Action: Aug. 1, 2013

TMA Action Aug. 1, 2013           News and Insights from Texas Medical Association            

INSIDE: TMA Website Gives Access to Choosing Wisely Tools  

TMA Website Gives Access to Choosing Wisely Tools
New HIPAA Compliance Date Approaches
How's Novitas Doing?
Loan Repayment Applications Due Aug. 31
Medicaid Reform Needs You
Want the Newest Info on ICD-10?
Plan a Be Wise Clinic on Influenza Awareness Day
Keep PACE With the Latest in Leadership
Two EHR Monitors Better Than One
TMA Honors Science Teachers
TMA Foundation Elects New Leaders
This Month in Texas Medicine

TMA Website Gives Access to Choosing Wisely Tools

The Texas Medical Association has launched its Choosing Wisely® website with materials available for Texas physicians to help spark discussion with patients and avoid unnecessary care.

The website gives access to the "Lists of Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question," which provides evidence-based recommendations created by leading medical specialty societies. These lists help physicians engage in important conversations with patients to do the right thing at the right time.

A video overview about the Choosing Wisely campaign is also available, along with informational videos for both physicians and patients.

Consumer Reports, working with the specialty societies, developed these patient-friendly materials to support the goal of the campaign – to promote conversations between physicians and patients about using the most appropriate tests and treatments.

As a member of the initiative, TMA will work with Texas physicians, state specialty societies, and county medical societies to educate doctors about the Choosing Wisely campaign.

The ABIM Foundation awarded TMA and its philanthropic arm, the TMA Foundation, a $50,000 grant to advance the Choosing Wisely campaign among Texas physicians. TMA is one of only five state medical associations to receive a grant from the ABIM Foundation. Support for the grant program comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  

New HIPAA Compliance Date Approaches

Covered entities that have signed new business associate agreements since Jan. 25 (when the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule was published) have until Sept. 23 to amend the agreements so they comply with the new regulations. 

The final rule broadens the definition of a business associate to include all entities that routinely require access to protected health information (PHI). It also dictates that any entity that contracts with one of your business associates and regularly deals with PHI on their behalf also will be regulated as a business associate.

Do any of your vendors come under the expanded definition of business associate? Is your notice of privacy practices up to date? TMA is offering a live webinar entitled Complying With HIPAA and Texas Privacy Laws on Aug. 6 from noon to 1 pm CT to make sure you have answers to these questions. Register now to learn about the latest HIPAA updates and deadlines. 

How's Novitas Doing?

Medicare wants to know what you think of the job Novitas Solutions is doing administering the Medicare program in Texas.  

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is using the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) Satisfaction Indicator to compile a list of physicians across the country willing to discuss their level of satisfaction with the various MACs. The form itself is not a survey, just a method of gathering contact information. CMS will randomly select a sample for each MAC from the list of physicians who register to participate. CMS will ask about claims processing, Medicare enrollment, educational opportunities, and responsiveness to inquiries.

CMS says it should take less than a minute to complete the form.

Meanwhile, Novitas has new mailing addresses that took effect July 29.


TMAIT Action Ad 4.13 


Loan Repayment Applications Due Aug. 31

Aug. 31 is the deadline to apply for the state Physician Education Loan Repayment Program (PELRP). Physicians who agree to practice for four years in primary-care health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) can receive up to $160,000 to repay medical school loans. 

The 2013 session of the legislature appropriated $33.8 million for 2014-15, an increase of more than 500 percent above the $5.7 million in the 2012-13 budget. The funds were so low for the current biennium that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board had been unable to accept new applications since 2011.

The PELRP webpage features a fact sheet and application for enrollment. It also has the ranking criteria used to determine which applicants will be accepted into the program.

In addition, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website includes a search function that allows you to find out if your practice is in a designated HPSA by entering your street address. 

Officials hope to sign 100 physicians for loan repayment by Aug. 31.

The state will expand PELRP even further in fiscal year 2014 to allow physicians who treat relatively high levels of Medicaid patients to qualify for loan repayment, even if they practice in areas not designated as HPSAs. This expansion is similar to the previous Frew loan repayment program. The implementation delay for this aspect of the program is due to the need for the board to adopt new program rules and enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Applications from physicians practicing in HPSAs will receive priority over Medicaid, non-HPSA applications. 

Medicaid Reform Needs You

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is accepting applications for members for four new advisory committees established by Senate Bill 7. The bill seeks to improve the coordination of Medicaid long-term care services with acute care services.  

