Action: Oct. 1, 2015

TMA Action Oct. 1, 2015   News and Insights from Texas Medical Association

Need ICD-10 Help? TMA Has Tools to Help You Make the Switch
Preview Your PQRS Performance Scores Before They Go Public
Physicians: Reenroll in Medicaid by March 24, 2016
Enroll Early For the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program
CMS Has Yet to Publish 2015 Meaningful Use Final Rule
Want to Get Paid $75,000 For Something You Already Do?
Share Your Successes in the TMA Quality Poster Session
TMA PracticeEdge Moving Forward With Five ACOs, CCM, GPO
TMF Resources Can Help You Navigate CMS Requirements
Wanted: Physicians Who Pursue Awesome Hobbies, Passions 
Loan Repayment Available to Physicians
Cyber Attacks Plague Health Care Organizations, Study Shows
Fist-Bump Your Doctor During Cold and Flu Season
Help Your Patients Choose the Right Flu Vaccine
CDC Data Show Decrease in Some Vaccines for Young Texans
Nominate an Excellent Texas Science Teacher
Know a Deserving Minority Medical Student Applicant?
DSHS to Host Infectious Disease Response Workshops  

Need ICD-10 Help? TMA Has Tools to Help You Make the Switch

The transition to the new ICD-10 coding system takes effect today. Do you need some guidance? TMA has you covered with a variety of tools and resources to get you up to speed. 

Remember: ICD-10 is service-date driven, so if you file a claim on or after Oct. 1 for services you provided Sept. 30 or earlier, you must file the claim using ICD-9 codes. If you run into problems submitting claims, send a report to TMA's Hassle Factor Log or email paymentadvocacy[at]texmed[dot]org. TMA staff will be monitoring the reports and contacting health plans, Medicare, or Medicaid as necessary. 

Payers expect they'll receive late filings and adjustments of pre-Oct. 1 claims and will continue to accept ICD-9 codes for those claims. Submit adjusted claims using the code set with which you originally filed the claim. Never combine ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes on one claim.

Also note: ICD-10 does not require payers to change their late filing requirements to accommodate the transition to ICD-10. Contact payers for the current information regarding late filing for claims. These payers have good payer-specific FAQs about ICD-10 on their websites:  

See also the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS') FAQs for guidance.

TMA can help, too, even if you're far behind:  

  • Check out TMA's on-demand webinar Essentials in ICD-10 Coding. This webinar dives into the ICD-10 code set and delivers a deeper understanding for practice staff who touch diagnosis data — managers, billers, coders, front desk, and clinical staff who will gain confidence in working with the codes.
  • TMA is offering physicians the e-MDs ICD-10 Code Search Tool at no cost, as a benefit of membership. Using a combination of keyword filters, anatomical locations, gender, and age, the tool offers a highly intuitive way to build a narrow list of billable ICD-10 codes based on user preferences. 
  • Register for on-demand recordings of ICD-10 planning and implementation courses.
  • Visit TMA's ICD-10 Resource Center for tools and information.  

Also, check out the CMS ICD-10 Transition Checklist and the blog of ICD-10 Ombudsman William Rogers, MD. The blog has information about tools that are available to assist those who need help with the switch.

Questions? Contact the TMA Knowledge Center by calling (800) 880-7955, Monday-Friday, 8:15 am-5:15 pm CT, or by email.

Preview Your PQRS Performance Scores Before They Go Public

Later this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will publicly report performance scores on a subset of quality measures on the Physician Compare website. These scores are based on quality data submitted to the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2014. Starting Oct. 5, CMS will provide physicians with a 30-day window to preview their scores before they go public, so mark your calendars and act soon, as the preview period ends Nov. 6.

If your performance scores are incorrect or if you have questions about your quality data, contact Physician Compare by email. For complete details about the Physician Compare Initiative, visit the CMS website

CMS launched Physician Compare in 2010 to help patients make informed decisions about physicians who take part in Medicare and to create incentives for physicians to maximize performance. Physician Compare first contained demographic information about participating Medicare physicians and other health care organizations and professionals. But, now, CMS collects quality data from several programs and publicly reports that information on Physician Compare.

According to CMS, not all physicians will have performance scores posted on the website. To find out if you or your group practice will have publicly reported measures available on Physician Compare, refer to these CMS flowcharts. (See page 1 for group practices and page 2 for solo physicians.) For step-by-step guidance on how to preview your performance scores, refer to the Physician Compare Measure Preview guide. 

