Action: March 15, 2016

 TMA Action March 15, 2016   News and Insights from Texas Medical Association

DSHS Lab Now Testing for Zika Virus
TEXPAC Wins Big in Primary Elections
TMA's Plan Preserves Physicians' Billing Rights
New Mexico Law Protects Patients' Access to Care in Texas
TMA Tells Feds How to Develop Quality Measures
CMS Releases Results of the 2016 Value Modifier
Join Your Colleagues in Dallas for TexMed 2016
Physicians Foundation Survey Gauges Your Satisfaction
Patient Access to Their Health Info: HIPAA, Meaningful Use
Texas Medicaid Improves Access to LARCs
HHSC Needs Feedback on New Medicaid Enrollment System
Apply Today for 2016 TXACP Preceptorship Program
Get Free Cancer Education From TMA
TMA Workshop Focuses on E&M Coding Made Easy
Workers' Compensation Annual Audit Plan Now Available
Recognize a Local Journalist's Health Reporting
Register for DSHS Local Health Authority Workshop
This Month in Texas Medicine

DSHS Lab Now Testing for Zika Virus

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reports the state has had 18 confirmed cases of Zika virus. One case involves a Dallas County resident who had sexual contact with someone who acquired the infection while traveling abroad. The other 17 cases were in travelers infected abroad and diagnosed after they returned home. DSHS is now testing for Zika virus at its public health lab in Austin. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages Texas physicians to report suspected Zika virus cases to DSHS.

DSHS reports the state lab can currently handle up to 135 human specimens per week, and capacity across the state is increasing as local labs add testing capability in anticipation of a possible surge in demand.

According to DSHS, Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry Zika virus, can be found in Texas, particularly in urban areas in the south and southeast portions of the state. While there is no evidence of local transmission by Texas mosquitoes now, state health officials have implemented Zika virus prevention plans in anticipation of increased mosquito activity and the potential for local mosquito transmission.

To help ensure Texas physicians have all they need to diagnose the virus, DSHS has updated its website with a supplemental testing information form and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and serology specimen criteria form. The PCR test can confirm the presence of Zika virus. Serologic testing can detect Zika infection in people who may not have had symptoms, and the test can be conducted up to 12 weeks after infection. DSHS says a positive serologic test result requires confirmatory testing to pinpoint Zika because it can cross-react with other viruses, such as dengue.

DSHS is working with local officials in the Rio Grande Valley area, a potential hot spot for Zika virus transmission, to monitor mosquito activity. The agency reports spot trapping in the area in February yielded no Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. DSHS urges communities to consider expanding their surveillance in coordination with local mosquito control efforts.

CDC issued a Zika virus health advisory in January 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. 

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.

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 Texas Medical Association and the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have prepared guidance for physicians on the Zika virus and pregnant patients.

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. 

More Information 

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

TEXPAC Wins Big in Primary Elections

Despite a few late-night nail-biters, the results of the March 1 party primary elections were extremely favorable for medicine, for patients, and for TEXPAC. TMA is happy with the results of the races for the Texas House and Senate and U.S. Congress. The candidates who support patients and physicians, by and large, did well — some surprisingly well.

Medicine has a few important runoffs coming up on May 24. While the November general elections will be important at the top of the ballot and for some local races, most of the makeup of the 2017 Texas Legislature and the 2017 Texas delegation in Congress was decided March 1. Many thanks to all the TMA members who contributed to TEXPAC, held or attended fundraisers, and invested sweat equity to help our endorsed candidates. Some highlights of the results include:  

