Topics:


BRANCHES

Why do I need to pay for a branch meeting? I already paid my dues.  Shouldn't it be included in my dues?

     HCMS offers networking and CME, usually for ethics credit, on a regular basis at a meeting near you through its seven HCMS branch societies. Most branch meetings include a CME, dinner and beverages. HCMS physicians are designated to a branch in the area they work or reside. To help defray the meeting costs (i.e., CME programs, facility, meals and beverages), at the branch meetings, there is a small fee to attend. HCMS physicians may prepay for their branch's meetings at a discounted rate of $50 per year (which includes all of that particular branch's meetings, usually three per year) or pay a $40 guest fee per meeting.  

As a member benefit, HCMS invites physicians in their first and second year of practice to attend branch meetings at no cost.  HCMS spouses and staff members may attend branch meetings for $40 per person, per meeting.

Physicians who are not HCMS members may attend a branch meeting but must pay $100 per meeting. This amount may be applied toward the cost of HCMS/TMA dues if applied within 30 days of the branch meeting.

For more information on branches, click here.

Can my office manager attend the branch meeting?

     Yes, your office manager, spouse or any staff from your office may attend your branch meeting. However, there will be a guest free of $40 per person, per meeting, even if you paid your $50 branch assessment.

Do I need to pay for the branch meeting if I don't intend to eat?

     Yes, if you have not prepaid for the year, you still must pay for the meeting. This helps defray the cost of having the program (usually ethics CME) and for using the facility.

Can I attend another branch that I am not a member of?

     Yes, you may attend any branch as long as you have paid the annual branch member assessment fee of $50.

Can I change my branch designation?

     Yes, you can change your branch designation at any time by contacting HCMS at 713-524-4267 or by email at webadmin@hcms.org.

How do I know if I'm a pre-paid branch member?

    
Physicians may contact the HCMS office 713-524-4267 or their HCMS Branch staff contact person to find out their status.


CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION CREDIT (CME)

I attended a CME but don't remember when or where. Can you tell me what CME course I attended?

     You may call the HCMS office at 713-524-4267 or TMA can provide you with a transcript of only TMA-sponsored activities you have completed.  Transcripts for TMA CMEs only are now available online at the TMA Web site.  Or you may contact the Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or via e-mail: knowledge@texmed.org

Are there any CME seminars in my area?

     There is a calendar of events on the HCMS website.  It offers information on live CME activities held in the Harris County area sponsored by other CME-accredited organizations as well as TMA.  Click here.

How many CME hours does a physician need for license renewal in Texas?

     Physicians need to complete at least 48 credits of continuing medical education every 24 months (24 month timeline is in relation to the biennial registration period, not the calendar year).  At least half of these hours must be in formal, category 1 or 1A courses.  A physician must report during registration if she or he has completed the required CME.  However, newly licensed physicians are exempt from the CME requirement the first time they register.

How do I get a transcript for TMA-sponsored CME courses taken?

     TMA can provide you with a transcript of only TMA-sponsored activities you have completed.  Transcripts are now available online at the TMA Web site.  Or you may contact the Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or via e-mail: knowledge@texmed.org.

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EXPO

How do I sign up for the Expo?

     To find out more information or to register for the HCMS Business Expo, click here, or call 713-526-7378.


GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS

Where can I obtain a Texas Workers' Compensation fee schedule and rules?

     Contact the TWCC publications department at 512-804-4240 or fax 512-804-4241.  Forms, fee or treatment guidelines, rules and the Act are also available.

What Texas counties are designated as Medically Underserved Areas?

       Please see TMA's Web page devoted to Health Provider Shortage Area, Medically Underserved Area, and Medically Underserved Population (HPSA, MUA, MUP) for more information.For information on rural health clinics, see the Texas Deptartment of State Health Services Web site.  See also the Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) at:  Phone: 512-936-6701  Toll Free: 800-544-2042  Fax: 512-936-6776. If you would like to speak to someone at TMA regarding rural health, please contact Stacy Warren at (800) 880-1300 ext. 1376.

I will meet with my legislator soon.  What issues should I discuss?

     Please contact Doug Abel in the HCMS Public Affairs department (713-524-4267, ext. 328) or via email doug_abel@hcms.org so we can assist you by pulling together an issues documents specifically tailored for the legislator. The documents will help identify the key issues for you discuss with them.  Also, please check out TMA's legislative priorities on the TMA Web site. Thank you for taking such an active role on behalf of HCMS and the TMA!

Who are the liability insurance carriers in Texas?

     The Texas Department of Insurance has the list on the TDI Web site.  You may also visit the TMA Web site for information about professional liability insurers.

How may I obtain a copy of Texas legislation online?

     Texas Legislature Online features information on bills, fiscal notes and bill analysis.