Physicians: Reenroll in Medicaid by March 24, 2016

The Affordable Care Act requires all Medicaid health professionals to reenroll in the program at least once every five years (some professionals must reenroll more frequently). Physicians are next on the list and must reenroll by March 24, 2016.  However, if you initially enrolled or reenrolled on or after Jan. 1, 2013, you will be required to reenroll by the date indicated on your enrollment letter.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership (TMHP) have improved the electronic enrollment portal to make it easier for doctors to complete the reenrollment process. (Physicians newly enrolling in Medicaid can also use the portal.) The enhancements apply to applications submitted through the TMHP website on or after April 26, 2015.

The improved electronic application process allows you to:

  • Upload supporting documentation;
  • Sign the enrollment agreement electronically (e-sign);
  • Receive guidance as you work on the application and see more accurate error messages to avoid mistakes;
  • Receive instruction on how to upload documents and submit the application using an e-signature; and 
  • Expedite processing of your application by reducing the need for printing and mailing documents. 

For physicians currently enrolled in Medicaid, the portal will pre-populate the application with demographic data pulled from the physician’s current account.

To be considered fully reenrolled by the March 24, 2016, deadline, physicians must receive verification from TMHP that the application has been approved before that date. It currently takes about 32 days for applications to be processed. Thus, physicians should reenroll early to avoid gaps in enrollment. The reenrollment requirement also applies to physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses.

To use the online application, you must have a TMHP user account and a user name (portal user ID). Refer to the TMHP Portal Security Provider Training Manual for instructions on activating a TMHP user account. For more information about Medicaid provider reenrollment, visit the TMHP provider reenrollment page.

Enroll Early For the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program

Physicians interested in receiving incentives for participation in the Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive program need to begin by adopting, implementing, or upgrading a certified EHR by 2016. It is the last year physicians may begin participation in the program to qualify for an incentive, which pays out until 2021.

Texas Medicaid eligible professionals (EPs) must be enrolled as performing or billing providers to participate in the EHR incentive program. The enrollment process can be lengthy and may take up to 60 days to complete. If you do not initiate the enrollment process early by completing and submitting the Texas Medicaid Provider Enrollment Application, you may not receive your Medicaid provider credentials in time to meet EHR program deadlines. If you already are enrolled, make sure all credentials are up to date. Read this article from Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership for additional information on the Medicaid enrollment requirements for the EHR incentive program.

For additional assistance with the Texas Medicaid EHR incentive program, email HealthIT[at]tmhp[dot]com, or call the Contact Center at (800) 925-9126 (option 4).

For more information about meaningful use, contact the TMA Health Information Technology Department by phone at (800) 880-5720 or by email.

CMS Has Yet to Publish 2015 Meaningful Use Final Rule

In April 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed modifications to the meaningful use program rules that would affect the 2015-17 reporting periods. Until the final rule is published, CMS cannot retool its systems to accept a 90-day reporting period, and the patient engagement measures cannot be reduced as proposed. 

The proposed rule recommended the following key changes to the program:  

  • Reduce the 2015 reporting period from a full year to any 90 days; 
  • Change the patient electronic access measure from 5 percent to 1 or more; and 
  • Change the patient electronic messaging measure from 5 percent to a yes-or-no measure stating the "functionality is fully enabled."   

TMA submitted comments to CMS indicating agreement with the proposed changes and the relaxation of measures that proved especially difficult for some physicians.   

On Sept. 3, CMS delivered the final rule to the Office of Management and Budget, which is the final step before the final rule is published.  

TMA staff continue to anxiously await publication of these final rules so physicians can move forward with their 2015 attestation. Watch for news in future editions of Action regarding publication of the final rule.  

If you have questions about the meaningful use program or other practice technologies, contact TMA's Health Information Technology Department by emailing hit[at]texmed[dot]org or by calling (800) 880-5720.  

Action TMLT Ad 10.15    

Want to Get Paid $75,000 For Something You Already Do?

Of course, you do. Medicare now pays separately for chronic care management (CCM) services under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. CCM services are non-face-to-face activities you or your clinical staff perform to manage and coordinate patient care. Perhaps you've long provided these services at your own expense. Now, Medicare will pay you for your time on a monthly basis.

