Stories from Texas Medicine, May 2013

Penalties Add Up - 04/19/2018

Putting off Medicare's quality reporting initiatives could take a financial toll on physicians as many of the current incentives shift to penalties over the next couple of years. Those programs include the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), e-prescribing, meaningful use of electronic health records, and, eventually, a value-based modifier that will automatically adjust physicians' Medicare payments based in part on PQRS performance.

Extra Fee, Extra Hassle - 07/27/2017

As physician practices struggle to stay viable, some have resorted to charging additional patient fees to make up for declining payments, rising costs, and scarce time that stack the odds against many doctors. The fee may come in different brands and sizes, labeled as an annual medical home fee, administrative charge, or direct payment for a membership of sorts for insured patients to stay in the practice. But the idea is the same: Physicians are looking for a way to continue to give their patients high-quality, personalized care, while filling in the economic gaps created by the many things doctors say today's health care system expects them to do but tends not to compensate.

Write It Down - 05/13/2016

Appropriately documenting, maintaining, and storing employee personnel files may seem tedious, but experts say those tasks are essential to ensuring that employers comply with state and federal law. And, thorough employee personnel records can help physicians defend themselves if an employee sues the practice. The Texas Medical Association recommends all employees, including physicians, have well-maintained personnel files containing specific documents, as well as government-mandated forms.

No Longer an Option - 05/13/2016

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General used to encourage physicians in Medicare and Medicaid to adopt voluntary compliance programs. But now it's the law. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, compliance programs are no longer voluntary. As a condition of enrollment in federal health programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, the health system reform law requires physicians to establish a compliance program that features specific core elements.

Buried in Paperwork - 05/13/2016

The Texas Medical Association reached a landmark agreement with advanced practice nurses and physician assistants on legislation to improve patients' access to care through an improved delegated model for team-based health care. The bill helps establish a more flexible and collaborative practice model that improves on current site-based restrictions.