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LEGAL

How can I find out the worst slow/no pay insurance companies in my area?

     The best way to find this information is to visit these Web sites:  The Texas Department of Insurance, The Office of Public Insurance Counsel Notice: Certain links provided with this information connect to other Web sites maintained by third parties. Texas Medical Association has no control over these Web sites or the information, or the goods or services provided by such third parties. Texas Medical Association shall have no liability for any use or reliance of a user on these third party Web sites.

Filing a Complaint With the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI)

     You can obtain TDI's physician/provider complaint form from:

       - Publication Order Line, (800)252-3439, or

       - The TDI Web site: http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/consumer/complfrm.html#doctor

You can either print out the form and mail it in, or submit it online. For online submissions, you must mail or fax to TDI supporting documents, along with a print-out of the submitted form.

      Submit documentation for complaints to: Texas Department of Insurance, PO Box 149091, Austin TX 78714-9091, or fax 512-475-1771.

NOTICE:  The Office of the General Counsel of the Texas Medical Association provides this information with the express understanding that 1) no attorney-client relationship exists, 2) neither TMA nor its attorneys are engaged in providing legal advice and 3) that the information is of a general character.  You should not rely on this information when dealing with personal legal matters; rather legal advice from retained legal counsel should be sought.

How do I find the TMA and AMA Policy Compendium?

Look at the TMA's Board of Councilor Opinions; search TMA's Policy Compendium;  AMA PolicyFinder.

If you are unable to locate specific TMA Policy on a particular topic, TMA's Knowledge Center staff will be happy to assist you with your search.  Call (800)880-7955 or e-mail at knowledge@texmed.org for assistance.


MEDICAL EDUCATION

Can you give me some contact information for Texas medical schools?

     There are currently seven public medical schools and one private medical school in Texas.  Seven of Texas' medical schools have allopathic programs, meaning undergraduate medical education culminates with the conferral of a degree of doctor of medicine or M.D.  One of Texas'  medical schools has an osteopathic program, meaning undergraduate medical education culminates with the conferral of a degree of doctor of osteopathy or D.O.  In addition to their medical education, a doctor of osteopathy also takes classes in the alignment of the spine and osteopathic manipulation. Osteopathic manipulation is the movement of the bones and joints.  In Texas, both allopathic and osteopathic physicians receive the same license to practice medicine and have the same privileges associated with medical licensure in Texas.

Baylor College of Medicine (Allopathic)
Paul Klotman, MD, President
One Baylor Plaza #143A
Houston, Texas 77030
(713) 798-4951 (information)
Fax (713) 798-8811
http://www.bcm.tmc.edu

Texas A&M University Health Sciences Center (Allopathic)
Nancy W. Dickey, MD, President
301 Tarrow, 3rd Floor, Ste. 319
College Station, Texas 77840-7896
(409) 458-6475
Fax (409) 458-6477
http://tamhsc.edu

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (Allopathic)
Ted Mitchell, MD, President
3601 4th Street
Lubbock, Texas 79430
(806) 743-1000 (information)
Fax (806) 743-2910
http://www.ttuhsc.edu

University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (Osteopathic)
Michael R. Williams, DO, MD, MBA, President
3500 Camp Bowie Boulevard
Fort Worth, Texas 76107
(817) 735-2555
Fax (817) 735-2486
http://www.hsc.unt.edu

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Allopathic)
William L. Henrich, MD, President
7703 Floyd Curl Drive MSC 7834
San Antonio, Texas 78229-3900
(210) 567-7000 (information)
Fax (210) 567-2025
http://www.uthscsa.edu

The University of Texas- Houston Health Science Center (Allopathic)
Giuseppe Colasurdo, MD, Interm President (effective April 1, 2011)
PO Box 20036
Houston, Texas 77225
(713) 500-9696 (information)
Fax (713) 500-3026
http://www.uth.tmc.edu

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (Allopathic)
David L. Callendar, MD, President
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, Texas 77555-0129
(409) 772-1902
Fax (409) 772-5064
http://www.utmb.edu

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas (Allopathic)
Daniel K. Podolsky MD, President
5323 Harry Hines Boulevard
Dallas, Texas 75390-9002
(214) 648-3111 (information)
Fax (214) 648-8690
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/

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MEDSERV EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

Will I get to interview the candidates being presented to me?

     Absolutely. Medserv will assist the practice in coordinating interview times, dates, and locations if necessary.

Will I get to review the testing and references?

     Yes. Medserv will confidentially deliver an applicant portfolio which will include the application, resume, scored testing, references, and verifications.

How much does the service cost?

