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AMA House Punts on Texas Plan to Fix QPP - 06/26/2019

A decision on whether the American Medical Association (AMA) will join the Texas Medical Association’s call for major changes to Medicare’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) will have to wait a few more months, the AMA House of Delegates decided at its annual meeting in Chicago last week. The QPP overhaul was just one of 11 resolutions the Texas delegation to the AMA took to the five-day meeting. Most of the other 10 received a very warm welcome.


TMA to Congress: Undo Payment Freeze, Help Physicians With MACRA - 06/25/2019

Physicians participating in the Quality Payment Program’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System and alternative payment models need help from Congress to succeed, and lawmakers need to undo an upcoming freeze on Medicare payments. That’s what the American Medical Association, the Texas Medical Association, and dozens of other medical societies told House of Representatives and Senate leaders in both parties in a letter sent last week.


Physicians Concerned Over State’s Inaccurate Death Reporting - 06/25/2019

Some Texas physicians are concerned that the state’s death statistics are not as accurate as they should be. Like in many states, Texas’ death reporting system feeds inconsistent information into the state’s vital statistics database. As a result, distorted death statistics inaccurately portray how people are dying, which could have negative public health implications.


Be On the Lookout for MIPS Audit Request - 06/25/2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has contracted with Guidehouse, a nationwide consulting firm, to audit physicians who participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Program, which is under the Quality Payment Program. If you submitted MIPS data for 2017 and/or 2018, you could receive a request for information via email or certified letter from Guidehouse.


False Impression: Medicine Says Medicare Report Inflates Success of Quality Program - 06/14/2019

High participation, “significant strides,” overwhelming success. That was the picture the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services painted in a March report on the first year of the Quality Payment Program. But a closer look by the Texas Medical Association raises serious doubts about CMS’ numbers, transparency, and cheerleading – so much so that TMA and seven other state medical associations are asking the agency to rescind the report.


Faulty Guidelines - 06/03/2019

Former Texas Medical Association President Josie Williams, MD, was tenacious in advocating that organized medicine pay zealous attention to two topics: data and guidelines. In this, she was both sage and prescient. We have done well in following her recommendations on data, but we continue to fall far short of where we need to be on guidelines.


Get Awarded For Your Quality Work in 2018 - 05/23/2019

Did you submit Merit-Based Incentive Payment System data for the 2018 Quality Payment Program and feel like you deserve some kind of recognition for your hard work all year long? Apply now for the 2018-19 Physician Practice Quality Improvement Award.


Medicine to CMS: Medicare Report Inflates Success of Quality Program - 05/01/2019

If you read the recent Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report on the first-year of the Quality Payment Program, you’d likely come away with the perception that the program’s launch was an overwhelming success. But a closer look by the Texas Medical Association raises serious doubts about CMS’ numbers, transparency, and cheerleading – so much so that TMA and seven other state medical associations are asking the agency to take back the report.


Unfair Playing Field? QPP Scoring May Hurt Physicians Not Hospital-Affiliated - 03/28/2019

As 2019 rolls on and physicians operate under new portions of the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), many physicians may face an even bigger disadvantage — simply by virtue of not billing the vast majority of their services at a hospital.


Deadline to Submit 2018 MIPS Data is April 2 - 03/27/2019

If you plan to participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, submitting your data for 2018 on time is not something to fool around with. That’s why the Texas Medical Association reminds you that the deadline to submit data for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’2018 Quality Payment Program is April 2 – the day after April Fool’s Day.


National Specialty Societies With MACRA Information - 03/27/2019

To help you get the best information possible, TMA has identified direct links to MACRA news, resource centers, education, and advocacy from national specialty societies. Visit your specialty society online for information specific to your specialty, setting, and practice.


How to Avoid MIPS Penalty with Minimal Reporting by April 2 - 03/25/2019

For 2018 reporting, your 2020 Medicare payments will be cut even more – by 5 percent – if you are required to participate in MIPS but choose not to submit data. So if you’d rather get paid in full next year (or – even better – receive a payment bonus), there’s still time to submit 2018 data. But you should act fast. The deadline is April 2.


