Stories written by Steve Levine

Blue Cross Says MOC Not Needed for BlueCompare - 02/28/2024

Physicians across the state reacted strongly to a March 5 letter from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCSTX) that implied the state’s largest insurance company is now using maintenance of certification (MOC) to rate physicians. That was not the intent, the company’s president says.

Online Anti-Vaxxers Don’t Deter Texas Physician - 09/11/2023

Frisco anesthesiologist Zach Jones, MD, doesn't let antivax Internet trolls stop him from spreading vaccination message.

Report Positions TMA Response to Firearms Violence - 08/30/2023

“The physicians of Texas continue to grieve with our fellow Texans over yet another heinous episode of gun violence,” Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD, said. “This is more than a public safety problem – this is a public health crisis. Thus, it will require public health type solutions.”

What You Need to Know About the Texas MOC Law - 08/23/2023

TMA's new white paper answers many questions on a tough new law that protects physicians from being forced to undergo maintenance of certification (MOC).

Update: Medicare QPP Submission Deadline Extended to April 3 - 08/21/2023

Your last chance to participate in Medicare’s 2017 Quality Payment Program (QPP), either through the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or an Alternative Payment Model (APM), is just days away.

Can 34,616 Physicians Be Wrong About MOC? - 05/05/2023

The recently released findings of a national survey show that only 12 percent of the 34,616 physicians who answered the survey value the MOC program. Forty-six percent said they have mixed feelings, and 41 percent said they do not value it.

Under Attack, MOC Boards Pledge Changes - 05/02/2023

Facing a revolt among their diplomates, the boards that run maintenance of certification programs have run up a white flag.

California Model Benefits Insurers, at Physicians’ and Patients’ Expense, Physicians Tell Congress - 02/10/2023

Texas Medical Association physician leaders, along with their colleagues from California and the rest of the country, are on Capitol Hill this week, lobbying Congress to toss out a California-inspired provision from a rapidly moving health insurance bill.

TMA Stands Firmly Against Surprise Medical Billing “Compromise” - 02/09/2023

“There is a right way and a wrong way to protect patients from surprise medical bills, and the so-called compromise federal legislation announced this weekend in Washington, D.C., is definitely the wrong way,” Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD, said Monday.

MACRA: Fix or Folly? - 05/02/2022

The Texas Medical Association has made recommendations to improve the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' proposed rule to implement the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which results in numerous compliance and administrative hassles.

Blue Cross HMO Emergency Payment Review Policy Begins - 11/16/2020

Beginning today, Blue Cross Blue and Shield of Texas will require some members to pay 100 percent of their medical bills if they go to an out-of-network emergency room for certain non-life-threatening conditions, company officials have confirmed.

Rio Grande Valley Responds to COVID-19 Surge - 07/22/2020

As the case numbers and fatalities shoot upward, as refrigerator trucks crank up their coolers in makeshift morgues, as ambulances wait for hours to unload patients, and as coronavirus-stricken physicians and nurses slip out of the workforce, elected officials in the poorest region of Texas are getting desperate.

Considering Telemedicine in the Wake of COVID-19? - 06/29/2020

Much of America, Texas included, is engaged in a big “what if” conversation about what happens next with the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Could telemedicine be part of the solution for your practice?

What is This “TMA PPE Portal?” - 06/26/2020

The system the Texas Medical Association set up to connect community physicians with state supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been operating since May 1. But judging by calls to the TMA Knowledge Center, Texas physicians still have lots of questions about the TMA PPE Portal.

Texans Take New AMA Leadership Spots - 06/08/2020

Although Susan Rudd Bailey, MD’s installation as the new American Medical Association president Sunday earned most of the attention, four other Texas physicians earned leadership positions during the virtual 2020 annual meeting of the AMA House of Delegates.

Sue Bailey, MD, Takes Office as AMA President; “Let Doctors Be Doctors” - 06/08/2020

Susan Rudd Bailey, MD, is American physicians’ new leader in the battles against COVID-19 and outside interference in patient care. The Fort Worth allergist took the oath of office as president of the American Medical Association on Sunday, becoming the sixth Texas physician to lead the organization.

Giving a “Sense of Meaning and Purpose” to COVID-19 Sheltering-in-Place - 06/03/2020

Did 45 days of social distancing in Texas’ five largest metropolitan areas save more than 40,000 lives and avoid more than 375,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations? Maybe not exactly.

TMA Asks for Liability Protections, Help for Primary Care, Telemedicine Payment Parity - 05/20/2020

The Texas Medical Association repeated its call for Gov. Greg Abbott to order limited liability protections for physicians and providers responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and looked to Congress for more financial assistance for struggling medical practices.

Medicine Pushes Texas Medicaid to Help Save Primary Care - 05/08/2020

Leaders of the Texas Medical Association and four large primary care specialty societies on Wednesday painted for senior Medicaid officials the bleak fiscal picture of many physician practices, and requested immediate financial assistance.

Need to Resuscitate Your Practice? Ask the Financial Experts - 05/07/2020

Does COVID-19 have your practice down? Maybe on the verge of out? Pick up your phone at 7 pm (CT) Thursday, May 7, for the Texas Medical Association’s third Tele-Town Hall meeting on COVID-19. Hear the latest news on available financing assistance and ask your question to our seasoned finance, practice management, and personnel experts. 

Which Hospitals Are Ready for Elective Surgery? - 04/28/2020

Gov. Greg Abbott announced last week he would relax the prohibition on non-urgent, elective surgeries or procedures.

Inside on Purpose: Remind Your Patients to Keep It Up - 04/28/2020

Texas saxophonist Tomás Ramirez and music, film, and video producer Art Mendoza had to record their contribution to the Texas Medical Association’s “Stay Home, Texas” campaign inside because they certainly couldn’t do it in public.

Keep Away. Are Texans Doing Enough? - 04/10/2020

At least three groups of analysts are trying to measure success at social distancing state by state – and two of them drill down to the local level. All three give Texas fair to middling marks so far.

Medicine Urges Congress to Help “Sustain Physician Practices” Amid COVID-19 Crisis - 03/23/2020

The Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, and numerous other medical societies are calling on congressional leaders to include provisions in the pending coronavirus stimulus legislation that will “sustain physicians and their practices” as they struggle to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Abbott: No Nonessential Surgeries - 03/23/2020

In a move to conserve hospital capacity and critical resources, and to reduce health care workers’ and patients’ exposure to the coronavirus, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday issued an executive order directing the postponement until late April of all surgeries and procedures “that are not immediately necessary.”