Table of Contents: April 2009

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Vol. 105, Issue No. 4 - April 2009  



COVER STORY(pages 16-25)  

To highlight the quality and patient safety initiatives in Texas, TMA President Josie R. Williams, MD, directed two TMA councils to develop a report highlighting national health care trends and key concepts of initiatives from across Texas. The report found four key themes that appear to be common to all successful quality initiatives: a commitment to quality, a philosophy of teamwork, an attitude of change, and the tracking, measuring, and reporting of data. By Ken Ortolon   


First Tuesdays
TMA demonstrated real grassroots activism in February when some 200 physicians, medical students, and TMA Alliance members turned out to be lobbyists for a day at TMA's First Tuesdays at the Capitol program. The event was a huge success in terms of carrying medicine's legislative agenda directly to lawmakers. Photos by Jim Lincoln. Text byKen Ortolon   

PUBLIC HEALTH  (pages 35-41)  

We're No. 3!
Texas has dropped from first to third in national teenage birth rates, but don't start the celebration just yet. The problem is the rate had been dropping for 14 years, but then started back up. Experts say the increase points out the need for better education.   By Crystal Conde   

LAW(pages 43-48)  

When Hospitals Attack
The closing of Town & Country Hospital in Houston two years ago has sparked an attorney general's office investigation and a lawsuit by physicians. Memorial Hermann says it did nothing wrong.  By Crystal Conde   

MEDICAL ECONOMICS (pages 51-54)  

Medicaid Makeover
Bolstered by $150 million stemming from the settlement of a landmark lawsuit against the state, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission has several plans to enhance the Medicaid program. It wants to improve services and entice more physicians into the program. Helping physicians repay their loans is one of the incentives. B y Ken Ortolon   

ROUNDS (pages 11-14)  

Stimulus Has Billions for Texas Medicaid
TexMed Gives You Face Time With Lawmakers
What's NOT in the Stimulus Bill
State Loan Repayment Program Changes Proposed
Autism, Vaccinations Not Linked, Court Says
Robinson, Dr. Moore Take Key TMB Spots
Dollars for Scholars




Make Medical Collections Less Taxing
TMA's endorsed provider of collection services, I.C. System, has some suggestions for recovering more money. One of them is asking about your debtors' tax refund.

BCBS Coding Provisions in Effect
Several coding provisions of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield settlement agreement are in effect.

HIV in the Medical Record
Do you need to keep a patient's HIV status in a special sealed part of the medical record? No, but there are some rules you must follow.

What You Need When You Call TrailBlazer
You must provide three identification numbers when you call the TrailBlazer Interactive Voice Response system or contact a TrailBlazer customer service representative. 




Commentary (pages 5-6)
Deaths (page 55)
MedBytes (page 56)  



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