Free MIPS Help from TMF Health Quality Institute - 03/22/2019

The Texas Medical Association has heard from physicians who do not know if they are required to participate in Medicare’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) as well as those who know they need to participate – and know they need help.


CMS Working to Correct MIPS Payment Errors - 03/05/2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says it has become aware of an error in MIPS payment adjustments applied to Medicare Part B drugs, and is working to resolve the issue.


Texas Cardiologist Recalls Boston Marathon Bombing - 02/04/2019

When two pressure-cooker bombs filled with nails, ball bearings, and black powder exploded at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding hundreds more, Jorge Alvarez, MD, did what he believes anybody would do: Run toward the danger.


Section 7: Invest in Public Health and Behavioral Health - 01/30/2019

The phrase “public health” elicits numerous images: first responders at a natural disaster, disease detectives peering through microscopes, posters, videos and flyers urging parents to vaccinate their children against deadly diseases, anti-smoking campaigns. Public health is all of this and more. It’s state and local government agencies, and individual physicians, working to detect, respond to, and prevent what’s bad for the health of Texans.


''It Was a Little Lake in There'' - 01/11/2019

When the staff of a Houston-area children’s urgent care clinic saw security-camera images of brown, murky Hurricane Harvey floodwater submerging their waiting room, they knew it was bad.


Disasters to Disease Outbreaks: Four Health Commissioners Discuss Texas’ Readiness for Next Threat - 01/09/2019

Every Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) commissioner from this century will describe the biggest health crisis they faced while tasked with protecting Texans’ health, and share what they consider to be our greatest present threats, during the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) third Distinguished Speaker Series event.


New Options for Medicare’s 2019 Quality Payment Program - 01/08/2019

Just when you thought no one could make the Quality Payment Program any more complicated, the agency that runs the program has done just that. Beginning in 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will split the QPP’s advanced alternative payment model (APM) track into two options: the original Medicare Option, and the new All-Payer Combination Option.


MIPS Training and Assistance - 12/12/2018

TMA's practice management consultants can conduct a MACRA readiness assessment of your practice and provide customized on-site assistance to help you with your practice's specific needs. The assessment will focus on clinical processes, electronic health record optimization, and workflow improvement opportunities to help increase your MIPS scoring.


MIPS Audit? Here’s What You Need to Know - 11/19/2018

Are you planning to submit data to the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System under the 2018 Quality Payment Program? If so, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services could tap you for a MIPS audit in the future. Here are some things to know to prepare your practice.


Help Your California Colleagues Rebuild From Disastrous Fires - 11/19/2018

If you want to help physicians in California who have been devastated by the ongoing wildfires, the California Medical Association (CMA) and its charitable arm, Physicians for a Healthy California, are taking donations through a recently created webpage.


Give QPP Feedback, Get MIPS Credit - 11/12/2018

Have you explored the Quality Payment Program (QPP) website lately? Did you have trouble finding what you were looking for? Did you click on all the links but leave the website with more questions than answers? If the answer is yes, tell the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) all about it and get credit for the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) improvement activities category.


Interested in Disaster Relief? Texas’ Medical Brigade Wants You - 10/31/2018

Texas State Guard's Medical Brigade is looking for physicians and other medical personnel willing to volunteer their time and expertise during disasters. The Medical Brigade is one of four branches of the Texas State Guard, not to be confused with the Texas National Guard.


TMA Exhibit Explores Disasters That Helped Shape Texas Medicine - 10/22/2018

The Texas Medical Association is highlighting some of the state’s most notorious disasters, and the medical responses to them, in its newest exhibit, “When Disaster Strikes…Six Catastrophes That Changed Texas Medicine.” The exhibit is on display until September 2019 in the Robert G. Mickey History of Medicine Gallery at the TMA headquarters in Austin.