Action: Feb. 16, 2016

TMA Action Feb. 16, 2016   News and Insights from Texas Medical Association

First Locally Acquired Zika Case in Texas Amid CDC Advisory
CMS Relaxes Lookback Period for Medicare Overpayments
TEXPAC Releases 2016 Primary Endorsements
USP Rule Revisions Endanger Allergen Extract Compounding
Register Now for TexMed 2016 in Dallas April 29-30
Help Shape Medicare's Quality Measure Development Plan
CMS Extends Meaningful Use Deadline to March 11
New TMA Resource: Electronic Patient Engagement Tools
TMA Tells the Feds to Reduce CQM Reporting Burden
CDC Issues Severe Influenza Illness Health Advisory
Cancer Centers Endorse HPV Vaccine for Cancer Prevention
Staff: Register Now for Free Admission to TexMed 2016 EXPO
Register for the Western Health Care Leadership Academy
TMA Foundation Recognizes Major Donors
Texas Primary Care and Health Home Summit Is June 9-10
This Month in Texas Medicine

First Locally Acquired Zika Case in Texas Amid CDC Advisory

The Zika virus is hitting close to home. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported the first case of Zika virus disease contracted in Texas. It involves a Dallas County resident who had sexual contact with someone who acquired the infection while traveling abroad. The agency says the possibility of sexual transmission from an infected person to a noninfected person is likely in this case. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Zika virus health advisory with information and recommendations for recognizing, managing, and reporting infections in travelers returning from Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. The advisory also provides travel guidance for pregnant women and women who are trying to become pregnant. 

Last week, the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a Zika alert to Texas physicians, including information on screening, prevention, and travel discussions.

DSHS says CDC has confirmed seven other Texas cases of Zika virus disease — all related to foreign travel to areas where Zika is currently being transmitted. DSHS says Zika virus transmission in people occurs primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The disease can cause fever, rash, muscle and joint aches, and red eyes and also has been linked to the birth defect microcephaly and other poor birth outcomes in some women infected during their pregnancy.

"We're working closely with our partners to gather more information about the virus and this transmission in Dallas and to determine whether any additional public health interventions are needed," said John Hellerstedt, MD, DSHS commissioner.

The departments says it's pursuing the ability to test for Zika at the state laboratory in Austin. Testing currently occurs at CDC.

CDC encourages Texas physicians to report suspected Zika virus cases to DSHS. 

A health advisory on the sexual transmission of Zika virus sent to physicians by the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services (DCHHS) advises clinicians to consider Zika virus infection in patients (including pregnant women) with two or more compatible symptoms (fever, rash, conjunctivitis, or joint pain) within two weeks of travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission. The department says the infection also should be considered in patients with compatible clinical syndrome but without travel history who report recent unprotected sexual contact (within the previous two weeks) with a person with a compatible history of illness and history of travel.

The advisory says the DCHHS laboratory anticipates being able to conduct testing for Zika virus beginning in mid-February. To discuss testing, clinicians can contact the DCHHS epidemiology division at (214) 819-2004 or (214) 677-7899. 

State health officials continue to encourage people to follow travel precautions. CDC is currently advising pregnant women to delay travel to foreign countries where Zika is being transmitted. People traveling to areas affected by Zika virus should take these steps to avoid mosquito bites: 

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents.
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing.
  • Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms.
  • Avoid or limit outdoor activities during peak mosquito times. 

CDC's health advisory notes physicians should consider Zika virus infection in patients with:

  • Acute onset of fever, 
  • Maculopapular rash, and
  • Arthralgia or conjunctivitis.

More Information 

General information about Zika virus 
Information for clinicians 
Protection against mosquitoes 
Zika virus travel notices

CMS Relaxes Lookback Period for Medicare Overpayments

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has spoken, finalizing a controversial rule and relaxing the lookback period physicians must adhere to when returning Medicare overpayments. In 2012, CMS proposed requiring physicians to return Medicare overpayments going back 10 years. The agency announced last week the required lookback period will be six years. 

