TMA Young Physicians Memo

Fall 2015 

Meet the TMA Leadership College Class of 2016

Congratulations to the incoming Texas Medical Association Leadership College class of 2016, which started the program year at TMA Fall Conference Sept. 25-26. 

This year’s participating scholars include:  

  • Jason Acevedo, MD, an Abilene otolaryngologist, sponsored by Big Country County Medical Society (CMS);
  • Shanna Brown, MD, a Fort Worth ophthalmologist, sponsored by Tarrant CMS;
  • Anh Dang, MD, a Houston anesthesiologist, sponsored by MD Anderson Cancer Center;
  • Miguel De Valdenebro, MD, an Aledo anesthesiologist, sponsored by Tarrant CMS;
  • Alison Haddock, MD, a Houston emergency physician, sponsored by Harris CMS;
  • Shannon Hancher-Hodges, MD, a Bellaire anesthesiologist, sponsored by the Texas Society of Anesthesiology;
  • Sameer Islam, MD, a Lubbock gastroenterologist, sponsored by Lubbock-Crosby Garza CMS;
  • Gina Jetter, MD, a Tyler neurologist, sponsored by the Texas Neurological Society;
  • Ana Leech, MD, a Houston family physician, sponsored by Harris CMS;
  • Angela Moemeka, MD, a Coppell pediatrician, sponsored by Dallas CMS;
  • George Osuchukwu, MD, a Victoria nephrologist, sponsored by Victoria-Goliad-Jackson CMS;
  • Pavithra Pattabiraman, MD, a San Antonio internist, sponsored by the Texas Chapter of the American College of Physicians;
  • Amitha Rao, MD, a Missouri City nephrologist, sponsored by Fort Bend CMS;
  • Archana Rao, MD, a Murphy nephrologist, sponsored by Dallas CMS;
  • Lynn Stewart, MD, an Austin family physician, sponsored by the Texas Academy of Family Physicians;
  • Brian Temple, MD, an Austin pediatrician, sponsored by Travis CMS;
  • Leilani Valdes, MD, a Victoria pathologist, sponsored by the Texas Society of Pathologists;
  • Faranak Vossoughi, MD, a Katy hand surgeon, sponsored by Harris CMS;
  • Candice Winful, MD, a Dallas sports medicine physician, sponsored by Dallas CMS; and
  • Gabriela Zandomeni, MD, a Rockwall obstetrician-gynecologist, sponsored by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.   

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Apply to Serve on TMA Boards, Councils, Committees

Volunteer to serve on a TMA board, council, or committee, and help shape the future of your association. TMA accepts nominations annually, and the incoming TMA president make appointments, which will become effective at the conclusion of TexMed 2016 in Dallas. Members serve terms of one to three years. Young physicians are invited to self-nominate via an abbreviated application posted on the YPS webpage. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 1, 2016. 

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Encourage a High School Senior to Pursue a Career in Medicine 

The year 2016 marks the 22nd time the TMA-Young Physician Section will award its rural science scholarship. This $1,000 award is given to a rural Texas high school senior who excels in science, for use toward continuing his or her education in the field of medicine. 

In 2007, the YPS Rural Scholarship was transformed into a memorial scholarship for Michael O’Malley, MD. Dr. O’Malley, a recipient of a similar scholarship himself, was an internist in Galveston and past chair of the TMA-YPS. Tragically, Dr. O’Malley died from cardiac arrest in his home at the age of 43 and left a wife and two young children. In his memory, the young physicians are continuing the tradition of helping rural high school seniors pursue a degree in the field of medicine. 

All outstanding rural high school seniors interested in pursuing their education and becoming a physician can apply for this award. Applications must be postmarked by Jan. 15, 2016, and sent via mail to Texas Medical Association, YPS Coordinator, 401 W. 15th St., Austin, TX 78701. The scholarship winner will be notified by mail in March. 

The future of medicine depends on a high-quality applicant pool, and this scholarship helps ensure the most talented students have the opportunity to pursue a career in medicine. 

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 TMA: Medicare Should Pay Docs for Added Hassles 

In comments on the proposed 2016 Medicare physician fee schedule, TMA told the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that “the growing Medicare administrative burden, added to the recent history of and future plans for inadequate fee updates, is making Medicare participation and compliance increasingly difficult and costly for practicing physicians, and will impair access to care for Medicare beneficiaries.” TMA adds that “when Medicare adds administrative burdens, those added burdens should be accompanied by RVU [relative value unit] or conversion factor increases to offset the added costs.” CMS published the proposed fee schedule rule in the July 15 Federal Register

The letter to CMS cites as administrative costs acquiring and maintaining current knowledge of changing rules and compliance methods, the purchase or update of practice software, and the actual work of documenting and reporting: “Requirements which take physician and staff time and attention away from the direct clinical care of patients are increasing the cost of medical practice and decreasing physician productivity.” TMA adds that while “almost all physicians will treat some Medicare beneficiaries … 37 percent of Texas physicians report that they now have limits on accepting new Medicare patients.” TMA says increasing administrative burden “without increasing fees commensurately will mean that treating Medicare patients will become increasingly unprofitable and Medicare business increasingly unattractive for physicians.”

TMA’s letter elaborates on the need to collect data on global billing; the need to pay for services that may not be confined to the setting of a face-to-face visit; establishing separate payment for collaborative care; advance care planning services; incident-to proposals; the Physician Compare website; the Physician Quality Reporting System; electronic clinical quality measures and certification criteria; the electronic health record incentive program; the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative; Merit-Based Incentive Payment Systems; the Value-Based Payment Modifier; physician self-referral updates; and Medicare opt-out elections. 

