Action Current Issue - full text

 TMA Action March 15, 2017   News and Insights from Texas Medical Association

 

Texas Wins Tort Border Battle
Directory Measure Aims to Tackle Surprise Bills; TMA Continues Push for Public Health Priorities
Renew Your Passion; Come to TexMed 2017
Your Video Guide to Texas' New Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
TMA Asks Feds to Delay Next EHR Upgrade Mandate
ImmTrac2 Coming April 3

TMA Videos Help Physicians Comply With New Down Syndrome Law
Texas Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Attestation Deadline Extended
Upcoming Value-Based Care and Quality Events
AMA Honors State Senator for Medical School Effort
DSHS Grand Rounds Spring Semester Starts April 5
This Month in Texas Medicine
 
 

Texas Wins Tort Border Battle


The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Lubbock physician entangled in a question of whether Texas or New Mexico law should apply in a liability case involving care that was provided in Texas but for a New Mexico patient.

The decision is a victory for TMA, Texas physicians, and organized medicine in Texas and New Mexico. Although the specifics of the verdict applied to a Texas physician who was employed by a government institution, TMA’s General Counsel opines that the ruling should be helpful to all Texas physicians treating patients from New Mexico traveling to Texas. This is because the Texas 2003 medical liability reforms are generally more favorable than those in place in other states.

The case, Montaño v. Frezza, involved Kimberly Montaño, a New Mexico resident, who sought surgery in 2004 from Eldo Frezza, MD, a Lubbock bariatric surgeon and professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. The issue was over which state’s medical liability laws would prevail in a case in which a New Mexico resident received care in Texas but claimed complications after returning to New Mexico. For additional details on the case, see "Border Battle," from the November 2015 issue of Texas Medicine.

Dr. Frezza told TMA he was exhausted by the fight but elated by the ruling. 

"The lawyers have to understand how their activity is affecting patients, not just physicians," he said. "This lawsuit was affecting tons of patients in eastern New Mexico. A lot of good people, working people, people who pay taxes are affected by the blindness of our society."

Howard Marcus, MD, chair of the Texas Alliance for Patient Access (TAPA), which was one of several Texas groups that filed briefs in the case, also hailed the decision.

"Yet again, TAPA, working with its member organizations, such as the TMA and county medical societies, has prevailed in a crucial decision that promotes access to care across the Texas-New Mexico state line," Dr. Marcus said. "Common sense and logic have prevailed."

The Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT), The University of Texas System, and the New Mexico Medical Society also filed briefs in support of Dr. Frezza's position.

The 4-1 decision "only considered the issue of comity ― that is, respecting the sovereignty of sister states," said Jill McClain, TMLT executive vice president for government relations. The court’s analysis of that issue focused heavily on information from TAPA, TMA, TMLT, the American Medical Association, several county medical societies, and others. Those organizations provided demographic data showing how much residents of eastern New Mexico depend on West Texas physicians and hospitals for care.

"Access to cross-border health care for individuals living in rural parts of New Mexico is an additional consideration that tempers New Mexico’s interest in applying its law to this case," the court majority wrote. "We do not consider it overly speculative to conclude that extending comity to Texas in this case will positively serve New Mexico’s public policy interests by encouraging the continuing cooperation of Texas and New Mexico in maintaining cross-border care networks."

Although the court ruled in favor of Dr. Frezza in this instance, TMA suggests physicians continue to avail themselves of the law New Mexico enacted last year allowing them to obtain a signed agreement from New Mexico patients stating that should they wish to file a lawsuit they will do so in Texas courts. To help physicians take advantage of the law's protections, TAPA developed two forms, one for emergency treatment and one for voluntary treatment. You can download the emergency treatment and voluntary treatment forms (English or Spanish-and-English) from the TMA website. 

In consultation with an attorney, TMA suggests physicians who treat New Mexico patients or patients living in other states consider adopting this language in the practice forms patients sign. 

Action, March 15, 2017


Directory Measure Aims to Tackle Surprise Bills; TMA Continues Push for Public Health Priorities


The 60-day bill-filing deadline for the Texas Legislature has come and gone, allowing one thick puff of smoke to finally clear from the 2017 legislative fire. Now, medicine can focus on the hottest logs in the fire pit. For TMA, that means more than 1,400 pieces of legislation to track, with measures that address such smoldering topics as the network inadequacies that fuel surprise-billing issues; public health issues like vaccination exemptions and tobacco use; the proper definition and regulation of telemedicine; and troubling scope-related legislation that would allow other practitioners to infringe on the practice of medicine.

