Related Stories

TMA to IRS: Direct Primary Care, Health Care-Sharing Ministries Aren’t Insurance - 08/19/2020

The Texas Medical Association is urging the IRS to reconsider a proposed rule that would classify direct primary care (DPC) arrangements and health care-sharing ministries (HSMs) as insurance.


The X{EPSU} Modifiers Further Define Modifier 59 - 08/13/2020

Modifier 59, the distinct procedural service modifier associated with Medicare National Correct Coding Initiative edits, is one you might find confusing (many practices do). Follow these guidelines


Don’t Miss New and Revised LCDs - 08/13/2020

Take a look at these new and revised Medicare local coverage determinations (LCDs) and article updates from Novitas Solutions. Remember, Novitas will reject claims that don’t adhere to LCDs.


CMS’ 2021 Fee Schedule Proposal Could Lower Physician Pay - 08/12/2020

Payments to some physicians who treat Medicare patients would fall from 2020 levels under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) proposed physician fee schedule for 2021. CMS last week released the annual draft rule, which also recommends updates to the Quality Payment Program (QPP).


Can’t Say It Enough: Document, Document, Document - 08/11/2020

When Medicare delves into claims errors, one stands out: insufficient documentation.


Practice e-Tips on Medicare - 08/10/2020

Get practice tips on all things Medicare. Learn what Medicare requires for enrollment, participation, billing, claims, coding, documentation, and more.


UnitedHealthcare Phasing Out Paper Checks - 08/03/2020

If you receive claims payments from UnitedHealthcare (UHC) in paper checks, now is the time to enroll in direct deposit. UHC says it will phase out sending paper checks for payments throughout the remainder of 2020


Buying Time: Medicine’s Warnings Prompt CMS to Delay Dramatic Coding and Payment Changes - 06/23/2020

Medicine’s warnings prompt CMS to delay dramatic coding and payment changes.


Invoice No Longer Required for Some Medicare Claims - 06/03/2020

For certain biologicals and medications reported in Medicare Part B claims, Novitas Solutions now will allow you to enter invoice information on the claim, rather than provide the actual invoice for the services.


Use “Time, MDM” for Medicare Telehealth Coding - 06/02/2020

When coding for Medicare telehealth visits, you can use either medical decisionmaking (MDM) or time as the basis for your selection of office/outpatient evaluation and management (E&M) levels of service, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has clarified.


Running Out of Reasons: Low Payments, Hassles Leave Physicians Wondering: Why stay in Medicare? - 06/01/2020

Texas physicians who deal with Medicare’s substandard payments and world-class administrative hassles are feeling underappreciated. The latest report from the committee that advises Congress on Medicare payment policy may exacerbate that feeling. In March, the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) released its annual report assessing payments to physicians, among other sectors. MedPAC recommended no changes to the 2021 Medicare physician fee schedule, meaning no increase in physician payments.  


Payers Extend Prior Authorization Windows During COVID-19 - 05/19/2020

Commercial payers have temporarily modified prior authorization timelines to help physicians care for patients during the COVID-19 emergency. Here is an overview of some payers’ COVID-19 prior authorization policies.


Appropriate Use of Time? Medicare Rules for Advanced Imaging Orders Pose Prior-Auth Burdens - 04/09/2020

An effective way to cut down on overuse of potentially harmful imaging, or a prior authorization-esque burden on physicians who order needed tests? Texas physicians see Medicare’s “appropriate use” system for advanced imaging both ways. As of Jan. 1, physicians ordering advanced imaging tests for Medicare patients must consult an electronic portal, which evaluates whether the test meets Medicare’s own “appropriate use criteria” for whether a test should be ordered. Then when the claim is filed, physicians must document that they checked the system and its determination.  


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.


Submit 2019 QPP Data by March 31 to Avoid a 7% Medicare Payment Cut - 03/02/2020

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.