Stories written by Crystal Conde

Peer Review Farce - 01/31/2018

TMA's policies on medical peer review promote a fair, reasonable system; the association condemns peer review abuses that harm physicians and have negative ramifications for patient care. Doctors subjected to unwarranted peer review action can sue. TMA came to the aid of locum tenens emergency physician Van Mask, MD, after he sued Coon Memorial Hospital in Dalhart, alleging officials published false and defamatory statements about him and falsely represented that he had quality and liability problems pursuant to a medical staff committee review. TMA argues in part that the hospital's ER/Trauma Committee didn't appear to be a medical peer review committee under Texas law. The case was settled before going to trial.

TMA Can Help Your Practice Switch to ICD-10 - 05/13/2016

The Texas Medical Association can help your practice prepare to catch up to the rest of the world in using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD)-10 to capture health care information more efficiently. TMA Practice Consulting offers a variety of services to help ensure your reimbursement doesn't suffer during the transition.

The Clock's Ticking - 05/13/2016

Thanks to objections from the Texas Medical Association and others, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last year granted physicians a reprieve from switching to the ICD-10 coding system, moving the deadline from Oct. 1, 2013, to Oct. 1, 2014. But the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was only willing to delay implementation for a year, thus, barring some unforeseen circumstances, ICD-10 will become a reality in 2014. Although TMA opposes the transition to ICD-10, it is committed to helping physicians get ready for the new coding system, should CMS persist in its current trajectory. TMA, AMA, and coding experts recommend physicians plan now, as ICD-10 promises to affect every aspect of their medical practices.

Real Meaningful Use - 05/13/2016

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are helping practicing physicians and other health professionals use electronic health records to wean smokers off tobacco. That's important because UT's MD Anderson Cancer Center says patients are 30 times more likely to enroll in tobacco cessation counseling if a clinician refers them than if they merely receive information about services. Researchers developed the e-tobacco protocol to improve patient referrals to the state-funded Texas Tobacco Quitline, a free, confidential, and 24-hour, 7-day-a-week service. It offers three to five phone counseling sessions and two weeks of nicotine replacement therapy to those referred by a physician or other health professional.

Part of the Team - 05/13/2016

Physicians play a pivotal role in assessing students' fitness for athletics and other extracurricular activities and in helping Texas schools adopt effective health policies. Whether they're on the sidelines at sports events, attending school health advisory council meetings, or examining patients in clinic, physicians can dramatically affect student health and well-being. Texas Medical Association policy on physician examinations for young athletes takes into account that these exams provide an entry point into health care for young Texans who may not have regular access to a primary care physician. The policy outlines TMA's support of student involvement in sports and other physical activities and eliminating barriers that prevent students from participating. TMA supports changes in the Texas Education Code to require that only licensed physicians or appropriately supervised physician assistants or advanced practice nurses licensed in Texas conduct athletic preparticipation physical ...

Healthy Priorities - 05/13/2016

The Texas Public Health Coalition consists of more than 20 organizations dedicated to advancing core public health principles at the state and community levels. The Texas Medical Association is a charter member. In December, the group unveiled its legislative priorities on immunizations, tobacco use, obesity, and cancer prevention for the 2013 session. Member organizations are focusing on some familiar territory – increasing the amount of required physical activity in Texas schools and supporting comprehensive statewide legislation that eliminates exposure to secondhand smoke in all indoor workplaces throughout Texas, for example.

Good Form - 05/13/2016

As more physicians adopt electronic health records and increasingly share patient information electronically, complying with state and federal privacy and security laws becomes more important than ever. The Texas Medical Association wants physicians to have the tools they need to comply while alleviating the administrative hassles that often accompany compliance, so it has created a patient authorization form to help physicians adhere to the law. By signing the form, a patient authorizes the physician to disclose all information in the medical record including medication lists, tests, and diagnoses. The form features fields for patient demographic information and medical history.

Digital Diagnosis - 05/13/2016

The emerging practice of telemedicine allows physicians to consult with patients over the telephone and through live Internet chats, a webcam, or other electronic means. However, it has its limits. Telemedicine may increase patients' access to care, but face-to-face examinations are still vital.

Big Decision - 05/13/2016

During that Many young doctors begin their professional lives as employed physicians, then transition into full or part owners of a practice. Deciding between employment and solo practice is a big decision. Whatever the choice, it has to be done right.