Under the Affordable Care Act, physicians who determine they've received Medicare overpayments must report and return them within 60 days to avoid liability under the False Claims Act. Physicians must look back through six years' worth of records for excess Medicare payments.

"Creating this limitation for how far back a provider or supplier must look when identifying an overpayment is necessary in order to avoid imposing unreasonable additional burden or cost on providers and suppliers," states the final rule.

For more Medicare information, visit TMA's Medicare Resource page. For help with Medicare payment issues, email paymentadvocacy[at]texmed[dot]org, or call the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955. TMA members can use the TMA Hassle Factor Log to help resolve insurance-related problems. Also, visit the TMA Payment Advocacy Services webpage and TMA's Payer page for more resources and information.

TEXPAC Releases 2016 Primary Endorsements

TEXPAC has announced the nine judicial and 144 legislative candidates TMA has endorsed in the March 1 party primaries. "These men and women are the best on the ballot for our profession, for our practices, and — especially — for our patients," said TEXPAC Board Chair Brad Holland, MD. "They deserve the doctors' vote." 

Make sure you get out and vote. Early voting runs Feb. 16-26. 

Of significant interest is the Republican primary in Senate District 24, where six candidates are running to replace retiring Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay). The board picked two women with close ties to medicine: Lakeway ophthalmologist Dawn Buckingham, MD, the former chair of the TMA Council on Legislation, and State Rep. Susan King (R-Abilene), a TMA Alliance member who is married to Immediate Past President Austin King, MD. 

"Our four-step endorsement process leans heavily on the recommendations of local physician leaders," Dr. Holland said. "It is a very 'small-d' democratic process."

The endorsed candidates include seven who are running for open seats in the Texas House of Representatives, and five Republicans who are challenging incumbent elected officials in their party primary. Those five are: 

  • Justice Michael Massengale for the Texas Supreme Court, 
  • Hugh Shine for House District 55 (Bell County), 
  • Scott Fisher for House District 92 (Tarrant County), 
  • Andrew Piel for House District 94 (Tarrant County), and 
  • Bennett Ratliff for House District 115 (Dallas County).  

Notable incumbents receiving the physicians' support include two members of the Texas Supreme Court; House Speaker Joe Straus; Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound); House Insurance Committee Chair John Frullo (R-Lubbock); and three physician-legislators: State Reps. Greg Bonnen, MD (R-Friendswood), J.D. Sheffield, DO (R-Gatesville), and John Zerwas, MD (R-Richmond).

The TEXPAC-endorsed candidates are (names and districts underlined are open seats; those in italics are challengers facing incumbents):

Texas Supreme Court

Justice Eva Guzman
Justice Paul Green
Justice Michael Massengale

 Third Court of Appeals

Justice Melissa Goodwin
Justice Cindy Olson Bourland

 Sixth Court of Appeals

Chief Justice Josh R. Morriss III

 10th Court of Appeals

Justice Al Scoggins

 12th Court of Appeals

Justice Greg Neeley
Justice Brian Hoyle

 Texas Senate 

SD 4    Creighton, Brandon (R)
SD 6    Garcia, Sylvia (D)
SD 11  Taylor, Larry (R)
SD 12  Nelson, Jane (R)
SD 13  Ellis, Rodney (D)
SD 18  Kolkhorst, Lois (R)
SD 19  Uresti, Carlos (D)
SD 20  Hinojosa, Juan “Chuy” (D)
SD 21  Zaffirini, Judith (D)
SD 22  Birdwell, Brian (R)
SD 26  Menéndez, José (D)
SD 27  Lucio Jr., Eddie (D)
SD 28  Perry, Charles, (R)
SD 29  Rodriguez, José (D)

