Table of Contents -- May 2004

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Vol. 100 No. 5  


The Health Disparities Gap
Culture, language, and, unfortunately, prejudice contribute to wide disparities in health outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities. As a result, many minority patients aren't getting the health care they need. The Texas Medical Association, the American Medical Association, state officials, and others are doing something about that. The efforts include a special seminar on health literacy at TexMed 2004 later this month.

By Ken Ortolon


Washington House Call
Ten years have passed since physicians from Texas and other states along the U.S. border with Mexico convinced Congress to create a Border Health Commission to help improve health conditions in the area. But they're not finished. They went back to Washington in March in hopes of obtaining additional federal support.

By Ken Ortolon  


Medicaid HMOs or PCCM?
Changes to the state's Medicaid program that the Health and Human Services Commission is contemplating raise a very troubling question: What's more important to the state -- the patient or the pocketbook? TMA is fighting to preserve the primary care case management system, while the state moves toward Medicaid HMOs.

By Walt Borges


Taking Calls
Thanks to recent changes in the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, physicians are now allowed to take call at several hospitals at the same time. The changes also permit physicians to perform elective surgery while on call, as long as the hospital has written protocols governing the handling of an emergency room patient if the on-call specialist is unavailable. One physician says the changes restore common sense to the system, but another says they only serve to increase emergency doctors' dissatisfaction.

By Walt Borges


The Medicare Carrot and the HIPAA Stick
The feds want Medicare claims filed electronically, but starting July 6, the claims have to meet HIPAA standards or physicians will face a minimum 26-day delay in reimbursement.

Medical Records Billing
Typically, if your managed care contract allows it or if you are not contracted with a plan, you can bill that payer for the cost of copying medical records.

Ensuring a Good Experience
Patients increasingly see themselves as consumers of health care and look to their physician for better, more efficient, and more effective service, according to a report released by Johns Hopkins University and American Healthways .

Mammogram Screenings
Medicare provides for annual screening mammograms for women over age 39 and waives the Part B deductible. How does Medicare define "annual"?


Austin Convention Center
Hosts TexMed 2004 This Month
Kids Make Parents Fat, Duke Study Shows
State, Feds Try to Trim the Fat
What Do You Think of TSBME?
Computer System Problems Plague Medicare Enrollment
M.D. Anderson to Study Chinese Medicine's Effect
TMA Exhibit Highlights Women in Medicine
Dispatches From the Front



The Medical Cost of High Serum Cholesterol in Harris County, Texas (abstract)

By David Chenoweth, PhD


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