To help you decide if this new opportunity is right for your practice, TMA created a new online resource center outlining the details.

To initiate the services, Medicare requires that you obtain a patient's informed and written consent during a face-to-face visit, such as during an initial preventive physician exam, annual wellness visit, or comprehensive evaluation and management visit billed separately. Sample consent forms are available at the TMA Chronic Care Management Resource Center

Among other elements and requirements, practices must be able to:   

  • Provide care management services, manage care transitions, and coordinate care;
  • Use structured data recording via certified electronic health record technology;
  • Create and maintain a comprehensive, patient-centered care plan that is electronically available at all times to you or a designated member of the care team involved in care management services;
  • Ensure 24/7 access to care management services that gives patients and caregivers a way to make timely contact with you or a designated member of the care team who has access to the patient's electronic care plan to address urgent needs related to their chronic conditions;
  • Ensure a patient's continuity of care with you or a designated member of the care team through successive routine appointments; and
  • Provide enhanced opportunities for patient and caregiver communication with you or a designated member of the care team through phone or other HIPAA-compliant, non-face-to-face methods. 

Visit the new TMA Chronic Care Management Resource Center, and read about Texas physicians who have implemented CCM services in their practices in the September issue of Texas Medicine.

Share Your Successes in the TMA Quality Poster Session

The TMA Council on Health Care Quality and TMF Health Quality Institute are happy to announce the fourth annual TMA Quality Poster Session — a platform on which physicians and medical students can share their breakthroughs and best practices that enhance patient care, especially in one or more of the six aims of quality care: that it be safe, timely, effective, equitable, efficient, and patient-centered.

The TMA Quality Poster Session offers participants a chance to gain exposure, network with other Texas physicians, and have their work published. Here are just a few of the many reasons to participate:  

  • Present your poster to physicians from across Texas during a continuing medical education event at TexMed 2016 in Dallas.
  • Have your abstract published on the TMA website, which draws over 75,000 visitors each month.
  • Receive a cash award if you are one of the top three winners in each category. 

The poster session will be held at TexMed 2016, April 30, at the Hilton Anatole Dallas, and all applications are due no later than March 25, 2016. A travel stipend will also be given to all accepted poster creators.

For more information, poster parameters, submission categories, or to see last year's abstracts, visit the TMA Quality Poster Session page on the TMA website.

TMA PracticeEdge Moving Forward With Five ACOs, CCM, GPO

After review from its Board of Managers, TMA PracticeEdge now has plans to help five groups of TMA physicians implement accountable care organizations (ACOs). In addition to two previously announced ACO projects in Houston and Central Texas, TMA PracticeEdge is poised to move ahead with three more. The five projects include more than 170 physicians and cover 26,000 patient lives. 

TMA will soon share more details about the three new ACOs, as well as information about a plan to provide practices technology and tools to take part in Medicare's Chronic Care Management (CCM) program. Read more about CCM in the September issue of Texas Medicine magazine.

Later this fall, TMA PracticeEdge will roll out a purchasing program with the largest group purchasing organization in the country focused on the needs of independent physicians. The program can add value to all TMA members regardless of practice type or specialty. If you are interested in leveling the purchasing playing field with the hospitals, contact TMA PracticeEdge for more information via email or by calling (888) 900-0334. 

TMF Resources Can Help You Navigate CMS Requirements

Physicians looking for help navigating the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), meaningful use, and value-based payment modifier programs can benefit from TMF's Quality Innovation Network. 

TMF Health Quality Institute has launched three physician-focused projects designed to save time, improve patient care, and reduce costs associated with meeting these requirements. These programs, focused on immunizations, behavioral health, and value-based improvements, are designed to help physicians benefit from — and not be penalized by — these mandates.  

The Immunizations Network aims to boost vaccination rates for Medicare beneficiaries. The program strives to improve referrals for tracking and reporting immunizations via certified electronic health records and evaluates opportunities to enhance payment by reviewing practice workflow processes.  

The Behavioral Health Network offers free resources and training to help increase the screening rates for depression and alcohol use disorder in Medicare beneficiaries receiving care at primary care practices. Additional goals include reducing the 30-day readmission rate and increasing follow-up care for patients discharged from inpatient psychiatric facilities.

The Value-Based Improvement Network helps physicians understand the requirements of CMS' value-based payment modifier program. Participants get free education and consulting services to help them meet the goals of the CMS hospital and physician value-based payment and quality reporting programs.