Texas House 

HD 1  VanDeaver, Gary (R)
HD 7   Dean, Jay (R) 
HD 8   Cook, Byron (R)
HD 9   Paddie, Chris (R)
HD 10 Wray, John (R)
HD 11  Clardy, Travis (R)
HD 12  Kacal, Kyle (R)
HD 13  Schubert, Leighton (R)
HD 14  Raney, John (R)
HD 16  Metcalf, Will (R)
HD 17  Cyrier, John (R)
HD 20  Farney, Marsha (R)
HD 21  Phelan, Dade (R)
HD 22  Deshotel, Joe (D)
HD 23  Faircloth, Wayne (R)
HD 24  Bonnen, MD, Greg (R)
HD 25  Bonnen, Dennis (R)
HD 26  Miller, Rick (R)
HD 27  Reynolds, Ron (D)
HD 28  Zerwas, MD, John (R)
HD 29  Thompson, Ed (R)
HD 30  Morrison, Geanie (R)
HD 31  Guillen, Ryan (D)
HD 32  Hunter, Todd (R)
HD 34  Herrero, Abel (D)
HD 35  Longoria, Oscar (D)
HD 36  Muñoz, Sergio (D)
HD 37  Oliviera, René (D)
HD 38  Lucio III, Eddie (D)
HD 39  Martinez, Armando (D)
HD 40  Canales, Terry (D)
HD 41  Guerra, Bobby (D)
HD 42  Raymond, Richard (D)
HD 43  Lozano, J.M. (R)
HD 44  Kuempel, John (R)
HD 45  Isaac, Jason (R)
HD 46  Dukes, Dawnna (D)
HD 47  Workman, Paul (R)
HD 48  Howard, Donna (D)
HD 50  Israel, Celia (D)
HD 51  Rodriguez, Eddie (D)
HD 52  Gonzales, Larry (R)
HD 53  Murr, Andrew (R)
HD 54  Cosper, Scott (R) 
HD 55  Shine, Hugh (R) 
HD 56  Anderson, Doc (R)
HD 57  Ashby, Trenton (R)
HD 58  Burns, DeWayne (R)
HD 59  Sheffield, DO, J.D. (R)
HD 60  Downing, Kevin (R) 
HD 61  King, Phil (R)
HD 62  Phillips, Larry (R)
HD 63  Parker, Tan (R)
HD 65  Simmons, Ron (R)
HD 68  Springer, Drew (R)
HD 72  Darby, Drew (R)
HD 73  Miller, Doug (R)
HD 74  Nevarez, Poncho (D)
HD 75  Gonzalez, Mary (D)
HD 76  Blanco, Cesar (D)
HD 77  Lopez, Adolfo (D) 
HD 78  Moody, Joe (D)
HD 79  Pickett, Joe (D)
HD 80  King, Tracy (D)
HD 81  Landgraf, Brooks (R)
HD 82  Craddick, Tom (R)
HD 84  Frullo, John (R)
HD 85  Stephenson, Phil (R)
HD 86  Smithee, John (R)
HD 87  Price, Four (R)
HD 88  King, Ken (R)
HD 89  Laubenberg, Jodie (R)
HD 90  Romero, Ramon (D)
HD 92  Fisher, Scott (R) 
HD 94  Piel, Andrew (R)  
HD 95  Collier, Nicole (D)
HD 97  Goldman, Craig (R)
HD 98  Capriglione, Giovanni (R)
HD 99  Geren, Charlie (R)
HD 100 Johnson, Eric (D)
HD 101 Turner, Chris (D)
HD 102  Koop, Linda (R)
HD 103 Anchia, Rafael (D)
HD 104 Alonzo, Roberto (D)
HD 107 Sheets, Kenneth (R)
HD 108 Meyer, Morgan (R)
HD 109 Giddings, Helen (D)
HD 110 Rose, Toni (D)
HD 111 Davis, Yvonne (D)
HD 112 Button, Angie (R)
HD 113 Burkett, Cindy (R)
HD 114 Villalba, Jason (R)
HD 115 Ratliff, Bennett (R) 
HD 117 Galindo, Rick (R)
HD 118 Uresti, Tomas (D) 
HD 119 Gutierrez, Roland (D)
HD 121 Straus, Joe (R)
HD 122 Larson, Lyle (R)
HD 123 Bernal, Diego (D)
HD 124 Minjarez, Ina (D)
HD 125 Rodriguez, Justin (D)
HD 127 Huberty, Dan (R)
HD 128 Smith, Wayne (R)
HD 129 Paul, Dennis (R)
HD 130 Oliverson, MD, Tom (R) 
HD 131 Allen, Alma (D)
HD 132 Schofield, Mike (R)
HD 133 Murphy, Jim (R)
HD 134 Davis, Sarah (R)
HD 136 Dale, Tony (R)
HD 137 Wu, Gene (D)
HD 138  Bohac, Dwayne (R)
HD 140  Walle, Armando (D)
HD 141  Thompson, Senfronia (D)
HD 142  Dutton, Harold (D)
HD 143  Hernandez, Ana (D)
HD 145  Alvarado, Carol (D)
HD 146  Miles, Borris (D)
HD 147  Coleman, Garnet (D)
HD 148  Farrar, Jessica (D)
HD 149  Vo, Hubert (D)
HD 150  Riddle, Debbie (R)

