• TMA's Legislative Victories Build on Past Successes

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    In a 2015 legislative session marked by new state leadership, new money, and big shifts in how Texas' major health care agencies oversee care delivery, the House of Medicine remained as steady as ever in its mission to ensure physicians can give their patients the best care possible. 

    Significant Victories  
  • No PQRS, VM Penalties for Physicians Affected by ICD-10 Update
    We have some good news to report on the 2016 fourth-quarter ICD-10 code updates, which had the potential to negatively affect some physicians who participate in quality reporting for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and Value-Based Payment Modifier (VM) programs. It turns out CMS will not apply payment penalties to physicians and groups who fail to meet reporting requirements solely as a result of those code updates.
    MACRA: Review Your Options for Medicare's New Quality Payment Program
    The first performance period for the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment models (APMs) under the new Medicare Quality Payment Program began on Jan. 1. Review your participation options to avoid payment penalties and to potentially earn bonus payments in 2019.
    PQRS: Report 2016 Data by Deadlines to Avoid 2018 Penalties
    If you plan to participate in Medicare's Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and value-based payment modifier (VM) programs for the 2016 performance period, now is the time to submit your quality measures data. Depending on the reporting mechanism used, deadlines vary from February through March 2017.
    Meaningful Use Deadlines Approaching
    If you're participating in the electronic health record (EHR) incentive program, pay attention to these upcoming attestation deadlines.
    Act Now to Save 20 Percent on CME in January; Sale Closes in Two Weeks
    TMA's largest, once-a-year sale on continuing medical education (CME) is back. You still have two weeks to take advantage of a 20-percent discount on all CME courses (excluding live programming). This means an additional 20 percent off the already discounted member pricing on CME courses.
    Calling All Texas Internists: Mentor a Med Student in 2017
    Regardless of what first motivated you to become a doctor — a family legacy, an aptitude for biology, or the desire to help those in need — chances are the biggest influence on how you practice medicine was  your physician mentor.
    The 85th Texas Legislature Is Coming to Town
    Veteran and rookie lawmakers, hundreds of lobbyists, and thousands of private citizens will descend onto Austin beginning Jan. 10 for the start of the 2017 Texas legislative session. Medicine will be well represented. As always, the TMA professional staff will complement the relationships that physician leaders have built with their senators and representatives as they work to promote TMA's 2017 agenda.
    DEA Reverses Course on Registration Renewals
    In quick succession, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced and then rescinded significant changes to its registration renewal process. The DEA initially said it would eliminate the informal grace period the agency has previously allowed for registrants to renew their registrations.
    Practice Websites Targeted in ADA Shakedown
    An Austin attorney is sending demand letters to physicians and providers across the state alleging that their websites are not accessible to people with visual disabilities and that he will personally sue them unless they pay him $2,000 plus attorney fees.
    Paxton: DOs Are Physicians

    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton flatly rejected a Houston probate judge's assertion that Texas law did not allow doctors of osteopathy (DOs) to file Certificates of Medical Examinations needed for mental health commitments.

    Our Biggest CME Sale: 20 Percent Off in January
    Don't miss out on TMA's biggest, once-a-year continuing medical education (CME) sale. For the entire month of January, TMA is offering members 20 percent off all CME courses (excluding live programming). This means an additional 20 percent off the already discounted TMA member pricing.
    Don't Miss First Tuesdays at the Capitol in 2017
    Your patients and your profession need you to be a lobbyist for a day. Mark your calendar now to join the Party of Medicine in Austin for First Tuesdays at the Capitol during the 85th Texas Legislature on Feb. 7, March 7, April 4, and/or May 2, 2017. The March 7 event is designated the official TMA Alliance First Tuesday, and the April 4 event is dedicated to medical students and residents. Registration is now open.
    Court Blocks ACA Rule on Transgender Services
    A federal district court judge in Texas has blocked the Obama administration from enforcing antidiscrimination protections related to gender transition and pregnancy termination-related services, a victory for Texas and seven other states involved in a lawsuit against the federal government.
    It's Official: Keynote Speakers Selected for TexMed 2017
    This year, TexMed 2017 will bring top medical talent to Houston, starting with the doctors in attendance and including both keynote speakers: Kevin Pho, MD, of KevinMD.com, and Pete Blair, MD, executive director of ALERRT.
    Only Nine Days Left to Become an Accountable Care Leader
    You still have time to make 2017 your year for mastering the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and accountable care. The application deadline has been extended to Jan. 13 for TMA's comprehensive 2017 Accountable Care Leadership Program.
    TMA's Outreach Programs Funded for 2017
    More Texans will be affected by TMA's five signature outreach programs thanks to grants recently approved by the TMA Foundation totaling $514,000. Donations from individual and institutional donors makes these grants possible. Thousands of physician, TMA Alliance, and medical student member volunteers join with community members and local organizations to make the programs possible.
    TMA Wins MACRA Improvements, Wants More
    Medicine won some relief in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS') final rule implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Responding to medicine's vehement concerns, CMS decided physicians who at least try to comply with the new rules    next year will see no penalty in their payments in 2019, the first year the penalties were set to apply. That's because starting in 2017, physicians' performance on various quality, cost, technology use, and practice improvement measures determines cuts or bonuses in their payments two years later.
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    TMA is helping to strengthen your practice by offering personal advice and creating a climate of medical success across the state. 

  • What could a TMA membership mean for you, your practice, and your patients?