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Reporting System Makes Documenting PMP Checks Easy - 02/19/2020

As you probably already know, beginning March 1, you’ll be required to check the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program, known as PMP Aware, any time you prescribe certain medications. To help you document those checks, PMP Aware allows you to download PDFs that you can add to a patient’s medical record.


CME From Around the State - 02/18/2020

Check out other CME offerings from around the state.


TMA Opposes Attempts to Expand Audiologists’ Scope - 02/14/2020

Proposed federal laws that would give audiologists unlimited access to Medicare patients without a physician referral could lead to lasting, and expensive, harm to patients, medicine once again told U.S. Senate and House leadership this week.


TMA to Trump: Do Not Expand NPPs’ Scope of Practice - 02/12/2020

When President Donald Trump released an executive order earlier this month that would, in part, expand the scope of practice of nonphysician practitioners, the Texas Medical Association vowed to keep physicians at the head of the health care team. On Monday, TMA President David Fleeger, MD, took a major step to do that, urging President Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to remove that language entirely.


Submit 2019 QPP Data by March 31 to Avoid a 7% Medicare Payment Cut - 02/12/2020

The data submission period for Medicare’s 2019 Quality Payment Program (QPP) is under way and closes on March 31. If you haven’t started the process, now is the time to ensure your data for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) is in order and submit it in time to make corrections by the deadline, if needed.


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.


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.


You May Need to Refile Some Medicare Claims - 02/03/2020

Be on the lookout for Medicare claims you’ve filed since Oct. 1 in which procedure codes failed to process, causing a rejected claim. You will need to refile these claims.


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.


Physicians Must Lead Care Teams, Medicine Tells Feds - 01/24/2020

The Texas Medical Association, and 99 other medical societies, are making it clear to Medicare that physicians are the nation’s most highly trained health care professionals – and the government shouldn’t weaken or eliminate their supervision of nonphysicians.


TMA Says “No” to Federal Scope Expansion Under President’s Medicare Executive Order - 01/23/2020

At least one piece of President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on Medicare will meet strong opposition from the Texas Medical Association. “Know this: TMA will stand up for our profession and our patients to prevent this totally unwarranted scope-of-practice expansion from becoming reality,” said TMA President David C. Fleeger, MD.


Keep Your Records Straight and HIPAA-Compliant With TMA CME - 01/21/2020

TMA’s in-depth publication, Managing Your Medical Records, will help physicians and front office staff better understand the rules of consent, release, and disclosure. Get up to speed on everything from practical, efficient methods for record organization to best practices for record storage that’s HIPAA- and HITECH-compliant.


Deadline: Claim Your 5% Medicare Bonus by Feb. 28 - 01/21/2020

If you participated in an advanced alternative payment model (APM) during the 2017 Quality Payment Program (QPP) performance year but haven’t received your 5% APM incentive payment for 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) wants to hear from you. The Texas Medical Association has learned that CMS has been unable to disburse the 2019 incentive payment to nearly 3,000 clinicians nationwide because the agency cannot verify their banking information.


Microsoft Windows, Server Systems Vulnerable to Hackers, Feds Warn - 01/17/2020

Texas physicians should look out for a security weakness in Microsoft Windows 10, Server 2016, and Server 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said this week.


Improve Your Spiritual, Emotional, and Social Well-Being - 01/14/2020

The Texas Medical Association’s Committee on Physician Health and Wellness has developed CME courses that will help you stay positive, let go of angry thoughts, and relieve stress and burnout.


Register Now For The TMA 2020 Winter Conference - 01/13/2020

Attend the Texas Medical Association's 2020 Winter Conference, scheduled for Jan. 24-25 at the Hyatt Regency Austin and the Louis J. Goodman Texas Medical Association Building (Friday only) in downtown Austin. Online registration is now open.


What’s Your Experience with EHR? - 01/13/2020

Does your practice use an electronic health record (EHR)? If so, can you or someone on your staff spare an hour or two to help other practices that are considering switching to one? The Urban Institute is looking for physicians, other health care professionals, administrators, and information technology (IT) staff – particularly those in small or rural practices – to participate in online interviews Jan. 13 through 17.


The Math of Medicare for All - 01/09/2020

With two of the current top Democratic candidates – Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) – espousing Medicare for All, supporters and detractors alike are asking more in-depth questions about the proposal, particularly how much it will cost.


Get the Know-How You Need When Upgrading Your EHR - 01/08/2020

The Texas Medical Association’s newest free webinar, EHR to EHR Conversions - When, Why, and How, on Oct. 25, will help you better assess available EHR systems to determine whether you should upgrade your system or switch vendors.


Use New Medicare IDs to Avoid Rejected Claims - 01/07/2020

Your Medicare patients have ditched their old Medicare ID numbers. It’s high time you do, too, to avoid unpaid claims in the new year. Starting Jan. 1, Medicare beneficiary identifiers (MBIs) replace patients’ old Social Security number-based health insurance claim numbers (HICNs). Novitas Solutions, the Medicare payer for Texas, will reject any claim submitted with a patient’s HICN, with a few exceptions. You will have to refile the claim with the patient’s MBI to get paid.


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.


Do You Give, and Receive, Enough Support From Your Community? - 01/07/2020

As social media and online communities continue to expand, it can be easy to lose your connection to the physical world. Yes, you might be connecting to more people online, but are you spending enough time with the community around you? The Texas Medical Association’s Committee on Physician Health and Wellness has created several CME courses to help.


Electronic Health Records: The Dream vs. the Reality - 12/27/2019

The only way forward with electronic health records is to continue to improve the system we have, but to do so with a vigor we have not expended to date. We need a significant increase in federal funding and to draw the best minds in technology to build a fully integrated system. We need significant input from physicians and nurses to create EHRs that are intuitive, efficient, and reliable.


Laptop Encryption Helps You Stay HIPAA Compliant - 12/19/2019

If you or your practice store financial or patient information on laptop computers, you could face hefty fines if those devices are lost or stolen. Thankfully, one important step toward protecting patient data, and yourself, is simple thanks to widely available encryption tools.


Physicians Needed for Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Panel - 12/19/2019

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is accepting applications for its State Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Committee. The panel advises HHSC on Medicaid managed care operations statewide.