  • House Speaker Joe Straus and his team did very well, rebuffing most of the money and allegations that were thrown at them. House State Affairs Committee Chair Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) held onto his seat by 222 votes. Insurance Committee Chair John Frullo, of Lubbock, and Insurance Committee Vice Chair Sergio Muñoz, of Palmview, easily beat strong challengers.
  • TEXPAC-backed Hugh Shine, of Temple, ousted State Rep. Molly White (R-Belton), who had medicine's second-worst voting record in the 2015 legislative session. The margin was just 118 votes; Representative White asked for a recount, which determined Mr. Shine was the winner.
  • There will be another doctor in the Texas House: Anesthesiologist Tom Oliverson, MD, of Houston, won his primary and is unopposed in the fall. Rep. J.D. Sheffield, DO (R-Gatesville), also won his primary easily. Rep. Stuart Spitzer, MD (R-Kaufman), lost. The other physicians in the House were unopposed.
  • In State Senate District 24, medicine couldn't have asked for anything better. Both of TEXPAC's endorsed candidates — former TMA Council on Legislation Chair Dawn Buckingham, MD, of Lakeway, and Rep. Susan King (R-Abilene) — are headed to the May 24 runoff. They topped the field in a crowded six-candidate race.
  • In congressional races, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands) defeated three opponents to win. His committee has primary jurisdiction over Medicare. Medicine's champion — Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville), the only TMA member in Congress, and architect of the bill that repealed Medicare's hated Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula — won handily. Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Health, won his race.

TMA's Plan Preserves Physicians' Billing Rights  


The TMA Board of Trustees has approved and sent to the TMA House of Delegates a plan to preserve physicians' right to bill for their services. Quite a few other states, some members of Congress, and the Obama administration have enacted or proposed legislation that would severely limit or prohibit physicians from billing patients for services provided out of network. The board-appointed Task Force on Balance Billing, which included hospital-based physicians and representatives of several other specialties, devised the plan. 

Board member Keith Bourgeois, MD, a Houston ophthalmologist, chaired the group. Striving to "align [physicians] with the best interests of our patients" and "address the behaviors of insurers that finance health care and apply to all practitioners involved in patient care," the report recommends:  

  • That TMA "ardently pursue legislative goals" in existing policy designed to "hold insurers accountable for their actions";
  • Extending mediation for out-of-network billing disputes to patients at all facilities — for all practitioners and all facilities — while maintaining the $500 threshold for mediation;
  • "Mandatory increased state agency oversight of insurers that are often brought to mediation";
  • For planned surgical procedures or labor and delivery, "development of a standard form for physicians to disclose to patients the identity of other physicians or nonphysician practitioners typically utilized in the facility"; and
  • Continued monitoring of current and proposed laws that rely on large billing databases to set benchmarks or billing standards.

TMA expects Texas insurance companies and their allies to push a balance billing ban in the 2017 legislative session. TMA's plan involves extensive public and patient education on insurance industry tactics — narrow networks and arbitrary "maximum allowables" — that increase the likelihood of patients needing services out of network and push more charges onto the patients.

New Mexico Law Protects Patients' Access to Care in Texas

Texas doctors will continue to receive a full range of liability protections even when treating New Mexico patients. That issue was in doubt until the New Mexico Legislature took decisive action Feb. 17.

The legislation preserves vital access to Texas physicians and hospitals for residents of Eastern New Mexico who routinely cross the state line for care. The Texas Alliance For Patient Access (TAPA) says the New Mexico Legislature recognized access to health care is a public policy priority. Without legislation, thousands of patients would lose ready access to primary and specialized care, says Howard Marcus, MD, TAPA chairman.

Under the legislation, the medical liability laws of the state in which a patient received care now will govern cases involving New Mexicans seeking medical care across state lines, provided the patient signs a written consent before receiving treatment. The House and Senate passed the bill unanimously. Gov. Susana Martinez signed the measure into law on March 3.

The new law is good news for Texas because the state's doctors and hospitals have expressed a reluctance to treat visiting New Mexico patients. That followed a New Mexico court ruling that questioned where and under which state laws a suit can be filed if an alleged medical mishap occurs. That case, Montano v. Frezza, is pending before the New Mexico Supreme Court. (Read "Border Battle" in the November 2015 issue of Texas Medicine.) 

For Texas doctors, this meant accepting increased liability risk and costs when treating New Mexico patients. Consequently, many Texas doctors and hospitals were reconsidering their willingness to accept the transfer or referral of a New Mexico patient for elective care.

The New Mexico law has big implications for access to care in the state. According to the American Medical Association, the Eastern New Mexico counties of De Baca, Guadalupe, Harding, Quay, Roosevelt, and Union have no cardiologist, no neurologist, no plastic surgeon, no orthopedic surgeon, no radiologist, and no ear, nose, and throat doctor. Of those counties, only Roosevelt County has an oncologist.

