Action: Sept. 2, 2014

 TMA Action Sept. 2, 2014   News and Insights from Texas Medical Association

INSIDE: Hydrocodone Products Reclassified as Schedule II

Hydrocodone Products Reclassified as Schedule II
STAR+PLUS Expands to Rural Areas
10 Tech Tips to Help Make Your EHR Bloom
Critical Congenital Heart Disease Reporting Now Mandatory
It's Not Too Late to Participate in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program
Negotiate a Physician Salary With Eyes Wide Open
TMA Fall Conference Focuses on a Healthy Future
Thorough Risk Analysis Key to HIPAA Preparedness
TMA Members: Be a Part of TEDMED
Academic Physicians: Your Commitment and Leadership Deserve Recognition
A Helmet Giveaway of Statewide Proportions
TMA Honors Science Teachers
Fund a Vaccination Event With Support From Be Wise — Immunize
Physician Health Conference Focuses on Well-Being
Bring HIPAA-Secure Mobile Communication to Your Community
Mentors Wanted for Tomorrow’s Physician Leaders
Take TMA's Texas Physician Survey
Attend the 2014 Texas Immunization Summit
This Month in Texas Medicine

Hydrocodone Products Reclassified as Schedule II

Over TMA's objections, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) last month published a final rule in the Federal Register reclassifying drugs that contain hydrocodone combinations from Schedule III to Schedule II. The change will take effect Oct. 6.

The move is designed to help curb the abuse of hydrocodone-containing medications. It would: 

  • Prohibit physicians from delegating advanced practice nurses and physician assistants authority to prescribe these drugs outside of a hospital or hospice setting;
  • Prevent physicians from calling in prescriptions for these medications to pharmacies; and
  • Prohibit refills of prescriptions for these drugs without a patient visit or consultation.

Additionally, moving hydrocodone combination products from Schedule III to Schedule II will have an impact on Texas physicians' prescribing practices. According to the Federal Register, after Oct. 6, drugs such as Vicodin will only be prescribed for a 90-day period. The current federal rule allows patients to receive a 180-day supply of this Schedule III drug.

Please note the rule change affects only hydrocodone combination products. Pure hydrocodone already is classified as a Schedule II drug.

At TexMed 2014 in May, physicians voiced their opposition to the reclassification in testimony before the Reference Committee on Science and Public Health. In its review of TMA's current policy on hydrocodone, the Council on Science and Public Health also noted the complexity of the issue, agreeing on the need to study it further to develop a TMA position. In the end, TMA's House of Delegates reaffirmed TMA's policy, which states the association "supports the classification of hydrocodone as a Schedule III, not a Schedule II, drug." 

The Council on Science and Public Health's review of the policy regarding hydrocodone classification and management noted that while recognizing the public health problems caused by the misuse, abuse, and diversion of prescription narcotics that result in death and addiction, hydrocodone is associated with more drug abuse and diversion than any other licit or illicit opioid. TMA's opposition to reclassifying the drug hinges, in part, on members' perception that this would place unnecessary requirements on physicians and additional burdens on patients.

The council agrees that addressing the public health problems of misuse, abuse, and diversion of hydrocodone requires comprehensive and integrated strategies in education, monitoring, and enforcement.

TMA continues to express opposition to the change in classification and to support a focus on physician education.

For information on prescribing Schedule II drugs, see the Texas Medical Board's online FAQs.

STAR+PLUS Expands to Rural Areas

On Sept. 1, the STAR+PLUS Medicaid managed care program expanded to 164 rural counties not currently participating in the model. The expansion requires elderly patients eligible for Medicaid long-term care services and supports (LTCSS) and adult patients with disabilities to enroll in a STAR+PLUS plan. Children with disabilities may enroll voluntarily.

For patients eligible for all Medicaid services, STAR+PLUS HMOs cover all traditional Medicaid visits, such as doctor visits, emergency care, and hospital services, as well as long-term care services. For patients dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, Medicare will continue to provide acute care services, while the STAR+PLUS HMO will provide LTCSS. 

