Table of Contents: November 2007

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 103 No. 11  

COVER STORY

TEXPAC's Endorsement Formula
The Texas Medical Association Political Action Committee considers many things when deciding which candidates for state and national elections it will endorse. Among those things are a candidate's ability to win and whether he or she is an incumbent who supports TMA positions. It's not easy. And it gets more complicated when the candidate is a physician.

By Ken Ortolon 

PUBLIC HEALTH

Broken Minds, Broken System
More people needing treatment, poor funding, and limited access to care have combined to rank Texas near the bottom in treating people with mental health problems. One national organization says only Florida, Idaho, and Arkansas are worse than Texas. State health officials have developed a plan they hope will make things better.

By Crystal Conde 

MEDICAL EDUCATION

Reentry Problems
Taking a break from your practice might sound like a good idea, but returning to work might not be that easy. Texas and several other states require skills evaluation and retraining for physicians seeking to reenter practice after absences of as short as one year.

By Ken Ortolon 

LAW

Mediate, Don't Litigate
Physicians and hospital officials in Lake Jackson avoided a potentially protracted lawsuit and saved a lot of money when they chose mediation instead of litigation in a dispute over hospital policy. They recommend others in the same situation follow their example.

By Crystal Conde 

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

Free Advice
Do you need help with those complicated insurance claims? Call TMA. The association's Mini-Consult Program is a free service in which TMA reimbursement specialists help you navigate the choppy waters of claims coding and filing. The 30 minutes you spend there can make all the difference.

By Ken Ortolon 

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

You Sign, You're Responsible
When you submit an order or other medical record documentation to Medicare for review for coverage, you can use a handwritten or electronic signature or a signature stamp.      

Avoid Bankruptcy: Monitor Your Costs Closely
The best performing practices closely monitor and control costs. Overhead control is critical to good financial health.

Go Ahead, Charge Your Brother-in-Law
Routinely waiving deductibles and copays for friends, relatives, other physicians, and their families and employees could result in federal fraud charges if Medicare covers these people.

Don't Hire a Dud
TMA Practice Consulting can work closely with you to hire the right person for your staff.

DEA Is Watching
The Drug Enforcement Administration requires a separate registration for each practice location where controlled substances are stored, administered, or dispensed.

CLIA Meets HIPAA
Labs certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments may disclose test results or reports only to authorized people. 

ROUNDS

Judge Sides With TMA, Physicians Against PacifiCare
TMLT Cuts Premiums Again
Medicare Cracks Down on Hospitals Where Patients Get Sicker
Ask the TMA Knowledge Center
PBF Helps Us Take Care of Our Own
Physician Reporters: Enter TMA's Anson Jones, MD, Awards
TMA Foundation Awards Champions of Good Health
Coding and Documentation Review and Training
"Medicare Changed It All

JOURNAL

Are Birth Defects More Prevalent Along the Texas-Mexico border? (abstract)

By Peter H. Langlois, PhD; Mark A. Canfield, PhD; and Lucina Suarez, PhD 

DEPARTMENTS

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