Stories from Texas Medicine, January 2020

Taking Privacy to a New Level: Texas Lowers Reporting Threshold for Security Breaches - 01/27/2020

Federal requirements have not changed, but starting Jan. 1, breach notification requirements will become even more stringent for Texas physicians or medical entities. The Texas Legislature dropped the threshold for breach reporting from 500 patients to 250. House Bill 4390 also requires medical entities to report breaches to the Texas attorney general’s office within 60 days of the breach.


Left In The Dust: Helping Underreporting of Workplace Illnesses - 01/09/2020

Workplace illnesses can be difficult for physicians and patients because some take years to develop and frequently are masked or mimicked by other illnesses. Such a disease may not show itself until decades after the patient has left the job that caused the problem. By then, the illness may be so far along that little can be done. That time lag between exposure and illness is just one of several difficulties Texas physicians face in tackling workplace illnesses. Because Texas does not have a federally-approved plan for developing and enforcing workplace health and safety standards, the state defers to OSHA on this responsibility.


Breaking Down Barriers: New State Effort Helps Get LARCs to Women Who Need Them - 01/02/2020

In November 2019, HHSC named boosting the use of LARCs as goal No. 1 for improving the health of women and children. The announcement came when HHSC released its first-ever annual business plan, “Blueprint for a Healthy Texas.”


An Injury to Justice: Workers' Comp Disputes Could Tilt in Insurers' Favor - 01/02/2020

Medicine is working to upend a recent appeals court decision that threatens to give health plans an overwhelming advantage in fee disputes in workers compensation cases.


Supporting Fair APM Payments: AMA Backs Accounting for Social Determinants of Health - 01/02/2020

Alternative payment models (APMs) are considered a key part of the future of value-based care. But for them to be successful, the American Medical Association says, APMs need to be fair, which means adjusting for the circumstances that make physicians’ cost and care challenges unique.


Q&A: Physician Podcaster Jeffrey Jarvis, MD - 01/02/2020

A love of teaching is what propelled Jeffrey Jarvis, MD, into his latest undertaking: hosting a nationally distributed podcast.


An Unfair Game: Quality Payment Program Rules Still Stacked Against Physicians - 01/02/2020

What the Quality Payment Program (QPP) lacks in simplicity, it makes up for in deck-stacking. After three years of physician participation, Medicare’s quality program to drive value-based care continues to generate confusion, frustration, and worry that it’s only going to swallow up more physicians in its complex and financially punitive gameplay.