Bills TMA supports, opposes, and is simply monitoring already are reaching committee hearings. And of course, TMA's lobby team is keeping a sharp eye on the crucible of budget discussions — and pushing to fund in medicine's best interests — as lawmakers in both the House and the Senate attempt to craft the state's funding allocations for 2018-19.

Keeping Insurers Honest

Health insurance reform is one of TMA's most intense areas of focus this session, and among the foremost topics in that realm is balance billing. TMA is fighting to keep the focus for costly surprise-billing issues where it belongs: on limited, inadequate networks and health plans that don't always maintain accurate network directories.

TMA's multipronged effort to battle the insurer issues that foster balance billing directly tackles health plan directories with the recent filing of House Bill 2760 by Rep. Greg Bonnen, MD (R-Friendswood). HB 2760 would require health plans to update their directories of physicians and other practitioners every business day, and the plans would have to remove any physician whose plan contract is terminated from the directory within two days. HB 2760 also requires the state's insurance commissioner to examine insurers' network adequacy every two years. At the beginning of every calendar year, the state insurance department would also identify the two insurers with the highest numbers of mediation requests and review those health plans' networks for quality and adequacy. Senate Bill 2210 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) contains a number of the same requirements related to health plan directories.

Another TMA-backed bill to open the mediation process up to more practitioners got its first consideration in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee last week. TMA Council on Legislation Chair Ray Callas, MD, testified before the committee to support Senate Bill 507 by Senator Hancock. SB 507 would maintain the current $500 threshold for bill mediation and expand mediation to all out-of-network physicians and providers at an in-network facility, as well as those providing emergency care. Dr. Callas told the Business and Commerce Committee that "mediation is working," noting the initial informal conference calls for mediation resolve 95 percent of disputes. More than 1,600 mediation requests were recorded in 2016. Dr. Callas also lauded language in the bill requiring insurance companies, physicians, and health care providers to provide simple language to the patient explaining how to request mediation. The Business and Commerce Committee voted to send SB 507 to the full Senate for debate.

The Business and Commerce Committee also approved another important TMA-backed piece of legislation by Senator Hancock that would allow physician override on pharmacy benefit managers' step therapy protocols. Senate Bill 680 also would prohibit insurers from requiring patients to fail on a prescription medication more than once before they can move on to the next "step" in their drug treatment. Oncologist Sylvia Jaramillo, MD, testified in favor of SB 680 at the committee hearing. Representative Bonnen is sponsoring House Bill 1464, SB 680's companion measure.

Other health insurance reform measures TMA is tracking include: 

  • House Bill 1832 by Rep. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth), which would require facilities to disclose that physicians based at that facility may not be in-network with the same insurance plans as the facility itself;
  • House Bill 2077 by Representative Bonnen, which would require health plans to report calculation-of-payment-rate information for out-of-network physicians and providers, as well as to report payments to those practitioners; and
  • House Bill 1227 by Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo), which would require health plans to display prescription drug formulary information on its website for all of its health benefit plans. 

Sen. Dawn Buckingham, MD (R-Lakeway), is working for fellow physicians with a TMA-supported bill prohibiting discrimination against physicians based solely on maintenance of certification (MOC). Under Senate Bill 1148, MOC could not be the sole reason a physician is denied licensure or renewal from the Texas Medical Board, and hospitals and managed care plans also could not differentiate between physicians based solely on the physician's MOC status.

Fighting to Preserve Scope

As usual, nonphysician practitioners are setting their sights on using legislation to encroach on the practice of medicine. One such pair of bills TMA is watching intently would expand the scope of practice for advanced practice nurse practitioners (APRNs).

TMA supports preserving the collaborative-care model physicians and nurses crafted together that became law in 2013. But the association does not support expanding APRNs' scope of practice. As such, TMA is opposing Senate Bill 681 by Senator Hancock and House Bill 1415 by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth). The bills seek to give APRNs independent diagnosis and prescribing power, proposing to end the practice of APRNs contracting with physicians for delegated diagnostic and prescribing authority.

