AMA Interim Meeting Section Highlights - 12/04/2023

During the American Medical Association's (AMA’s) Medical Student Section (MSS) Assembly in November, Anand Singh, third year medical student at The Anne Burnett Marion School of Medicine at Texas Christian University, won the position of chair elect of the

Feds Extend Dispute Resolution Timelines Under No Surprises Act - 12/04/2023

As a byproduct of ongoing advocacy by the Texas Medical Association, physicians seeking to resolve out-of-network billing disputes under the flawed No Surprises Act may receive certain extensions through mid-January.

Texas Delegation Helps Stop Single-Payer Push at AMA Interim Meeting - 11/30/2023

Texas medicine made its voice heard on a wide variety of national issues at the meeting in Washington D.C., achieving success in four priority areas: supporting Medicare payment reform, opposing a single-payer system, securing tighter restrictions on nonphysician practitioners, and preventing the use of virtual credit cards.

First Tuesdays at the Capitol Was a Virtual Success - 11/30/2023

Almost 200 physicians, medical students, and alliance advocates logged on to Zoom for the first-ever virtual First Tuesdays at the Capitol on Tuesday, which featured an in-depth briefing on TMA’s legislative agenda for this session.

TMA, Lawmakers Working to Tackle Telemedicine Parity, Prior Authorization - 11/30/2023

As one of the most unique eras of both living and lawmaking continues, attendees at TMA’s Winter Conference heard about medicine’s legislative agenda in both Austin and Washington, D.C., and how COVID-19 has helped shape this year’s legislative focus.

Comprehensive Prior Authorization Reforms Needed, Medicine Tells Feds - 11/30/2023

As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) seeks ways to relieve the burdens of prior authorization on health care, it should not rely solely on automation of electronic health records. Instead, CMS should seek comprehensive reforms that include transparent PA requirements and protections of continuity of care as well as automation, the Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, and a host of other medical societies wrote in a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma last week.

CMS Strengthens Price Transparency for Hospitals - 11/29/2023

A new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services final rule aims to strengthen hospital price transparency regulations for 2024, a move physicians hope will address weaknesses in prior policy that hindered them and patients from making informed health care decisions.

Reminder: Apply for 2023 MIPS Hardship Exemption by Jan. 2 - 11/28/2023

Physicians eligible to participate in Medicare’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System may be spared a steep financial penalty, continuing a trend seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

CMS Extends Telehealth Flexibilities to Protect Physician Privacy - 11/27/2023

Following staunch advocacy by the Texas Medical Association, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will not require physicians to list their home address as a practice location on Medicare enrollment forms for another year when providing telehealth services, safeguarding their privacy and safety.

Voter Approval of Broadband Funding Bolsters Telemedicine - 11/27/2023

Texas voters said yes to the creation of a $1.5 billion broadband infrastructure fund Nov. 7, voting in favor to expand internet connectivity to roughly 7 million state residents who lack access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet.

New Law Prohibits Employer COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates, With Exceptions - 11/15/2023

Thanks to advocacy by the Texas Medical Association, guardrails for patient safety and practice viability are included in a new state law that prohibits employers, including physician offices and health care facilities, from mandating COVID-19 vaccines among employees.

TMB to Start One-Time Fingerprinting Requirements for License Renewals - 11/15/2023

Approximately 75,000 Texas physicians seeking to renew their medical license soon will be required to submit their fingerprints, according to the Texas Medical Board.

Feds Propose Information-Blocking ‘Disincentives’ - 11/14/2023

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a proposed rule that would establish what it is calling “disincentives” that could amount to serious penalties for physicians and health care professionals found to have committed information blocking.

CMS Releases 2024 Medicare Advantage and Part D Plan Ratings - 11/13/2023

Medicare patients and the physicians who care for them now have more information to guide their choice of plan in 2024.

E-Tobacco Protocol Integrates Intervention Into EHRs - 11/13/2023

Amid high rates of e-cigarette use in adolescents and young adults, and following TMA’s legislative wins on nicotine cessation and prevention, physicians now have a seamless way to help patients quit, using their electronic health records. Read more.

Final 2024 Medicare Fee Schedule Solidifies Pay Cuts, Heightens Calls for Reform - 11/13/2023

Now that it’s been finalized, the 2024 Medicare physician fee schedule has solidified yet another pay cut, set for Jan. 1, 2024, underscoring calls for Medicare physician payment reform from physician advocates and lawmakers who’ve recently convened in federal hearings on the topic.

Feds Extend Telemedicine Prescribing Flexibilities Through 2024 - 11/10/2023

With permanent telehealth prescribing policies still under consideration, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) again has extended temporary pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities to allow physicians to virtually prescribe certain controlled medications, now through Dec. 31, 2024.

Executive Order Requires Safe, Secure Use of AI in Health Care - 11/10/2023

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Oct. 30 establishing new standards for the safe and secure use of artificial intelligence via federal oversight across different sectors, including health care.

PAI Study Shows Cost-Savings of Physician-Owned Hospitals Amid Medicare Reform Debate - 11/08/2023

A recent study commissioned by the Physicians Advocacy Institute and The Physicians Foundation found physician-owned hospitals provide high-quality care at a lower cost to Medicare than traditional hospitals serving similar patient populations.

Applications Open for TMAF Outstanding Science Teacher Awards - 11/06/2023

For over three decades, the Texas Medical Association’s Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching have granted cash awards to educators who cultivate a passion for science and an interest in medicine among their students.

Cross Two Items Off Your List With TMAF Holiday Tribute Program - 11/03/2023

This season, consider taking a Texas two-step approach to gift-giving by making a charitable donation through the Texas Medical Association Foundation Holiday Tribute Program.

Report Aims to Catalyze Texas Medicaid’s Shift to Value-Based Care - 11/02/2023

A new report aims to accelerate Texas Medicaid’s transition from a fee-for-service payment model to a value-based one, a shift that has been underway for 25 years.

Feds Update HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool - 11/01/2023

To aid small- and medium-sized practices in complying with the HIPAA Security Rule, federal officials have updated their risk assessment tool designed to help practices identify areas where electronic  protected health information (ePHI) is at risk.

CDC Grant Funds Drug Overdose Data Collection in Texas - 10/30/2023

A nearly $4 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could give Texas physicians new tools to handle national opioid and mental health crises, which have made it difficult to identify patients at risk for substance use disorders.

Medicare Premiums, Deductibles to Increase in 2024 - 10/27/2023

Medicare patients will be paying more for their coverage in 2024, which will impact how much co-pay practices collect.