Patients throughout the state with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including those living in an intermediate care facility or those eligible for certain long-term care services, also are enrolled in STAR+PLUS for their acute care services, such as doctor visits and hospital care. They may live in a community-based intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities or related conditions (ICF-IID) or receive services through one of the following ICF-IID waiver programs:

  • Home and Community-based Services (HCS),
  • Community Living Assistance and Support Services (CLASS),
  • Texas Home Living (TxHmL), or
  • Deaf Blind with Multiple Disabilities (DBMD). 

Nursing facility services were originally scheduled to transition to STAR+PLUS Sept. 1. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has postponed moving nursing facility residents into STAR+PLUS Medicaid managed care until March 1, 2015. 

For more information, visit HHSC's Medicaid Managed Care Initiatives page.

10 Tech Tips to Help Make Your EHR Bloom

Has the notion of converting to an electronic health record (EHR) germinated within your practice? For this big changeover to bear fruit in your practice operations, you need to proceed with care. TMA has tools, guidance, and reference material — most are free — to help you produce your desired results.

  1. Start by surveying the lay of the land using the TMA Electronic Health Records Resource Center's lists, tips, background information, and advice. You might take the EMR Readiness Assessment and use the Net Revenue Calculator to estimate costs and savings per procedure with an EHR.
  2. Read the manual: TMA's just-updated EHR Implementation Guide, third edition, is available as a free download. This how-to publication looks at EHR adoption from all angles, in plain English.
  3. Begin narrowing your choices using TMA's EHR Product Evaluation Tool. TMA dug up details about the important features of the six most-used EHR products in Texas, laying them out in a quick apples-to-apples comparison.
  4. Narrow more: Log on to Docright, a cloud-based, interactive system that lets you compare vendors, rate your experience, and even schedule a product demonstration. It's free for TMA members. (members only)
  5. Reap the benefits of your EHR. No one says your practice won't experience rocky times as your EHR system takes root in your everyday operations; at first it will slow down practice productivity. So you want to be sure to earn bonuses through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs, and avoid the penalties for not meaningfully using your EHR. Go to TMA's EHR Incentive Program Resource Center to gather information about getting started, the reporting requirements, and deadlines.
  6. Use good tools. The Meaningful Use Achievement Toolkit, for example, makes it simple to report meaningful use, measure by measure, through five EHR vendors.
  7. Take advantage of growing opportunities. For example, nearly all pharmacies now can handle electronic prescriptions (and e-prescribing is a required meaningful use measure). Learn more in the TMA E-Prescribing Resource Center.
  8. Also, now that your patient information is electronic, you can share it: Health information exchange systems allow you to do so securely when coordinating care with referring and consulting physicians. Find out how this works in TMA's Health Information Exchange Resource Center.
  9. Share more: DocbookMD, a free TMA member benefit, (members only) is a HIPAA-secure application for smartphones, tablets, and PCs that allows you to safely send HIPAA-compliant messages bundled with photos of x-rays, EKGs, wounds, and more, just as if you were sending a text. If appropriate, you can add the messages or photos to your patient's electronic record.
  10. Keep your knowledge fresh, as technology — and the rules that govern its use — change continually. TMA helps you keep current through continuing medical education on health information technology in the TMA Education Center. Or — if you need help or have a question, call the TMA Health Information Technology Hotline at (800) 880-5720, or email the hotline at

Critical Congenital Heart Disease Reporting Now Mandatory

Beginning Sept. 1, reporting of critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) is mandatory in Texas. House Bill 740, which passed in the 2013 legislative session, added CCHD to the required Texas newborn screening panel. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has developed rules for CCHD screening.

CCHD is one of the leading causes of death in infants younger than 12 months. Each year in the United States, 4,800 infants are born with CCHD. Early diagnosis and timely intervention can significantly reduce morbidity and mortality and lead to better outcomes.

Birthing facilities, hospitals, and physicians can use the CCHD toolkit to help implement CCHD screening. The toolkit provides educational and technical information on screening for CCHD, including the screening algorithm, brochures, and other information for physicians and nurses. 

Physicians can report confirmed CCHD cases to DSHS with the required form, which can be faxed to the department at (512) 776-7593, or mailed to DSHS Newborn Screening Genetics Branch, PO Box 149347, MC 1918, Austin, TX 78714-9347.