TEXPAC speaks on behalf of more than 48,000 Texas physicians and medical students, and nearly 5,000 TMA Alliance members. Organized in 1962, TEXPAC is one of the oldest political action committees in Texas. TEXPAC also is one of the largest bipartisan PACs in the state and ranks first in size among other state medical association PACs.

USP Rule Revisions Endanger Allergen Extract Compounding

TMA is concerned proposed revisions to pharmaceutical compounding rules could have a negative impact on the administration of compounded allergen extracts in physicians' offices. The association is taking action to help ensure that doesn't happen. 

"Texas allergists have indicated that if the USP [United States Pharmacopeial Convention] proposed revisions were adopted, they would be unable to prepare allergen immunotherapy, and many patients would lose access to individual patient therapy," states TMA's comment letter to USP regarding its proposed rule revisions. TMA's primary concern deals with USP's proposal to delete the current exception for allergen extracts. 

Under USP's current rules, when allergen extracts as compounded sterile preparations (CSPs) meet certain criteria, they're not subject to "the personnel, environmental, and storage requirements for all CSP Microbial Risk Levels." The criteria relate to cleaning and hygiene, disinfection, minimization of contamination, labeling, storage, transfers of products and substances, and prevention of the growth of microorganisms. 

In the letter, TMA points out several national groups' concern that the proposal, if adopted, "would make it difficult, if not impossible, for most allergists and otolaryngologists to prepare allergen immunotherapy extract in their offices. For example, vials would need to be made in an ISO [International Standards Organization] Class 5 environment; be subject to ongoing sterility tests; and refrigerated vials would need to be discarded every 28 days." 

In addition to recommending that the current standards applicable to allergenic extracts be maintained, TMA recommends that "any proposed revisions to those standards be developed in collaboration with affected stakeholders and based on a thorough consideration and analysis of the impact of any proposed changes on patients."

TMA urges USP to provide a platform by which "physicians from affected medical specialties who practice in an office-based or urgent care setting and are administering sterile preparations" could share with USP their concerns related to the rule revisions.

  TMAIT Action Ad 6.15    

Register Now for TexMed 2016 in Dallas April 29-30

A joint message from TMA President Tom Garcia, MD, and Gonzo Gonzalez Stawinski, MD, chair of the TexMed Executive and Planning Committee:

Join us for TexMed 2016, TMA's annual meeting, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas April 29-30. Physician leaders from around the state will gather to explore Bridging the Gaps in Health Care. TexMed is a free member benefit, so register today. 