     Most employment agencies charge a percentage fee which is based on the salary offered. Medserv provides a deeply discounted rate to HCMS members which can result in significant savings (upward of 50%). Members are only billed after the candidate completes a 2 week "trial period." In addition, Medserv assumes all advertising and promotional costs involved in filling the position.

How will I know what a fair rate of pay will be?

     Medserv publishes Houston based, medical practice salary information, compiled from positions filled directly through the service.  This document can be used to evaluate pay rates and salary trends.

What if the candidate I hire does not work out?

     Medserv provides a replacement guarantee whereby a candidate is replaced at no additional charge if a good hiring match does not occur.

What if I'm not skilled in the interviewing process?

     Medserv's staff of experts can guide you through the maze of making a good hiring decision with guidelines and questions that will allow you to extract the potential benefits a new hire can deliver to your practice.

What if my position is confidential?

     Medserv has developed a process to proceed with conducting a confidential hire. Processes in place range from delivering applicant information to private fax and email accounts, to providing off site interviewing space.

How do I get started with the process?

     Download our Employment Services Agreement to further review our hiring processes and call 713-526-7378 to speak with a representative.   

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MEMBERSHIP

Does HCMS offer a payment plan for membership dues?

     Yes, HCMS offers payment plans. Please contact the HCMS Membership Department or the TMA Knowledge Center at 800-880-7955.

How do I change my mailing address?

    
Physicians may either call the HCMS office, 713-524-4267 or visit the TMA's Web site (www.texmed.org) and log in to their profile and adjust their information.

Can I set my membership to automatically renew every year?

     Yes, please contact the TMA Knowledge Center at 800-880-7955.

How are HCMS and TMA connected?

     HCMS and TMA are unified associations. Dues are collected for both at the same time. You must belong to your county medical society to be a member of TMA. Additionally, HCMS approves all applications for membership.

Can I be a TMA member, but not a member of my local county medical society?

    
No, because we are a unified association, you must also belong to your county medical society to be a member of TMA.  In an effort to strengthen the connection between the local county society and the state association, TMA, membership to both is required.  The two organizations work closely together to give you unified local and state advocacy.

How do I select which county medical society to join?

     This is based on where you live or practice as well as the type of benefits the Society offers.  While all TMA members received the same benefits, the benefits offered by individual counties range extensively.

If my membership changes (i.e. from resident to 1st year in practice) , must I fill out another TMA membership application?

     No, we will elevate your membership to the next membership category automatically. For additional membership information please contact the TMA Knowledge Center by calling 800-880-7955 or by e-mail at knowledge@texmed.org.

How do I pay for my AMA dues?

     For information on how to pay dues for the American Medical Association, click here.

Must physicians who have just completed residency and entering practice pay full TMA membership dues?

     No, First Year in Practice dues are half the amount of Active Practice dues. To apply for membership on-line, click here.

How long does it take to process my TMA/county society membership application?

     The HCMS time to review and approve your membership application is 30 days.  If you would like to know the current status of your application, please contact  HCMS Member Services at 713-524-4267.

What are HCMS outreach opportunities?
    Consider joining the Provider Health Network, a group of over 900 physicians who coordinate their charity care, services, and resources to help low income, uninsured patients access health care.  This program is supported by the Harris County Medical Society. More     

 

 


 

PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

Medicaid payment for non participating MD

     Having a Medicaid number does not obligate a physician to take any other Medicaid patients.  If a physician does not have a Medicaid number and sees a patient in the hospital or on call, she/he cannot bill Medicaid without first getting a number.  Pending the physician's Medicaid application, she/he can submit the claim, which will be denied, but then it could be appealed within the 180 appeal deadline.

A lot of physicians end up just providing these services for free.  It's advisable that physicians keep a Medicaid number just for these purposes.

Complaints can be filed with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission - Policy Review Division.  The number is 512-424-6500.

How long do I need to keep medical records?

    
HCMS receives many phone calls from patients trying to locate their medical records from a retired physician and HCMS can handle these inquiries for you. Tell HCMS where your patient records are located. Your HCMS/TMA dues must be current. Records are retained for a minimum of seven years from the date of last treatment but may be retained for a longer length of time when mandated by other federal or state statute or regulations. For more information on medical record information for physicians, click here.

I need assistance finding who my provider representatives are at the different health plans, can you help?

    
Yes.  The Harris County Medical Society has created contact grids to assist the membership with this kind of information.  The private commercial health plan information can be found here and the Medicaid information can be found here.

Can a physician sign a paper death certificate in the State of Texas?

    
No. As of September 1, 2008, all physicians were required to file death certificates using the Texas Electronic Death Registration System.  For more information, click here.

How long does a physician have to complete the medical certification on a death certificate?

    
The attending physician shall complete the medical certification not later than five days after receiving the death certificate.

Is there one Web site where I can find all the hospital Web portal links on one page?

