August 23, 2011

Deliberations present opportunity, risks in Medicare physician pay
Once again, Medicare physician payment will face double-digit cuts starting Jan. 1, 2012, if Congress does not act. However, as a joint select congressional committee moves forward on their charge to cut at least $1.2 trillion in federal spending, they have an opportunity to fix a decade-long problem with the way the government pays physicians for Medicare services. Read about the campaign to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and how the super committee’s deliberations may affect your practice and your patients. more...

Member of the Month: Kevin P. Spencer, M.D.
Physician uses innovation and technology to deliver better patient care
Meet our August Member of the Month, Kevin Spencer, M.D., a private practice physician at Premier Family Physicians in Austin, Texas. His practice delivers quality patient care through traditional family medicine mixed with innovation and health information technology. more...

Test your readiness for the HIPAA 5010 switch with Aug. 22-26 testing week
Take advantage of five consecutive days of help desk support and direct contact with Texas’ Medicare administrative contractor, Trailblazer Health Enterprises, during the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ HIPAA 5010 testing week. Testing week is intended to help physicians prepare for the switch to the new transaction standards by the compliance date of Jan. 1, 2012. more...

Media draw attention to state cuts to primary care workforce initiatives
Submit your ideas to rescue primary care in Texas
Articles published this week in the Houston Chronicle and Texas Tribune analyze the impact state budget cuts will have on the primary care physician workforce. Read about the fate of the physician education loan repayment program and graduate medical education, and consider commenting on what might go into TAFP’s Primary Care Rescue Act. more...

AAFP News Now: Family physicians once again top list for recruitment requests
Merritt Hawkins, a national physician search firm, reveals that the demand for family physicians continues to outstrip demand for other physician specialties and subspecialties, making family physicians the most sought-after physician group in terms of recruitment and retention. Read AAFP News Now’s Aug. 17 coverage of the study.

AAFP News Now: What do nearly 2,800 family docs think about their EHRs?
FPM publishes fourth EHR user satisfaction survey
Out of the 2,800 respondents to the 2011 EHR User Satisfaction Survey published in the July/August issue of Family Practice Management, 78 percent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the ability to customize their EHR system. Thirty-nine percent were satisfied or very satisfied with vendor support and training, and 39 percent agreed or strongly agreed that they would purchase their current system a second time. Read more about the survey’s findings in an Aug. 9 story published in AAFP News Now.


Payment Reform Summit hotel deadline approaches, make your reservation today
Make your plans today to join TAFP Oct. 1 at the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark in Austin, Texas, for the Payment Reform Summit “Lead or Be Led: How to Thrive in the Evolving Health Care Delivery System.” The TAFP group hotel rate is available until Sept. 8, 2011. To make your reservation, contact the Omni at 1-800-THE-OMNI or book online. Be sure to enter the group code 11800806561 to receive this special rate. For more information and to register, go to