Caring for Patients in a Time of Change
TMA President William H. Fleming III, MD
The health system reform bill is now law. While the legal and political wrangling will go on for years, the physicians of Texas remain committed to our patients. We want to keep what’s good and fix what’s broken in our health care system.
Frankly, we cannot allow our political views or the new law to get in the way of what medical care is all about: physicians caring for our patients. Patients and their doctors must work together to take advantage of this change. We cannot waste this opportunity to improve the access and care we provide to our patients. We also must keep a constant eye out for opportunities to improve the new law.
We have begun a massive new education campaign to help Texas physicians and their practices survive and thrive in this new environment. Our patients depend on that. And lucky for them, no organization is better prepared to help doctors in the post-health-reform jungle than the Texas Medical Association (TMA).
Because of its immense size and scope, the new law contains many provisions that neither we nor our patients fully understand yet. We’ve asked some of the best health care minds in the state to give us a complete analysis. Right now, here are three good things about the new law soon to happen — and three things the physicians of TMA already know must change.
TMA Summary of New Health Law - HR 3590
Now you can find out what actually is in The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (PDF) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The summary also includes amendments that were added in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. The new law is very complex and will be influenced by the many regulations that must be adopted under its provisions. TMA’s summary is just that, a summary of the law. It doesn’t discuss all the details contained within the statute.
The best use of the summary is to discern which provision of the law may pertain to a particular question or issue. The summary can then be utilized to gain a basic understanding of what the law intends to accomplish before reviewing the actual statutory text.
TMA also is in the process of developing other education materials, outreach, and practice management seminars to help you thrive and survive in this new health care landscape.
TMA's Texas Medicare Manifesto II
For years, Congress has placed last-minute bandaids on the Medicare physician payment system. The latest patch expires at the end of 2009. TMA President Josie R. Williams, MD, outlines TMA's principles for Medicare payment reform.
"TMA and our patients call upon leaders on both sides of the aisle to stop stalling. It’s time to get to work and develop a bipartisan, long-term solution to the Medicare financing fiasco. ... It is very unlikely that Congress will begin to consider any legislation to fix Medicare until March 2009 or later. That leaves only nine months for Congress to fix a monumental problem it has neglected for more than a decade. And there’s another steep cliff looming ahead. If Congress once again does nothing, physicians are looking at a pay cut of 20 percent or more on Jan. 1, 2010. Soon the cost of the short-term fix will equal or exceed the cost of the long-term solution. ...
"We need a rational Medicare physician payment system that automatically keeps up with the cost of running a practice and is backed by a fair, stable funding formula."
- Fix the Formula Now
- Rebalance Funding Across All Parts of Medicare
- Put Patients Before Insurance Companies
- Here is what you can do, starting today.
Articles and Reports
- Summary - HR 3590: Health System Reform Bill (PDF)
- Texas Doctors: “Senate Health Plan Bad Medicine for Our Patients” (Nov. 21, 2009)
- Health Reform 'Health Calls': TMA Meetings Help Physicians, Patients Shape Debate (Texas Medicine, Oct. 1, 2009)
- AMA: Our Vision for Health System Reform
- AMA Defines Seven Health Reform Principles (Action, Sept. 15, 2009)
- Foundation Says HSR Balloons Health Cost (Action, Sept. 15, 2009
- Take Your Health Care Concerns to the Top (Action, Aug. 3, 2009)
- TMA "Deeply Troubled" by House Health Reform Bill (Action, July 17, 2009)
- Border Health Caucus Response to The New Yorker Article: "The Cost Condundrum" (July 6, 2009)
- TMA Reform Must Provide Patient Access While Protecting Freedoms (June 17, 2009)
- Obama Touts Health Reform at AMA Meeting (Action, June 16, 2009)
- President Obama Brings His Health System Reform Proposals to U.S. Physicians (June 15, 2009)
- TMA: Your Voice on Health System Reform
- What Stimulus Means to Texas Health Care
- Federal Health Care Reform Plans
- TMA's 111th U.S. Congress Main Page