Stories from Texas Medicine, October 2014

Partner in Quality - 04/19/2018

The TMF Health Quality Institute (TMF) remains the statewide quality improvement organization for Texas after winning another multiyear contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. One of TMF's top jobs is to help physicians, hospitals, and other entities improve quality right at home with hands-on technical assistance to bolster clinical processes and health care outcomes and to home in on federal quality reporting obligations that will affect all physician payments by 2017. 

Will the Sun Rise? - 06/02/2016

Through the sunset review process, the Texas Legislature regularly evaluates the need for and performance of all state agencies to make sure they are operating effectively and efficiently. During the current cycle, a 12-member Sunset Advisory Commission that includes physician representation is carefully examining the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and all other associated health agencies. TMA has weighed in with recommendations and testimony to ensure the state's health agencies are meeting patients' needs — input that in the past led to program improvements and strengthened oversight and accountability.

GME Gamble - 06/02/2016

A new Institute of Medicine report that recommends sweeping changes to graduate medical education (GME) has challenged organized medicine's calls for increased Medicare GME funding to address looming physician shortages, setting off a firestorm of debate over the future of the U.S. physician workforce. The Texas Medical Association is evaluating the potential impact of the recommendations, which call for a variety of changes in how existing funds are allocated and leave a number of unknowns for Texas institutions.

Tobacco Dangers - 06/02/2016

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first surgeon general's report to link smoking to cancer. Public health progress in curtailing smoking is under attack as the tobacco industry, which rakes in more than $135 billion in annual sales, markets a new host of products to a new generation of consumers.

The New Company Doctor - 05/13/2016

Health care costs rise every year for employers and employees. Worksite wellness clinics are gaining popularity among many large corporations for their potential to lower health care costs and reduce employee absences. Rather than pay for each employee to visit a separate primary care physician, employers are contracting with medical groups that set up primary care clinics at the workplace.

Ruling Could Yield Chaos - 05/13/2016

Two conflicting court rulings on the use of health insurance premium subsidies could affect patients' health — and doctors' wallets. On July 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the government should not be providing premium subsidies to consumers buying health insurance in states like Texas that use, the federally run Affordable Care Act insurance exchange. But, later the same day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., upheld the current practice of allowing premium subsidies for anyone buying health insurance in either the federal marketplace or a state exchange.