Healthy Vision 2020
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Should the American Medical Association Have Classified Obesity as a Disease?

Should the American Medical Association Have Classified Obesity as a Disease? | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it

U.S. News and World Report "Debate Club"

Texas Medical Association's insight:

Invest in Prevention

 

Three old American sayings capture the interconnections among personal responsibility, preventive medicine, and health care costs. Consider “You are what you eat,” and “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and “A penny saved is a penny earned.” If we as individuals take better care of ourselves, if we as a society take better care of ourselves, we’ll be not only healthier but also wealthier in the long run. Every Texan needs to have more skin in the health care game … especially those who have too much skin and fat already. We can no longer blow smoke at proven ways to stop people from smoking and exposing others to their secondhand smoke. We need a shot in the arm to stop the spread of deadly, contagious diseases. A healthy and wealthy Texas depends on a sound health care system with robust medical care and effective public health components. There is a legitimate role for limited government to play in safeguarding a sound, responsive public health infrastructure in Texas.

 

All in all, a stitch in time does indeed save nine.

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Healthy Vision 2020
Bringing into focus a clear and distinct view of the rest of this decade in Texas health care. Offering a sharp perception of what lies ahead and what we must change to keep us all healthy.
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The Effects of Medicaid Expansion under the ACA: Findings from a Literature Review

The Effects of Medicaid Expansion under the ACA: Findings from a Literature Review | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
Research on the effects of Medicaid expansions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can help increase understanding of how the ACA has impacted coverage; access to care, utilization, and health outcomes; and various economic outcomes, including...
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Study: Medicaid Expansion Encourages More Poor Adults To Get Health Care

Study: Medicaid Expansion Encourages More Poor Adults To Get Health Care | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
Doctor visits and hospital stays were more likely for low-income adults in states after they expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, researchers reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine Monday.
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Charles "Buddy" Owen, M.D.'s curator insight, April 20, 1:55 PM

How can Texas (and other states) justify paying into the tax system to support health care for Medicaid population then refuse to expand coverage? We pay in but do not get the benefits? 

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Does the Patient-Centered Medical Home Work? Yes, and...

Does the Patient-Centered Medical Home Work? Yes, and... | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
Dr. Michael Barr weighs in on a new five-year patient-centered medical home study. The study proves effectiveness of NCQA's PCMH Recognition program.  
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The clear and present future of consumerized health

The clear and present future of consumerized health | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
Right now, most of us, consumers and providers alike, will suffer the same fate.
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Bill to Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board Passes House

Bill to Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board Passes House | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA Says:

 

Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board

Replacing the SGR and removing administrative penalties will be meaningless unless Congress also repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Leaving both in place would create cruel and unusual double jeopardy for physicians who want to care for senior citizens and military families. The ACA created a 15-member IPAB designated to recommend measures to reduce Medicare spending if costs exceed targeted growth rates.

 

The ACA prohibits the panel from recommending changes to eligibility, coverage, or other factors that drive utilization of health care services. This means the board will have only one option — cut payments. And through 2019, hospitals, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare prescription drug plans, and health care professionals other than physicians are exempt. This means the board has only one option — cut Medicare payments to physicians. Cuts the board recommends will automatically take effect, unless Congress acts to suspend them.

 

As we’ve seen with the SGR, it’s obvious that cuts the IPAB enacts will devastate Medicare beneficiaries’ ability to find physicians to care for them. The issue of Medicare spending for 3.2 million Texans is too important to be left in the hands of an unaccountable board that makes decisions based solely on cost. 

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Patient-Centered Medical Homes Generate Fewer, Cheaper ED Visits

Patient-Centered Medical Homes Generate Fewer, Cheaper ED Visits | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
PCMHs see slower growth in ED visits, lower payment per beneficiary.
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA Says:

 

Promote the patient-centered medical home for every Texan

 

Consider that the costliest 1 percent of patients in the United State account for more than 20 percent of the nation’s health care spending. They are older patients with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other serious and chronic conditions. Many have multiple health problems and may not have relatives who can help with their care.

