Stories written by Joey Berlin

TMA Suggests Broader Protections For Opioid-Antagonist Prescriptions - 03/16/2018

The Texas Medical Association continues to track key regulatory changes that could affect your practice, and recently submitted comments on the Texas Medical Board’s proposed rule for the use of opioid antagonists.

The Edge of Success - 03/15/2018

Make it through the challenges of forming an accountable care organization (ACO) for just a couple of years, and the money your groups save can be spectacular — into the millions under the right circumstances.

A Moment to Remember - 03/15/2018

In late 2017, Dallas obstetrician-gynecologist Robert Gundy, MD, delivered the first baby in the United States born from a transplanted uterus.

Election 2018: Continuing the Fight - 03/08/2018

As the party of medicine, TEXPAC throws its support behind candidates who understand what benefits doctors and their patients. In many cases, the real hurdles for medicine’s best candidates loom not in the 2018 general election, but in primaries like the one on March 6.

For End-of-Life Care, Fresh Challenges Begin - 03/08/2018

The logistics of entering a valid in-hospital DNR order are about to become considerably more complex. A law taking effect in April lays out new requirements affecting physicians in hospitals or health care facilities.

Houston Man Convicted in $50 Million Drug Scheme - 03/07/2018

A former president of a Houston-based pharmaceutical company has been convicted on charges stemming from a drug diversion scheme.

Considering Concierge - 03/06/2018

Concierge medicine, a practice model in which the patient pays an annual membership fee or retainer for services that won't be covered by insurance, is garnering more attention from physicians.

Are You Experienced? - 03/05/2018

A case going before the Texas Supreme Court spotlights the Medical Disclosure Panel and what physicians must disclose before performing a procedure.

How Is TMB Implementing Texas’ New MOC Law? - 03/02/2018

The Texas Medical Board (TMB) is making rules related to one of the Texas Medical Association’s biggest legislative wins from 2017: The ban on discrimination based on maintenance of certification (MOC).

Where Does Immunity for Government-Employed Physicians End? - 03/02/2018

The Texas Medical Association is fighting to ensure the Texas Supreme Court does not disrupt liability protections for physicians who are employed by a state medical school or other government entity.

Vote Early to Ensure Texas Remains Medicine Friendly - 02/22/2018

Today is the first day you can go to the polls and do your part to preserve and further medicine's agenda in 2019 and beyond.

Closing the Gap - 02/21/2018

Balance billing was one of TMA's biggest legislative wins this year. Senate Bill 507 will expand mediation for out-of-network bills, but nasty financial surprises for patients won't end when it takes effect on Jan. 1.

Legionella Bacteria: How to Protect Your Patients From Infection - 02/14/2018

Another infection in the San Antonio area caused by Legionella bacteria is giving physicians renewed reason to keep Legionnaires' disease in mind. And that awareness, an infectious disease expert says, is the best thing physicians can do to diagnose it.

A Bump in the Road? Trucker Med Exam Registry Down - 02/13/2018

The online registry for physicians to become certified medical examiners for interstate commercial drivers — such as bus drivers and truckers — has been down for more than two months, an official with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said. Physicians use that same system to upload the results of the drivers’ medical exams.

Fair Evaluations, No Witch Hunts - 01/31/2018

Physicians have greater protection against "sham" peer review thanks to a decision by the Texas Supreme Court. The decision will help physicians who believe business competitors or a hospital's administrators are using every means available to destroy their reputation.

San Antonio Snuffs Out Tobacco Sales to Teens - 01/30/2018

A bill to raise the state’s age to purchase tobacco to 21 burned out during last year’s legislative session. But now that the city of San Antonio has done it on a local level, advocates of “T-21” are hoping to light a fire under other Texas cities ― and state lawmakers ― to do the same.

TMA: Keep Patient Protections in Out-of-State Insurance Sales - 01/25/2018

Lawmakers considering the prospect of allowing the sale of health insurance across state lines should work for free-market health care solutions while ensuring patient protections, a TMA leader told a state Senate panel Tuesday.

You Write Scripts? You Better Sign Up With the PMP - 01/25/2018

If you don't yet have a user account set up with the state's prescription monitoring program (PMP), known as PMP Aware, now is a good time to get it done.

TMA Continues Push Against Surprise Billing - 01/25/2018

Following a big legislative win last year to protect physicians’ rights on balance billing, TMA weighed in Tuesday on how lawmakers can further reduce surprise medical bills. At a hearing of the Texas Senate Business and Commerce Committee in Houston, Beaumont anesthesiologist Ray Callas, MD, stressed the importance of improved patient education and accurate network directories.

Physicians Will Lead Legislature’s Controlled Substances Committee - 01/18/2018

When a special joint committee of the Texas Legislature tackles issues with controlled substances this year, physician-lawmakers will take the lead.

Difficult Situations - 01/17/2018

A Harris County judge rejected a constitutional challenge to the state’s Advance Directives Act in September, siding with TMA and other organizations in Houston Methodist Hospital’s dispute over whether to withdraw lifesaving treatment. 

MEDPAC to Congress: Get Rid of MIPS - 01/12/2018

On Thursday, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) voted 14-2 to recommend that Congress eliminate MIPS and replace it with an alternative quality program known as the Voluntary Value Program.

CMS Extends Texas’ Medicaid 1115 Waiver - 01/10/2018

Late in December, CMS awarded Texas a five-year extension of its Medicaid Section 1115 Transformation Waiver, providing crucial funding for public and private safety-net hospitals that are improving care delivery for Medicaid and low-income uninsured patients.

Questions Abound - 01/10/2018

The Texas Medical Board's new rules on inspecting clinics for failure to register as pain management clinics have provisions of potential concern for doctors.

TMA Convinces CMS to Give Harvey-Affected Physicians a Break - 01/04/2018

At TMA's request, CMS announced in December that physicians in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey will not be required to participate in the Quality Payment Program's (QPP's) Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for 2017. Thus, those physicians won't incur a 4-percent Medicare payment cut in 2019.