It's Academic - September 2012

September 2012

Academic Physicians: Get the Credit You're Due  

Have you been working hard teaching for the past three to five years? TMA thinks it’s time to reward yourself.

If you are a physician who has taught medical students, residents, or fellows for at least the past three years, and you were a TMA member during that time, TMA encourages you to apply for new awards created for doctors like you.

The TMA Award for Excellence in Academic Medicine recognizes teaching physicians who are clinicians and have a record of TMA leadership, scholarly activity, mentoring, professional development, advocacy, and community service.

"TMA is eager to recognize our physician leaders who are dedicated to caring for patients as well as preparing tomorrow’s physician workforce," said David P. Wright, MD, chair of the TMA Council on Medical Education. "These awards express the value TMA places on the academic segment of the physician community and the role they play in transforming health care through teaching."

Qualification for bronze- and silver-level awards is through self-nomination. Physicians may download and submit the application by Dec. 31. TMA is developing criteria for gold and platinum levels and will announce them in coming months.

Once TMA verifies your eligibility for a bronze or silver award, you will receive a framed certificate in the mail. In addition, you will receive recognition in Texas Medicine and a mention in the Handbook Report for the next TMA House of Delegates annual meeting, TexMed. If you have questions, email Jennifer McHaney or call her (800) 880-1300, ext. 1451, or (512) 370-1451.

Top of page  

It's Official: ICD-10 Starts in 2014  

Federal officials' decision to go ahead with the ICD-10 coding system does not improve patient care and only helps bureaucrats, Texas Medical Association President Michael E. Speer, MD, said after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the new system would take effect Oct. 1, 2014. The ICD-10 announcement was contained in a news release about a CMS rule establishing a unique health plan identifier system officials say will save physicians time and money.

But Dr. Speer says the ICD-10 system "is a huge burden that deeply affects every practice. Instead of working with 13,500 diagnostic codes, we now will need to learn and use more than 70,000 different codes." It's also expensive, he said, costing solo physicians as much as $83,000 each, and group practices of up to 10 doctors as much as $250,000.

"The timing of the transition could not be worse, as many physicians already are spending significant time and resources implementing electronic health records in their practices, meeting meaningful use regulations, adapting to a host of new Medicare and Medicaid policies, and hurdling other administrative burdens created by the new health law," Dr. Speer said.

Because of objections from TMA and others, federal officials delayed ICD-10 adoption from October 2013 to October 2014.

TMA now offers an easy-to-use electronic ICD-9 to ICD-10 GEMs mapping software to help practices with the transition. The downloadable tool will help you quickly and easily identify which ICD-10 codes will replace the ICD-9 codes your practice uses now. It allows you to:

  • Search by code, code description, or key words;
  • Create and save a "favorites" list of commonly used codes; and
  • Develop and print quick reference lists.

TMA will hold seminars to help physicians and their staff prepare for the transition. Future issues of Action and Texas Medicine will have more information when it’s available.

TMA Practice Consulting is available for customized and private, on-site training programs as well. Call (800) 523-8776.

Top of page  

PPACA Tops Fall Conference Agenda  

Health care economist Thomas Miller will discuss the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) on physicians and patients at TMA's 2012 Fall Conference Oct. 19-20 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin.

Mr. Miller is a former senior health economist for the Joint Economic Committee of Congress and has been at the forefront of health care policy on the national level.

Also on tap is a panel discussion featuring physician and TMA alliance legislators and candidates for election in November. Invited to participate are:


Greg Bonnen, MD     Republican nominee, Texas House District 24
Rep. Michael Burgess, MD     U.S. House District 26
Donna Campbell, MD     Republican nominee, Texas Senate District 25
Sen. Bob Deuell, MD     Texas Senate District 2
Rep. Susan King     Texas House District 71
Rep. Charles Schwertner, MD     Republican nominee, Texas Senate District 5
J.D. Sheffield, DO     Republican nominee, Texas House District 59
Rep. Mark Shelton, MD     Republican nominee, Texas Senate District 10
Rep. John Zerwas, MD     Texas House District 28


And, the conference’s Legislative Training Session can teach you how to be a persuasive and effective communicator in the debate over new state and federal laws that affect you and patients. There will be two training sessions on Friday, 1:30-3 pm and 3-4:30 pm. Space is limited, so register today!

Finally, the conference will feature a flu shot clinic in the Grand Ballroom Foyer of the AT&T Center from 7:30 to 8:45 am on Oct. 20. The shots are $25. The nasal-spray vaccine is $40. Register for the conference and a flu vaccine though the conference website.

TMA supports 100-percent influenza vaccination among health care workers and those who decline should be required to sign a declination waiver. TMA worked closely with the Texas Pediatric Society, the Texas Nurses Association, and the Texas Hospital Association to support the legislation which took effect Sept. 1. The legislation requires each health care facility that is licensed by the Texas Department of State Health Services, to have a policy that identifies the requirements for vaccination for each employee or anyone that comes into contact with patients in their facility. This includes physicians, volunteers, and others who are not directly employed by a facility.

