Legislative Priorities, New Primary Care Model Top TMA Issues This Month

TMA’s Texas Medicine Magazine Examines These and More

Jan. 2017

Legislative goals and decisions impacting the health of Texas patients and their physicians’ care; doctors considering a new “medical home” model to better serve patients; and relaxed rules giving physicians a chance to avoid Medicare payment penalties highlight the January, 2017 Texas Medical Association (TMA) Texas Medicine magazine.

“Building on Success: TMA's 2017 Legislative Agenda Aims to Build on Past Achievements”

TMA is pressing a legislative agenda this session to defend the patient-physician relationship against the backdrop of a reduced budget and other challenges. Meanwhile, the actions of Congress and a new administration in Washington, DC, also will affect the future of the Affordable Care Act and health care reform in Texas — potentially including redesigning Medicaid coverage and benefits. For the next five months said TMA Council on Legislation Chair Ray Callas, MD, TMA will focus on what’s best for patients, “maintaining legislation that protects patients and allows them access to quality health care.”

“No matter what comes up this session, our patients will always come first," Dr. Callas said. 

The Medical Home Machine: More Texas Practices Improving Care With Patient-Centered Health Care Model

More medical practices are adopting the process to earn formal designation as a patient-centered medical home (PCMH), but the process can be difficult. The PCMH model, overseen by a national quality board, aims to transform primary care formally to reflect patients’ needs and emphasize care coordination. The initiative is growing in popularity. These medical practices follow protocols to focus more on patients’ individual health needs, reduce hospitalizations, and improve outcomes. More than 11,000 sites are recognized as PCMHs. Texas Medicine explores the advantages and concerns of physicians aspiring to adopt the PCMH recognition.

MACRA: Easing the Pain?

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has answered TMA’s and other medical groups’ concerns and granted physicians some relief from the regulations of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). MACRA replaced the much-maligned Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula, but ultimately brought challenges of its own. CMS decided physicians who at least try to comply with the new rules in 2017 will see no penalty in their payments in 2019, the first year the penalties are set to apply.

TMA and organized medicine won other significant improvements that create what they call a more palatable transition period. One example is instilling a broader exemption for small practices with few patients or little revenue in Medicare, whom doctors say the new rules could have penalized most harshly.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 50,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

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Contact:  Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org

Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org

 

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Last Updated On

March 21, 2018