At this month's First Tuesdays at the Capitol, TMA lobbyist Dan Finch told physicians while there are improvements that can be made in the relationship between doctors and APRNs, independent prescribing for APRNs is TMA's uncrossable "bright line." TMA argues that expanding APRNs' scope of practice would neither increase access to care in rural Texas nor improve availability of primary care, as its proponents claim, and that it would increase the cost of care.

Among the other scope bills TMA is keeping its eye on are: 

  • House Bill 593 by Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), which would give certain psychologists prescriptive authority; 
  • House Bill 1846 by Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) and Senate Bill 433 by Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso), which would allow APRNs and physician assistants to prescribe Schedule II controlled substances;
  • House Bill 2011 by Rep. Sergio Munoz Jr. (D-Mission), which would add the word "diagnose" to the definition of the practice of chiropractic;
  • House Bill 1804 by Rep. Cesar Blanco (D-El Paso) and Senate Bill 831 by Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso), which would allow APRNs who served in the military to practice independently; and
  • House Bill 2118 by Representative Klick and Senate Bill 728 by Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano), which would allow certain physical therapists to treat injuries without a physician's referral. 

Budget 

Both chambers of the Texas Legislature are working under the constraints of a lean biennial budget. The House and Senate initial budget offerings were about $8 billion apart, with the House version offering more both overall and for health and human services, an area in which it provided about $2 billion more than in the Senate. 

Preserving — and, if possible, enhancing — funding for graduate medical education (GME) and Medicaid are among TMA's biggest concerns about the budget as lawmakers in both the Senate and the House continue to work on their respective budget proposals. TMA lobbyist Michelle Romero says while both chambers' budget plans would inject more money into GME, the state needs a lot more. The Senate's initial proposal provided an additional $44 million for GME expansions but also proposed a $14.3 million cut to a separate program that helps medical schools pay for resident training. The House's initial budget proposed to add about $30 million in new money for GME expansions but also proposed a 7-percent cut to the GME formula funding program for the medical schools. Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), chair of the Senate Committee on Finance and the author of the Senate budget measure, has indicated a willingness to help the state reach the target of 1.1 entry level GME positions for every medical school graduate.

At this month's First Tuesdays, Ms. Romero stressed to physicians the importance of maintaining the state's Medicaid enrollment, with no cuts to any segment of the Medicaid population or to eligibility. TMA is also emphasizing to the legislature that cuts to Medicaid physician payment rates should be rejected. Extremely low payment rates already make it difficult for Medicaid health plans to recruit and retain physicians and make it difficult for many patients to receive timely access to care. As the Senate Finance Committee's Workgroup on Health Care Costs studies Medicaid and other health care expenditures, lawmakers' continuing assessment of Medicaid comes against the backdrop of major action at the federal level: a proposal by congressional Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The GOP's American Health Care Act proposes eliminating the federal matching system for Medicaid, replacing it with a per-capita cap for each state's funding that would allow federal allotments to rise with enrollment, but not based on need. TMA is assessing exactly how that bill would affect Texas Medicaid.

As budget talks continue, TMA also continues to urge the legislature to ensure a robust public health system that can combat infectious diseases, promote food safety, and prevent chronic disease; to strengthen the state's mental health system with such steps as an expanded neonatal abstinence syndrome program and greater support services for high-risk patients; and to bolster women's health care services, with continued robust funding for the state's Healthy Texas Women and Family Planning programs.

Vaccinations, Tobacco Back on the Stage 

The public health legislative battlegrounds for 2017 are shaping up to be similar to what they were in 2015, with vaccination data, tobacco, and texting while driving once again emerging as key areas of emphasis for TMA's lobby team.

House Bill 2249 by Rep. J.D. Sheffield, DO (R-Gatesville), and its companion measure, Senate Bill 1010 by Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), tackles parents' right to know the number of unimmunized students on their child's school campus, instead of merely the number in their child's district. The bill, similar to one TMA supported in the last legislative session, would require the Texas Department of State Health Services to make de-identified, school campus-level vaccination exemption data available to a parent upon request, including the number of students claiming exemptions for medical reasons and reasons of conscience. For parents of children who have medical reasons to forego vaccinations, those campus-level statistics are key to placing their children in an environment where they're least vulnerable to serious illness. The bill from the 2015 session passed the House but not the Senate.