You may email any questions regarding CCHD screening, or call Monica Molina, DSHS newborn screening ombudsman, at (512) 776-3386.

For more information, visit the DSHS newborn screening webpage.

It's Not Too Late to Participate in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program

The last year to begin participating in the Medicare electronic health record (EHR) incentive program is 2014. Physicians can begin the program by Oct. 1 and still receive up to $24,000 over the next three years. New participants must demonstrate meeting three months of Stage 1 meaningful use criteria

To avoid the 1-percent penalty in 2015, those new to the program should have started the three-month reporting period by July 1 and must attest by Oct. 1. If you missed the penalty prevention deadline, you can still receive the incentive by beginning your reporting period on Oct. 1 and attesting to meaningful use no later than Feb. 28, 2015. Attesting in 2014 also means you will not be penalized in 2016. 

If you are in your second year or later of the EHR incentive program, you have until Dec. 31 to finish your three-month reporting period. The final date for all Medicare participants to register and attest to 2014 meaningful use is Feb. 28, 2015.

Visit these websites for more information: 

Physicians who need assistance with the EHR incentive program may receive consulting help from one of four Texas regional extension centers (RECs). The RECs can help physicians navigate the complexities of the program. Check out TMA's REC Resource Center to find out which REC serves your area. 

For more information about EHRs or other health information (HIT) technology issues, email TMA's HIT Department, or call (800) 880-5720. 

 TMAIT Action Ad Sept 14  

Negotiate a Physician Salary With Eyes Wide Open

With more physicians going into employment in a large group or hospital arrangement, it is important they understand the pros and cons of various compensation methods they might be offered in an employment contract.

In some situations, the physician may receive a fixed salary, perhaps with the opportunity to earn bonuses. Often, physicians move from a fixed salary to a productivity compensation arrangement with the employer once they've had a chance to establish their practice. Physicians who work part time, want to avoid working call hours, or want to devote time to nonclinical work such as community outreach may prefer a fixed salary.

Productivity compensation is based on some measure of the physician's production in the practice:

  • Collections: The employed physician is paid a percentage of the collections for his or her services. This can be the exclusive basis for the physician's pay or a bonus to a base salary.  While a productive physician can benefit from this compensation method, it comes with some caveats, notes attorney Michael Kreager in TMA's new book, Employment Contracts for Physicians: The Comprehensive Guide, Second Edition. To some extent, the employed physician is at the mercy of the employer's payer mix as well as the effectiveness of the billing and collections staff.  The physician should seek an employment agreement that obligates the employer to assign patients to physician employees equitably, based on the payer mix and commercial payer rates.
  • Percentage of profit: The employed physician's pay equals the medical practice's collections for the employee's services less his or her allocated expenses. In this situation, the physician must make sure the employment contract spells out what income and expenses are included in this equation and how the allocation is figured. For example, the physician should make sure he or she will be credited for collections provided by midlevel professionals the physician supervises.
  • Work RVUs: Compensation is based on the amount of work the physician performs during a given period using work relative value units (wRVUs) as the measure. "Employers, especially hospitals and other institutional employers, are moving rapidly to wRVU compensation models," says Mr. Kreager. An advantage of this model is that the employee gets paid for his or her work regardless of how much or even if the employer collected for it.

Employers and physicians can turn to several sources to determine fair and competitive ranges for compensation and benefits for employed physicians, including free white papers and survey results from:

In addition, the Medical Group Managers Association publishes annual surveys for sale with information organized by subspecialty and region. The survey results are stratified into percentile results. "The employed physician will want to be diligent in ascertaining upon which percentile the employer is relying to base its compensation offer," Mr. Kreager writes.

A physician with more experience and a proven track record with consistent, high-quality outcomes will want to negotiate compensation based on a higher percentile, such as the 90th percentile. If the employer offers compensation at the 50th percentile, the physician aided by survey results will be able to press the employer for an increase due to the physician’s better qualifications, Mr. Kreager says.

You can order a copy of Employment Contracts for Physicians: The Comprehensive Guide, Second Edition from the TMA Education Center.

TMA Fall Conference Focuses on a Healthy Future

Join your colleagues Sept. 12-13 to be part of the 2014 TMA Fall Conference movement to "Focus on a Healthy Vision for Texas" at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa.

