Table of Contents: January 2009

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Vol. 105, No. 1 - January 2009  


COVER STORY (pages 14-21)  

Doctor's Orders
A tight budget, narrow partisan margins in the Texas House and Senate, and an anticipated all-out assault on scope of practice promise to make the 2009 session of the Texas Legislature particularly challenging for organized medicine. TMA plans to pursue an ambitious agenda this year, but TMA leaders say the political climate will affect major issues such as Medicaid physician fee increases and increases in graduate medical education funding. By Ken Ortolon   

LAW (pages 23-27)  

Don't Ban the Ban
TMA will work in the legislative session this year to preserve the ban on the corporate practice of medicine. Although proponents of lifting the ban say it could attract physicians to underserved areas, TMA fears a physician's duty could shift from the best interest of the patients to the interest of the employers. By Crystal Conde  

PUBLIC HEALTH (pages 29-36)  

The Obesity Threat
TMA, other public health advocates, and state officials are working together to solve the obesity crisis in Texas through nutrition education, physical activity, and access to healthy foods. Together, they're requesting more than $140 million in funding from the Texas Legislature for 2010-11 to achieve their goals. Physicians can play a major role in the effort. By Crystal Conde   

MEDICAL ECONOMICS (pages 39-43)  

Code Blues
Federal officials are rushing to implement the new and expanded ICD-10 codes by October 2011. But TMA, AMA, health insurance companies, claims clearinghouses, and others say doing it in such a short time could lead to chaos. B y Ken Ortolon   

SCIENCE (pages 45-48)  

Stemming STEMI
Cardiologists and the American Heart Association are involved in an effort to improve the treatment that heart attack victims receive through a program called Mission Lifeline. They're targeting patients who have a STEMI, an ST-elevation myocardial infarction, the most severe type of heart attack. By Ken Ortolon   

ROUNDS (pages 7-12)  

AMA House Looks to the Future
Dr. Arens Honored with Distinguished Service Award
TEXPAC Scores More Victories
New Adolescent Immunization Toolkit Available
CMS Puts RACs on the Shelf
TMF Projects Promote Drug Safety
TMA's Hard Hats Wins PR Award
Former President Locker Dies



Enforce Your Work Schedules or Pay Overtime
You may commend hourly employees who work through scheduled breaks, show up early and start working, or stay late and continue working past their normal ending times. But you have to pay them overtime, too, or explain why you didn't to the Texas Workforce Commission or U.S. Department of Labor.

New Medicare Enrollment Effective Dates
The 2009 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule that took effect Jan. 1 brings a huge change in the effective dates for enrollment billing. Make sure you know the new dates.

CPT Code/Relative Value Search
The American Medical Association offers an online CPT Code/Relative Value Search lookup tool. You can perform CPT code searches and obtain information about Medicare's relative value payment amount associated with the codes. Search using five-digit CPT code numbers or keywords. 


JOURNAL (pages 55-63)  

Health Information Technology Policy in Texas: Statewide, Regional, and Constituency-Specific Initiatives (abstract) (full text)

By Julie Graves Moy, MD, MPH  




Commentary (pages 49-50)
Deaths (page 53)
Information for Authors (page 54)
MedBytes (page 64)  



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