John K. Wisniewski
Healthcare technology breakthroughs
rarely receive media attention, yet recent headlines announced a home
page enhancement to the federal government's Marketplace
website. Seriously? Does access to a website mean access
to insurance, and do either mean access to care?
This would be a good week to make
sure your patients understand that coverage questions go to
navigators, but for healthcare, they should still ASK THEIR DOCTOR.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
EHR mandates exist?
It depends. What is your definition
of a mandate? You do not have to use an electronic health record
(EHR) in your practice, but if you don't, Medicare penalties
will be incurred beginning in 2015.
Currently, Medicare is the only
payer planning to penalize physicians who are not "meaningfully
using" their EHR system. That's right, meaningful use is
required to prevent the penalty. The penalties begin at 1 percent in
2015 and will cap at 3 percent in 2017. If at least 75 percent of
office-based physicians are not meaningfully using an EHR by 2017,
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary has the
authority to ratchet the penalty by two more percentage points,
capping the penalty at 5 percent in 2019.
TMA created a one-page explanation that
charts the penalties for both scenarios and provides information on
To prevent the penalty, you must
start your meaningful use reporting period by July 1, 2014. The
federally established regional extension centers (RECs) are ready to
help you with EHR selection, adoption and meaningful use.
For more information, visit the Texas
Regional Extension Center Resource Center on the TMA website by clicking here.
Questions related to EHRs and other
office technologies may be directed to TMA's Health Information
Technology Department by calling (800) 880-5720 or by email.
Healthy Futures of Texas
Lunch With the Mayor event
By Mary E. Nava, MBA
BCMS Chief Governmental and Community Relations
Congratulations to Janet Realini,
MD, BCMS member and president of Healthy Futures of Texas for
another successful Lunch With the Mayor event on Oct. 15.
Opening remarks were provided by
Mayor Julian Castro, an avid supporter of Healthy Futures. Attending
the luncheon and representing BCMS were Ashok Kumar, MD, BCMS
president-elect; Pam Hall, MD;
Syed Z. Rizvi, MD; Navid
Saigal, MD; Varda Ratner of The Patient Institute; John Wisniewski,
BCMS CEO and executive director; Susan Merkner, BCMS director of communications;
Mary Nava, BCMS chief governmental and community relations officer;
August Trevino, BCMS director of development; and Brissa Vela, BCMS
director of membership. Also in attendance were Vincent
Fonseca, MD; Robert Luedecke, MD; Buddy Swift, MD; and representing
TMA were Karen Batory and Helen Kent Davis from the Public Health
and Medical Economics Division.
Healthy Futures of Texas works to
prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy to support the development of
strong families. Proceeds from the Lunch With the Mayor event
provide resources to advocate for prevention and to promote and
provide the organization's programs and services. During her
luncheon remarks, Dr. Realini spoke about the importance of these
programs and how the organization has had a profound, positive
effect in providing a healthy framework for teenagers, so they can
make informed decisions and delay pregnancy. "The need is vast
because there are so many unhealthy messages out there," she
To learn more about Healthy Futures
of Texas and how to help, click here.
For local discussion on this and other public health
topics, consider joining the BCMS Public Health and Patient
Advocacy Committee by contacting Mary Nava at email@example.com.
SAVE THE DATE
Physicians: Healthy Patients
Dr. Gregory P.
information and registration
About The Weekly Dose
The Weekly Dose is a service of
the Bexar County Medical Society.
Some of the suggestions conveyed may not be applicable
to your practice today,
but the goal is to offer information over time that returns value
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Bexar County Medical Society, San Antonio, Texas.