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Volume 16, No 28

Sept. 8, 2014


OUR HEALTHY VISION GROWS EVEN SHARPER: We wrote and published TMA’s Healthy Vision 2020 in 2012 as a roadmap for our advocacy efforts for the remainder of the decade. Two years and several awards later, our legislative and congressional destinations have shifted; we accomplished some of our original objectives, and new problems have emerged for us to solve on behalf of Texas physicians. That’s why our lobby, policy, legal, and communication teams rewrote the document over the summer. Every member who attends TMA’s 2014 Fall Conference this weekend will receive a copy of Healthy Vision 2020, second edition, at registration. And Dawn Buckingham, MD, chair of the TMA Council on Legislation, will discuss it during the conference General Session. It also will be available to read and download from www.texmed.org/healthyvision by then, or you can order print copies from the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955. New this year are not only a comprehensive list of advocacy accomplishments from the first edition, but also separate sections on health information technology hassles to be solved and Medicaid red tape to be cut.

JOIN US THIS WEEKEND IN THE LOST PINES ALONG THE COLORADO FOR TMA FALL CONFERENCE: In addition to the great speakers I told you about last week, 2014 TMA Fall Conference on Friday and Saturday at the Hyatt Lost Pines near Bastrop will offer camaraderie, fun, and a few surprises in a delightful location. Physicians and alliance members who attend can get their 2014-15 flu shots on site Saturday or watch a live stream of the third and final day of TEDMED 2014 on Friday. The TEXPAC Board of Directors will consider some endorsements for the Nov. 4 general elections. (Have you seen the cover story in September’s Texas Medicine on “the new TEXPAC?”) You can earn nearly 4 hours of continuing medical education (CME) credit on Saturday. Online registration is closed, but you can still register onsite. The conference is free for TMA members. See you there.

NEW TMA MENTAL HEALTH TASK FORCE TO CONVENE: TMA’s Task Force on Behavioral Health, established by our Council on Science and Public Health, will meet for the first time Saturday at TMA Fall Conference. Chaired by Dallas psychiatrist Les Secrest, MD, the task force will prepare for mental health issues expected to arise in the 2015 Texas Legislature, including the Sunset Advisory Commission’s review of the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). James G. Baker, MD, DSHS medical director for behavioral health, will present an overview of the Texas Public Behavioral Health System.

A HELMET GIVEAWAY OF STATEWIDE PROPORTIONS: Next month, TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads bike helmet giveaway program celebrates 20 years of keeping kids safe. You still have time to plan an event in your community to help us meet our goal of 50 helmet giveaways across the state during October. We provide everything you need for a successful event: free helmets, banners, event signage, promotional flyers, educational handouts, and media relations support. When you buy up to 50 helmets ($7.35 each, including shipping), TMA matches your purchase with free helmets. Check out these ideas for events or come up with another idea for your giveaway. To have your event included in TMA’s big media announcement, let us know about it by Friday, Sept. 19. To get started, contact Tammy Wishard, TMA’s outreach coordinator, or call (512) 370-1470. 

TMA's HIPAA SECURITY SEMINAR SERIES BEGINS THIS WEEK: Register today for HIPAA Security: The Keys to Compliance, TMA’s new statewide seminar series. We will give you an overview of the HIPAA Security compliance rules, and explore techniques you can use to identify and address any HIPAA deficiencies in your practice. This is a perfect opportunity for you and your staff to jump ahead of the curve on HIPAA Security readiness. Those who attend this live program will receive a coupon code for $10 off the electronic version of our new publication, HIPAA Security: Compliance and Case Studies. Can’t make it in person? Register for the live webcast of the Sept. 25 seminar, complete with all the CME, bells, and whistles.

TMA PREPARES HOSPITAL MEDICAL STAFFS FOR NEW "MEGA-STAFF" RULES: Legal disputes between big hospitals and Texas physicians are heating up, and TMA is actively engaged. In addition to joining lawsuits against hospital systems by our member physicians, TMA’s Office of General Counsel is now educating physicians on Medicare’s new conditions of participation (CoPs) for hospital medical staffs. The biggest change, effective July 11, allows hospitals in multihospital systems “to have a unified and integrated medical staff for its member hospitals.” The previous rule required each hospital to have its own independent medical staff. In their presentation, our lawyers point out that it requires a majority vote of the medical staff of each separate hospital to opt in or opt out of this “mega-staff” structure. In a formal comment letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), TMA, the American Medical Association, and more than 80 other medical societies urged the agency to give hospital medical staffs more time to study and prepare to implement a new rule that makes “unprecedented changes to the Medicare hospital CoPs that will dramatically alter the make-up and efficacy of hospital medical staffs nationwide.” CMS turned us down. Look for more information on hospital medical staff issues in upcoming EVPGrams.

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