In addition to the free consulting and education, physicians can access free webinars designed to help them succeed. Upcoming webinars include:

  • Readmissions, Medication Safety, and Behavioral Health Open Forum, noon-1 pm CDT, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. 
  • Transitional Care in a Small Rural Community, noon-1 pm CDT, Wednesday, Oct. 21. 
  • Vaccine-Preventable Diseases Webinar Series — Varicella and Zoster, 11 am CDT, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
  • Utilizing Team-Based Care and Clinical Decision Support Tools, 12:30-1:30 pm CDT, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. 
  • 2015 PQRS Reporting Requirements, 12:30 – 1:30 pm CDT, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. 

For more information on participating in these projects or to register for an upcoming webinar, visit the TMF QIN-QIO website. Please note visitors will have to log in, or register for a free account, to view some of the site content, including events. 

Wanted: Physicians Who Pursue Awesome Hobbies, Passions

Do you have an interesting (even unique) hobby or passion you enjoy when you're not in the office? Do you know a TMA member physician colleague who cuts loose on the weekends and lets the creative juices flow, who takes time to serve others in need, or who has a remarkable talent? If you do, TMA's Texas Medicine magazine would like to hear from you.

The magazine periodically publishes a column called "Back Talk," which features a portrait of a physician enjoying his or her favorite outside-the-office pursuit. (For an example, see page 64 of the September issue.) If you would like to nominate yourself or a physician colleague for possible inclusion in "Back Talk," please email Texas Medicine Editor Crystal Zuzek with the physician's name and contact information, along with a brief description of the physician's hobby or pastime.

 TMAIT Action Ad 6.15

Loan Repayment Available to Physicians 

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is accepting applications from primary care physicians and psychiatrists for the state's Physician Education Loan Repayment Program. 

The program will cover up to $160,000 in loan repayment for physicians who commit to a practice in an underserved community for four years. More information is available on the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program website. Applications for this award cycle are due by Nov. 30, 2015. 

Cyber Attacks Plague Health Care Organizations, Study Shows 

Eighty-one percent of health care executives say their organizations have been compromised by at least one malware, botnet, or other cyber attack during the past two years, and only half feel they are adequately prepared to prevent attacks, according to the 2015 KPMG Health Care and Cybersecurity Survey

Furthermore, in polling 223 chief information officers, chief technology officers, chief security officers, and chief compliance officers at health care organizations and health plans, KPMG found the number of attacks increasing, with 13 percent saying they are targeted by external hack attempts about once a day and another 12 percent seeing about two or more attacks per week. More concerning, 16 percent of health care organizations said they cannot detect in real time if their systems are compromised.

When KPMG asked about readiness in the face of a cyber attack, 66 percent of health plan executives said they were prepared, while only 53 percent of providers said they were ready. Larger organizations, in terms of revenue, are better prepared than smaller ones, the survey shows.

Malware, software designed to disrupt or gain access to private computer systems, is the most frequently reported line of attack during the past 12 months to 24 months, according to 65 percent of survey respondents. Botnet attacks, where computers are hijacked to issue spam or attack other systems, and "internal" attack vectors, such as employees compromising security, were cited by 26 percent of respondents.

According to the KPMG survey, the areas with the greatest vulnerabilities within an organization include external attackers (65 percent), sharing data with third parties (48 percent), employee breaches (35 percent), wireless computing (35 percent), and inadequate firewalls (27 percent). 

John Southrey, manager of Consulting Services at Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT), says the company is "committed to protecting physicians in all areas of practice, and cyber crime is a critical concern. To combat this rising threat, TMLT includes comprehensive cyber liability coverage in all of our policies. We also offer customized services to help large groups, small offices, or individual physicians arm themselves against online threats." 

Fist-Bump Your Doctor During Cold and Flu Season 

Looking for a way to greet your patients but limit the spread of cold and flu? Citing a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, TMA member Jason Marchetti, MD, has your answer!

His project for the TMA Leadership College is an outreach campaign reminding people about the need for hygiene measures, especially during flu season, and to introduce the fist bump as a scientifically validated greeting method that can decrease germ transmission dramatically during hand-to-hand contact. The campaign involves putting up educational posters in the waiting room and exam rooms to share this information with patients and encouraging this more hygienic greeting approach. In his own practice, Dr. Marchetti has found patients, young and old, have embraced the campaign enthusiastically.

