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Home   Hot Topics   Governmental Affairs   Practice Management   Membership   Legal Information March 11, 2010
TMA Weekly Headlines

Health care costs open $1.7 billion hole in Texas budget
The Dallas Morning News, March 9, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Lawmakers have been thinking ahead to a massive shortfall, topping $10 billion, that's probably coming when they write the next budget in 2011. But state officials told them that they'll have to fix a hole in the current budget, too. Rising health care costs have dug a hole of about $1.7 billion, the officials said. More

Rural health clinics: Answer to Medicare crisis?
KFDA-TV, March 9, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's one of the most hotly contested issues among our area's oldest residents, and now there may be an answer to problems with medicare coverage. That answer can be found at the clinic in Claude, along with about half a dozen other rural clinics across the panhandle, because these rural facilities are not being affected by the impending medicare cuts. More

Jury set to deliberate in Memorial Hermann antitrust case
The Houston Chronicle, March 9, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Either Memorial Hermann was greedy or six doctors with no talent for business started one anyway, or so jurors were told as lawyers summed up two months of testimony from 37 witnesses in an antitrust lawsuit. Memorial Hermann Healthcare System stands accused in this trial of antitrust violations - trying to get the five biggest health insurance companies to boycott a physician-owned startup, Houston Town & Country Hospital. More

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Docs battle Medical Center over partnership agreement
The Southeast Texas Record, March 9, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A group of doctors find themselves battling the Medical Center of Southeast Texas as the hospital seeks to terminate their shares because they are also limited partners in a Port Arthur cath lab. More

Senate passes jobless aid, business tax breaks
The Associated Press via Google    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Senate voted Wednesday to extend key pieces of last year's economic stimulus measure, including help for the jobless and money to help financially strapped states pay for health care for the poor. The bill would also prevent doctors from absorbing a 21 percent cut in Medicare payments and extends through December a generous 65 percent subsidy of health insurance premiums for the unemployed under the COBRA program, at a cost of $10 billion. More

Court will hear case about vaccine side effects
The Associated Press via The Houston Chronicle, March 8, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Supreme Court will decide whether drug makers can be sued by parents who claim their children suffered serious health problems from vaccines. The justices on agreed to hear an appeal from parents in Pittsburgh who want to sue Wyeth over the serious side effects their daughter, six months old at the time, allegedly suffered as a result of the company's diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine. More

Health officials ready for TB uptick
The Amarillo Globe-News, March 8, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Amarillo public health officials say they're prepared to deal with a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease that has affected a small number of people in the area. Tuberculosis was nearly eradicated until the early 1980s when it repopulated through HIV-positive patients with weak immune systems. The disease spread steadily through the 1980s but has steadily declined the past two decades. However, there has been a uptick in the number of local cases the last two years. More

Powerful House Chairman Leads Inquiry into Health Care Dealmaking
Health Care News, March 10, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Voter frustration with a lack of transparency in the creation of national health care legislation has prompted House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Henry Waxman to join a Republican colleague in asking the White House to provide significant new information on the process by which the legislation was drafted. More

Jobless aid measure clears Senate hurdle
The Associated Press via Google    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Legislation to give additional months of unemployment benefits to people who have been out of a job for more than half a year cleared a key hurdle Tuesday that guarantees it will soon pass the Senate. The sweeping bill also would prevent doctors from absorbing a crippling cut in Medicare payments and extends health insurance subsidies for the unemployed through December. It would add $132 billion to the budget deficit over the next year and a half. More

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Trotter: Physicians suffer medical losses
The Abilene Reporter-News, March 7, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Just as hospitals must overcome losses of unreimbursed care, so must physicians. Hospitals don’t treat patients, physicians treat patients. Local physicians give away extensive medical care at their own expense and are seeing the same issues of rising bad debt and charity levels as hospitals. Despite altruistic intentions and a dedication to patient care, even physicians have to cover their costs. More

Health care in Amarillo: Docs open heart center
The Amarillo Globe-News, March 9, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When it comes to the payments doctors receive for the care they provide, there's as much uncertainty as ever. Medicare continues to indicate ever-looming cuts in payments, as lawmakers in Washington still are hammering out details on a national health-care reform bill. But one group of Amarillo doctors just made a huge investment in its infrastructure hoping the bottom doesn't fall out of the medical industry. More

'Speed-dating' doctors woo patients
CNN, March 8, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Call it speed dating for doctors. Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, near Fort Worth, has launched a program called Doc Shop that invites prospective patients to casually meet and size up a lot of doctors in a short amount of time. More

Why insurers don't control costs
The Washington Post Ezra Klein Blog, March 9, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
One of the oddities of the health care reform debate is that we tend to despise insurers for two contradictory things. On the one hand, we hate them for saying no. No to procedures, no to people, no to reimbursements. On the other hand, we hate them for raising premiums and being expensive. But saying no, of course, is what holds down costs. So when it comes to cost control, insurers are in a bit of a "damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't" situation. And they've chosen "don't." More

Obama announces effort to crack down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud
Politico, March 9, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
President Barack Obama tonight announced a plan to crack down on fraud and abuse in Medicare and Medicaid ahead of his remarks on health reform in St. Charles, Missouri. More

Federal agency trying to cut number of pregnancy-related deaths
The Associated Press via The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 8, 2010    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Pregnancy-related deaths appear to have risen nationwide over the past decade, nearly tripling in the state with the most careful count - California. While they are rare, about 550 a year out of 4 million births nationally, they're nowhere near as rare as they should be. The maternal mortality rate is four times higher than a goal the federal government set for this year. More

The articles in The Texas Medical Association Weekly Headlines are chosen from a variety of sources, Texas and national, to reflect media coverage of the medical profession and health care issues. Publication of any article does not imply that TMA has endorsed or supports its contents.

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