Action: Sept. 1, 2016

TMA Action Sept. 1, 2016   News and Insights from Texas Medical Association

INSIDE: PQRS Feedback Reports, QRURs Coming Soon: Are You Ready?

PQRS Feedback Reports, QRURs Coming Soon: Are You Ready?
Is MACRA Worth Your While?
Answer the Phone Sept. 12 for the Latest on Zika
Get Your Flu Shot at TMA Fall Conference
PAT Transitions to Pharmacy Board; Expect Delays
Make a Donation to Help Louisiana Residents Affected by Flooding
Getting Patient Data From Your EHR: What Does Your Contract Say?

TMA Helps You Make the Most of Student Physical Exams
TDI to Host Workers' Compensation Education Conference
Focus on Member Services: A Thriving Practice
STAT!Ref Now Available to TMA Members
Earn CME Credit at Physician Health and Wellness Conference
Stay Up to Date on Drug Info With PDR Alerts
This Month in Texas Medicine

PQRS Feedback Reports, QRURs Coming Soon: Are You Ready?

This month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will release the 2015 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) feedback reports and annual quality and resource use reports (QRURs). To access your reports online, you must first set up an Enterprise Identity Management System (EIDM) account. Setting up an account can take up to two weeks. Prepare to access your reports by registering for or reactivating your EIDM account now.

EIDM is an identity management and services system that gives users access to multiple CMS applications. To register for an EIDM account, visit the CMS Enterprise Portal, or follow the steps in this CMS guide. If your EIDM account has expired, follow the instructions from CMS to reactivate your account. Contact the CMS QualityNet Help Desk by phone at (866) 288-8912 or via email.

For additional help, join the TMF Value-Based Improvement and Outcomes Network for no-cost technical assistance, education, and consulting services. As a member, quality improvement consultants will work directly with you and your staff to help you understand Medicare's quality programs and how to interpret your reports. Contact Suzie Buhr, TMF quality improvement consultant, by phone at (214) 477-1407 or via email.

Visit TMA's PQRS and VM Resource Center for more information on how to participate in the PQRS and Value-Based Payment Modifier program. Read "Technical Assistance Required" in the July 2015 issue of Texas Medicine for a look at what doctors have to say about Medicare's quality reports. For a nuts-and-bolts primer on Medicare's quality programs, read "Your Guide to Medicare Value-Based Care" in the April 2015 issue of Texas Medicine

Is MACRA Worth Your While?

Does it make financial sense for your practice to participate in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) programs?

Some Texas physicians tell TMA they would rather absorb the penalties in Medicare payments than restructure their practices to report costs and quality measures under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Use this new TMA tool, for TMA members only to help you estimate some of the costs or revenues that may result from participating in MIPS reporting programs. 

Note that this tool is based on the MACRA rule as proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on May 9, 2016. TMA will update the tool after CMS publishes a final rule.

Download TMA's MACRA Calculator now. 

Answer the Phone Sept. 12 for the Latest on Zika 


The Zika virus is swirling in Texas and actively spreading in Florida. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has asked TMA to convene a critical conference call with Texas physicians. Our goal is to ensure you are ready to counsel your patients and take the right actions when mosquitoes carrying Zika manifest in Texas. 

TMA is taking to the phone — your home phone — to get the word out. Answer your phone at 7 pm CT, Monday, Sept. 12, to take part in TMA's Tele-Town Hall Meeting on Zika. Our tentative list of speakers includes: 

  • John Hellerstedt, MD, DSHS executive commissioner, and
  • David Lakey, MD, former DSHS commissioner and current chair of the TMA Council on Science and Public Health. 

During this interactive, hour-long event, you can ask questions of Dr. Hellerstedt and other expert Texas physicians. Dr. Lakey will serve as facilitator. 

TMA will call all active physician members at the home phone number on file in your membership record. If you want us to call a different number — or if you do not want us to call you at all — please email the TMA Knowledge Center with that information or call (800) 880-7955 by noon CT on Friday, Sept. 9.

Learn more about Zika on the TMA Infectious Diseases Resource Center.

