Table of Contents: November 2008

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Vol. 104, Issue No. 11 - November 2008  



COVER STORY (pages 16-51)  

Voices of Ike
Physicians across the Upper Texas Gulf Coast had to put aside their fears about the safety of their own families and homes in September as Hurricane Ike bore down on the region. They were needed by the patients already hospitalized and those who needed care after the storm took its toll. Several physicians kept in touch with TMA via e-mail, describing in often-stark terms what they and the patients had to endure, as well as Ike's impact on their communities and their practices.

MEDICAL EDUCATION (pages 53-56)  

Turnip-Squeezing Time
Getting the Texas Legislature to appropriate more money to pay for graduate medical education when it convenes in Austin next year may be a tough chore, even though it's needed to make sure Texas has an adequate supply of doctors. That's the opinion of physicians and medical education experts who attended the medical education summit that TMA sponsored during its fall conference in September. By Ken Ortolon   


Facing the Skeptics
A series of town hall meetings the Texas Medical Board held across Texas this summer gave physicians a chance to voice their opinions on how the board regulates the medical profession. While it was obvious at the meetings that many physicians are angry or frustrated over what some believe is the board's overzealousness, TMA officials are pleased the board is making the effort to reach out to doctors. By Ken Ortolon  

ROUNDS (pages 9-14)  

Liability Reforms Pay Off for Patients, Physicians
Stay United to Protect Tort Reform
TMA Sues Family Therapists Board 


How to Bill for Telephone Conversations
What are the CPT codes for telephone consultations? 99441, 99442, and 99443. Does Medicare or any other major carrier cover this service? No, but the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has listed relative value units (RVUs) for these codes in the 2008 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. Private payers potentially could use the RVUs in valuing and reimbursing for telephone services.

Staying Ahead of the Payers
TMA Practice Consulting has a few tips to make sure you are reimbursed properly. For example, if possible, assign insurance follow-up staff members to particular payers, so they become familiar with those plans. Or, don't automatically refile claims that are denied or delayed. Follow up with a phone call first.

CME Transcripts Made Easy
Have you ever needed a continuing medical education (CME) transcript at 3 am on Christmas morning? If you ever do, just visit the TMA Web site. Log on to, then click on CME.  



Commentary (pages 5-6)
Deaths (page 63)
MedBytes (page 64)   


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