ortolon

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

Here We Go Again
While state liability reform wends its way through the Texas Legislature, a similar battle is being fought in Washington, D.C. A federal liability reform bill has passed the U.S. House and is awaiting action in the always-unpredictable Senate. Physicians hope the bill doesn't meet the same fate as the measure passed in the 2002 version. by Ken Ortolon

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

Bohn Voyage
He didn't want to do it, but steadily increasing professional liability premiums have finally forced Dr. Bohn Allen to walk away from his surgery practice after 30 years. He's the latest casualty in the medical liability crisis.

By Walt Borges

LAW

Unsettling Practices
If you get sued, one of the decisions that you'll need to make is whether to settle the case or fight it out in court. What you decide can make a big difference. Defense lawyers offer some advice.

By Walt Borges

SCIENCE

Buying Health Care off the Rack
Being able to get a cholesterol or blood pressure check at the local mall or a mammogram at Wal-Mart without a doctor's order might be convenient for the patient, but some physicians wonder if the latest trend in consumer-directed care really is good medicine. by Ken Ortolon

MEMBER SERVICES

Assessing Your Operations
Need help to make sure your practice is running efficiently? TMA Physician Services consultants offer a wide range of analysis and support services for physicians and their practices, including comprehensive operations assessments. by Walt Borges

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

Problem Patients
Dealing with an irate patient can be a real pain in the PDR. Here's some advice on how to resolve the problem and make everyone feel good about it.

HIPAA and Promotions
Some of HIPAA's rules are rather asinine but they don't prohibit you from promoting your disease management, preventive care, and wellness programs. HIPAA doesn't consider that marketing.

Medicare Fees
Medicare has set the conversion factor for 2003 at $36.7856. A list of the fees (including anesthesia) in all eight Texas geographic regions is on the TMA Web site.

Coding Help
Messing up codes on your claims will cost you money. TMA's Physician Services can help you make sure it's done right.

The Feds Are Watching
The Office of Inspector General says you can find yourself in big-time trouble and be out 10 grand if you influence a Medicare or Medicaid patient's choice of covered services or items by offering a gift such as waiving the copayment or providing treatment.

Insurance Hassles
Don't let insurance companies push you around. Fill out a Hassle Factor Log and turn TMA's Health Care Financing Department loose on them.

www.texmed.org: TMA Online

ROUNDS

Texas Voters Back Liability Reform Plan
Limit Awards, Fix Medicare, Health Care Pros Say
AMA Says 18 States Now in Liability Crisis

JOURNAL

Assessing the Attitudes Toward and Practices of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by Community Preceptors: A Texas Study ( Abstract )

By Jennifer Hall; Robert Bulik, PhD; and Victor Sierpina, MD

Oral Complications of Cancer (Abstract)

By Spencer W. Redding, DDS, MEd

DEPARTMENTS

Editor's Note
Commentary
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Physicians' Referral Directory
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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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