Get Your Flu Shot at TMA Fall Conference

TMA urges physicians to take the lead in the fight against the flu by getting themselves vaccinated. To make it easy, TMA will offer a flu shot clinic during TMA's Fall Conference. Stop by Baron's Ballroom C at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines between 8 am and 9 am on Saturday, Sept. 24. 

The quadrivalent flu vaccine will be $40, with cash/check collected on site. TMA is providing the flu shot clinic for physician members, their families, and office staff. UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, and Scott & White insurances will be accepted. 

Reserve your vaccination time slot when you register for the conference. TMA's Council on Health Promotion and Be Wise — ImmunizeSM are cosponsoring the event. 

Be Wise — Immunize also offers these tools you can use to protect yourself, your staff, and your patients this flu season:  

  • Provide flu facts at a glance with TMA's flu infographic (in English and Spanish). Post a copy in your waiting room, download it to your website or Facebook page, or hand out copies. 
  • Remind your employees to get their flu vaccination with this poster to hang in your break room or other areas where your staff gather. TMA supports 100-percent flu vaccination coverage for health care workers. 
  • Use TMA's educational and giveaway items at your Be Wise — Immunize flu shot clinic in October. Oct. 1 is Influenza Awareness Day in Texas, so TMA urges physicians to host a shot clinic sometime that month to improve vaccination coverage statewide. 

To order flu materials or to learn about hosting a shot clinic, contact Tammy Wishard, TMA's outreach coordinator, by email or by phone at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1470, or (512) 370-1470.

TMA launched Be Wise — Immunize in 2004 to increase Texas' immunization rates. Since then, the program has given more than 300,000 shots to Texas children, adolescents, and adults. 

Be Wise – Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians and medical students, and the TMA Alliance. It is funded in 2016 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. 


PAT Transitions to Pharmacy Board; Expect Delays

Effective Sept. 1, you will no longer be able to log in to the Prescription Access in Texas (PAT) website with your login information. That's because the Texas prescription monitoring program will transfer from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) and will transition to a new type of software. TSBP advises there will be a delay in prescription history of up to two weeks during the transition.  

Additionally, effective Aug. 21, DPS will no longer accept orders for Schedule II prescription pads. However, official prescription forms issued by DPS before Sept. 1, 2016, will be considered valid prescription forms. Official prescription pad orders received after Aug. 21, 2016, will be returned to customers.

When you log in to the new system for the first time, you will be prompted to update your profile information. TSBP says missing or incorrect demographic information (address or phone number) on your PAT profile will not prevent your account from being preloaded. 

TSBP has these important reminders regarding access to the new system:

  • You will have access to the new system beginning Sept. 1.  
  • You will receive an email on Sept. 1 that includes a short training tutorial on how to perform a query, along with instruction on how to log in.  
  • Do not register for a new account.  

The TSBP's Texas Prescription Monitoring Program website features information on prescription pad orders, helpful resources, and FAQs with additional information on electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

If you have any questions or concerns, call (844) 489-4767. Technical assistance is available Monday through Friday, 7 am to 7 pm CT. 

For more information about the transition to TSBP, call (512) 305-8050, or email texaspmp[at]pharmacy[dot]texas[dot]gov.

Make a Donation to Help Louisiana Residents Affected by Flooding

Many Louisiana communities have been affected by the recent devastating floods. The Louisiana State Medical Society (LSMS) has created a disaster relief fund, and you can make a donation to the fund to help the state's parish medical societies help those Louisiana residents who are in need. 

"The Louisiana State Medical Society has seen the effects of the catastrophic flooding that has affected so much of our state. We have been inundated with calls of concern of how to best help Louisiana's people in need, both by members and nonmembers, from inside and outside of our beloved state. The LSMS has created a disaster relief fund to which any person, company, or other entity can contribute," said Luis Alvarado, MD, LSMS president.

If you would like to donate an amount other than the options listed on the donation website, make checks payable to LSMS ERF, 6767 Perkins Road, Ste. 100, Baton Rouge, LA 70808. For more information or questions regarding the fund, please contact Kayne Daigle

Getting Patient Data From Your EHR: What Does Your Contract Say?

TMA is hearing from members who are trying to transition to another electronic health record (EHR) system and whose vendors are charging high fees to extract patient data. It may be time to review your EHR vendor contract again. 