TMA's release of Healthy Vision 2020 in May 2012 identified the needs and laid the groundwork for the future of health care in Texas. Now that our target is on the horizon, it's time to refocus our efforts to ensure the continued success of our mission.

The conference features: 

  • Texas legislative update with Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), new chair of the Senate Finance Committee; 
  • TMA's current and future Healthy Vision 2020 goals by Dawn C. Buckingham, MD;
  • How Texas physicians can increase their community leadership by Michael J. Deegan, MD;
  • How to get involved in the Choosing Wisely® campaign by Donald E. Wesson, MD; and
  • Review of Texas legislative candidates by Evan Smith of The Texas Tribune

Saturday's session begins at 7:30 am with a Dawn Duster on Critical Competencies for Contemporary Physician Leaders. The speaker is Michael J. Deegan, MD, clinical professor of health care leadership and innovation at The University of Texas at Dallas' Jindal School of Management. He will discuss the current transformation of American health care delivery and financing, where physician leadership is increasingly recognized as critical for a successful outcome in a high-stakes transition.

Donald E. Wesson, MD, will speak during the General Session on Choosing Wisely and how it promotes conversations among physicians and patients to ensure delivery of the right care at the right time. The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation awarded TMA and its philanthropic arm, the TMA Foundation, a grant to advance Choosing Wisely among Texas physicians. Support for the grant program comes from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Wesson is the immediate past chair of the ABIM Foundation's Board of Trustees. Read more about Choosing Wisely in the August issue of Texas Medicine.

The meeting will end with a discussion on the legislative candidate race dynamics and what that means for Texas health care as presented by Evan Smith, chief executive officer and president of The Texas Tribune

Register online on the TMA website today. The Hyatt Regency Lost Pines has sold out of sleeping rooms for Friday, Sept. 12. TMA has secured an overflow block of rooms at the Hilton Austin Airport, located approximately 15 minutes from the Hyatt. Contact the hotel at (800) 584-5091 to receive the TMA discounted rate of $129. 

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

Thorough Risk Analysis Key to HIPAA Preparedness

An estimated 40 million to 45 million patient records have been compromised in HIPAA data breaches since 2012. Since 2009, theft or loss of unencrypted devices or computers accounted for 35 percent of all breaches. 

Where do HIPAA-covered entities, such a physician practices and their business associates, most often make their biggest misstep? It's in performing an inadequate risk analysis. The "failure to perform a comprehensive, thorough risk analysis and then to apply the results of that analysis," leaves organizations vulnerable, says U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights Director Leon Rodriguez.

Many breaches, officials say, easily can be avoided through regular risk analyses and up-to-date company policies. Under the new HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule, covered entities and business associates responsible for violating HIPAA Privacy and Security rules by failing to safeguard patient protected health information could face up to $1.5 million in annual fines.

HIPAA Security: The Keys to Compliance is a new TMA seminar that will give you an overview of the HIPAA Security Rule and then explore techniques you can use to identify and address any HIPAA deficiencies in your practice. This is a perfect opportunity for you and your staff to jump ahead of the curve on HIPAA security readiness.

Seminars begin in Houston on Sept. 9 and continue throughout the month in cities across the state. Can't attend in person? Register for the live webcast, and participate online on Sept. 25 from your home or office.

TMA Members: Be a Part of TEDMED

TEDMED is where the world's most creative minds meet health care's most innovative scientific concepts. And that's why you need to be there.

TEDMED is the annual, health-care focused conference sponsored by the internationally renowned TED Talks. "Unlocking Imagination" is the theme of TEDMED 2014, which will take place in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, Sept. 10-12. Like the TED Talks, TEDMED is famous for engendering discussions of "way-out-of-the-box" solutions to society's most pressing problems. The talks are streamed live to audiences worldwide via organizations preapproved by the TEDMED team. TMA members are preapproved for this exciting experience.

As a special benefit of membership, TMA member physicians can watch the thought-provoking TEDMED talks live from Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Just connect via the TEDMED mobile application. Early in September, you can download the 2014 TEDMEDConnect mobile app in your app store. When prompted, input the TMA location ID L67538 and your personal email address.