 

As public and private payers look for ways to reduce costs, improve patient outcomes, and ease barriers to access, they are turning to models of care that increase economic efficiencies and enhance patient care. One of these is the patient-centered medical home (PCMH). A PCMH is a primary care physician or physician-led team who ensures that patient care is assessable, coordinated, comprehensive, patient-centered, and culturally relevant. The physician or team directly provides, coordinates, or arranges health care or social support services as indicated by the patient’s individual medical needs and the best available medical evidence. The model uses a team-based approach, with the patient’s primary care physician leading the coordination of care. Trained teams and well-constructed electronic health records are keys to a successful PCMH.

 

TMA supports the use of the PCMH model in Medicare, Texas Medicaid, and commercial insurance plans. Given the budget constraints Texas faces and a growing population with unique health care needs, the PCMH offers the potential for Medicaid cost savings as well as improved patient outcomes and physician and provider satisfaction. 

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U.S. faces 90,000 doctor shortage by 2025, medical school association warns

U.S. faces 90,000 doctor shortage by 2025, medical school association warns | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
As the nation's population ages, more specialists will be needed to treat chronic diseases of the elderly, the association says.
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA says:

 

Texas has a large, diverse, and growing population that is growing less healthy and more ethnically diverse, and needs more and better-coordinated health care services. Unfortunately, Texas — compared to other parts of the country — has significant shortages in most physician specialties and other health care professionals. Although our 2003 liability reforms have helped to establish Texas as a good place to practice medicine and we have record numbers of physicians applying for licensure, the current supply won’t keep up with the demand. Texas has unique challenges, with some of the nation’s largest urban centers as well as the vast expanses of sparsely populated rural regions. We need to invest more in our medical schools and graduate medical education (GME) training programs. With the numerous shortages, we must focus on building physician-led teams that can safely meet the diverse and complex health care needs of the Texas population. 

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Patient-Centered Medical Home Reduces Cost, Raises Quality

Patient-Centered Medical Home Reduces Cost, Raises Quality | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) is an effective way to cut costs and raise quality, a new PCPCC report says.
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA says:

 

Promote the patient-centered medical home for every Texan

Consider that the costliest 1 percent of patients in the United State account for more than 20 percent of the nation’s health care spending. They are older patients with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other serious and chronic conditions. Many have multiple health problems and may not have relatives who can help with their care.

 

As public and private payers look for ways to reduce costs, improve patient outcomes, and ease barriers to access, they are turning to models of care that increase economic efficiencies and enhance patient care. One of these is the patient-centered medical home (PCMH). A PCMH is a primary care physician or physician-led team who ensures that patient care is assessable, coordinated, comprehensive, patient-centered, and culturally relevant. The physician or team directly provides, coordinates, or arranges health care or social support services as indicated by the patient’s individual medical needs and the best available medical evidence. The model uses a team-based approach, with the patient’s primary care physician leading the coordination of care. Trained teams and well-constructed electronic health records are keys to a successful PCMH.

 

TMA supports the use of the PCMH model in Medicare, Texas Medicaid, and commercial insurance plans. Given the budget constraints Texas faces and a growing population with unique health care needs, the PCMH offers the potential for Medicaid cost savings as well as improved patient outcomes and physician and provider satisfaction.

 

In recent years, numerous states have implemented PCMH initiatives that engage both private and public payers. While each program design was unique and each measured success differently, the evidence indicates the model improves outcomes and reduces costs. 

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Medicaid Rolls Surge Under Affordable Care Act

Medicaid Rolls Surge Under Affordable Care Act | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
The states that did not expand their programs saw increases in enrollment, and the states that did saw even more. Call it the woodwork effect.
Texas Medical Association's insight:

But not in Texas

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E-Cigs Appeal to Teens Who Otherwise Wouldn't Smoke, Study Says

E-Cigs Appeal to Teens Who Otherwise Wouldn't Smoke, Study Says | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
High schoolers are more likely to smoke e-cigs than regular cigarettes
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA Says:

 

While cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff) are the most widely used tobacco products, some new products are attracting the interest of minors. Electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes” are widely accessible and growing in popularity. Several states have already passed legislation to include e-cigarettes in nonsmoking laws or to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

 

TMA is calling on lawmakers to restrict the purchase of e-cigarettes by minors, adopt appropriate regulations for e-cigarettes, and ensure the current smoking prohibitions include e-cigarettes. Physicians are concerned that the use of e-cigarettes by minors could be a pathway to future tobacco use and nicotine addiction. 

