Winter Conference Explores Medicaid, ACOs
The future of the state's Medicaid program and how the changing face of Texas will impact health care highlight the agenda for the 2013 TMA Winter Conference, Feb 1-2, at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin.
The conference's Saturday schedule begins at 7:30 am with a session on accountable care. The General Session begins at 8:45 am with opening remarks by TMA President-Elect Stephen L. Brotherton, MD, followed by an update on the American Medical Association from AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD.
Then at 9:15 am, former state demographer Steve Murdock, PhD, will talk about changes in the state's demographics and what they mean for medicine. In addition, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro is tentatively scheduled to discuss the future of health care in Texas in a presentation at 9:50 am.
Finally, at 10:45 am, Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Kyle Janek, MD, and a panel of physicians and legislators will discuss the Medicaid program in Texas and the progress TMA's Physician Medicaid Congress is making in suggesting ways to improve the program.
TMLT Adds $30 Million to Trust Rewards
The Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) Board of Governors dedicated $30 million to the Trust Rewards Program for 2013, raising the program's total to $130 million. TMLT says this is its way of rewarding policyholders for their loyalty.
The Trust Rewards Program sets up an account for policyholders. Each year you renew your policy, funds are set aside in your account. They will be allocated to you upon retirement or if you become disabled, or to your family when you die.
"The additional $30 million demonstrates the board's enthusiastic support for Trust Rewards," said TMLT President and Chief Executive Officer Charles R. Ott Jr. "We stand by our Texas physicians and provide them with more benefits than our out-of-state competitors."
Policyholders enrolled in the program will find their fourth-quarter statement in the mail in January. It will show the amount already dedicated to their accounts for 2012. The new $30 million allocation will appear on future statements in 2013. If you enrolled in the program in 2012, you need not enroll again. Your portion of the $30 million will automatically be allocated to your account.
TMLT policyholders who have questions or want to enroll may contact TMLT's customer service team by telephone at (800) 580-8658, ext. 5050, or by email. Policyholders may also enroll online.
TMLT is the largest medical liability insurance provider in Texas, serving more than 15,000 TMA members. Rated "A (Excellent)" by A.M. Best Company, TMLT is the only medical professional liability insurance provider created and exclusively endorsed by TMA.
Feb. 28 Is Medicare EHR Attesting Deadline
Physicians participating in the Medicare electronic health record (EHR) incentive program have until Feb. 28 to complete their meaningful use attestation. TMA recommends you attest as soon as possible to avoid any potential glitches that could delay, or worse, prevent payment. Physicians participating in the Medicaid EHR incentive program have until March 16 to attest.
The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) published some helpful resources for physicians:
TMA's EHR Incentive Program Resource Center provides a compilation of resources to help physicians.
TMA recognizes the complexities of compliance with the EHR incentive program and recommends physicians contact their local regional extension center (REC), established by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to help specifically with program compliance. The RECs are able to help all physicians, but may be able to discount services for primary care physicians. Details about the REC program are available on the TMA website in the Texas REC Resource Center.
For more information, call the TMA Health Information Technology Department at (800) 880-5720 or email HIT.
Physicians who were unable to file for a Medicare e-prescribing hardship exemption by the original deadline have until Jan. 31 to avoid the 1.5-percent payment penalty in 2013.
CMS reopened the Communications Support webpage to allow physicians who missed the June 30, 2012, deadline to file for an exemption.
Physicians may request a waiver of the 2013 penalty under any of the following categories:
- The physician is unable to e-prescribe as a result of local, state, or federal law or regulation.
- The physician wrote fewer than 100 prescriptions between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2012.
- The physician practices in a rural area that doesn't have sufficient high-speed Internet access.
- The physician practices in an area that doesn't have enough pharmacies that can do e-prescribing.
Visit the CMS e-prescribing webpage to learn more. Physicians can contact the CMS QualityNet Help Desk at (866) 288-8912 or via email with questions or for assistance submitting their hardship exemption requests. Support is available from 7 am to 7 pm CST Monday through Friday.