Using the app, you can: 

  • Connect "live" to the speakers on the TEDMED stage and ask them questions or transmit comments.
  • View an up-to-the-minute TEDMED schedule.
  • View and upload photos from TEDMEDLive viewing locations.
  • Participate in live polls and games.
  • Request a follow-up "Science Kit."
  • Download the conference program.
  • Connect to Facebook and Twitter. 

Have plans to be in Austin that week? Please join us for TEDMED week in Austin. In a spirit of collaboration and information-sharing, TEDxAustin, TMA, The University of Texas at Austin, and Seton Healthcare Family are pleased to present an HD live simulcast of TEDMED throughout the city. To enhance your experience, we will provide live speakers at each location to promote discussion and idea exchange around the topic "Imagine the Future of Medicine: A Better, Smarter, Healthier Austin." We invite you to register and attend for free.

If you're coming to the TMA 2014 Fall Conference, you can watch the live stream from TEDMED on Friday, Sept. 12, 7 am-7:30 pm in the Scribes Club at the Hyatt Lost Pines in Bastrop.

Academic Physicians: Your Commitment and Leadership Deserve Recognition

TMA is eager to recognize Texas physician leaders who have simultaneously dedicated their lives to the care of their patients and to the preparation of the physician workforce of tomorrow. 

The TMA Award for Excellence in Academic Medicine program recognizes teaching physicians who have a record of TMA leadership and serve as role models in scholarly activity, mentoring, professional development, advocacy, or community service. If this sounds like you, TMA encourages you to apply for this award created for doctors like you. 

"TMA wants to recognize our physician members who are exceptional teachers, mentors, and medical professionals," said Rodney B. Young, MD, chair of the TMA Council on Medical Education. "Their contributions directly align with TMA's vision to improve the health of all Texans, and this award program underscores their value in preparing the future physician workforce to be leaders within TMA and their communities."

The program has four recognition levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Eligibility criteria increase with each level. Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels are self-nominating, and all who meet the criteria will receive recognition. A selection committee of TMA member physicians chooses the sole Platinum-level award winner each year from among Gold-level recipients. Gold recipients remain eligible for the annual Platinum award for three years, with no need to reapply during that period.

New this year is the opportunity to nominate a physician for recognition at one of the three levels. You can find information on how to fill out a nomination form on the TMA website.

All recipients receive a printed certificate and recognition by the TMA Council on Medical Education and the Subcommittee for Academic Physicians at the next TexMed meeting. The Platinum Award winner also receives a $5,000 cash award and trophy, generously provided through a grant from the TMA Foundation. In addition, all recipients are recognized in TMA's award-winning newsmagazine, Texas Medicine, and monthly e-newsletter, It’s Academic, and in the Handbook for Delegates at TexMed, the TMA House of Delegates' annual meeting. 

Physicians may download applications now through Dec. 8. Deadline for submission to TMA is Dec. 8, 2014, at 5 pm CT. Apply today, and get the credit you're due. 

If you have questions, email Jennifer McHaney at TMA, or call her at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1451, or (512) 370-1451.

TMLT Action Ad 4.13  

A Helmet Giveaway of Statewide Proportions

TMA's Hard Hats for Little Heads program is counting down to October, when it will celebrate 20 years of keeping kids safe with bike helmet giveaways across the state. You still have time to plan an event in your community to help TMA cover all 254 of Texas' counties.

Physicians, medical students, county medical societies, and TMA Alliance chapters can host events. Check out these ideas for events, or come up with another idea for your giveaway. If you belong to a multicounty medical society, consider hosting a giveaway in each of those counties. 

TMA provides everything you need for a successful event: free helmets, banners, event signage, promotional flyers, educational handouts, and media relations support. When you purchase 50 helmets, TMA will match your purchase with another 50 free helmets. Helmets are $7.35 each, including shipping.

Be sure to order your helmets and other supplies at least a month in advance. To request an order packet, email Tammy Wishard, TMA's outreach coordinator, or call (800) 880-1300, ext. 1470, or (512) 370-1470. 

Hard Hats for Little Heads is made possible through a grant from the TMA Foundation thanks to top donors — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Prudential, and two anonymous foundations — and generous gifts from physicians and their families, and friends of medicine. 