Tackling tobacco use — the leading cause of preventable death in both Texas and the nation — continues to be one of TMA's foremost public health causes. The association and the Texas Public Health Coalition (TPHC), of which TMA is a member, are backing House Bill 2652 by Rep. Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land), which would prohibit the use of tobacco products and e-cigarettes on state college campuses or in any state buildings. Measures by Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton), and Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) would take perhaps an even bolder step, but one TMA and TPHC also support: House Bill 1908 and Senate Bill 910 would raise the legal age to use and possess tobacco from 18 to 21.

Texas is one of the very last U.S. states that has not banned texting while driving. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 46 states ban the dangerous practice, plus Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. TMA is trying once again to get Texas to join that group, backing the bans that would be codified in House Bill 62 by Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland) and Senate Bill 67 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo). Both bills have been passed out of their respective committees already.

TMA is also keeping an eye out for any bills or bill provisions that would endanger public health. The 2015 Listeria outbreak linked to Blue Bell ice cream didn't deter proponents of expanded sales of raw milk in Texas, who are once again pushing legislation to make it a reality. House Bill 57 by Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Canton) would allow raw milk to be sold at farmers markets and delivered to consumers. TMA expressed deep concern with Representative Flynn's last raw-milk expansion attempt in 2015, warning lawmakers that wider distribution of raw milk would cause "assured future outbreaks" of foodborne illness. Last week, two people died in New York in an outbreak of Listeria linked to cheese made using raw milk.

A Telemedicine Solution

The long-standing debate and litigation over proper definition and regulation of telemedicine in Texas could be over after this session if lawmakers and the governor give their approval to Senate Bill 1107 by Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown). TMA is supporting SB 1107, which would provide a clear definition of telemedicine and clarify that whether a physician cares for a patient in a traditional in-person visit or via telemedicine, the standard of care will remain the same. Dr. Callas testified in support of the bill last week when the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services examined it.

SB 1107 would allow the establishment of a valid practitioner-patient relationship through: 

  • Synchronous audiovisual interaction;
  • Synchronous audio with asynchronous store-and-forward technology, which means the patient's clinical information is transmitted for review by a health professional at a different physical location than the patient; or
  • Another form of audiovisual telecommunication technology that allows a physician to comply with the standard of care. 

Dr. Callas told the Committee on Health and Human Services that "patients deserve no less" than the accepted standard of care for an in-person visit.

"We want to be sure that we establish a good framework so that physicians have the ability to use telemedicine — appropriately and safely — for the benefit of their patients," he said. "This would modernize the definition of telemedicine and focus the regulatory structure so we can better integrate the practice into health care delivery."

Joey Berlin, associate editor of Texas Medicine, prepared this special supplement to Action.

Action, March 15, 2017


Renew Your Passion; Come to TexMed 2017


Join us for TexMed 2017, TMA's annual meeting, at the new Marriott Marquis and the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston May 5-6. TexMed is a free member benefit. Register today, and renew your passion for medicine, for leadership, and for Houston. 

On Friday, hear from nationally known speakers including William H. McRaven, chancellor of The University of Texas System, former four-star admiral, and commander of the Osama bin Laden operation. Stay to see Kevin Pho, MD, founder of www.KevinMD.com. Dr. Pho will explain how social media can make a profound difference in health care and your practice.

On Saturday, don't miss Pete Blair, PhD, who will discuss the frequency of active shooter events and the importance of training and preparing our nation's first responders for these critical situations before they occur. 

You also 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. 

And don't forget: TexMed is also the place to connect (or reconnect) with friends and colleagues at the Welcome Reception, the TMA/TMA Alliance 2017–18 Presidents' Reception, and the TMA Foundation gala, Blast Off!

For more information, view the TexMed 2017 Advance Program, visit the TexMed 2017 page on the TMA website, email the TMA Knowledge Center, or call (800) 880-7955.

Action, March 15, 2017


TMAIT Action Ad 6.15

Your Video Guide to Texas' New Prescription Drug Monitoring Program


In an effort to address the very real and debilitating crisis caused by the misuse of opioid pain medicines, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission has recommended a mandate that all prescribers and pharmacists check the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) before prescribing any controlled medication.