At TexMed 2016, hear from nationally known speakers. Our opening General Session speaker, Marty Makary, MD, is an advocate for transparency in medicine and common-sense solutions to health care's problems. He'll talk about how transparency disrupts an industry. 

Our closing General Session speaker is Mark Dotzour, PhD. He will discuss the outlook for 2016's economy and how you can apply business plans to anticipate future economic conditions.

In addition to the keynote talks, you can choose from more than 80 hours of free CME programming. From business operations and the future of medicine to quality initiatives and performance improvement, TexMed offers multidisciplinary programming that encourages cross-specialty dialogue. 

Help mold TMA policy and business decisions by attending the House of Delegates and participating in reference committees, where all TMA members can testify on resolutions being presented before the house. 

Visit the Expo Hall, where you'll see the newest in medical devices, technology, practice services, practice information, and pharmaceuticals, and have a chance to win loads of exciting prizes.

Most important, have fun! TexMed is the place to reconnect with old friends while meeting new ones at the Welcome Reception, the TMA/TMA Alliance 2016–17 Presidents' Reception, and the TMA Foundation gala, As Time Goes By, an Evening in Casablanca.

TexMed has something to offer everyone. Find out more by checking out the TexMed 2016 Advance Program or by watching the Texas Physicians — Come to TexMed! video. 

Visit the TexMed webpage, email the TMA Knowledge Center, or call (800) 880-7955 for more information.

Hope to see you in Dallas!    

Help Shape Medicare's Quality Measure Development Plan

TMA wants to hear from physician members about the draft Quality Measure Development Plan recently posted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Review the plan and submit your comments to Angelica Ybarra, TMA director of clinical advocacy, by Tuesday, Feb. 23. 

With the passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), CMS will consolidate the Physician Quality Reporting System, value-based payment modifier, and meaningful use program , and institute two quality-focused payment pathways: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment models (APMs). According to CMS, MIPS and APMs will go into effect over a timeline from 2015 through 2021 and beyond.

As mandated by MACRA, CMS posted a quality measure development plan to serve as a strategic framework to support the upcoming transition to MIPS and APMs. CMS welcomes comments through March 1. The final plan, taking into account public comments on the draft plan, will be posted on the CMS website by May 1, followed by updates annually or as appropriate.

For more information, visit the CMS website.

CMS Extends Meaningful Use Deadline to March 11

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) extended the attestation deadline for the 2015 electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use (MU) program to 10:59 pm CT, Friday, March 11.  The original deadline was Monday, Feb. 29.  

A few reminders about the program: 

  • All physicians must now attest to the modified Stage 2 version. There are extra exclusions for physicians scheduled for Stage 1.  
  • For the public health reporting measures, information on submitting immunization information is available here. Texas does not yet have a statewide syndromic surveillance data registry. Documentation for claiming that exclusion is available here. Check with your national specialty society or EHR vendor to see if they can recommend a specialized registry relevant to your practice and patients. For those who report cancer cases, Texas does operate a cancer registry. If you are unable to find one that is relevant, you may claim an exclusion. Be sure to maintain documentation of your process in case you are audited

The modified Stage 2 criteria was not posted to the Federal Register until Oct. 26, 2015. If the lateness of the rule caused you to not be ready, you may consider submitting a hardship exception application, which is due by March 15. The extreme and uncontrollable circumstances category is applicable to this situation, specifically section 2.2.d.  

For questions about the MU requirements, contact TMA's Health Information Technology Department by email or by calling (800) 880-5720.  

New TMA Resource: Electronic Patient Engagement Tools

With high-deductible health plans and a greater push for personal responsibility, many patients are interested in engaging more closely with their physicians and other health care professionals. Meaningful use requirements and other value-based programs have physicians using electronic communication tools to share information with their patients.  

A lot of confusion remains in the marketplace about existing tools, including how best to implement them and effectively use them when communicating with patients.  

