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Act Now SGR Repeal Closer Than Ever
The “SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014” (H.R. 4014/S. 2000), was introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Its author is U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville). It features the handiwork of Rep. Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands). And it has the support of key congressional leaders from both parties and in both chambers. “We may not get this opportunity again,” said TMA President Stephen L. Brotherton, MD. “Take action now to support permanent SGR repeal.”
CMS Announces Plans to Help Doctors Transition to ICD-10
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has answered TMA's call to help doctors dodge disaster by providing some flexibility as physicians shift to the new ICD-10 medical billing and coding system. Recently, physician leaders from California, Florida, and New York joined TMA in sending a letter to Andy Slavitt, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which will roll out the mandatory shift to ICD-10 on Oct. 1. While CMS didn't adopt the two-year, penalty-free grace period TMA and the other medical associations requested, the agency did take steps to alleviate some of the potential burdens physicians may face in 86 days.
OIG Focuses Fraud Efforts on Physician Compensation
A recent U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG) fraud alert warns that physician compensation arrangements may result in significant liability.
All Mobile-Friendly CME Discounted 20 Percent This Month
Need continuing medical education (CME)? Now's the perfect time to visit the TMA Education Center! For the entire month of July, you can take an additional 20 percent off all mobile-friendly CME courses, which can be completed anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
Be Part of HIE Planning for Rural Texas
Health information exchanges (HIEs) are active in several regions of Texas. Public HIEs received federal grant funds several years ago to build infrastructure that would allow physicians and other health professionals to share patient information. HIEs also have the ability to query a patient for health information outside a practice so physicians have relevant patient information at the point of care.
DSHS Issues Cyclospora Health Advisory
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) issued a health advisory encouraging physicians to test patients for Cyclospora if they have diarrheal illness lasting more than a few days or diarrhea accompanied by severe anorexia or fatigue. DSHS received reports of more than 40 cases of Cyclospora infection in June.
CDC Provides MERS Virus Evaluation Guidelines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosted a call with doctors on June 11 to brief them with updated information and guidelines for evaluating Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus. The interim guidance doesn't include travel advisories, but concern about the virus has grown since the Republic of Korea reported to the World Health Organization an initial case of laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV infection on May 20. CDC says it represents the first case in what is now the largest single outbreak of MERS-CoV outside of the Arabian Peninsula.
HHSC Seeks Medicaid EHR Review Panel Members
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is seeking candidates for the Texas Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program Ad Hoc Review panel. Ideal candidates would be familiar with EHR systems and the EHR incentive program.
Victory! CSR Permit Program to Be Eliminated Next Year
Thanks to TMA advocacy this legislative session, the controlled substances registration permit program will be eliminated, effective Sept. 1, 2016. Senate Bill 195 by Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown), and Rep. Myra Crownover (R-Denton) also moves the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program from the Texas Department of Public Safety to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy and broadens physicians' authority to delegate who can access the information.
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