TMA Honors Science Teachers

TMA will honor deserving Texas educators again in 2015 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 2015 in Austin in May. Their schools will receive $2,000 awards to use toward the science curriculum. Second-place winners receive $1,000 for their schools.

To nominate science teachers or to apply, visit the TMA website. Deadlines are for nominations is Oct. 25 for nominations and for applications is Dec. 31. TMA will ask all nominees to complete an application packet. 

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

All Texas state-certified, full-time public and private school science teachers with a minimum of two years' classroom experience who will return to teach during the 2015-16 school year are eligible. All areas of science are welcome.

For more information, email Gail Schatte, or call her at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1600, or (512) 370-1600.

Fund a Vaccination Event With Support From Be Wise — Immunize

TMA's Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program is accepting applications until Oct. 1 for funds to support local vaccination events. Grants of up to $2,000 are available to TMA member-physician practices and clinics, county medical societies, TMA Alliance chapters, and medical student chapters. 

Monies can be used for new or expanded shot clinics to immunize underserved and uninsured children, adolescents, and/or adults. Applicants have until Dec. 31, 2015, to use the funds. 

In April, TMA awarded a record 11 local impact grants for projects to vaccinate Texans against flu, human papillomavirus, pertussis, bacterial pneumonia, and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

To plan your free or low-cost vaccination event, check out the Be Wise — Immunize Quick Start Manual: A Step-by-Step Vaccination Outreach Guide. If you have questions, contact Tammy Wishard, TMA's outreach coordinator, at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1470, or (512) 370-1470.

TMA launched the Be Wise — Immunize program in 2004 to increase Texas' immunization rates. Since then, the program has provided more than 255,000 shots to Texas children, adolescents, and adults. 

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 H-E-B, TMF Health Quality Institute, and gifts from physicians and their families. 

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

Physician Health Conference Focuses on Well-Being

Physician Well-Being for Life is the theme of the TMA Committee on Physician Health and Wellness (PHW) conference, Oct. 24-25 at The Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. The conference has been accredited for a maximum of 8.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, 6 of which are ethics and/or professional responsibility education.

Those who will benefit from the seminar are physicians of all specialties; members and consultants of state and county medical society PHW committees, district coordinators; regional education team members; hospital representatives, including chiefs of staff, medical staff coordinators, and members of hospital-based peer assistance committees; and others interested in learning more about strategies to improve physician health and promote patient safety.

Presentations during the conference will include The Keys to the Medicine Closet: Unlocking the Door to Addiction; New Street Drugs; Early Healing: Balancing Your Life; The Legalization of Marijuana: Promotion of Patient Safety; Integrating Mindfulness Into the Daily Routine of Physicians; Doctor, Heal Thyself; Building Physician Resilience; Long-Term Recovery: Pearls of Wisdom; and Impact of Addiction on Healthy Sexual Relationships.

Review the conference brochure and register online in the TMA Education Center. To request a brochure or for additional information, email Linda Kuhn, program manager of TMA Physician Health and Rehabilitation, or call her at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1342, or (512) 370-1342.

Bring HIPAA-Secure Mobile Communication to Your Community

With more than 9,000 Texas physicians already using the free DocbookMD app to securely text medical information to their colleagues, chances are you or a colleague are one of them. But what if you want to coordinate care via DocbookMD with a physician who's not yet registered? If you've been waiting for enough physicians in your area to come on board, wait no more. Take action to secure your community.

The best advocate for change is you, and DocbookMD makes it easy for you to personally invite your colleagues and staff members to download the DocbookMD app so that they can communicate with you quickly, efficiently, and in a HIPAA-secure manner.

Simply select a colleague in the physician directory who doesn't have a DocbookMD "text bubble" icon next to his or her name and tap the "Send an Invitation" button. You can then enter a short custom message saying that you would like that physician to join you on DocbookMD. Your message will be sent directly to your colleague as an email, and once he or she downloads the app, you will be coordinating patient care together and saving time and money.