TMA's Ad Hoc Committee on Health Information Technology recently put its stamp of approval on a new TMA white paper that helps clear the confusion: "Electronic Patient Engagement Tools: A Guide for Physicians."

Take a few minutes to read the white paper and review the various tools available, as well as sample documents to help you integrate these electronic tools in your workflow. 

Questions about electronic tools for patient engagement or other health technology questions can be directed to TMA's Health Information Technology Department by email or by calling (800) 880-5720.  

 Action TMLT Ad 10.15    

TMA Tells the Feds to Reduce CQM Reporting Burden

In a letter to acting Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Andy Slavitt, TMA outlines several steps CMS can take to improve the reporting of clinical quality measures (CQMs).  

For starters, CMS should sunset the CQM reporting requirement because it is inferior to and duplicates Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) requirements. Further, CMS should validate that CQM reporting actually improves patient care and outcomes before requiring such arduous programs that TMA says are frustrating and senseless.     

TMA continues to advocate for improvement of programs pushed by CMS and other entities. For more information about the CQM requirements, contact TMA's Health Information Technology Department by email or by calling (800) 880-5720.  

CDC Issues Severe Influenza Illness Health Advisory

Influenza is spreading across the nation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) severe influenza illness health advisory has an urgent message for physicians. 

CDC advises physicians not to wait for testing to begin rapid antiviral treatment of very ill and high-risk suspected influenza patients, those with progressive disease, and all hospitalized patients. The agency also encourages clinicians to vaccinate patients this season for as long as influenza viruses are circulating. CDC has received reports of severe respiratory illness among young to middle-aged adults with H1N1pdm09 virus infection, some of whom required intensive care unit admission. CDC has also received reports of fatalities from severe influenza illness. 

CDC's advisory says some of these patients reportedly tested negative for influenza by rapid influenza diagnostic test, adding their influenza diagnosis came later with molecular assays. Most of these patients were reportedly unvaccinated, according to CDC. 

The health advisory outlines CDC's full recommendations for clinicians, including treatment with appropriate neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral drugs.

More Information

Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report Summary 
People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications 
Clinical Signs and Symptoms of Influenza 
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Recommendations for Influenza Prevention and Control 
Influenza Antiviral Medications: Summary for Clinicians 
Guidance for Clinicians on the Use of Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests

Cancer Centers Endorse HPV Vaccine for Cancer Prevention

In response to low national human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates, MD Anderson Cancer Center has joined with 68 other National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer centers across the country to call for increased HPV vaccination for cancer prevention. The joint statement urges parents, young adults, and health care professionals to act to increase vaccination rates. 

This coordinated action is partly the result of an NCI-designated Cancer Center Summit held last November at MD Anderson with TMA, NCI, the American Cancer Society, and others to discuss strategies for overcoming HPV vaccination barriers. 

Improving HPV vaccination rates in Texas is a priority of the TMA Committee on Cancer and TMA's Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program, which have produced two new continuing medical education webinars on HPV for physicians. Register for the webinars free of charge using promo code HPVVAX. 

While TMA was not eligible to participate in the joint statement, official TMA policy strongly supports the vaccine and promotes "routine [HPV] vaccination and series completion for all adolescents and young adults."

Be Wise  Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians, medical students and the TMA Alliance. It is funded by TMA Foundation thanks to major gifts from H-E-B and TMF Health Quality Institute, along with generous contributions from physicians and their families. 

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

Staff: Register Now for Free Admission to TexMed 2016 EXPO

Free advance registration is now open for practice managers and staff to attend the EXPO at TexMed 2016. On-site registration is available for $75. 

The EXPO is April 29-30 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas. This year's EXPO features many new highlights and innovative programs for practice staff, including:  

  • More than 100 vendors with unique practice solutions;
  • Free mini-consults with TMA Practice Consulting experts on human resources topics, HIPAA best practices, payment issues, and medical marketing;
  • Practice management and organization tips; and
  • Complimentary lunches, receptions, and networking opportunities.  

