Stories from Texas Medicine, August 2014

Tax Fraud - 07/06/2017

A nationwide identity theft scheme is targeting physicians and leaving the Internal Revenue Service liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds. As of June, more than 100 Texas Medical Association members notified the association someone had stolen their Social Security numbers and attempted to claim their tax refunds. The association has learned the crime's victims also include physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, dentists, podiatrists, and pharmacists. Texas is one of 49 states and the District of Columbia affected by this con.

Hiring Scribes - 10/03/2016

Many physicians say electronic health records (EHRs) have not made their lives any easier. Though the systems have the potential to improve accuracy and efficiency in a medical practice, EHRs often mean extra administrative work for physicians and less face time with patients. To address these issues, some physicians have hired medical scribes, who sit in during patient visits and document the exam in the EHR. Doctors says scribes make it possible for them to focus on the patient again.

Casting a Vision - 06/02/2016

Texas' medical education landscape continues to shift as plans for a third new Texas medical school — the University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine — move ahead with the hiring of Robyn Phillips-Madson, DO, as its founding dean. Dr. Madson discusses some differences in launching the osteopathic school, as well as the impact of a new, unified path to accreditation for both MD and DO residency programs.

Seeking Simplicity - 06/02/2016

Thanks to the Texas Medical Association's advocacy during the 2013 legislative session and the successful passage of Senate Bill 1150, relief from Medicaid red tape may finally be in sight. SB 1150 calls on the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to develop a plan specifically to reduce administrative burdens on physicians and other health professionals participating in Medicaid managed care, now the preferred state model for the program.

Protecting the Family - 05/13/2016

Physicians in Texas can prescribe treatment to nonestablished patients only in cases of sexually transmitted diseases or when the governor declares a pandemic. In other cases, Texas Medical Board (TMB) rules prevent physicians from administering postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) unless a "proper professional relationship" has been established. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Public Health Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend PEP as a preventive measure for various infectious diseases, including pertussis and meningococcal meningitis, for family members or others in close proximity to patients with the illnesses. The Texas Medical Association is working with TMB to change the rules associated with PEP to better enable physicians to implement CDC recommendations.

Leading the Charge - 05/13/2016

The goal of the national Choosing Wisely campaign is to improve quality and reduce waste by getting physicians and patients talking about medical tests and procedures that may be unnecessary and possibly harmful. So far, more than 60 national medical specialty societies have created lists of the top five tests and procedures they say are overused or inappropriate. Texas physicians aim to keep the conversation going.