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Budget, TMA-backed Bills on the Move
With roughly six weeks to go in the Texas Legislature's 2013 session, lawmakers are near the finish line in drafting a state budget for the next two years. The process has been rather smooth sailing compared to last session as medicine marches closer to accomplishing its goals of reversing the drastic cuts from 2011.
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CMS to Enforce Payment Transparency Law
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will explain the provisions of the National Physician Payment Transparency Act, also known as the Open Payments Act or Sunshine Act, in a teleconference at 1:30 pm CDT on Wednesday, May 22. The act is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and requires manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, and biologicals that participate in federal health care programs to annually report payments and items of value they give physicians and teaching hospitals.
Aetna Aexcel Ranking Letters Coming
TMA's Payment Advocacy Department has learned Aetna will begin sending physicians letters informing them of their ranking in its Aexcel network in early June. The rankings take effect Jan. 1.
TMA Calculates Impact of Medicare Fee Cut
Medicare payments to physicians dropped 2 percent on April 1 because of the federal budget sequester. TMA's Payment Advocacy Department analyzed the impact of the fee reduction and compiled a list of answers to questions you may have.
Start Preparing to Upgrade Your EHR
Beginning in 2014, all physicians participating in the federal electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use incentive program must use a Stage two-certified EHR. This is true even for physicians attesting for Stage one meaningful use.
A Local Solution for ICD-10 Training
Physicians and medical practice staff should work now to make sure employees, office technology, and internal operations are ready to make the switch to ICD-10 on Oct. 1, 2014. However, if you haven't started your preparations or don't know quite where to begin, you're not alone.
Use AT Modifier for Tetanus Shots
Novitas Solutions says it won't pay Medicare claims for administering tetanus shots that do not have the modifier AT (acute treatment) appended to the code. The medical record must support the need for the service and the use of modifier AT.
You're Eligible for Exclusive Savings!
I.C. System is celebrating its 75th year with a 20-percent special anniversary discount for TMA members! Call 800-279-3511 or visit I.C. System online for more information on its collection services.
TMA Urges Bold Medicaid Fee Hike
Legislators should take "bold action to fix a major problem" in the Medicaid program and "increase Medicaid payments to Medicare parity for all physicians and services," Texas Medical Association President Michael E. Speer, MD, urged in a letter to House and Senate members writing the 2014-15 state budget.
CMS Delays Plan to Deny Non-Enrollees' Medicare Claims
Technical issues have delayed plans by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to begin denying claims for services ordered or referred by a physician who is not enrolled in Medicare. The denials were scheduled for May 1. CMS did not elaborate on the technical issues or set a new deadline.
Senators Want HITECH Act Reviewed
Six Republican senators voiced "significant concerns" with the government's implementation of the HITECH Act and meaningful use program in a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The letter says their concerns include "the lack of data to support the Administration's assertions that this taxpayer investment is being appropriately spent and actually achieving the goal of interoperable health IT."
TMA Offers EHR Interoperability Tips
When federal officials asked for comments on how to make electronic health records (EHRs) work together, TMA offered some suggestions.
Medicaid Fee Hike Requires Eligibility Confirmation
Primary care physicians who treat Medicaid patients will receive fee increases for 2013 and 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but only if they sign an attestation form confirming they're eligible for the raise, state officials say.
TexMed 2013: Remember the Patient
With the increasing complexities of modern technology, coupled with the spiraling labyrinth of rules and regulations, physicians can find themselves scattered to the edge of distraction. TMA is working to help physicians remain focused on the mission of medicine – the patient.
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