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Ten states, DC allow minors to buy e-cigarettes - CDC

Ten states, DC allow minors to buy e-cigarettes - CDC | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
ATLANTA, Dec 11 (Reuters) - More than 16 million children in10 states and the District of Columbia have legal access toelectronic cigarettes, according to a federal study released onThursday.The underage
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA says:

 

While cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff) are the most widely used tobacco products, some new products are attracting the interest of minors. Electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes” are widely accessible and growing in popularity. Several states have already passed legislation to include e-cigarettes in nonsmoking laws or to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

 

TMA is calling on lawmakers to restrict the purchase of e-cigarettes by minors, adopt appropriate regulations for e-cigarettes, and ensure the current smoking prohibitions include e-cigarettes. Physicians are concerned that the use of e-cigarettes by minors could be a pathway to future tobacco use and nicotine addiction. 

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Texas doctors lobby for two-year ICD-10 delay

Texas doctors lobby for two-year ICD-10 delay | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
The Texas physicians' group has been in the forefront of physician opposition to ICD-10, remaining so even after HHS issued its final rule in August to comply with the congressional mandate.
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA says:

 

Forced adoption of International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10), is an excellent example of a costly regulation that will disrupt practice operations. ICD-10 is a 20-year-old boondoggle of a system that will help only health care researchers. All physicians, hospitals, providers, and insurance companies must shift from ICD-9 to ICD-10 by Oct. 1, 2015. 


The ICD-10 mandate will create significant burdens on the practice of medicine with absolutely no direct benefit to individual patient care. It is a huge weight to place on physicians when they face numerous other administrative hurdles, including implementing and achieving meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs), meeting quality measures under Medicare’s Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and other programs, the impending creation of accountable care organizations in Medicare, and more. The timing of the transition could not be worse, as many physicians already are spending significant time and resources implementing complex EHRs in their practices.

 

ICD-10 is old technology developed during the 1980s and not designed to work in the current electronic world. A new version of the codes, ICD-11, could come as early as 2017. It is being designed for use with EHRs and the Internet, and should be more user-friendly than ICD-10.

 

After three deadline extensions, TMA is asking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay ICD-10 permanently until ICD-11 or another appropriate replacement for ICD-9 is ready for widespread implementation. 

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MGMA urges Congress to permanently repeal the SGR

MGMA urges Congress to permanently repeal the SGR | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
MGMA sends letter to Congress urging them to permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) during its 2014 post-election session.
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA Says:

 

Medicare patients should feel anything but secure about the future of their health care. Physicians are key to delivering health care services and are the foundation of the Medicare program. Without a robust network of physicians to care for the millions of patients dependent on Medicare, the program will not work.

 

We all recognize the value that hospitals, nursing homes, home health services, durable medical equipment vendors, and other health care providers give to Medicare patients. However, over the past decade, they all have received annual payment increases, while physicians have not.

 

Congress must repeal the flawed SGR formula permanently and replace it with a rational Medicare physician payment system that works and is backed by a fair, stable funding formula. Congress should create a bipartisan subcommittee to develop a comprehensive list of viable pay-fors to cover the cost. 

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The Texas Medical Association Begins to Unveil Balance Billing Strategy

The Texas Medical Association’s dedicated task force has begun to put pressure on insurance companies to broaden their networks to cut down on balance billing.
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Moorhead: Without Medicaid plan Texas is stuck

Moorhead: Without Medicaid plan Texas is stuck | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
Texas should accept billions of dollars in federal funds to secure vital infrastructure across our state, reduce bottlenecks and congestion in urban areas, improve accessibility in rural areas and ease pressure on local taxpayers.
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Charles "Buddy" Owen, M.D.'s curator insight, April 20, 2:01 PM

Same message. We pay, we don't play. Why?

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Burnout: Is it Real? If Yes, Can it Be Codified?

Burnout: Is it Real? If Yes, Can it Be Codified? | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
This MedPage Today at 10 report separates truth from fiction
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Tyler Morning Telegraph - Texas' tort reforms have been a success

Tyler Morning Telegraph - Texas' tort reforms have been a success | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it

Texas began reforming its medical malpractice system in 2003. It’s been a huge success. 

Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA says:

 

In our generation, Texas has taken no more important step to strengthen our health care delivery system than passing the 2003 medical liability reforms. The 2003 law swiftly ended an epidemic of lawsuit abuse, brought thousands of sorely needed new physicians to Texas, and encouraged the state’s shell-shocked physicians to return to caring for patients with high-risk diseases and injuries. Tort reform, however, is a never-ending political and legislative battleground in Texas. We cannot relax our guard against direct attacks on the 2003 law, attempts to weaken the Texas Medical Board, or cynical schemes to turn any individual’s final days into a lawyer’s playground. 

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500 groups urge repeal of IPAB

500 groups urge repeal of IPAB | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it

Healthcare providers worry the board will cut payments under Medicare. 

Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA Says:

 

Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board

Replacing the SGR and removing administrative penalties will be meaningless unless Congress also repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Leaving both in place would create cruel and unusual double jeopardy for physicians who want to care for senior citizens and military families. The ACA created a 15-member IPAB designated to recommend measures to reduce Medicare spending if costs exceed targeted growth rates.

 

The ACA prohibits the panel from recommending changes to eligibility, coverage, or other factors that drive utilization of health care services. This means the board will have only one option — cut payments. And through 2019, hospitals, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare prescription drug plans, and health care professionals other than physicians are exempt. This means the board has only one option — cut Medicare payments to physicians. Cuts the board recommends will automatically take effect, unless Congress acts to suspend them.

 

As we’ve seen with the SGR, it’s obvious that cuts the IPAB enacts will devastate Medicare beneficiaries’ ability to find physicians to care for them. The issue of Medicare spending for 3.2 million Texans is too important to be left in the hands of an unaccountable board that makes decisions based solely on cost. 

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No Medicaid Expansion? No Problem For Many Safety-Net Hospital Profits

No Medicaid Expansion? No Problem For Many Safety-Net Hospital Profits | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
In some of the largest states that did not expand Medicaid, many safety-net hospitals turned in strong performances in 2014, according to financial documents.
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA Says:

 

Texas physicians want to ensure all Texans have access to coverage and, more important, have access to physicians and other health care providers. According to the Institute of Medicine, even when uninsured patients have access to safety net services, the lack of health insurance often results in delayed diagnoses and treatment of chronic diseases or injuries, needless suffering, and even death.

 

That’s why TMA supports allowing state leaders to work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a comprehensive solution that fits Texas’ unique health care needs. Several states have taken this step with some success, including Indiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. (See adjacent chart.) TMA believes the Texas Legislature too can create an ingenious solution that works for the state and helps Texans in the coverage gap get affordable and timely care. Any Texas-style solution expanding access must:

 

• Draw down all available federal dollars to expand access to health care for poor Texans;

• Give Texas the flexibility to change the plan as our needs and circumstances change;

• Clear away Medicaid’s financial, administrative, and regulatory hurdles that are driving up costs and driving Texas physicians away from the program;

• Relieve local Texas taxpayers and Texans with insurance from the unfair and unnecessary burden of paying the entire cost of caring for their uninsured neighbors;

• Provide Medicaid payments directly to physicians at least equal to those of Medicare payments; and

• Continue to improve due process of law for physicians and other providers in Texas as it relates to the Office of Inspector General. 

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In Rebuke of Tennessee Governor, Koch Group Shows Its Power

In Rebuke of Tennessee Governor, Koch Group Shows Its Power | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
NASHVILLE-In December, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, got the deal he wanted from the Obama administration: Tennessee would accept more than $1 bi...
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA says:

 

Texas physicians want to ensure all Texans have access to coverage and, more important, have access to physicians and other health care providers. According to the Institute of Medicine, even when uninsured patients have access to safety net services, the lack of health insurance often results in delayed diagnoses and treatment of chronic diseases or injuries, needless suffering, and even death.