What happens to the patient data when you decide you want to switch vendors or retire? The contract may contain hidden fees not discussed during the negotiations but spelled out in the document. The fees for transferring data can be very expensive, sometimes reaching more than $10,000. The contract also should include terms defining how you get your data should you sever the relationship.

With these issues in mind, TMA developed EHR Buyer Beware: Issues to Consider When Contracting With EHR Vendors, a free, eight-page document featuring eight must-haves for physicians. Section four covers transferability of data. It is important to ensure the EHR data are maintained in a transferable format, and you need to know how the EHR vendor will assist in accomplishing a data transfer. 

By negotiating the terms and fees up front, you reduce the chance of surprises if you decide to terminate service with the vendor. If those negotiations occur in an email, be sure the agreed terms become part of the final contract.

You can direct questions related to EHRs and other office technologies to TMA's Health Information Technology Department by calling (800) 880-5720 or by email


TMA Helps You Make the Most of Student Physical Exams

As your young patients return to school and after-school activities, you will be asked to review and sign their medical and preparticipation physical evaluation (PPE) forms. TMA's Committee on Child and Adolescent Health has prepared a PPE handout with guidance that will help you conduct a thorough medical history and exam with each of your child and adolescent patients. 

Patients and their parents often regard PPE exams simply as required school forms, but the complete review of a student's medical history along with a comprehensive exam provides an opportunity to talk with students and their parents about health and safety. Keep in mind the PPE may be an adolescent's only encounter with the health care system this year. 

TMA has always encouraged physical activity and school-based extracurricular activity as ways to facilitate success in school. 

TDI to Host Workers' Compensation Education Conference

Register today for the 2016 Texas Workers' Compensation Education Conference. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) will host two conferences — Sept. 19–20 in Austin and Oct. 24–25 in Dallas.  

Conference presentations focus on medical benefit and fee dispute resolution from a health care professional's perspective, prescription drug abuse in workers’ compensation, psychosocial factors that affect an injured employee's recovery and ability to return to work, and more.

The conference will include an interactive "Ask DWC" panel led by workers' compensation division experts. The roundtable, moderated by Texas Workers' Compensation Commissioner Ryan Brannan, will feature regulators from Georgia, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Visit the TDI website for the full agenda. 

Make your hotel reservation now for discounted rates at the Crowne Plaza Austin (enter code IWC for group rate) and the Renaissance Dallas-Richardson (use code WORKERS COMP for group rate).

Visit the conference webpage for more information.

Focus on Member Services: A Thriving Practice

An essential function of an effective practice is being seen and found when (and where) people are looking for you. Since launching in 2004, Yelp has collected more than 6.4 million customer reviews in the health care sector. That's why TMA helps members cultivate successful practice relationships by providing tools to accelerate practice growth.  

As a TMA member, you have access to a variety of resources designed to help your practice thrive:  

  • Officite: This company has mobile-ready website development and online marketing services that help you generate more patient referrals and answer common questions about your practice (discounts for members only). 
  • Promotional tools: TMA resources like our Practice Brochure templates and the Marketing Resource Center offer ways to promote your practice and provide digital know-how. 
  • DocbookMD: Enhance your physician-directed communications with this HIPAA-secure messaging app that allows you to easily coordinate care with colleagues across practice settings (free for members only).
  • Continuing medical education (CME): TMA's on-demand CME courses keep you up to date on how to use social media and customer service techniques to build your patient base and maintain your digital presence (discounts for members only).
  • Find a Physician: This TMA tool is a great way for patients and fellow physicians to easily find and reach out to you (listing available to members only). 

For more information on all the ways TMA can help you improve your online engagement and grow your practice, visit the TMA website

STAT!Ref Now Available to TMA Members

The TMA Knowledge Center now offers STAT!Ref® to TMA members. Access is available through the TMA E-Resources Access page on the TMA website. 

STAT!Ref lets users intuitively cross-search full-text titles, journals, and authoritative, evidence-based point-of-care resources. With more than 600 resources (and growing) in more than 50 health care disciplines, STAT!Ref provides the latest health care information in a customizable and convenient format. STAT!Ref goes where you go, accessible by desktop, laptop, and wireless or web-enabled mobile devices. 

