Table of Contents: February 2008

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Vol. 104 No. 2

 

COVER STORY

"They Sat on Our Money"
State insurance regulators have fined UnitedHealthcare four times since 2001 for problems in paying physicians' claims. Three of the fines were for not fully adhering to the state's prompt payment law. The most recent was a $4.4 million fine in November. United attributed the problems to rapid expansion, complex medical reimbursements, and failed efforts to identify errors that lead to claims mistakes.

By Crystal Conde

 

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS

Round Three
Balance billing will likely be on the Texas Legislature's menu next year for the third time. House Speaker Tom Craddick ordered a legislative committee to study the subject.

By Ken Ortolon

 

MEDICAL ECONOMICS

Workers' Comp Worth It?
State workers' compensation officials hope their new increased fees for treating injured workers will entice physicians to return to the system.

By Ken Ortolon

 

PUBLIC HEALTH

Avoid the 'Roids
State health and athletic officials this spring will begin an aggressive program to test high school athletes for use of steroids or other banned substances.

By Crystal Conde

 

SCIENCE

Detecting MRSA
Scott & White has begun screening all incoming patients to see if they carry the potentially deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria that cause staph infections that are resistant to treatment with usual antibiotics.

By Ken Ortolon

 

TRUSTED LEADER

Local Doctor Creates Clothing With Tourniquets for Troops
Motivated by an encounter with a wounded soldier in Afghanistan, a Corpus Christi physician has developed a lifesaving tourniquet system.

By Fanny S. Chirinos

 

ROUNDS

Medical Board Tentatively Approves Plan to Resolve Complaints Quicker
2008 TMA Minority Scholarships Available
Protect Yourself Against the Flu
CDC Warns of Vaccine Shortage
Introducing the New TMA Deposit Program
 Lead a First-Rate Team With TMA's New NPP Guide
TMA Celebrates History of Texas IMGs
Your Goal for 2008: Stronger Practice Operations
"Still the Greatest Profession"

 

MANAGING YOUR PRACTICE

Who Owns What?
To avoid any ambiguity over medical records ownership, physicians should agree about ownership before entering into a group arrangement.

United Changes Claims Processing
UnitedHealthcare's claim system has begun processing claims under revised payment policy on preventive medicine and screening.

Privacy Notices
You do not need to mail a privacy notice to call-in patients you treat over the phone. If you are in a direct treatment relationship with the patient, you must make a good faith effort to give the patient a privacy notice on the first visit.

Medicare Covers Flu Shots
Medicare covers the flu vaccine and its administration without any out-of-pocket costs to Medicare beneficiaries.

Medicaid CME
If you are thinking about getting back into Medicaid but are uncertain how the program works, check out a series of online courses available on the Texas Department of State Health Services Web site.        

The Three Rs of Consultation
You can distinguish between billing for a consultation and billing for an office visit by following three rules.

 

 

DEPARTMENTS

Commentary: The Texas Medicare Manifesto
Deaths
Classifieds
MedBytes

 

 

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