Recent data from the New Mexico and Texas departments of health show 13 counties in Southern and Eastern New Mexico send more than 22 percent of their hospitalized patients to Texas for care.

TMA Tells Feds How to Develop Quality Measures

In a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), TMA specified a list of principles and guidelines CMS should use in developing quality measures for physicians. 

As mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), CMS posted a draft quality measure development plan for public comment. The purpose of the plan is to support the upcoming transition to the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and alternative payment models (APMs). Those programs will incorporate and replace Medicare's Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the meaningful use program for electronic health records, and the value-based payment modifier.

"TMA advocates the use of the most current, best clinical research evidence to inform the selection and development of quality measures," wrote Gregory M. Fuller, MD, chair of the Council on Health Care Quality. Among the list of principles and guidelines, "measures used in MIPS and APMs should be developed so that they do not result in financial penalties for physicians when their patients do not comply with orders or recommendations for testing and treatment."

The final plan, taking into account public comments on the draft plan, will be posted on the CMS MACRA website by May 1.

 Action TMLT Ad 10.15       

CMS Releases Results of the 2016 Value Modifier

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released results from the implementation of the 2016 value-based payment modifier (value modifier) and the adjustment factor that will be applied to physician groups with 10 or more eligible professionals (EPs), based on 2014 quality and cost performance.

According to CMS, a physician group is identified by its Medicare-enrolled taxpayer identification number. In 2016, 13,813 physician groups with 10 or more EPs nationally are subject to the value modifier. Of this total, 5,418 will receive an automatic 2-percent pay cut in 2016 because they did not meet the minimum reporting requirements to avoid the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) penalty for the 2014 performance period. 

However, 8,395 physician groups met the criteria, and the quality-tiering methodology calculated their 2016 value modifier. The results are: 

  • 128 groups will receive a bonus payment of either 15.92 percent or 31.84 percent;
  • 59 groups will receive a 1-percent to 2-percent pay cut; and 
  • 8,208 groups will receive no payment change. 

CMS did not provide state data, and TMA does not know how many groups are affected in Texas. For groups receiving a bonus payment or pay cut, Medicare administrative contractors (MACs) will begin paying claims based on these results after March 14, 2016, and groups will start seeing a change in payment within the next six weeks. CMS will reprocess 2016 claims with dates of service paid before this date. 

Additionally, CMS states that as of Dec. 18, 2015, there are 1,390 groups with at least one PQRS or value modifier informal review (appeal) pending. Groups with pending decisions are currently receiving Medicare payment adjustments based on their original value modifier determinations. For groups whose value modifier changes as a result of the reviews, CMS will retroactively update their payment adjustment amounts over the next several months. Their 2016 claims will be reprocessed by the MACs.

TMA reminds members that all solo physicians and physician groups, regardless of practice size, will be subject to the value modifier in 2017 based on 2015 quality and cost performance.

For more information about the value modifier, visit the CMS website, or contact the CMS Physician Value Help Desk, Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm CST, by phone (888) 734-6433 (select option 3), or email

Join Your Colleagues in Dallas for TexMed 2016

TexMed 2016, TMA's annual meeting, is just around the corner. Join us April 29–30 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, where we will explore Bridging the Gaps in Health Care. Make your hotel reservations by April 6, 2015, and be sure to mention the TexMed conference.

Physician leaders of different specialties from across the state attend TexMed to learn, network, and shape the future of Texas medicine. 

At TexMed, you can choose from more than 80 hours of free continuing medical education programming. Topics include everything from business operations and the future of medicine to quality initiatives and performance improvement.

Conference attendees also can help mold TMA policy and business decisions by heading to the House of Delegates and participating in reference committee meetings. All TMA members can testify at the reference committees on resolutions presented before the house. 

And the Expo Hall provides a great way to see the newest in medical devices, technology, and practice services. Sign up for a free, 15-minute Quick Consult at the TMA Member Services booth #263 and meet face-to-face with TMA staff experts to ask specific questions on various topics, or to address your general practice needs.

TexMed is a free member benefit, but it's not just for physicians. Your practice manager and front office staff can benefit from attending TexMed 2016, too. Register today, or check out the Advance Program for more information. 

