TAFP’s top 10 news stories of 2012

Tags: news, 2012, texas medical board, affordable care act, quality, health care costs, accountable care organization, recovery audit contractor, administrative burden

As another year draws to an end and we’re once again waiting to see what Congress will do to about the SGR and the fiscal cliff-tastrophy, your TAFP Communications staff put together a list of the top 10 news stories from Texas Family Physician and TAFP News Now based on unique page views recorded through our analytics system.

Not surprisingly, it shows that family physicians are concerned about the practice environment and the future. These stories outline new regulations, administrative burden, experimental practice and payment models, and the future of the specialty.

1. TMB rules you may not know but should

This piece from TMLT outlines seven Texas Medical Board rules physicians may unknowingly break, from advertising yourself and products to administering office-based anesthesia.

2. Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act

The biggest story of the summer was the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold federal health care reform. The controversial individual mandate is valid but states don’t have to expand Medicaid coverage. Both TAFP and AAFP say “much work lies ahead.”

3. Physicians must obtain prior authorization for power mobility devices starting Sept. 1

Prescription of power mobility devices is a big issue for family physicians and payers as it is prone to fraud and errors. A demonstration kicked off in the fall in Texas requiring physicians to obtain prior authorization in addition to the extensive documentation requirements.

4. Accountable care organizations take shape in Texas

Supported under the Affordable Care Act, accountable care organizations are the latest iteration in payment and system reform that strive to increase quality and reduce costs. The first ACOs in Texas have been approved by Medicare and are taking their own approaches to meet these goals.

5. Clinical Integration: The key to improving quality and reducing cost in health care

It’s the future. Health systems are combining health information technology, physician leadership, administrative governance, and quality measurement to establish protocols, achieve best practices, measure results, and reduce process variation, all for the goal of increased quality and reduced cost.

6. CMS names first ACOs approved for the Medicare Shared Savings Program

A smaller story to the magazine feature above, this News Now article announced the step that made ACOs real: 27 were approved by CMS including two in Texas.

7. Recovery Audit Contractors: The age of audits and remediation

RACs are the latest oversight bodies that will scrutinize claims submitted to Medicare with incentives to identify overpayments. Our practice management consultant says the question isn’t “if a RAC knocks on your door…?” it’s “when?”

8. DPS launches online prescription drug monitoring program to curb abuse

The PAT program connects dispensing practices to physicians, licensing board investigators, and law enforcement officials. DPS hopes this will help physicians identify possible drug abusers and traffickers, and help law enforcement officials to investigate those individuals or organizations.

9. Condition critical: The case for rescuing primary care in Texas

Heading into another legislative session, TAFP has mapped out a strategy to regain some of the drastic budget cuts suffered in 2011 and rethink how we fund medical education and residency training to ensure we can meet the needs of the future.

10. New loan repayment program to draw physicians, dentists to central Texas

Medical education debt is on the mind of young physicians and influences specialty choice. This program from St. David’s recruits physicians and other health care providers to central Texas.

Many of these issues are ongoing and will see further discussion in 2013 on the state and national level. As always, your Academy will be here to analyze them and give you the family medicine perspective.

– kalfano

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