TMA, other prescribers, and pharmacies are fighting that proposal in the Texas Legislature and recommend instead that lawmakers turn to the new and evolving technology of the revamped PDMP and its abilities to accomplish a number of important data tasks.

In conjunction with that strategy, TMA is introducing a new tutorial video to help physicians set up accounts and use the new PDMP website, hosted by the Texas Board of Pharmacy. Allison Benz of the pharmacy board demonstrates the new site in this brief, informative TMA-produced video, showing viewers what each page looks like and how to navigate and interact with the site.

At TMA's urging, the state moved the PDMP from the Texas Department of Public Safety to a new online system the pharmacy board created in 2016. This online portal is designed to facilitate physician participation in the new program. Physicians and health care providers can set up an account to enter info or check existing prescriptions of Texas patients.  

 

Action, March 15, 2017


TMA Asks Feds to Delay Next EHR Upgrade Mandate


TMA joined the American Medical Association and 104 other medical societies in asking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to defer implementation of the 2015 Edition of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT).  

Currently, most, if not all, physicians are using the 2014 Edition of CEHRT, and current regulations require them to upgrade to the 2015 Edition in 2018. The criteria for participation in various federal quality programs frequently change, which means the technology must advance as well. However, TMA and the other organizations argue that hasty deployment of upgraded technology is counterproductive and threatens patient safety. 

Read the full letter to CMS Acting Administrator Patrick Conway, MD, and Jon White, MD, acting national coordinator in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Action, March 15, 2017


ImmTrac2 Coming April 3


An updated state immunization registry is on the way. Starting in April, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will roll out ImmTrac2. It will replace the current system, ImmTrac, and include enhanced capabilities for immunization history and forecasting and for generating reports. 

By law, physicians who provide immunizations to patients younger than 18 years must submit immunization data to the statewide registry. Parents must consent for their child to be included in the registry. Physicians also are encouraged to submit data on immunizations of adults who agree to be included in the registry. 

TMA continues to advocate for a strong, well-populated immunization registry. TMA supports the registry as a tool for physicians to turn to as a dependable vaccination record as well as for public health officials to monitor vaccine coverage in communities. 

Training resources for ImmTrac2 are available on the DSHS website. These include an implementation guide, instructional videos, and webinars. 

Currently registered ImmTrac users will receive their new log-in credentials during the week of March 27. You will need these credentials to access the system for the first time. 

Questions about ImmTrac2 can be sent to DSHS via email

Action, March 15, 2017


  Action TMLT Ad 10.15

TMA Videos Help Physicians Comply With New Down Syndrome Law


The Down Syndrome Information Act, which the Texas Legislature passed in 2015, requires physicians to provide specific state-written information to expectant parents when they diagnose or receive a positive test result for Down syndrome.

TMA has produced two new videos that provide information on the elements of the law, the state-created and mandated brochure, additional resources physicians may provide to patients, descriptions of the tests, best-practices regarding testing, and prognoses for people with Down syndrome. 

TMA produced these two videos with assistance from the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, and the Texas Pediatric Society. One video is geared toward obstetricians and one toward family physicians providing prenatal care. 

Down Syndrome Information Act Video for Obstetricians

 

Down Syndrome Information Act Video for Family Physicians

 

Additional Resources  

Action, March 15, 2017


Texas Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Attestation Deadline Extended


The Texas Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program extended the deadline for physicians to attest to receive incentives for program year 2016. The new deadline is May 15, 2017. 

Attestation is considered complete after the eligible physician confirms and submits an attestation in the Medicaid program portal and reaches a "payment pending" or "in review" status. 

Program year 2016 attestations must be submitted by 11:59 pm CST on Monday, May 15, 2017. Appeals will not be considered based on missed deadlines. 

Please note that program year 2016 is the final year in which physicians can begin to participate in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. If you have never participated in the program and you do not participate and receive an incentive payment for program year 2016, you will no longer have the option to participate in program year 2017 or later years.

For further questions, contact the contact the TMA HIT Helpline at (800) 880-5720 or by email.