Physicians Foundation Survey Gauges Your Satisfaction

How satisfied are you with the current state of medicine? The Physicians Foundation is surveying you and your 650,000 physician colleagues across the country to determine just that. The survey asks for your thoughts on health reform, electronic health records, new physician payment methods, ICD-10, and a variety of other topics. Take a few minutes to complete the survey

A full copy of the final survey report will be emailed to all physicians who participate, and participants will also be entered to win one of five $500 Amazon gift cards and one $5,000 Amazon gift card. Additionally, the Physicians Foundation is offering a $5,000 grant to the state medical society that achieves the most total survey responses and a $5,000 grant to the state medical society that achieves the highest per capita response. As a founding member of the Physicians Foundation, TMA expects to be in the running to win both of those grants. 

"This is the one national survey that allows physicians to share their perspective on the state of the medical profession," said Walker Ray, MD, Physicians Foundation president. "We'd like to hear from as many physicians as possible so we can accurately understand — and share with the public — physicians' perspectives on the most significant issues in medicine and health care today."

A nonprofit, grant-making organization, the Physicians Foundation is determined to strengthen the patient-physician relationship and help physicians sustain their medical practices in today's practice environment. The Physicians Foundation focuses on physician leadership, physician practice trends, physician shortage issues, and the impact of health care reform on physicians and patients.

To access previous Physicians Foundation surveys, visit the foundation's website.

Patient Access to Their Health Info: HIPAA, Meaningful Use

Q. What is the intersection of the HIPAA right of access and the meaningful use "view, download, and transmit" objective?

A. Under the HIPAA Privacy Rule, patients have the right to access protected health information (PHI) in their medical record. 

Under the meaningful use program, physicians can receive incentive payments under Medicare and Medicaid, and avoid payment reductions under Medicare by giving patients the ability to view online, download, and transmit their health information. 

Although the meaningful use program and the HIPAA Privacy Rule are distinct, in some circumstances they can overlap. For example, a patient might exercise his or her right of access under the HIPAA Privacy Rule by requesting an electronic copy of PHI that the practice could provide through its certified electronic health record (EHR) technology, such as a patient portal. The physician could offer the patient this option for accessing the information. If the patient accepts and has access to it within the timeframe required under meaningful use, the physician can count the access toward meeting the meaningful use “view, download, and transmit” objective.

In some respects the meaningful use program contains more exacting standards than the baseline requirements of the HIPAA Privacy Rule (e.g., tighter response timeframes), while the HIPAA Privacy Rule contains more comprehensive requirements than meaningful use (e.g., the HIPAA access right applies broadly to electronic and paper records, while meaningful use applies to certain electronic records). 

Below are some key distinctions between the HIPAA right of access and individual access through the meaningful use program.

What triggers access

  • Meaningful use: The physician proactively makes available certain information for the patient to view, download, or transmit through electronic transmission only, such as through a personal health record or patient portal. For Stage 2 of meaningful use, physicians must provide this for more than 50 percent of patients. (In addition, at least one patient must view, download, or transmit the information to a third party.)
  • HIPAA Privacy Rule: The physician is required by law to provide patients access to their medical records upon request; applies to paper and electronic records.

What records are accessible

  • Meaningful use: Access is to a specific set of data (e.g., recent lab test results, current medication list and medication history, problem list) the physician maintains in certified EHR technology.
  • HIPAA Privacy Rule: Access is to requested PHI the physician maintains in the electronic or paper record, or other medical information such as billing records and records used to make decisions about the patient.


  • Meaningful use: Access must be timely provided (e.g., in Stage 2, physicians must make information available to the patient within four business days).
  • HIPAA Privacy Rule: Prompt access is encouraged, but physicians may take no longer than 30 days from receipt to act on a request for access (and may take another 30 days to respond if the individual is notified in writing of the reason for delay during the initial 30 days).


  • Meaningful use: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administers the meaningful use program; the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT administers the Health IT Certification Program.
  • HIPAA Privacy Rule: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights administers the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

For more information, see:

If you have questions about meaningful use requirements, contact TMA’s health information technology helpline at (800) 880-5750 or hit[at]texmed[dot]org. Also, check the TMA Education Center for continuing medical education course on related topics.