    
Yes.  Click here to see a listing

If an interpreter is needed during a patient visit, who pays for the interpreter?

    
The physician responsible for the care must pay the cost of an interpreter and may not impose a surcharge on an individual with a disability or indirectly to offset the cost of the interpreter.

Can a family be used as an interpreter?

    
The utilization of family members as qualified interpreters entails risk because the lack of impartiality may cause the disabled to refrain from sharing information, but very personal, facts.

How many physician assistants can a physician supervise?

    
A physician may supervise up to five full-time equivalent PAs for a maximum of 250 clinic hours per week.  A full time equivalent is considered to be 50 hours per week.  This information was found at http://www.tmb.state.tx.us/page/pa-checklist-of-supplemental-documentation

What percentage of medical records of patients treated by the physician assistant does the supervising physician have to review?

    
The physician adopts written protocols which specifically guide the actions of the PA.  The physician must select, review, sign and date at least 10% of the medical records of patients treated by the physician assistant according to those protocols within 30 days.  This information was found at http://www.pac.ca.gov/licensees/.

Can a physician hold a patient's medical records for past due accounts?

    
According to Chapter 165.2 (h), Improper Withholding for Past Due Accounts.  Medical and/or billiing records requested pursuant to a proper request for lease may not be withheld from the patient, the patient's authorized agent, or the patient's designated recipient for such records based on a past due acount for medical care or treatment previously rendered to the patient.

 

 

RETIRED PHYSICIANS

What do I do when I retire from practice?
     If you are considering retiring, HCMS needs to hear from you. Why? Benefits! As a retired member you will continue to receive all the benefits of membership while being exempt from dues. Benefits include: access to staff, privileges at the Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library, and your picture in the HCMS Pictorial Roster. Also, the Retired Physicians Organization (RPO) offers numerous activities and opportunities for retired physicians and their spouses.  For information on the Retired Physicians Organization (RPO) contact Debbi Eschenbach at 713-524-4267, ext. 245 or email at debbi_eschenbach@hcms.org.

Here are some helpful hints:

• If you have books or equipment you want to donate, contact Medical Bridges at www.medicalbridges.org or 713-748-8131. 

• HCMS receives many phone calls from patients trying to locate their medical records from a retired physician and HCMS can handle these inquiries for you. Tell HCMS where your patient records are located.

For more information or to change your membership status, contact Ahuva Terk at 713-524-4267, ext. 329, ahuva_terk@hcms.org.  For information on your legal obligations when closing a practice contact the TMA Knowledge Center at 1-800-880-7955 or by e-mail at knowledge@texmed.org.

Can you give me information on the proper procedure for closing a practice?

     There is a checklist of things to consider when closing a practice. First, choose one of several methods of practice valuation: book value, percentage of gross revenue or capitalization of earnings. Then perform a practice assessment and practice inventory. Finally, notifications should be sent to: employees, patients, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Medical Board, Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, your county medical society, and specialty societies. Notifications can be sent via form letters, newspaper ads, through a sign on waiting room door, and verbally.

For more details on closing a practice:
If you are considering retirement or selling or closing your practice, TMA provides some helpful tools.  Please also review the HCMS Ethics section for more information.

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SOCIETY SERVICES/SPECIALTY SOCIETIES

How can I join the Specialty Societies?

    
Please contact the Specialty Society department at the HCMS offices, 713-524-4267, ext 223. 

Is there a way to pay my Specialty Society dues online?

    
Not at this time.  However, each individual Specialty Society may have a Web site where you can pay dues online. You may also check out the Specialty Society page on the HCMS Web site.  The various Specialty Societies dues are paid separately and are not included in your HCMS membership dues.

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OTHER

How do I donate medical books or equipment?

    
 If you have books or equipment you want to donate, contact Medical Bridges at www.medicalbridges.org or 713-748-8131. 

How do I rent the Sammons Auditorium located in the Jesse Jones Library Building?

     For information on auditorium rental guidelines, please contact Kerry Hardwick at 713-524-4267 or via e-mail to kerry_hardwick@hcms.org.

I saw an advertisement in the Harris County Physician Newsletter that I can't locate now.

     Harris County Physician Newsletters are archived on the HCMS Web site. Click on Harris County Physician Newsletter to find the advertisement.

Who is the best doctor for a specific procedure or disease?

     Contact the HCMS office at 713-524-4267 to get a physician referral for a certain specialty. Local hospitals may also have physician referral services that may be of help to you.  For more information on the HCMS referral service, click here.

How do I submit a name for an elective or appointive position consideration?

     Contact Teosha Blaylock, HCMS, at 713.524.4267 or via email teosha_blaylock@hcms.org Click here to view the listing of  opportunities for consideration.

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