Table of Contents: December 2007

Texas Medicine Logo

Vol. 103 No. 12  

COVER STORY

Up in Smoke
Texas made a good start using money from settlement of a lawsuit against Big Tobacco to pay for antismoking efforts, but cuts in funding and restructuring of appropriations have weakened the state's efforts to curtail smoking and are costing tens of thousands of lives each year. Antitobacco advocacy groups and physicians are appealing to lawmakers to invest tobacco settlement funds in comprehensive, statewide approaches toward prevention and cessation.

By Crystal Conde 

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

TMB's Austin Showdown
Physicians angry over what they believe is unfair treatment by the Texas Medical Board (TMB) packed a legislative hearing room in October to air their grievances. A TMA representative urged lawmakers to take several actions to keep the TMB strong but also refocus its enforcement activities toward patient care issues.

By Ken Ortolon

LAW

Doctors vs. United
Physicians and UnitedHealthcare are battling on two fronts. One is a TMA complaint to state insurance regulators over United's radiology notification procedure. The other is an AMA-led lawsuit over usual and customary charges.

By Crystal Conde 

MEDICAL ECONOMICS 

Too Little, Too Late
Two years have passed since   the legislature ordered an alternative to capitated HMOs for some Medicaid patients, and a pilot project is finally about to begin in North Texas. But even if it is successful, state officials say it is unlikely to expand to other areas of Texas.

By Ken Ortolon 

MEDICAL EDUCATION

Where'd the Scientists Go?
Experts say Texas may lose a generation of future scientists because of decreased federal funding for research. The lack of adequate funding is driving people away from careers in biomedical research. And, other states are keeping their brightest minds at home.

By Ken Ortolon 

ROUNDS

Coding, Documentation First Defense Against Physician-Rating Programs
Transparency Lacking in Consumer-Driven Health Care
Burgess Says SGR Fix Not Likely This Year
TMA Honors 10 Lawmakers as Texas Medicine's Best
DSHS to Fund ESRD Program
Tamper-Resistant Prescription Pads Delayed
Senator Nelson Is a Republican
Honor Someone You Love
Perseverance and Reward  

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

Medicare Improves Radiology, Pathology Payments
Medicare now pays previously denied claims for radiology and pathology services on or after April 1, 2007.

Set Parameters for Nonphysician Practitioners
When hiring a nonphysician practitioner, define exactly what he or she will do and make sure it is within his or her scope of practice under Texas law.

NUCC Posts 1500 Claim Form Changes
Interim changes to the NUCC 1500 Health Insurance Claim Form Reference Instruction Manual are posted on the NUCC Web site.

Internet CME: Click and Learn
Two new TMA programs will help you provide quality health care and keep costs down.

Medication Reconciliation Prevents Errors
The Joint Commission recommends reconciliation at every transition of care that involves ordering new medications or rewriting existing orders.

Don't Forget to Appeal Blue Cross Decision
You have 30 days to appeal a Blue Cross decision to exclude you from its BlueChoice
Solutions network. 

 

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