Help Needed: Ideas to Fix Medicaid
TMA's Physicians Medicaid Congress is working to improve Medicaid for those who currently rely on the program or may in the future. We need your help and your ideas. What changes would you like made to the program? At the top of the congress' list are establishing competitive physician payments, mitigating the dual-eligible physician payment cut, and stopping the Office of Inspector General witch-hunts.
We know there are many more improvements, specifically ways the state could simplify and streamline administrative and paperwork requirements.
Tell us what changes you want by participating in tele-town hall meetings on Nov. 27 and 28 at 7:30 pm CST. Please be prepared to offer specific examples.
- Nov. 27: TMA will call physicians at their home phone numbers at 7:30 pm CST in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, Galveston, Houston, Lubbock, and San Antonio.
- Nov. 28: TMA will call physicians in small urban and rural areas of the state (same number and time).
The congress, consisting of representatives from TMA's Select Committee on Medicaid, CHIP, and the Uninsured, the Border Health Caucus, and specialty societies, will review all recommendations and vote on those that the congress believes should be the top priority. Then in January, TMA will work with state lawmakers to implement these changes.
Save the date and answer your home phone when TMA calls. If you prefer that TMA call you at another number, contact the TMA Knowledge Center by phone (800) 880-7955 or email.
Office Administrators Welcome
If you would like to invite your office administrator or other member of your staff, contact the TMA Knowledge Center by phone (800) 880-7955 or email.
If you cannot participate in the tele-town hall meeting, send your idea(s) to Helen Kent Davis by Nov. 30. The more detailed and specific information you provide, the better.
Ask DPS Now for Your New Permit
If you're one of the 12,000 physicians whose state permit to prescribe controlled substances expires at the end of January, you'd better submit your renewal application now.
That's because the Department of Public Safety (DPS) has had trouble processing applications for the past year and the backlog has caused physicians a lot of trouble. As December's Texas Medicine will tell you, one West Texas emergency physician came within days of not being able to work because of DPS delays in processing his application. He finally received his new permit after TMA staff intervened on his behalf. DPS has been responsive in working with TMA to resolve renewal issues, but problems remain.
The December Texas Medicine also will tell you about TMA's plan to file a red-tape reduction bill in next year's legislative session to address this and other issues that plague physicians in their practices. TMA will urge the legislature to:
- Move the renewal from one year to two years,
- Run it concurrent with a physician's license renewal, and
- Start the renewal process with the Texas Medical Board.
TMA also wants DPS to automate the current paper-based renewal process and allow physicians to submit and pay for renewals online, similar to updating their medical licenses. A DPS spokesperson said the agency is examining that.
Novitas to Process Medicare Claims
Novitas Solutions takes over administration of physicians' Medicare claims in Texas and several surrounding states from TrailBlazer Health Enterprises on Nov. 19. It began handling Medicare claims for hospitals and skilled nursing facilities on Oct. 29.
TMA established the Novitas Resource Center on the TMA website. It tells you what you need to do right now, provides a link to the Novitas transition website, and lists the toll-free telephone number Novitas has set up to answer your questions. The number is (855) 252-8782.
Many physicians across the state are uncertain about Medicare, its future requirements, maintaining compliance and profitability, and the claim administrator transition to Novitas. It's not too late to get informed and prepare your practice for what lies ahead.
TMA's Medicare 2013 seminar offers the best opportunity for physicians to get in-depth and specific details on all things Medicare, including the Novitas transition, "incident to" billing, recovery audits, fraud and abuse, and other key topics. Beyond covering Medicare's upcoming core issues, the seminar also plans a virtual walkthrough of Novitas' website and processes to show exactly where to find local coverage determination policies, contact information, payment practices, and anything else physicians may need to reference.
To reserve a spot for yourself or a staff member, visit the TMA Education Center.