A physical medicine and rehabilitation physician from Denton, Dr. Marchetti says, "This has all of the qualities of an ideal medical intervention: It's free, it's safe, and it can be done easily by everyone."

The study cited, "The Fist Bump: A More Hygienic Alternative to the Handshake," was published in August 2014 in the American Journal of Infection Control. Researchers at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University in Ceredigion, United Kingdom, conducted a basic experiment looking at the transmittance of benign bacteria between hands. They looked at a "regular" as well as "strong" handshake, and then compared them to a fist bump. Strong handshakes (firmer pressure, longer grip duration) had double the transmittance versus a regular handshake, while a fist bump (with low pressure, brief contact, less surface area) only had 25 percent the transmittance. Their conclusion: "For the sake of improving public health, we should adopt this more hygienic alternative to the handshake." 

A previous study, "Reducing Pathogen Transmission in a Hospital Setting. Handshake Versus Fist Bump: A Pilot Study," was published in 2013 in the Journal of Hospital Infection. Conducted at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, this study found that "as many as 80% of individuals retain some disease-causing bacteria after washing." They also noted the decreased surface area and contact time of a fist bump further reduced bacterial transmission compared to handshaking. Their conclusion was similar: "We have determined that implementing the fist bump in the health care setting may further reduce bacterial transmission between health care providers."

While the spread of viral transmission has not been specifically studied, common sense would suggest similar factors are at play with viruses (surface area, duration of contact, pressure) as far as transmittance factors. 

"The only barrier to widespread adoption is removing the cultural stigma of the fist bump as uncouth. My aim with this campaign is to help reduce that stigma and to expose other medical providers to these data, which they might not have come across otherwise," says Dr. Marchetti.

"So far, in my own practice, I've been pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm of patients; even my little old ladies smile and offer me a fist bump. I've printed flyers and put them in my exam rooms. Most patients notice them and even remind me to fist-bump in cases where I've forgotten and went to offer a handshake. It's been great!"

To download fist bump posters and flyers in various sizes for your office or waiting room, visit the TMA website

Help Your Patients Choose the Right Flu Vaccine 

It's Oct. 1, Influenza Awareness Day — a perfect time to talk with your patients about getting their flu vaccination this year. An annual flu shot is recommended for anyone aged 6 months and older. 

Be prepared for your patients' questions with these tools:  

  • This year's flu vaccination options from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Help your patients determine which vaccine is right for them, including the high-dose vaccine for the elderly and the vaccine produced without eggs.
  • Flu activity tracking in Texas and more. 
  • Free flu education materials available from TMA's Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program.

Be Wise — Immunize will sponsor flu shot clinics around the state throughout October. Physician members, county medical societies, TMA Alliance chapters, and medical students will host the local events.  

TMA launched Be Wise — Immunize in 2004 to increase Texas' immunization rates. Since then, the program has provided more than 280,000 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, Permian Basin Youth Chavarim, and gifts from physicians and their families. 

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

CDC Data Show Decrease in Some Vaccines for Young Texans 

Coverage of young children aged 19 months to 35 months receiving the recommended vaccine series in Texas fell to 64 percent in 2014, down from 72.5 percent in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Coverage decreased for each of these vaccinations: 

  • At least one dose of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (MMR) (90.4 percent), 
  • Four or more doses of diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP) (78.2 percent), 
  • Hepatitis B (HepB) birth dose (77.4 percent),
  • Two or more doses of HepA (61.2 percent), and 
  • The full series of rotavirus vaccine (68.5 percent). 

Nationally, there was no significant change for most vaccines or the combined series from 2013 to 2014.

In a separate CDC report assessing the vaccination rates for kindergartners during the 2014-15 school year, coverage in Texas was high. Coverage of kindergartners was at about 97 percent for MMR, DTaP, and varicella vaccines. 

From 2013 to 2014, coverage among adolescents in Texas aged 13-17 years increased for both the tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine (from 86.1 percent to 88.2 percent) and for the meningococcal conjugate vaccine dose (from 87.6 percent to 88.6 percent). The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices also recommends adolescents receive a series of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, but coverage remains low. About half of females and about 36.6 percent of males reported starting the series.