 

That’s why TMA supports allowing state leaders to work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to develop a comprehensive solution that fits Texas’ unique health care needs. Several states have taken this step with some success, including Indiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. (See adjacent chart.) TMA believes the Texas Legislature too can create an ingenious solution that works for the state and helps Texans in the coverage gap get affordable and timely care. Any Texas-style solution expanding access must:

 

• Draw down all available federal dollars to expand access to health care for poor Texans;

• Give Texas the flexibility to change the plan as our needs and circumstances change;

• Clear away Medicaid’s financial, administrative, and regulatory hurdles that are driving up costs and driving Texas physicians away from the program;

• Relieve local Texas taxpayers and Texans with insurance from the unfair and unnecessary burden of paying the entire cost of caring for their uninsured neighbors;

• Provide Medicaid payments directly to physicians at least equal to those of Medicare payments; and

• Continue to improve due process of law for physicians and other providers in Texas as it relates to the Office of Inspector General. 

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Texas Legislature should repeal laws

Texas Legislature should repeal laws | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it

 

Here’s a modest proposal for the Texas Legislature: In the coming legislative session, try to end with the same number — or even fewer laws — than you began with. Repeal some regulations, loosen some licensing requirements.

 

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Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA Says:

 

Promote Government Efficiency and Accountability by Reducing Medicaid Red Tape 

 

Administrative hassles not only detract from a physician’s ability to provide needed care, they also drive up overhead costs, ultimately making the meager Medicaid payments too low for many physicians to put up with the tangle of red tape. 

 

Our platform:

- Standardize Medicaid managed care administrative processes 

- Improve Medicaid HMO physician networks 

- Simplify compliance with Medicaid fraud and abuse laws 

- Eliminate duplicate Medicaid audits and investigations that waste taxpayers’ money 

- Discard costly and burdensome data reporting programs 

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Medicaid Payments and Access to Care

Medicaid Payments and Access to Care | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
Perspective from The New England Journal of Medicine — Medicaid Payments and Access to Care
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA says:

 

Ensure competitive Medicaid and CHIP payments for physicians

Physicians want to take care of Texans who rely on Medicaid coverage for their care. Unfortunately because of the red tape and bureaucratic hassles coupled with low payment rates, many physicians struggle to continue to see their Medicaid patients. (See Section 4: Promote Government Efficiency and Accountability by Reducing Medicaid Red Tape for details.)

 

Medicaid is a state- and federally funded health care program that provides low-income patients access to essential health care services. For every dollar Texas invests in Medicaid, the federal government contributes another $1.40. Without Medicaid, millions more Texans would be uninsured: As of June 2014, Medicaid covered nearly 3.8 million Texans. To qualify, patients must have a low income, but being poor doesn’t always mean a patient will qualify for the program. For example, low-income childless adults are not eligible in Texas even if their income meets the state’s Medicaid income requirements. Most Medicaid recipients in Texas are children, pregnant women, or disabled.

 

Texas allocated $56 billion in all funds to Texas Medicaid for budget years 2014-15; the state’s share was $22.1 billion, and the federal government paid $33.9 billion. While most enrollees (75 percent) are pregnant women and children, they account for only about 40 percent of the program’s costs. Seniors and patients with disabilities make up the other 25 percent of the patient population but account for 60 percent of the costs. In 2013, the Texas Legislature enacted numerous reforms to reduce total Medicaid expenditures by $961 million, including authorizing further expansion of Medicaid HMOs, improving birth outcomes, and restructuring the medical transportation program.

 

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health insurance to low-income children who do not qualify for Medicaid. Like Medicaid, the costs are shared between the state and federal government: In 2014, the federal government paid 70 percent of Texas’ CHIP costs. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) reauthorized CHIP through 2019 and approved funding for the program through September 2015. Pending continued funding, beginning in federal fiscal year 2016, the ACA will increase the CHIP federal matching amount another 23 percent, meaning Texas’ cost-sharing would drop from 30 percent to 7 percent. As of April 2014, some 500,000 low-income children were enrolled. To qualify, a family of four may not earn more than $47,700 (in 2014).

 

For physicians, Medicaid and CHIP are typically the lowest payers. They often do not cover the basic cost of providing the service. On average, Medicaid pays 73 percent of Medicare and about 50 percent of commercial insurance payments. In 2010 and 2011, the state cut already-meager physician payments another 2 percent.