Book your hotel room through the conference website by Sept. 27 to get the special TMA room rate.

For more information, contact the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or email

Top of page  

DocbookMD Enhances Care  

A new mobile app, DocbookMD, addresses the many issues surrounding the convenience, speed, and legality of physician-to-physician communication. It's your latest membership benefit from TMA.

Developed by Austin husband and wife physicians Tim Gueramy, MD, and Tracey Haas, DO, DocbookMD eliminates the red-tape and overcomplicated systems that govern your communication with other physicians. By letting you send and receive other vital patient information instantly via your smartphone or tablet, DocbookMD helps you enhance patient care, make your practice more efficient, gain and give referrals, and avoid mistakes.

"DocbookMD allows you to look up another doctor at the point of care. You can then either call the physician or send a text message with room numbers, medical record numbers, even pictures of wounds, and x-rays. And all of this is sent securely and in a way that meets HIPAA requirements," Dr. Gueramy said.

With DocbookMD, a regional network of physician colleagues is at your fingertips for consultation and referrals – all at the point of care and in the blink of an eye.

Top of page  

Apply for a Be Wise — Immunize Grant  

TMA's Be Wise — ImmunizeSM is accepting grant applications until Oct. 1 for local vaccination programs. Grants of $500 to $1,500 are available to county medical societies (CMS), TMA Alliance chapters, medical student chapters, and TMA member-physician practices/clinics. Grants can fund new or expanded shot clinics, or coalition activity to immunize underserved and uninsured children, adolescents, and/or adults.

In March, Local-Impact Grants were awarded for projects by McLennan CMS, Medina Healthcare System, Taylor-Jones-Haskell-Callahan CMS Alliance, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center medical student chapter.

TMA launched the Be Wise — Immunize program in 2004 to increase Texas’ immunization rates. Since then, the program has provided more than 214,000 shots to Texas children and adolescents. If you have questions, contact Tammy Wishard, TMA's outreach coordinator, at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1470, or (512) 370-1470.

Be Wise — Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians and the TMA Alliance. Funding for Be Wise —Immunize is provided by the TMA Foundation thanks to generous support from HEB, TMF Health Quality Institute, and gifts from physicians and their families.

Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.

Top of page  

Get More From Your TMA Membership  

Now you can personalize the TMA website so the news and information you care about most appear on your homepage every time you visit Personalize your TMA homepage by Dec. 31, and you will be entered to win one of three copies of TMA's Policies & Procedures – A Guide for Medical Practices, a $295 value!

Check the "Keep Me Logged In" box next time you log in with your TMA username and password. Click on Update Your Profile to tell us your specific interests.

After that, anytime you visit us, you'll be logged in automatically to your personalized TMA homepage. Why not make it your browser homepage, too, so you can follow the topics important to you whenever you go online?

TMA offers fierce advocacy, help for your practice problems, lots of continuing medical education, community outreach programs, innovative ways to interact with your colleagues, and the Calendar of Doom to keep you compliant with all the rules and regulations.

Soon, the customized content will move beyond the website and into the TMA emails and newsletters you receive.

Forgotten your TMA username or password? Call the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or email

Top of page

Join or Renew TMA Today: We Could Use Your Help!  

You serve as a necessary and important piece of the medical profession. That’s why your membership in TMA is imperative. Only with grassroots support can we make sure Texas remains a premier state in the education of future physicians, research, and quality patient care.

TMA has been a longtime advocate for academic faculty and medical schools, monitoring legislation, determining the potential impact to patients, and actively lobbying for your interests.

Join or renew today at and see what a difference TMA membership can make. Within your department and/or academic institution, funds may be available to cover the cost of your membership. Please check with your department administrator or chair to see if applicable.

Top of page  

New-to-Texas Physicians Can Start Here  

Are you a physician who is new to Texas? Have you recruited a physician for your school, your practice, or your community from out of state?

TMA's New to Texas Resource Page can help new or returning Texans get their practices up and running. The page provides links doctors need to be licensed in Texas, plus contact information for relevant state and federal agencies and links to resources such as practice consulting for set-ups, health insurance plan contacts, and employee salary data.

Last is a link to the Ask TMA page on the TMA website. TMA members can email the TMA Knowledge Center or call (800) 880-7955 for fast answers to questions about membership, TMA member benefits and services, practice management or legal information, and more.

Top of page

This Month in Texas Medicine  

The September issue of Texas Medicine is a special one, following the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It outlines TMA's reaction to the ruling, why the state Medicaid program needs to be different – not just bigger, and what TMA plans to work for in Congress and the Texas Legislature in the year ahead. You'll also learn how the health system reform law affects your practice operations. The issue also explains the vital role poison control centers play and introduces you to a Houston oncologist who was acquitted of fraud charges brought by insurance companies. Finally, the issue contains the third of eight chapters of Healthy Vision 2020, TMA's playbook for a healthy Texas.

It's Academic is for physicians in academic settings.

Please share with your colleagues who are not TMA members and ask them to join.

Top of page  

Return to Publications Main Page