Published Feb. 17, 2016

TMA Practice E-Tips main page

 TMAIT Action Ad 6.15     

Texas Medicaid Improves Access to LARCs

Texas Medicaid now allows women to obtain intrauterine devices or implantable contraceptives, collectively known as long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), immediately postpartum. For the past two years, TMA and other physician specialty societies have advocated strongly for the change as a means to increase women's access to the most effective forms of contraceptives. 

Studies show rates of unintended pregnancies drop as women's access to LARCs increases. Under the new payment policy, hospitals will bill Texas Medicaid or the patient's HMO for the device, while physicians will bill for the insertion. For further details about the billing changes, visit the Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership website, or consult individual Medicaid HMO provider manuals.

Women who opt not to obtain a LARC immediately postpartum but who subsequently seek this form of contraception can obtain a LARC during the Medicaid 60-day postpartum period. The Texas Women's Health Program (TWHP) provides coverage for LARCs. Beginning in July 2016, Texas Medicaid will automatically enroll into TWHP those women aged 18 to 44 who lose pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage. The change, which will coincide with renaming TWHP the Healthy Texas Women program, is another TMA-backed measure designed to improve women's health care. For more information, read "Playing Catch-Up" in next month's issue of Texas Medicine.

HHSC Needs Feedback on New Medicaid Enrollment System

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will implement a new online Provider Management and Enrollment System (PMES), and the agency needs feedback from Medicaid physicians on how well the system works and how to make it better. To provide input, take HHSC's online survey

PMES will allow physicians participating in Medicaid and other state-funded programs to submit an enrollment or reenrollment application through one centralized portal. TMA has strongly advocated creation of such a portal in addition to relief from other Medicaid administrative road blocks. For more information, read "Message Received" in the January issue of Texas Medicine

Once physicians submit the application via PMES, it will be routed to Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership, managed care credentialing organizations, and other Health and Human Services agencies to complete program-specific enrollment.

Apply Today for 2016 TXACP Preceptorship Program

The Texas Chapter of the American College of Physicians (TXACP) is accepting applications from Texas medical students and physicians for the summer 2016 General Internal Medicine Statewide Preceptorship Program (GIMSPP). 

Since 1992, GIMSPP has placed first- and second-year medical students with internists across the state for two- to four-week preceptorships during summer break. Students get the opportunity to observe the daily routine of their preceptor, experiencing the variety of an internal medicine practice. Preceptors also share their expertise and knowledge, while helping shape the next generation of medicine.  

Texas physicians helped lead the fight to restore funding for the GIMSPP during the 2015 legislative session. 

Administered by the nonprofit TXACP, GIMSPP's renewed financial support for 2016 and beyond allows for stipends for participating students in rural and urban practice areas. Student preceptorships are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and students are encouraged to apply early. Only students currently enrolled in a Texas medical school are eligible to participate. 

For more information on the program or to download the application for participation, visit the TXACP website 

Get Free Cancer Education From TMA

The TMA Education Center is offering three free cancer-specific continuing medical education (CME) courses. 

The first course, Texans and Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC), offers information on the rise of HCC  cases in Texas. This on-demand webinar covers how to identify at-risk patients and offers guidance on the latest screening recommendations. Use coupon code STOPHCC at checkout for free registration.

Don't Wait – Vaccinate! The Prevention of HPV Cancers, is a two-part, on-demand webinar series that covers the incidence of HPV-related disease in Texas, missed opportunities for HPV vaccination in Texas, safety and efficacy of the HPV vaccine, and addressing vaccine hesitancy. You can register for both sessions free of charge using coupon code HPVVAX at checkout. 

The third course, The Role of Obesity in Cancer Treatment and Outcomes, looks at how and why obesity is a factor in the risk of and treatment for cancer, and how physicians can apply this knowledge to caring for patients in their practice. Use code STOPCANCER at checkout for free registration.  