DocbookMD is available to all TMA members as a free member benefit. Across the country, more than 25,000 physicians in 41 states use DocbookMD, further connecting the community of medicine. DocbookMD is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, as well as PC and Mac. The app can be downloaded using the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Docbook Enterprise offers a scalable and secure way for groups, hospitals, and accountable care organizations to meet a wide variety of workflow needs and enhance existing technology systems. To introduce the Enterprise version of DocbookMD to your hospital or large group, contact DocbookMD Director of Partnerships Chad Shepler by email or phone, (512) 383-5822.

PC Action Ad Sept 13

Mentors Wanted for Tomorrow’s Physician Leaders

Remember your first professional mentor? The physician who introduced you to all the right people? The one who shared invaluable tricks of the trade? The one who helped steer you away from trouble? It's time to repay the favor. The fifth class of scholars in the TMA Leadership College will begin their year of studies at the 2014 TMA Fall Conference.

As part of the learning experience, scholars are matched with established physician leaders to serve as mentors. All it takes is a phone call or two each month, a few introductions to your colleagues, and a helpful hand every now and again. Then you can stand proudly when your mentee graduates from Leadership College at TexMed 2015. If you're interested, please sign up today.

Take TMA's Texas Physician Survey

TMA's 2014 Texas Physician Survey is under way. Complete the survey, and provide TMA with your opinion on and experience related to health care issues. Your feedback helps support the association's policy development and political focus. 

Since 1990, TMA has conducted a biennial survey of Texas physicians that focuses primarily on health care practice and economic and legislative issues. Each month, TMA emails a section of the survey to all Texas physicians with email addresses in the association's directory.

If you have not received an email, contact Jessica Davis, TMA health care research and data analyst. Texas physicians who answer all of the surveys in 2014 are eligible to win one of five Apple iPads. 

Attend the 2014 Texas Immunization Summit

The 2014 Texas Immunization Summit, Nov. 5-7 in San Antonio, will focus on information and tools regarding immunization-centered programs and vaccine administration, education and outreach activities, epidemiology and vaccine development, and advocacy. Anyone interested in immunizations, including physicians, nurses, public health workers, policymakers, legislators, and students, can attend the summit. 

The early bird registration deadline has been extended to Monday, Sept. 15. Register today. Early bird rates are:

  • $20 for students;
  • $75 for nonprofit, government, or nonphysician health care personnel; and 
  • $150 for physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. 

The summit will kick off Nov. 5 with a screening of the acclaimed documentary Invisible Threat, followed by a panel discussion with the film's producer and Paul Offit, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 

This Month in Texas Medicine

The September issue of Texas Medicine features a cover story on the growing need for physician involvement in the TMA Political Action Committee (TEXPAC) and the group's mission to ensure medicine's voice rings in the Texas Legislature and good health policy prevails. It also highlights TMA's latest scope-of-practice battles, the association's role in recruiting physicians to care for veterans, tropical disease emerging in Texas, and Texas medical schools' efforts to help students match to a residency program.

Click to launch the full edition in a new window.  

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.   

Deadlines for Doctors 

TMA's Deadlines for Doctors alerts you and your staff to upcoming state and federal compliance timelines and offers information on key health policy issues that impact your practice.


PQRS: Deadline to Register to Participate in GPRO for 2014   


HIT: First-Year Participants: Deadline to Attest to Meaningful Use for the 2014 Medicare EHR Incentive Program  

HIT: Upgrade EHR for Meaningful Use Stage 2  

Continuing Medical Education 


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.  

HIPAA Security: The Keys to Compliance
9/25 Live Webcast: Register 

On-Demand Webinars

Dealing with Difficult Patients 
Making Discussions About Death and Dying Easier 
Meaningful Use: Information Technology Bundle   

Physician Health and Wellness, ext. 1342

 Physician Well-Being for Life  
10/24-25 Dallas                  

Healthy Physicians: Healthy Patients 
9/27    El Paso  
10/4    Tyler  

About Action       

 Action, the TMA newsletter, is emailed twice a month to bring you timely news and information that affects your practice

To change the email address where you receive Action, go to Member Log-In on the TMA website, then click on "Update Your TMA Demographic Information (including newsletter subscriptions and preferences)."

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If you have any technical difficulties in reading or receiving this message, please notify our managing editor, Shari Henson. Please send any other comments or suggestions you may have about the newsletter to Crystal Zuzek, Action editor.

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Last Updated On

November 09, 2017