The committees are:

HHSC also needs members for the Behavioral Health Integration Advisory Committee created by Senate Bill 58. The committee will address planning and development needs to integrate Medicaid behavioral health services, including targeted case management, mental health rehabilitative services, and physical health services.

Applications to serve on the five committees are due Aug. 14. 

Want the Newest Info on ICD-10?

Let the TMA Knowledge Center's alert service keep you up to date with the newest articles and latest developments on ICD-10 and other health care topics.  

TMA Knowledge Center staff create custom searches on ICD-10 and many other topics. They are set to run each week. The results of the searches are emailed directly to you or accessed via RSS feed. TMA Knowledge Center alerts provide citations and abstracts along with some full-text access. Fill out the online form to sign up.


TMLT Action Ad 4.13   

Plan a Be Wise Clinic on Influenza Awareness Day

The Texas Legislature declared Oct. 1 as Influenza Awareness Day to educate Texans about the health risks associated with the flu. An annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone older than 6 months. Every year, as many as one in five people get the flu.  

Join TMA's Be Wise — ImmunizeSM to help fight the flu by sponsoring an education event or shot clinic.

Start planning your Oct. 1 flu education event or shot clinic now.

Apply for a Grant 
Be Wise — Immunize is accepting grant applications until Oct. 1 for local vaccination programs. Grants of $500 to $2,000 are available to county medical societies (CMSs), TMA Alliance chapters, medical student chapters, and TMA member-physician practices and 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 Parkside Family Clinic in Cuero, Presidio County Health Services, Stephen F. Austin State University Health Services, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine TMA chapter, and The University of North Texas Health Science Center/Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine TMA chapter.

TMA launched the Be Wise — Immunize in 2004 to increase Texas' immunization rates. Since then, the program has provided more than 234,000 shots to Texas children, adolescents, and adults.

For more information, contact Tammy Wishard, TMA's outreach coordinator, by email or call (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.  

Keep PACE With the Latest in Leadership

Physician medical staff leaders who want to hone their leadership skills can do so by attending the IMQ/PACE Platinum Level Training Program for Physician Leaders Nov. 7-9 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Antonio. The Physicians Foundation, the Institute for Medical Quality, and the University of California at San Diego PACE Program will present the conference. 

Physicians Foundation President Louis J. Goodman, PhD, TMA's executive vice president and chief executive officer, will be among the speakers to welcome the participants when the conference opens.

The keynote speaker will be TMA member and former American Medical Association President Nancy W. Dickey, MD. TMA Vice President and General Counsel Donald P. "Rocky" Wilcox, JD, is another member of the conference faculty.

Conference participants will learn how to:

  • More effectively lead their staff;
  • Gain active participation among diverse membership;
  • Improve skills, knowledge, and ability to credential physicians who provide telemedicine services, who are low-volume admitters, or who perform few procedures and/or see no patients;
  • Use quality measures to enhance outcomes;
  • Identify the role of the well-being committee and manage disruptive or impaired colleagues;
  • Manage time and achieve desired results;
  • Use enhanced communication skills to improve personal effectiveness in various leadership settings;
  • Use continuing medical education as an organizational improvement tool; and
  • Perform medical staff functions without violating legal constraints.

Oct. 16 is the deadline to make reservations.

There will be similar sessions in San Diego and Washington, D.C., next spring.

TMA also provides leadership training for young physicians through the TMA Leadership College, established in 2010 as part of TMA's effort to ensure strong and sustainable physician leadership within organized medicine. Leadership College graduates serve as thought leaders who can close the divide among clinicians and health care policymakers and as trusted leaders within their local communities. Offering more than 40 hours of classroom instruction, the TMA Leadership College is designed for active TMA members who are younger than 40 or who are in the first eight years of practice.

Interest in the leadership college has grown every year since 2010. The application deadline for the 2014 class has passed, but check the TMA Leadership College webpage next spring if you are interested in joining the 2015 class.

Two EHR Monitors Better Than One

Physicians using electronic health records (EHRs) may consider using two computer monitors. It's an inexpensive way to enhance the workflow and allow viewing of multiple EHR pages or documents from other sources. Time is of the essence during a patient visit, and EHRs may negatively affect productivity. The second monitor may help physicians during patient visits.   

Consider the second screen for ease of viewing:

  • Immunization data from ImmTrac,
  • Patient information from the local health information exchange,
  • Consultant's note(s) about the patient,
  • Recent lab results via the lab portal, and
  • Health information on a website. 