For more information, or to view the complete CME course catalog, visit the TMA Education Center

TMA Workshop Focuses on E&M Coding Made Easy

Evaluation and management (E&M) services are the target of many audits by government and commercial payers. While other services may have higher claim dollar amounts, E&M services are the overwhelming leader by volume of services billed and a huge target for audits. To keep audits at bay, TMA is offering professional coders a full-day coding workshop for office staff — E&M Coding Made Easy, April 19 in Austin from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm CST— presented by auditing expert Shannon Deconda. TMA also will offer a webcast specifically for physicians — E&M Services from the Physician's Perspective — from 6 to 8 pm CST April 19. 

Completion of the E&M documentation and coding seminar will help professional coders and physicians: 

  • Establish medical necessity for the level of service provided,
  • Lower the risk of payment recoupment and audits, and
  • Get paid what is due the first time. 

The workshop will delve into how payers mine physicians' billed levels of services to identify and focus audits on overutilized codes. 

Workers' Compensation Annual Audit Plan Now Available

Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) Commissioner Ryan Brannan approved the 2016 Medical Quality Review Annual Audit Plan, which sets the priorities for the types of audits the Medical Quality Review Panel will focus on during the next year. The review categories pertain to "appropriateness of a doctor's decision and recordkeeping for prescribing compound drugs/medications." 

A written complaint or monitoring resulting from a consent order can provide the basis for DWC to initiate the medical quality review process.

Contact Mary Landrum, director of DWC's Health Care Quality Review Staff, at (512) 804-4814 or by email for more information.

Additionally, DWC must, at least every two years, assess the performance of health care professionals based on their compliance with the Texas Workers' Compensation Act and DWC rules. For 2017, DWC will assess physicians on: 

  • Completeness of DWC Form-073, Work Status Report;
  • Documentation supporting why the injured employee is prevented from returning to work as reported on the Work Status Report; and 
  • Timeliness of filing the DWC Form-069, Report of Medical Evaluation.  

Recognize a Local Journalist's Health Reporting

Zika virus, HPV vaccine success in reducing infections, addiction and mental health, the health care marketplace — these topics are making headlines in 2016. When you read, watch, or hear a great Texas-based health news story, nominate it for the TMA Anson Jones, MD, Awards, which recognize excellence in health journalism in the Lone Star State. TMA has honored award-winning Texas journalists for more than 55 years. 

Physicians, medical students, TMA Alliance chapters, and county medical societies can nominate local print or broadcast journalists for an award. 

Email your nominations, and include the reporter's name, date of broadcast/publication, media outlet, story name, and URL if you have it. TMA will send a postcard to the reporter with a handwritten note alerting him or her of your nomination. TMA will accept nominations throughout 2016.

Register for DSHS Local Health Authority Workshop

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is hosting the Local Health Authority (LHA) workshop in conjunction with the Texas Public Health Association's (TPHA's) Annual Education Conference April 11–13, 2016, in Galveston. The workshop targets LHA physicians, as well as local health administrators and directors and DSHS regional medical directors and deputy regional directors. 

Participants can receive continuing medical education credit. Topics covered during the workshop include public health law, epidemiology, and the Environmentally Distressed Areas Program for water and wastewater. The workshop will close with an LHA panel that will discuss specific issues and cases. To register for the workshop, select the one-day registration option, and enter code LHA.

This Month in Texas Medicine

The March issue of Texas Medicine features a cover story that highlights a new partnership in West Texas that addresses some of the challenges the state faces in getting physicians into rural practice. The University of North Texas Health Science Center and the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine are partnering with Midland College and Midland Memorial Hospital to keep their own crop of future doctors in the Permian Basin. In the issue, you'll also find information on Austin Regional Clinic's successful patient feedback pilot program; using the informed consent process as an opportunity to improve patient safety and patient-centered care; the Texas Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine's scope of practice lawsuit against the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners; physicians at risk of payment cuts stemming from difficulties the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had with collecting and analyzing 2014 quality data; and medicine's efforts to bring awareness to rising rates of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Click to launch the digital edition in a new window.

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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.   


Last Day for Registry Reporting via PQRSwizard

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

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 Webinars

Making Discussions About Death and Dying Easier
Business Boot Camp: Take Charge of Your Finances
Avoiding Fraud and Abuse 

Conferences and Events

TexMed 2016
April 29-30
Dallas Hilton Anatole 

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Last Updated On

December 07, 2016