 

Recognizing the inadequacy of Medicaid payments and the need to pay better to expand access to care, the ACA gave primary care physicians a temporary reprieve from low Medicaid rates. The act increased Medicaid payments to Medicare parity for primary care services provided by eligible physicians from Jan. 1, 2014, to Dec. 31, 2015. The federal government provided 100 percent of the funding to pay for the higher rates. CHIP services were excluded from the rate increase as were subspecialists.

 

Without action by Congress — or the Texas Legislature — the higher payments will soon expire. As federal action appears unlikely, Texas lawmakers should invest the necessary resources to improve appropriate and timely access to medical services for Medicaid patients not only by maintaining higher payments for primary care physicians, but also by ensuring competitive physician payment rates for subspecialists and the CHIP program.

 

If lawmakers cut physicians’ payments further or fail to invest in a robust physician network, millions of Medicaid recipients will have an enrollment card but fewer physicians caring for them, driving patients to use more costly emergency departments. 

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Are states spending enough on tobacco control and prevention?

Are states spending enough on tobacco control and prevention? | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it

TMA sayA new report finds that states plan to dedicate less than 15 percent of what the CDC recommends they spend on tobacco control and prevention.

Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA says:

 

✓ Enact regulation of electronic cigarettes and associated products that includes:

• Restricting their sale to minors,

• Including these in smoking prohibition legislation and local policies,

• Providing school-based education for children on the hazards of electronic cigarettes,

• Assessing the feasibility of taxing electronic cigarettes and associated products to decrease the use of these products, and

• Encourage the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to assess the marketing of electronic cigarettes to minors.

✓ Maintain funding for the Texas Quitline and the state’s smoking cessation program and require monitoring of electronic cigarette use.

✓ Make Texas smoke free and encourage cities throughout the state to adopt uniform policies for smoke-free public places, workplaces, restaurants, and bars. 

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Latest ACA challenge focuses on payment advisory board

Latest ACA challenge focuses on payment advisory board | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it
More than two dozen Republican congressmen are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a lawsuit gunning for the healthcare reform law's Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA says:

 

Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board

Replacing the SGR and removing administrative penalties will be meaningless unless Congress also repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Leaving both in place would create cruel and unusual double jeopardy for physicians who want to care for senior citizens and military families. The ACA created a 15-member IPAB designated to recommend measures to reduce Medicare spending if costs exceed targeted growth rates.

 

The ACA prohibits the panel from recommending changes to eligibility, coverage, or other factors that drive utilization of health care services. This means the board will have only one option — cut payments. And through 2019, hospitals, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare prescription drug plans, and health care professionals other than physicians are exempt. This means the board has only one option — cut Medicare payments to physicians. Cuts the board recommends will automatically take effect, unless Congress acts to suspend them.

 

As we’ve seen with the SGR, it’s obvious that cuts the IPAB enacts will devastate Medicare beneficiaries’ ability to find physicians to care for them. The issue of Medicare spending for 3.2 million Texans is too important to be left in the hands of an unaccountable board that makes decisions based solely on cost. 

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E-cigarettes continue to draw in young smokers

E-cigarettes continue to draw in young smokers | Healthy Vision 2020 | Scoop.it

New government data released Thursday about tobacco use finds electronic cigarette use among high school students is on the rise, prompting calls for tougher regulation by medical organizations and anti-smoking advocates.

While the number of middle school students who reported using an e-cigarette in the last 30 days remained the same at 1.1% in 2013, the number of high school students who said they had used the devices jumped from 2.8% in 2012 to 4.5% in 2013. That percentage was triple the high-school use rate reported in 2011 of 1.5%.

Texas Medical Association's insight:

TMA Says:

 

While cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff) are the most widely used tobacco products, some new products are attracting the interest of minors. Electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes” are widely accessible and growing in popularity. Several states have already passed legislation to include e-cigarettes in nonsmoking laws or to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. 

 

TMA is calling on lawmakers to restrict the purchase of e-cigarettes by minors, adopt appropriate regulations for e-cigarettes, and ensure the current smoking prohibitions include e-cigarettes. Physicians are concerned that the use of e-cigarettes by minors could be a pathway to future tobacco use and nicotine addiction. 

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