CMS will publish the final fee schedule in early November. 

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TMA Can Help You With the ICD-10 Transition

The Oct. 1 ICD-10 implementation date has come and gone. TMA has resources to help you with the new coding system. Remember: ICD-10 is service-date driven, so if you file a claim on or after Oct. 1 for services you provided Sept. 30 or earlier, you must file the claim using ICD-9 codes. 

Payers expect they’ll receive late filings and adjustments of pre-Oct. 1 claims and will continue to accept ICD-9 codes for those claims. Submit adjusted claims using the code set with which you originally filed the claim. Never combine ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes on one claim. 

Also note: ICD-10 does not require payers to change their late filing requirements to accommodate the transition to ICD-10. Contact payers for the current information regarding late filing for claims. These payers have good payer-specific FAQs about ICD-10 on their websites:   

See also the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS') MLN Matters No. SE1408 Revised for guidance. 

TMA can help, too, even if you’re far behind:   

Also, check out the CMS ICD-10 Transition Checklist

Questions? Contact the TMA Knowledge Center by calling (800) 880-7955, Monday-Friday, 8:15 am-5:15 pm CT, or by email

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Submit an Abstract for the 2016 Quality Poster Session

The TMA Council on Health Care Quality and TMF Health Quality Institute announce the fourth annual TMA Quality Poster Session to be held April 30 during TexMed 2016 at the Hilton Anatole Dallas. 

The TMA Quality Poster Session is a platform for physicians and medical students to share their breakthroughs and best practices for better patient care, especially in one or more of the six aims of quality care: that it be safe, timely, effective, equitable, efficient, and patient-centered. 

The TMA Quality Poster Session offers physicians a chance to gain exposure, network with Texas physicians, and have their work published. Here are just a few of the many reasons to participate:   

  • Present your poster to physicians from across Texas during a continuing medical education event at TexMed 2016.
  • Your abstract will appear on the Texas Medical Association website, which draws more than 75,000 visitors each month.
  • The top-three winners in each category receive a cash award.   

Abstract submissions are due no later than March 25, 2016. All accepted poster exhibitors will receive a travel stipend.  

Please tell colleagues about this event so they can take advantage of this enriching opportunity. For more information, poster parameters, and submission categories, or to see last year’s abstracts, visit the TMA website

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Loan Repayment Available to Physicians; Apply by Nov. 30

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is accepting applications from primary care physicians and psychiatrists for the state’s Physician Education Loan Repayment Program. The program will cover up to $160,000 in loan repayment for physicians who commit to practice in an underserved community for four years. More information is available on the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program website. Applications for this award cycle are due to the board’s offices by Nov. 30, 2015.  

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Wanted: Physicians Who Pursue Awesome Hobbies, Passions Outside the Office

Do you have an interesting (even unique) hobby or passion you enjoy when you’re not in the office? Do you know a TMA member physician colleague who cuts loose on the weekends and lets the creative juices flow, who takes time to serve others in need, or who has a remarkable talent? If you do, TMA’s Texas Medicine magazine would like to hear from you. 

The magazine periodically publishes a column called “Back Talk” that features a portrait of a physician enjoying his or her favorite outside-the-office pursuit. (For an example, see page 64 of the September issue.) If you would like to nominate yourself or a physician colleague for possible inclusion in “Back Talk,” please email Texas Medicine Editor Crystal Zuzek with “Back Talk” in the subject line. Include the physician’s name and contact information, along with a brief description of the hobby or pastime.  

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Fight the Flu With Tools From TMA

Flu season is just around the corner, and TMA's Be Wise — ImmunizeSM has tools you can use to protect yourself, your staff, and your patients:   

  • Provide flu facts at a glance with TMA’s new flu infographic (in English and Spanish). Post a copy in your waiting room, download it to your website or Facebook page, or hand out copies. 
  • Share more in-depth information about the importance of an annual flu vaccination with TMA’s flu fact sheet (in English and Spanish).  .  
  • Remind your employees about the importance of getting their flu vaccination with this poster to hang in your break room or other areas where your staff gather. 
  • Use TMA’s educational and giveaway items at your Be Wise — Immunize flu shot clinic in October. Oct. 1 is Influenza Awareness Day in Texas, so TMA urges physicians to host a shot clinic sometime that month to improve vaccination coverage statewide.
  • Download and print the Fist-Bump Your Doctor materials, developed by Jason Marchetti, MD, of Denton, a graduate of TMA Leadership College.  

To order flu materials or to learn about hosting a shot clinic, contact Tammy Wishard, TMA’s outreach coordinator, at or (512) 370-1470. 

TMA launched Be Wise — Immunize in 2004 to increase Texas’ immunization rates. Since then, the program has provided more than 280,000 shots to Texas children, adolescents, and adults.  

Be Wise — Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians and the TMA Alliance. Funding for Be Wise —Immunize is provided by the TMA Foundation thanks to generous support from H-E-B, TMF Health Quality Institute, Permian Basin Youth Chavarim, and gifts from physicians and their families.  

Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association. 

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Save the Date

Don’t miss the 2016 TMA Winter Conference, Jan. 29-30 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin. Attend the Young Physician Section Business Meeting, which will feature elections for the Texas delegates to the American Medical Association Young Physician Section. Four one-year term spots are available. 

To apply, submit a letter of intent and a current CV to by Jan. 15. All other Executive Council positions will be elected at TexMed 2106 in Dallas April 29-30. A call for nominations will be issued following Winter Conference..

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Stay Connected

Keep up with important news, and connect with colleagues across the state through TMA’s Young Physician Section webpage

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