A second monitor would range in cost from about $150 to $400, depending on size and resolution. Most new computers have ports to accommodate multiple screens; if not, a simple splitter will suffice. While a second screen may seem overwhelming initially, many users quickly adjust and appreciate the ability to multitask efficiently. 

Physicians needing assistance with EHRs may consider using one of the four Texas regional extension centers (RECs). Details about the program are available in the TMA REC Resource Center.   


PC Action Ad Aug 13




TMA Honors Science Teachers

TMA and the TMA Foundation will honor deserving Texas educators again in 2014 with the Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching.  

Three Texas science teachers will receive $5,000 each and an expense-paid trip to TexMed 2014 in Fort Worth in May. Their schools will receive $2,000 awards to use toward the science curriculum. In addition, second-place winners receive $500 for their schools.

The annual awards recognize and reward elementary, middle, and high school teachers who share their energy and enthusiasm for science with their students, as innovative teaching supports the basic premise of medicine – that health care has a scientific foundation.

Who is eligible? All Texas state-certified, full-time public and private school science teachers with a minimum of two years of classroom experience who will return to teach during the 2014-15 school year. All areas of science are welcome.

To nominate science teachers or to apply, visit the TMA website, where you will find more information and the appropriate forms. The deadline for nominations is Oct. 19; for applications, Dec. 28. TMA will ask all nominees to complete an online application packet.

Questions? Email Gail Schatte at TMA, or call her at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1600, or (512) 370-1600.

The awards are supported by the TMA Foundation thanks to an endowment established by Dr. and Mrs. Ernest C. Butler of Austin; Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, which has generously supported the program for nine years; Dr. Gerard and Mrs. Carrie Ventura of Nacogdoches, who have supported the program for two years; and the Potter-Randall County Medical Society in Amarillo. 

TMA Foundation Elects New Leaders

Fort Worth obstetrician-gynecologist G. Sealy Massingill, MD, is the new president of the TMA Foundation (TMAF) Board of Trustees. He was elected at TexMed 2013 in May.  

TMAF, the philanthropic arm of TMA, makes possible initiatives that stress prevention and healthier lifestyles for more Texans. TMAF raises funds and connects medicine, business, and community groups that carry out these programs at the local and state levels.

Dr. Massingill chairs the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at JPS Health Network and is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. He also is medical director of midwifery at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth.

Deborah A. Fuller, MD, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist in Dallas, is the vice president. Dr. Fuller is immediate past chair of TMA's Council on Health Promotion.

D'Anna Wick, a Tyler community volunteer, is secretary. Ms. Wick serves on the TMAF Grants Committee, which develops the annual grants budget, evaluates grant applications, and makes funding recommendations to the full board. She was president of the TMA Alliance during 2009-10 and currently is a member of its board of directors. 

James A. Prentice, MD, a retired Austin anesthesiologist, is treasurer. Dr. Prentice is a past president of the Travis County Medical Society, a past chair of the UT College of Natural Sciences Advisory Council, and a current member of the Development Board at The University of Texas at Austin and the UT System Foundation Board. 

This Month in Texas Medicine

The August issue of Texas Medicine details TMA's numerous accomplishments in the 2013 Texas Legislature, from regulating "silent PPOs," to reducing red tape in your practices, to adding due process to state Medicaid fraud protections, to preserving tort reform. You can also read about federal preparations for health insurance exchanges and how auditors can make sure insurers are paying you properly. 

Check out our digital edition. 

Texas Medicine RSS Feed

Don't want to wait for Texas Medicine to land in your mailbox? You can access it as an RSS feed, the same way you get the TMA Practice E-Tips RSS feed. 

E-Tips RSS Feed

TMA Practice E-Tips, a valuable source of hands-on, use-it-now advice on coding, billing, payment, HIPAA compliance, office policies and procedures, and practice marketing, is available as an RSS feed on the TMA website. Once there, you can download an RSS reader, such as Feedreader, Sharpreader, Sage, or NetNewsWire Lite. You also can subscribe to the RSS feeds for TMA news releases and for Blogged Arteries, the feed for Action.  

This Just In ...

Want the latest and hottest news from TMA in a hurry? Then log on to  Blogged Arteries.   

TMA Education Center 

The TMA Education Center offers convenient, one-stop access to the continuing medical education Texas physicians need. TMA's practice management, cancer, and physician health courses are now easier than ever to find online. 

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