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Texas' New Surprise Billing Law: Are You Ready? - 12/11/2019

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.


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.


Section 7: Invest in Public Health and Behavioral Health - 12/04/2019

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.


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.


Screening Families of North Texans to Identify Persons with an Increased Risk for Cancer Due to Lynch Syndrome - 12/04/2019

In 2016, the UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Cancer Genetics Program was awarded a grant (PP160103) by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to increase awareness of hereditary cancer syndromes, particularly Lynch syndrome (LS), and implement a population-based genetic screening program to identify those at high genetic risk for cancer.


Addressing Autism: Giving Physicians Tools - 12/04/2019

Autism spectrum disorder is a fast-growing, serious developmental disability in the U.S., affecting an estimated one out of 59 children nationally, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is about four times more common in boys than girls. In recognition of its growing importance, TMA’s House of Delegates in 2019 approved a resolution encouraging physicians to expand and promote resources for families of people with autism.


Q&A: Food Allergies in Children a Public Health Problem - 12/04/2019

Ask Austin allergist Allen Lieberman, MD, which public health issue hasn’t received the attention it deserves, and his answer shouldn’t be a surprise. “Eight percent of kids have a food allergy,” Dr. Lieberman, who founded Austin Family Allergy and Asthma in 2016, told Texas Medicine. “It’s literally a food-allergy epidemic right now.”


Vitamin E Acetate “A Strong Culprit” in Vaping-Related Lung Injuries - 12/03/2019

Vitamin E acetate, a sticky substance used in skin lotions and vitamin supplements, could be to blame for severe lung injuries linked to vaping that have sickened more than 200 people in Texas and thousands more across the U.S., health officials said Friday.


Two Texas E. Coli Cases Associated With Romaine Lettuce Identified - 12/03/2019

Health officials have confirmed two E. coli cases in Texas associated with tainted romaine lettuce produced in California. Officials with the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had few details about the Texas cases.


Help Texas Improve Health Outcomes for New Mothers and Infants - 12/03/2019

As a physician, you’ve seen first-hand some of the health challenges new mothers and their infants face, not only during pregnancy but in the days and months after birth. But if you’re interested in learning more about those challenges, and best practices for preventing and caring for them, plan to attend the 2020 Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies Summit in late February.


How Do Vaccines Prevent Us from Getting Sick? - 12/02/2019

Vaccines work to prevent people from catching infectious diseases. Here’s how: They introduce a dead or weakened version of the virus or bacteria to train our natural defenses to kick in. If our body faces a real threat from the live germ later, the immune system is armed to block it from harming us.


High Deductible Plans? There’s CME for That - 11/25/2019

Texas is No. 2 in the nation in the number of people enrolled in high-deductible health plans – and payment responsibilities have increasingly shifted from insurers to consumers. For practices today, effectively communicating a patient’s financial responsibilities is becoming more vital. The Texas Medical Association’s free webinars can help prepare you and your practice for those conversations.


How Practice Owners Can Control Health Insurance Costs During Open Enrollment - 11/22/2019

If you’re a practice owner whose health insurance is up for renewal during Health Insurance Open Enrollment, Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, there are ways to control the cost of your health insurance. The health insurance advisors at TMA Insurance Trust know of a lesser-known option that you can use to keep group plan cost within budget.


Science: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism; Physicians Fight to Reassure, Immunize - 11/19/2019

Physicians repeat it over and over: Vaccines like the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine do not cause autism; they are safe and effective. Yet the decades-old false claim that vaccines do cause autism has convinced millions of parents not to give their children potentially lifesaving shots and could lead more to opt out, according to Texas physicians.


Leveraging LARCs: Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives Part of Texas’ Solution to Unwanted Pregnancies, Maternal Deaths - 11/16/2019

Today LARCs are one of the safest and most-effective types of reversible birth control, but their reputation took a huge hit in the 1970s thanks to the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device (IUD). Memories persist of news reports about the shield’s many defects. This mistrust of LARCs — along with other obstacles to their wider use — hamper progress toward a wider goal for Texas medicine: improving maternal health and reducing maternal deaths across the state.


Webinar to Explore Creating a Healthy Long-Term Care System - 11/15/2019

If you’re interested in the current landscape of the long-term care delivery system, its funding mechanisms, and the state and federal legislation that model this system, tune into a webinar scheduled for Monday, Nov. 18.


Open Enrollment 2020: Be Prepared for Coverage Changes - 11/13/2019

You’re probably already aware that open enrollment for commercial health insurance plans, including those on the Affordable Care Act Exchanges, opened Nov. 1 and will run through Dec. 15. While some patients won’t make any changes to their coverage, others will make significant changes, including enrolling with a completely different health plan.


Texas’ Rise in Uninsured Kids Among Fastest in Nation, Report Says - 11/13/2019

The bad news keeps coming for Texas’ uninsured rate. Between 2016 and 2018, Texas tied for the second-highest jump in the rate of uninsured children among all 50 states, according to a study released Wednesday by Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families in Washington, D.C.


Prop. 6 Passage Will Save Lives - 11/06/2019

Statement by David C. Fleeger, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association, in reaction to the passage of Proposition 6.  “Thanks to Texans who checked ‘yes’ in support of Proposition 6 in today’s election, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) can build on its legacy of saving countless Texans’ lives, while saving and making Texas millions of dollars every year...."


Get Details About Your 5% Medicare Bonus - 11/05/2019

If you participated in the advanced alternative payment model (APM) track during the 2017 Quality Payment Program (QPP) performance year, full details of your 5% APM incentive payment are finally available.


Take Steps To Improve Health Care Access Throughout Texas - 11/01/2019

If you’re looking for a way to let state lawmakers know why health care coverage matters to all Texans, join or start a block walk during #SickOfItTX’s Weekend of Action for Health Care on Nov. 9 and 10. Walks are currently scheduled in Austin, Dallas, Galveston, Houston, McAllen, and San Antonio; more sites may be added, or you can host your own.


Texas' High Rate of Uninsured Hurting the Economy, Study Says - 10/30/2019

Texas has the highest percentage and number of people without health insurance in the United States, which could cause long-term damage to the state’s economy, says a study released this week by the Texas Alliance for Health Care.


Talk to Patients About: Flu - 10/24/2019

Flu is serious, and the vaccine can prevent or minimize the illness.


Why Vaccine Opponents Think They Know More Than Medical Experts - 10/24/2019

Given the consistent message from the scientific community about the safety of vaccines, and evidence of vaccine success as seen through the eradication of diseases, why has the skepticism about vaccines continued? One possibility is that attitudes about medical experts help to explain the endorsement of anti-vax attitudes ... that some U.S. adults might support anti-vax policy positions in part because they believe they know more than medical experts about autism and its causes.