Table of Contents: September 2007


Texas Medicine Logo(1)


Vol. 103 No. 9  


Prop 12 Payoff
September marks the fourth anniversary of passage of tort reform legislation by the Texas Legislature and voter approval of Proposition 12, thanks to the efforts of the Texas Medical Association and other tort reform groups. Since then, physicians' liability insurance premiums have decreased, the number of lawsuits has dropped, more physicians are coming to Texas, and patients have better access to care. The success has made Texas a national leader in tort reform.

By Crystal Conde 


Medicare Bill Not Perfect
Legislation that would head off Medicare physician fee cuts for two years and provide a positive update is working its way through Congress. TMA supports the bill, but is working to remove some objectionable provisions.

By Ken Ortolon 


Present and Accounted For
Medicare's latest quality initiative could cause financial pain for hospitals and headaches for physicians. Starting in October, hospitals must document on Medicare claims whether all of the conditions that were treated were present when the patient was admitted.

By Ken Ortolon 


A New Breed
State Epidemiologist Vincent Fonseca, MD, MPH, is not the usual epidemiologist. Instead of focusing on infectious diseases, he's spending his time on behavioral issues.

By Crystal Conde 


Seeking Common Ground
TMA and our county medical society allies are trying to establish a dialogue with employers, health plans, and other stakeholders as a way to achieve an understanding of conflicting views of the health care system.

By Ken Ortolon 


Sixty Years of Cardiovascular Surgery
Famed Houston heart surgeon Denton Cooley, MD, says a lot of has changed in cardiovascular surgery since he earned his medical degree in 1944.

By Denton Cooley, MD 


Oct. 19 Is Blue Cross Claims-Filing Deadline
TMB Now Requires Physicians' Fingerprints for Licenses
New Law Strengthens Physicians' Billing Disclosure Requirements
AMA Votes to Take on Rank Ranking Plans
Ask the TMA Knowledge Center
Hard Hats Perfect for Brain Injury Awareness Month
Confused About Coding a Hospital Admission?
POEP Helps Battle Childhood Cancer 


Are You Missing Out on Your Money?
If you haven't looked at Texas' Unclaimed Property site, you should do so - you may have hundreds of dollars waiting for you to claim them. To find out, log on to and click on Unclaimed Property on the right side of the home page.

State Wants Electronic Death Certificates
Physicians who have renewed their license electronically before that date must now use the Texas Electronic Registrar-Death Registration system to certify and/or file death certificates for patients who have died while in their care. Physicians who did not renew their licenses electronically before Sept. 1 do not have to comply with the law until Sept. 1, 2008.

Better You Than the IRS
The fourth quarter of each year is a good time to remind patients with account balances. They may be able to claim the amount of the balance they pay by Dec. 31 as a tax-deductible medical expense for this year when they file their income tax. This may serve as an incentive for these patients to pay off their balance. 


Voluntary Readmission Among Schizophrenic Patients in the Texas State Psychiatric Hospital System (abstract)

By Emilie Attwell Becker, MD, and Alan Shafer, PhD 


From the EVP

Texas Medicine Main Page
Texas Medicine Back Issues