Winter 2017

Join Us at Winter Conference

Register today for TMA Winter Conference, Jan. 27-28 at the Hyatt Regency, Austin. The conference provides an opportunity for physicians and medical students to conduct TMA business, earn CME, and network with peers. 

Join your colleagues in Austin and enjoy all the IMG Section events at TMA Winter Conference. The section will kick off the conference with a mixer in the Marker 10 bar in the Hyatt Regency on Friday, Jan. 27, 7-8 pm. We will conduct our IMG Section business meeting on Saturday, Jan. 28, 7-8:30 am at the Hyatt Regency in Foothills 1 room. 

For a full schedule of events, visit the 2017 Winter Conference webpage, and be sure to register today. 

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Our Biggest CME Sale: 20 Percent Off in January

Don’t miss out on TMA’s biggest, once-a-year CME sale. For the month of January, you can enjoy 20 percent off all continuing medical education courses, excluding live programs. This means an additional 20 percent off your already discounted TMA member pricing.   

Choose from more than 100 on-sale courses, including popular programs covering ethics, risk management, compliance, and practice operations. The discount applies to online and print publications, on-demand webinars, and podcasts. 

Start your New Year with the lowest prices on TMA’s hottest CME programs from 2016, including MACRA and Medicare: Get Clarity and Direction!, recorded Nov. 30 after the final rules came out, and Policies and Procedures: A Guide for Medical Practices, revised in October for easier customization. 

Visit the TMA Education Center and enter coupon code NEWYEAR20 at checkout to start saving.  

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 Physician, Medical Student Journalists: Enter TMA Contest

Do you write a medical column or articles for your local newspaper or magazine? Do you host a health-focused segment on a local TV or radio station? If so, enter your work in the TMA Anson Jones, MD, Awards contest. 

TMA will celebrate its 60th year of honoring Texas journalists for excellent medical news reporting in 2017. The Physician Excellence in Reporting category is just for you: It recognizes physician and medical-student reporters who regularly contribute to general interest media aimed at a Texas public audience. (Eleven other award categories honor professional journalists in print, television, radio, and online media.)

Enter today. Any news story published or broadcast in 2016 is eligible. TMA will accept entries until Jan. 10, 2017. You also can nominate a colleague or a local professional journalist (nonphysician) who is an outstanding medical journalist. 

Visit the Anson Jones webpage for complete contest details. If you have questions, call Tammy Wishard, TMA outreach coordinator, at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1470, or (512) 370-1470, or email

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First Tuesdays at the Capitol

Your patients and your profession need you to be a lobbyist for a day. Mark your calendar now to join the Party of Medicine in Austin for First Tuesdays at the Capitol during the 85th Texas Legislature on Feb. 7, March 7, April 4, and/or May 2, 2017. Registration is now open

TMA’s comprehensive 2017 legislative agenda advocates what’s best for patients and their physicians, from preserving physicians’ right to bill for services to improving Medicaid payment rates and reducing red tape and hassles.  

For more information or to register, visit the TMA website, or call (800) 880-1300, ext. 1363. 

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 Submit an Abstract for the TexMed 2017 Poster Session

TMA is pleased to announce the fifth annual TMA Poster Session, presented by the Council on Health Care Quality, will be held May 6 during TexMed 2017 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. 

The TMA Poster Session is a platform for physicians and medical students to share their breakthroughs and best practices for high-quality patient care. This year the poster session has three areas of focus:    

  • Quality (improvement, research, and clinical);
  • Disaster medicine and emergency preparedness; and
  • Enhanced perioperative recovery.    

The TMA Poster Session offers you a chance to gain exposure, network with Texas physicians, and have your work published. Here are just a few of the many reasons to participate:     

  • You can present their poster to physicians from across Texas during a continuing medical education event at TexMed 2017.
  • Your abstract will appear on the TMA website, which draws more than 75,000 visitors each month.
  • The top three winners in each category receive a cash award.    

Abstract submissions are due no later than March 17, 2017. All accepted poster exhibitors will receive a travel stipend.  

For more information, poster parameters, and submission categories, or to see last year’s abstracts, visit the TMA website.

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2017 Medicare Fee Schedule Includes Less Than 1-Percent Pay Increase

The Federal Register published Medicare’s 2017 final fee schedule rule on Nov. 15. It updates payment policies and rates for services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule on or after Jan. 1, 2017. Although the original proposed rule included an expected fee schedule cut, the final rule increases the fees by a very small amount, less than one-quarter of 1 percent.  