Find more information on the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program: 

Action, March 15, 2017

Upcoming Value-Based Care and Quality Events


As the health care industry moves toward the concept of value-based care, many physician leaders are seeking ways to accelerate the transformation within their own organizations. If you are interested in making the transition from volume to value, two upcoming events will help you gauge your options. 

Dell Medical School's Value-Based Health Care Delivery Workshop is scheduled for Austin on April 12–13. The workshop will include case-based discussions and dialogue among participants, who will learn the concepts of and framework for value-based care delivery. Visit The University of Texas website for more information and to register. Participation is limited.

Additionally, the deadline for submissions to TMA's fifth annual TexMed Poster Session has been extended to Friday, March 31. Share your successes and breakthroughs in improving patient care with your peers from around the state by submitting an abstract. First-, second-, and third-place winners will receive special recognition at the TexMed annual conference and in Texas Medicine magazine. Selected submissions also will receive a modest stipend. 

The Poster Session will take place at TexMed 2017 on May 6 in Houston. Those who take part will earn continuing medical education credit and learn some best practices for developing their own quality improvement programs. Visit the TMA website for answers to FAQs, or submit your completed application to posters@texmed.org

Action, March 15, 2017


 
PC Action Ad Nov 13

AMA Honors State Senator for Medical School Effort


The American Medical Association presented State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service, primarily for his work in helping The University of Texas at Austin launch a new medical school in the city.

Senator Watson was selected for the AMA's top government service award for asserting his community vision for health care and economic prosperity, most notably for leading the successful effort to build the new medical school from the ground up.

"Senator Watson laid out a groundbreaking '10 Goals in 10 Years' initiative for Austin, which included a comprehensive plan to bring a state-of-the-art medical school to the University of Texas in Austin," said AMA Board Chair Patrice A. Harris, M.D. "Just five years later, the Dell Medical School opened its doors to the first class of 50 students in 2016. Through his bold vision and hard work, Senator Watson is not just inspiring great change in Austin, but helping shape the landscape of medicine and medical schools well into the future."

Senator Watson is one of 10 honorees chosen this year to receive the Nathan Davis Award. He was selected for the AMA's top government service award for asserting his community vision for health care and economic prosperity. The award, named for AMA's founding father, recognizes elected and career officials in federal, state, or municipal service whose outstanding contributions have promoted the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health.

Action, March 15, 2017


DSHS Grand Rounds Spring Semester Starts April 5


Led by physician and health care leaders from around the state and the nation, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) free Grand Rounds lectures return early next month. 

DSHS Grand Rounds is presented live by webinar and in the K-100 lecture hall in the lobby of the Bernstein building, 1100 W. 49th St., on the DSHS campus

See the DSHS website for viewing options, registration options, and required steps to receive a certificate for attending.

2017 Spring Semester Grand Rounds dates and topics are: 

Questions? Email grandrounds@dshs.state.tx.us.

Action, March 15, 2017


This Month in Texas Medicine


The March issue of Texas Medicine features a cover story on the rise in school vaccine exemptions among Texas students. Physicians hold hope that this year's dramatic national increase in cases of mumps, including an outbreak in Texas, might give medicine-friendly lawmakers further opportunity to release more data to parents on how many students in their children's schools have received an exemption. The March issue also includes coverage of legal concerns regarding updates to the National Practitioner Data Bank's NPDB Guidebook, new TMA data showing physicians' passion and persistence are paying off as they attempt to negotiate the terms of their health plan contracts, and a guide to understanding how health care rating websites operate.

Check out our digital edition

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.  


Action, March 15, 2017


 

 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. 

3/17/17
PQRS: Last Day for Group Practice Reporting Option Web Interface

3/31/17
PQRS: Last Day for Qualified Registries, Qualified Clinical Data Registries, and Electronic Reporting via EHR Direct or EHR Data Submission Vendor

5/15/17
Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Attestation Deadline for 2016 Participation

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.  

Seminars

Take Back the Power: Payer Contract Negotiations
March 28-June 22

The Best Front Desk: Transforming Customer Service
April 11-May 25

On-Demand Webinars

Innovation in Education for Cardiovascular Risk Patients: Heart Healthy Diet and Lifestyle

Making Discussions About Death and Dying Easier

HIPAA Training for Medical Office Staff

Conferences and Events

TexMed 2017 
May 5-6
Houston

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