Table of Contents -- May 2005


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Vol. 101 No. 5


The Ultimate Failure
Physician suicide is a growing concern in medicine because of sobering statistics that show doctors are more than twice as likely as other people to kill themselves.Substance abuse and mental illness are two consistent causes of physician suicide. And, a compounding factor is that while physicians are good at diagnosing and treating problems in other people, they often don't recognize problems with themselves.

By Erin Prather 


A Difference of Opinion
Four law professors in Texas and Illinois have released a study questioning whether there really was a professional liability crisis in Texas. TMA and patients' rights advocates say a crisis did exist and the professors' study was flawed.

By Erin Prather 


Standing United
TMA and a host of medical specialty societies are putting up a united front in the legislature to fend off attempts by podiatrists, optometrists, and other allied health professionals to expand their scope of practice. Preserving the integrity of medicine and protecting patients is the goal.    

By Ken Ortolon 


Paying for the Best
Should physicians receive bonuses for reaching certain performance standards in their practices? Pay-for-performance (PFP) initiatives are springing up across the country, and proponents say they can be effective tools in improving the quality and efficiency of health care. Physicians, however, are reserving judgment until they have a better idea of how PFP will be administered. PFP is not in Texas yet, but it likely will be eventually.

By Ken Ortolon 


A Preemptive Strike
The toll asthma takes on its victims and the cost of treating it can be sharply lowered if physicians will just help their patients take the steps necessary to control it and prevent attacks. That's not being done by all physicians, experts say. A statewide coalition aims to change that.    

By Ken Ortolon 


How to Keep a Receptionist Happy
In today's medical practices, a lot more is expected from a receptionist than just a smiling face.

AetnaLiberalizes Policy on Using Modifier 25
Aetna says it will pay for more than one evaluation and management code if the physician attaches a Modifier 25 in the context of a preventive services office visit.

TrailBlazer Offers Free Online CME
You can earn continuing medical education credit by completing "E&M Advanced Coding," a computer-based training module.

When Not to Use Electronic Medicare Claims
If you still submit paper claims to Medicare, be sure you are meeting one of the exception criteria that allow you to do so.

Change Is Not Always Good
Altered medical records can make it impossible to defend a medical liability case..

Medicare Battles Smoking
Medicare now covers smoking and tobacco use cessation counseling for some people.



Health Experts to Chew the Fat on Obesity at TexMed 2005 
Legislative Hotline Keeps You Up to Date
A Juggling Act
Texan by Choice
Former President Murphy Dies
Starting a New Practice?
Pat Hyer(s) On as TMA Alliance President 



Poisoning Hospitalizations Among Texas Adolescents: Age and Gender Differences in Intentional and Unintentional Injury   (abstract)

By Suhasini Ramisetty-Mikler, PhD, MPH; Antonio René, PhD; and Douglas Mains, DrPH, MBA, MPAff 


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