To register in advance or for more information on TexMed 2016, visit the TMA website

Register for the Western Health Care Leadership Academy

Register now for the 2016 Western Health Care Leadership Academy May 13–15 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. TMA is a cosponsor of the event, which is ideal for physicians, nurses, medical practice managers, hospital chiefs of staff, and medical and specialty society officers and executives.

The academy provides information and tools needed to succeed in today's rapidly changing health care environment. Attendees will hear from the experts and leaders of change. The conference will examine the most significant challenges facing health care, and present proven models and innovative approaches to transform your organization's care delivery and business practices.

The academy will feature keynote sessions with Karl Rove, deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush; Donna Brazile, Al Gore campaign manager and Democratic National Committee vice chair; Atul Gawande, MD, renowned surgeon, writer, and public health researcher; and Zubin Damania, MD (also known as ZDoggMD), internist, founder of Turntable Health, and comedian.

Register with the VIP upgrade, and enjoy special benefits, including express conference check-in, preferred seating, and the chance to ask questions of Mr. Rove and Dr. Gawande in an exclusive setting. 

TMA Foundation Recognizes Major Donors

The TMA Foundation recognized 20 Major Donors for their generosity and vision for a healthier Texas at the TMA Winter Conference on Jan. 30 in Austin.

These TMA and TMA Alliance members and friends of medicine join nearly 200 others who have earned the Major Donor distinction for cumulatively donating at least $10,000. 

There are seven levels that recognize the lasting impact made by Major Donors, ranging from the entry level (Pacesetter) of $10,000 in cumulative cash contributions to the top level (Visionaries) of $1 million or more in lifetime giving. As a lasting tribute of their generosity and vision, each Major Donor name is inscribed on a brass plate as part of the recognition walls on the 10th floor of the TMA building. Other recognition includes listing in a variety of publications, special recognition at the TMA Winter Conference, and an invitation to the VIP reception at the foundation's annual gala. 

For more information, please contact Lisa Stark Walsh, TMA Foundation executive director, by email or by calling (800) 880-1300, ext. 1666, or (512) 370-1666.

Texas Primary Care and Health Home Summit Is June 9-10

The fourth annual Texas Primary Care and Health Home Summit will take place June 9-10 at the JW Marriott Houston Galleria.

Presented by the Texas Medical Home Initiative and Texas Health Institute and cosponsored by TMA, the event will appeal to practices interested in learning about new models of primary care and will include sessions on successful models in pediatric health homes, the Medicaid 1115 waivers, direct primary care, and value-based care. The summit will also focus on integration of behavioral health into the heath home.

For more information, visit the summit website.

This Month in Texas Medicine

The February issue of Texas Medicine Symposium on Medical Education, guest edited by Surendra K. Varma, MD, and John Jennings, MD, covers residency training costs, the Next Accreditation System, graduate medical education in rural Texas, Texas' physician workforce needs, the current state of education reform, and efforts to retain medical graduates in Texas. Dr. Varma is executive associate dean for graduate medical education and resident affairs, Ted Hartman Endowed Chair in Medical Education, university distinguished professor, and vice-chair of pediatrics at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. He is a member of the Texas Medicine Editorial Board. Dr. Jennings is the immediate past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He is professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin. He is chair of the Texas Medicine Editorial Board.

Click to launch the digital edition in a new window.

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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 ...

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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.  

Meaningful Use: Apply for Hardship Exception

Last Day for PQRS Registry Reporting

Last Day for PQRS Qualified Clinical Data Registry Reporting (using XML format)

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.  

On-Demand Webinar

Financial Policies Do's and Don'ts
Medicare Now and Tomorrow
Physician Impairment Is More Than You Realize

Conferences and Events

TexMed 2016
April 29-30
Dallas Hilton Anatole

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Last Updated On

December 08, 2016