New features include Board Vitals USMLE and Scientific American databases from Decker (Medicine and Surgery). View the entire title list available to TMA members.

Questions? Contact the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955, or by email. 

PC Action Ad May 13

Earn CME Credit at Physician Health and Wellness Conference

Rebuilding the Physician: Blueprint for Growth will be the theme of the Physician Health and Wellness fall conference held Oct. 14–15 at the Sheraton Stonebriar Hotel in Frisco. Presented by the TMA Committee on Physician Health and Wellness (PHW), the conference has been accredited for a maximum of 9 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, seven of which are designated as ethics and/or professional responsibility education. Register now. 

The conference is geared toward physicians of all specialties; members and consultants of state and county medical society Physician Health and Wellness committees; district coordinators; regional education team members; hospital representatives, including chiefs of staff, medical staff coordinators, and members of hospital-based peer assistance committees; and others. The conference will highlight strategies for promoting patient safety, physician health, and resilience.

Presentations during the conference will include Disease Process of Addiction; Shame and Stigma; Drugs of Abuse and Dependence; Legal Aspects of the Practice of Medicine: What You Don't Know Can Get You in Trouble; Post-Traumatic Growth; Intervention for Colleagues; Moving From Compliance to Recovery; 12-Step Recovery Rationale; and Dealing With Subtle and Covert Grief in Day-to-Day Practice. 

Conference attendees will learn to: 

  • Recognize that substance use disorders (SUDs) are treatable diseases;
  • Identify methods for addressing stigma and shame effectively and ethically in those seeking treatment for SUDs and other psychiatric illnesses;
  • List drugs commonly abused and assess how abuse can lead to dependence;
  • Evaluate how post-traumatic growth is essential to individuals becoming stronger after an adverse event;
  • Apply ethical principles when planning and conducting an intervention on colleagues;
  • Determine how to help physicians progress from compliance to recovery;
  • Assess the relevance of 12-step programs to the recovery process; and
  • Demonstrate methods to respond to subtle and covert grief with professionalism. 

To request a brochure or for additional information, contact Linda Kuhn by phone at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1342, or (512) 370-1342, or by email

Stay Up to Date on Drug Info With PDR Alerts

Make sure you're receiving U.S. Food and Drug Administration-mandated and product-related patient safety alerts the minute they are issued by registering for Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR) Drug Alerts. This free service also provides information on drug recalls and approvals.  

Once registered to receive PDR Drug Alerts, you'll have access to a 12-month alert history master file, and you can appoint a member of your health care team to manage practice alerts. And if no one has reviewed an alert within 72 hours, PDR sends a reminder letter. 

The PDR Network also offers mobilePDR, available free of charge to TMA members.  

MobilePDR includes: 

  • FDA-approved full drug labeling,
  • Concise point-of-care information, and
  • Weekly drug updates. 

Log on to download it. It is available for all major mobile platforms, including iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Palm, Palm Pre, Symbian, and Windows Mobile.

This Month in Texas Medicine

The September issue of Texas Medicine features a cover story on maintenance of certification exams that doctors say are exhausting to prepare for and largely feature multiple-choice questions that entail regurgitating facts often irrelevant to what they see in daily practice. In the issue, you'll also find coverage of what TMA is doing to educate doctors on a new law that requires Texas physicians who diagnose a child with Down syndrome to provide parents with information on the disorder. The September issue highlights TMA's recommendations to improve the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' proposed rule to implement MACRA; standing pharmaceutical orders for naloxone, used to rescue those who overdose from opioids; and resources physicians can use to prevent employee theft in their practices.

Click to launch the digital edition in a new window.

Texas Medicine RSS Feed

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

E-Tips RSS Feed

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


This Just In ...

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

Deadlines for Doctors

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

Medicaid Reenrollment Deadline

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.  


Medical Records: Most Wanted Answers  
Straight From a Lawyer's Mouth: Answers to Your Legal Questions
Human Resources Seminar
E&M Coding Made Easy 

Conferences and Events

TMA Fall Conference 2016
Sept. 23-24
Hyatt Regency Lost Pines

About Action       

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

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

To unsubscribe from Action, email TMA's Communication Division at tmainfo[at]texmed[dot]org.

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

Last Updated On

May 13, 2020