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Feds Approve Texas’ Request for COVID-19 Medicaid Waiver - 03/31/2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 30 approved Texas’ request to waive certain Medicaid regulatory requirements to help physicians and other health care professionals more effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Census Undercount Could Stifle Texas’ Health Services, Doctors Say - 03/11/2020

Texas physicians are urging patients to answer the upcoming U.S. Census to ensure the state won’t lose billions of dollars’ worth of health and human services funding – a loss that could harm the patients themselves.


TDI Fines Blue Cross $10 Million for Delays, Errors - 03/11/2020

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas will pay a $10 million fine for providing consumers incorrect information, delays in out-of-network claims processing, and errors in marketing materials, the Texas Department of Insurance has announced.


Physicians Needed for Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Panel - 03/03/2020

March 13 is the new deadline to get your application to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission if you want to serve on its State Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Committee. The panel advises the commission on Medicaid managed care operations statewide.


Medicaid Grant Could Pay for Your HIE Connection - 02/12/2020

Have you or your practice been considering connecting your electronic health record (EHR) to a health information exchange (HIE), but keep getting hung up by the cost? Well, here’s some good news. Three public HIEs recently were awarded contracts for a Medicaid grant that could pay for you to connect to their exchanges.


California Model Benefits Insurers, at Physicians’ and Patients’ Expense, Physicians Tell Congress - 02/11/2020

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.


UnitedHealthcare Out-of-Network Referrals: Prior Approval, Patient Consent - 02/05/2020

If you are a UnitedHealthcare (UHC) participating physician referring a patient out of network in a nonemergency, you’re now required to first obtain either (1) prior approval from UHC; or (2) the patient’s written consent.


A Plan for the Uninsured in Texas - 02/05/2020

I call for our TMA to bring all of these groups together to directly address the issue of the uninsured in Texas, to plan a strategy, and to put it in motion.


Proposed Medicaid Rule Would Severely Restrict Services, Medicine Argues - 02/03/2020

A proposed federal rule that would restrict how states fund their share of Medicaid would cause serious cuts in services, particularly for children, pregnant women, the elderly, and the disabled. That is the message the Texas Medical Association and multiple state and specialty medical societies have delivered to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.


Send TMA Your Prior Auth Nightmare Stories - 01/31/2020

Arbitrary. Confusing. Frustrating. Never-ending. Maddening. Those are some of the terms we can actually print that describe physicians’ perceptions of insurance companies’ prior authorization requirements and approval processes. Your personal stories of patient harm due to prior authorization request delays or denials can give the Texas Medical Association the ammunition it needs to fight this problem. Please submit your stories via email to the TMA Payment Advocacy Department.


Insurance Companies Have Denied My Doctor’s Orders, 25% of Texas Voters Say - 01/29/2020

One in four Texas voters say their health insurance company has refused to cover what their physician ordered for them or their families, a new statewide survey has found.


Texas' New Surprise Billing Law: Are You Ready? - 01/29/2020

Texas’ baseball-style arbitration law takes effect for certain out-of-network medical care beginning Jan. 1, 2020. It’s a big change from how disputes on out-of-network medical bills have been handled in the past – and you need to know how to navigate it. There are nuances to consider, and disciplinary action from the Texas Medical Board (TMB) may await you if you balance-bill in violation of the law. That’s why the Texas Medical Association has produced a digestible, seven-page summary of the surprise-billing law.


TDI Explains Arbitration Law Process - 01/28/2020

Before you’re involved in an out-of-network medical bill dispute that would be covered by the state’s new baseball-style arbitration law, it’s best to know what could be in store.  The Texas Department of Insurance has provided further details on how the law will be implemented, including how the arbitration process will work.


Insurance Commissioner to Health Plans: Be Proactive on New Surprise Billing Law - 01/28/2020

In a letter Tuesday addressed to “the health plans of Texas,” the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) commissioner said TDI will monitor how health plans implement Senate Bill 1264, passed during last year’s session of the Texas Legislature and now in effect.


Federal Funding for Women’s Health Services in Texas Restored - 01/24/2020

Texas will again receive matching federal funds for women’s health services through a Medicaid 1115 waiver Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday. Under the agreement, Texas will receive about $350 million from Washington over the next five years to cover the vast majority of costs for its Healthy Texas Women program.


Medicare Sequestration Cuts, GPCI Floor Continue - 01/07/2020

As we begin 2020, it’s a good time to remember that several Medicare policies that affect physician payment remain in effect. Medicare sequestration, the federal government’s 2% across-the-board payment cut, will continue until further notice. In addition, Medicare’s 1.0 floor for the Geographic Practice Cost Indices (GPCI) has been extended temporarily, once again, to May 23.


Request UnitedHealthcare Peer-to-Peer Review Online - 01/02/2020

Seeking a peer-to-peer conversation after a preauthorization request was declined? Now you can request one through an online form available on UnitedHealthcare’s Prior Authorization and Notification webpage.


State Adopts Emergency Rule on Surprise Billing Law - 12/20/2019

The Texas Department of Insurance has adopted an emergency rule outlining the narrow circumstances when it will be legal for physicians to balance bill patients under the state’s new law that protects patients from surprise medical bills. And the Texas Medical Board is telling physicians to accept how TDI interprets the law in its emergency rule.


Review Cigna Patient Feedback Before It Goes Public - 12/13/2019

Now is the time to preview your patients’ reviews that will appear in myCigna.com provider directories starting in early 2020 – or you can opt out of having your patient reviews published in Cigna’s directories.


Tell Congress to Oppose Surprise Bill Compromise - 12/13/2019

If you see patients, if you take private insurance, you need to know that Congress is about to let Big Insurance set your fee schedule even lower than it is now... if they let you into their ever-narrowing networks. The Texas Medical Association strongly urges you to call or  email your U.S. representative immediately. Tell him or her you want to protect patients from out-of-network surprise medical bills, but you don’t want to give the health plans more power than they already have.


Congress Needs to Get This Right - 12/12/2019

The Texas Medical Association, with our nearly 53,000 physician and medical student members, was very pleased to see the Ways and Means Committee weigh in on the debate over surprise medical billing legislation. While the details are yet to come, the general outline of that proposal looks quite promising.


Help Medicaid Patients Keep Appointments With Free Rides - 12/11/2019

If your Medicaid patient has trouble keeping his or her appointments with your office due to lack of transportation or gas money, be sure the patient knows how to seek help from Medicaid.


TMA Stands Firmly Against Surprise Medical Billing “Compromise” - 12/09/2019

“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.


CMS to Recoup Chronic Care Management Payments - 12/06/2019

Some Texas physicians and outpatient facilities might have to refund payments they received for chronic care management services performed during 2015 and 2016 under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, federal officials said.


TMA Makes Strong Push for Fair Surprise Billing Legislation - 12/04/2019

The Texas Medical Association is urging Texas lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to show their support for federal legislation on surprise medical bills that includes commercially reasonable upfront payments and independent arbitration.