Table of Contents: August 2008

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Vol. 104, Issue No. 8 - August 2008



In Defense of Medicine (pages 22-28)
The Texas Medical Association and other champions of Texas' landmark 2003 medical liability reforms are battling trial lawyers who threaten to chip away at the provisions that have improved access to health care for the state's most vulnerable patients in the most underserved areas. Challenges already have been mounted in state and federal courts, and more attacks are expected in the 2009 session of the Texas Legislature. By Crystal Conde



Identifying the Identifier (pages 29-31)
Government-mandated use of the national provider identifier on physicians' claims got off to a rocky start in May as Medicare and other health plan payers saw a substantial spike in rejected claims. Medicaid, for example, had a sixfold increase in claims kicked back to physicians and other health care professionals. By Ken Ortolon



Shots for Big Tots (pages 35-38)
TMA and state health officials are working together to raise awareness among physicians and parents about the latest developments in immunization of adolescents. They're encouraging adolescents to receive HPV, MMR, MCV4, Tdap, and varicella vaccinations. Their message is simple: "Good health can last a lifetime. Keep up to date. Vaccinate." By Crystal Conde



Scaring Up Patients (pages 43-45)
A Utah company's plans to begin direct-to-consumer advertising of an expensive genetic screening test to identify women at high risk of relatively rare forms of breast and ovarian cancer have physicians worried. They fear the advertising could trigger overuse of the test and swamp the state's medical genetics resources. By Ken Ortolon


ROUNDS(pages 9-21)

Texans Rack Up AMA Victories
TMB Schedules New Town Hall Meetings
Medical Illustration Exhibit Opens This Month
Electronic Death Registration Required Soon
Tort Reform, Health Care Debate Top TMA Fall Conference Agenda
Scholarships Available for Houston Medical Students
Aetna Promises to Be Good
Script Standards to Change
Honor the Science Teachers
UT-Houston to Open health Care Management School
New Osteopathic Medical Schools Approved
Promote Vaccinations During Immunization Month
TMA Foundation Names New Board Members
The Greatest Generation?



TMA and a Texas pharmacy chain have teamed up to fend off headaches for you and your patients who need their Medicare and Medicaid prescriptions filled.

Spending Hours on Research, Not Patient Care?
You don't need to spend countless hours researching a patient's diagnosis. Let the TMA Knowledge Center do it for you.

"Off the Record" Is Off Limits
Never "volunteer" information to an attorney, even though you are not a party to the lawsuit.

PPTN Gives Online Access to Medicare Claims Status
If you submit Medicare claims to TrailBlazer Health Enterprises electronically, you have access to beneficiary and claims status information online.

Challenged by Overhead Costs?
If rising overhead costs, along with falling revenues, are eroding your bottom line, it may be time to examine your practice's efficiency, expenses, and cost structure.

How to Boost Referrals
A little self-promotion can help boost referrals by increasing your visibility.



Comparing the Financial condition of Texas Hospitals Using a Novel Definition for the Safety Net (pages 55-62) ( abstract )

By Brett D. Stauffer, MD; Ruben Amarasingham, MD, MBA; Sue Pickens, Med; and Ron J. Anderson, MD



Commentary (page 3)
Deaths (page 51)
Classifieds (page 63)
MedBytes (page 64)


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