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Work to Expand Medicaid, Protect Telemedicine, Speakers at TMA Tele-Town Hall Say - 09/18/2020

Texas physicians need to lobby state and federal lawmakers as soon as possible to prevent cuts in important state services, to encourage the expansion of Medicaid, and to preserve gains made in telemedicine, a panel of speakers told participants in a telephone town hall sponsored Thursday by the Texas Medical Association’s Border Health Caucus.


Medicaid Kills Proposed Rule That Would Have Restricted Supplemental Funding, Services - 09/15/2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Monday withdrew a proposed rule that would’ve restricted how states fund their share of Medicaid, causing serious cuts in services.


Medicaid Changing Prior Authorization Criteria for Certain Opioid Prescriptions - 08/28/2020

Beginning Sept. 1, Texas Medicaid will implement updated clinical prior authorization criteria for opioid prescriptions for certain Medicaid fee-for-service and managed care patients.


TMA Member Benefits: Future Proof - 08/28/2020

TMA Member Benefits: Future Proof In the past year, cyberattacks on healthcare facilities have increased by 35%. The cost of a breach can average of $402 per compromised record, plus fines. TMA makes robust security for your practice easy through education and services designed to manage the worst technology risks.


Don’t Delay. Medicaid and CHIP Relief Fund Process Can Be Lengthy - 08/17/2020

Although the deadline for physicians who treat Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) patients to apply for federal Provider Relief Funds has been extended to Aug. 28, health officials recently emphasized that physicians apply as soon as possible because each practice's Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) must be validated, if it hasn't already. The process can take up to 10 days. CMS also recently made important changes to the eligibility criteria.


Medicaid Grant Could Pay for Your HIE Connection - 08/12/2020

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.


Pharmacy Board Limits Chloroquine Prescriptions - 08/05/2020

Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines, which cites insufficient clinical data, the Texas Medical Association COVID-19 Task Force recommends against using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19, “except in a clinical trial.”


Leadership by Fire: Stephanie Stephens New Texas Medicaid, CHIP Director - 08/03/2020

Stephanie Stephens received a not-so-welcome gift entering her new job running Medicaid operations for the nation’s second-largest state: A global pandemic. In that sense, the universe wasn’t easy on Ms. Stephens, the new director of Medicaid and CHIP for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).


Portal to Apply for Medicaid and CHIP Relief Funds Open - 06/11/2020

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has opened a portal for physicians who treat Medicaid and CHIP patients to apply for federal emergency assistance related to COVID-19.


Text Orders Securely and Within Guidelines - 05/13/2020

The Joint Commission now says it’s OK to text orders, with certain requirements. If you do send orders via text messaging, be sure to establish guidelines in writing in your practice’s policies and procedures manual.


Medicine Pushes Texas Medicaid to Help Save Primary Care - 05/08/2020

Leaders of the Texas Medical Association and four large primary care specialty societies on Wednesday painted for senior Medicaid officials the bleak fiscal picture of many physician practices, and requested immediate financial assistance.


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.


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.


The Legacy of ARIES: Outdated Technology Interferes with HIV/AIDS Treatment - 02/28/2020

Texas developed the AIDS Regional Information and Evaluation System in the early 1990s to administer federal grants from the then-new Ryan White program, which provides HIV- and AIDS-related health services for patients who can’t get health care coverage or financial resources any other way. Physicians say the reservoir of medical data can be valuable, and without it, they can’t get the funds they need to treat these patients. But the outdated reporting system – which still operates on 1990s technology – causes serious headaches and detracts from patient care.  


PMP Checks Won’t Be Necessary for In-Facility Medications, TMB Says - 02/21/2020

Thanks to Texas Medical Association advocacy, the Texas Medical Boardhas refocused its guidance on when physicians will be required to check the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) before prescribing certain medications starting March 1.


Making Prescribing Less Painful for Physicians - 02/15/2020

I won’t be surprised if physicians around the state are feeling a little angst and anger over the coming March 1 requirement for physicians to check the Texas prescription monitoring program (PMP) before writing prescriptions for opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and carisoprodol. I don’t fault them one bit. This is just one more administrative burden placed on physicians. But I want all of you to understand just how much worse it would have been without the intervention of the Texas Medical Association.


Did You Receive an Email Requiring Registration to the State’s PMP? - 02/05/2020

TMA can confirm that an email sent Friday afternoon asking physicians to register for a PMP Aware account are indeed legitimate; however, there is no deadline to register.


Your Video Guide to Texas' New Prescription Drug Monitoring Program - 02/05/2020

In an effort to address the very real and debilitating crisis caused by the misuse of  pain medicines, the Texas Legislature has passed legislation to mandate that all prescribers and pharmacists check the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) before prescribing or dispensing certain medications.


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.


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.


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.


Far-Reaching Implications: The Ripple Effects of Texas' Uninsured Rate - 12/04/2019

Data compiled by the Texas Medical Association and other organizations, as well as physicians’ own anecdotal experiences, show how 5 million uninsured patients in Texas become 5 million dominoes. As they fall, so do countless others representing the health of Texas: The economy and well-being of entire communities. The classmates and friends of uninsured children. And yes, the physicians who deal with the burdens of treating uninsured patients in emergency rooms and providing uncompensated care.


“Patient Privacy Must Be Protected,” TMA Says in Response to Ascension-Google Partnership - 11/14/2019

Protecting sensitive patient health information should remain a top priority as technology and health care continue to intersect, Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD, said Thursday in response to a partnership between Google and Ascension health system.


Do Your Security Risk Assessment Before Dec. 31 - 11/13/2019

If you participate in the Medicare Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), conducting or updating a risk assessment is a requirement in the Promoting Interoperability category. In order to meet the 2019 performance year requirements, you must complete your security risk assessment by Dec. 31. This is not an optional measure. Thankfully, an upgraded tool from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) might make the assessment easier.