PC Action Ad Aug 13  

Nominate an Excellent Texas Science Teacher 

TMA is giving away $24,000 in cash prizes. Please help spread the word. Three Texas science teachers will receive $5,000 each and an all-expense paid trip to TexMed 2016 in Dallas for the award presentation ceremony in May 2016. Their schools will receive a $2,000 award to use toward the science curriculum. In addition, second-place winners receive $1,000 for their schools.

Each year, TMA's Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching recognize and reward schoolteachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels who share their energy and enthusiasm for science with their students. We do this because innovative teaching supports the basic premise of medicine: Health care has a scientific foundation.

All Texas state-certified, full-time public and private school science teachers with a minimum of two years of completed classroom experience who will return to teach during the 2016-17 school year are eligible. Teachers specializing in 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. Deadlines are Oct. 26 for nominations and Dec. 18 for applications. (All nominees will be contacted by TMA and asked to complete an application.) 

Together, let's make sure Texas science teachers are well represented. If you'd like to provide support for the Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching, visit the TMA Foundation donor page.

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

Know a Deserving Minority Medical Student Applicant? 

The TMA Minority Scholarship Program has provided scholarships to underrepresented minority medical students since 1998. This scholarship supports TMA's vision, "to improve the health of all Texans," and its long-standing priority of addressing health disparities. 

Please consider reviewing the scholarship's qualifications and forwarding the online application to those who may benefit. Also, consider donating to the TMA Foundation so that all Texas medical schools receive funding for an annual scholarship.

For more information about the scholarship program, email Gail Schatte at TMA, or call her at (512) 370-1600 or (800) 880-1300, ext. 1600. To contact the TMA Foundation, call (512) 370-1664, or (800) 880-1300, ext. 1664. 

DSHS to Host Infectious Disease Response Workshops 

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Section will host eight three-day workshops — one in each of the DSHS health service regions — to share in-depth, Texas-specific infectious disease preparedness and response information. The workshops will provide current strategies, assess individual levels of preparedness and response, and identify gaps in service. 

The first day of the workshop covers topics such as: 

  • Threats posed by emerging infectious diseases; 
  • Challenges encountered during the Texas response to Ebola and implications for future Texas state and local preparedness and response activities; and 
  • An overview of current infectious disease preparedness and response strategies combined with a focus on the urgent need to identify gaps and mitigation strategies for all levels of government.  

Day two of the workshop covers topics such as:

  • Tiered hospital approach for triage, transport, and treatment; 
  • Legal and ethical considerations during an infectious disease incident; 
  • Media relations; 
  • Fatality management; 
  • Emergency Medical Services ground and air transport of an infected patient; 
  • Decontamination; 
  • An overview of personal protective equipment; 
  • Infectious disease waste management (hospital and community); 
  • Disaster behavioral health; and 
  • Epidemiological investigation and other surveillance issues.  

Day three will culminate in a half-day discussion-based exercise that demonstrates an infectious disease response scenario specific to each region.

DSHS will then host a capstone symposium in August 2016 to address cumulative gaps and mitigation strategies identified, as well as other information garnered in each regional workshop.

Workshop Dates and Locations  

  • Dec. 8-10, 2015, in McAllen
  • Jan. 20-22, 2016, in New Braunfels
  • Feb. 2-4, 2016, in Houston
  • Feb. 16-18, 2016, in Austin
  • March 1-3, 2016, in Tyler
  • March 29-31, 2016, in Lubbock
  • May 3-5, 2016, in Dallas
  • June 7-9, 2016, in El Paso 

For more information, email info[at]texas-hcid-workshops[dot]org  

 This Just In ...

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

Deadline for Doctors

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

Oct. 3, 2015

First-Year Participants' Last Day to Begin 90-day Reporting Period of Meaningful Useforthe 2015 Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs

Nov. 9, 2015

Humana Code Edit and Policy Change Notifications

Last Day to File an Informal Review Request to Appeal Errors in Your MedicarePQRSFeedback Report and QRUR

TMA Education Center

The TMA Education Center offers convenient, one-stop access to the continuingmedicaleducation Texas physicians need. TMA's practice management, cancer, andphysicianhealth courses are now easier than ever to find online.  


Medicare Now and Tomorrow
Nov. 3-Dec. 3

Conferences and Events


Dec. 4-5
Omni Barton Creek Resort in Austin


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Last Updated On

December 12, 2016