Among other provisions are:   

  • Very small changes to the geographic adjusters and to many relative value units (RVUs), so the combined effect will be small changes to most payments;
  • Part B annual deductible for 2017 of $183;
  • A new required place-of-service code for telehealth services and a few new codes that can be billed via telehealth;
  • A new required modifier and reduced payment for radiology procedures using film to encourage the move to digital;
  • Payment now allowed for non-face-to-face prolonged evaluation and management (E/M) services;
  • New payable G codes for behavioral health integration services;
  • Reworked coding and payment for all mammography services, temporarily using G codes until new Current Procedural Terminology codes can be finalized;
  • Simplified requirements for chronic care management services; and
  • A reminder that qualified Medicare beneficiaries who also are covered by Medicaid may not be directly billed for coinsurance and deductibles.    

In addition, the final rule addresses other topics related to the Medicare program, such as release of certain Medicare Advantage bid data; Part C and Part D medical loss ratio data; enrollment requirements for physicians, providers, and suppliers in Medicare Advantage; and the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program expanded model. The complete fee schedule is available for download from the Novitas website.  

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HIT Tools and Resources at Your Fingertips

TMA works diligently to give you the tools you need to tackle the challenges of technology. Whether you need help selecting an electronic health record (EHR) or understanding the EHR incentive program or information on e-prescribing, TMA has the resources. You can find links to all of these tools on the Technology page of the TMA website.  

  • EHR Product Evaluation Tool  MembersOnlyRed 
    Use this tool to compare the most-used EHRs in Texas by functionality and pricing.
  • EHR Buyer Beware: Issues to Consider When Contracting with EHR Vendors
    Read this paper to learn about eight important EHR contract terms you should consider before signing an EHR contract.
  • EHR Incentive Program Resource Center
    Visit this resource center for details and instruction sheets for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs.
  • Texas Regional Extension Center Resource Center
    Regional extension centers (RECs) have been established across the country, with four in Texas, to give physicians in-depth assistance in selection, implementation, and meaningful use of an EHR. This helps to ensure eligible physicians meet the requirements to earn the EHR incentives. Visit the resource center for details on location, eligibility, and contact information.
  • E-Prescribing Resource Center
    Physicians should e-prescribe now to prevent the Medicare penalty and earn the Medicare bonus. Benefits of e-prescribing include medication reconciliation, medication history, eligibility, and formulary information. Visit the resource center for help with e-prescribing. 
  • Ransomware and Cyber Security Resource Center
    Ransomware has reached Texas, and its emergence highlights the importance of up-to-date security. Use this resource center to access articles and education on cyber security and ways to protect your practice.  

If you have questions about these health information technology (HIT) tools and resources or if you need additional help, contact the TMA HIT Helpline at (800) 880-5720 or by email.

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Wanted: Physicians Who Pursue Awesome Hobbies, Passions Outside the Office

Do you have an interesting (even unique) hobby or passion you enjoy when you’re not in the office? Do you know a TMA member physician colleague who cuts loose on the weekends and lets the creative juices flow, who takes time to serve others in need, or who has a remarkable talent? If you do, TMA’s Texas Medicine magazine would like to hear from you. 

The magazine periodically publishes a column called “Back Talk” that features a portrait of a physician enjoying his or her favorite outside-the-office pursuit. (For an example, see page 64 of the September issue.) If you would like to nominate yourself or a physician colleague for possible inclusion in “Back Talk,” please email Texas Medicine Editor Crystal Zuzek with the physician’s name and contact information, along with a brief description of the physician’s hobby or pastime.  

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Update Your TMA Online Profile So Referring Colleagues Can Find You

When prospective patients and referring colleagues visit TMA’s online Find a Physician directory (the most frequently visited page on the TMA website) or the DocbookMD mobile app — will they be able to find you? 

“Take a few moments to check the data in your online membership profile and make any corrections needed,” said Steven L. Cole, DO, past chair of the TMA Committee on Membership. “Be sure to confirm your contact information under the Address tab. “While you’re at it, click on the Interests tab to tell us exactly which professional topics you need to know the most about,” Dr. Cole continued. “Thanks in advance for helping us keep our membership lists accurate and for helping us use your membership dollars for purposes more worthwhile than shuffling paper.”

Questions? Contact the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955, Monday-Friday, 8:15 am-5:15 pm CT, or email

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Are You Getting the Most From Your TMA Membership?

Check TMA's return on investment calculator to see what other benefits and services you can tap into. 

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Connect With TMA on Social Media

Are you keeping up with TMA on social media? 

TMA is very active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We also have a robust YouTube channel with hundreds of videos by and about TMA. These pages help us communicate with our more than 49,000 members and keep you informed about news, events, member benefits, and our advocacy efforts.   

We hope you will follow, like, tweet, and engage with us. We’d also like to hear from you! If you have any social media questions or suggestions, contact Jen Rios in the TMA Communication Division at   

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