News & Information
AMA Backs Interstate Compact to Streamline Medical Licensure
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, December 31, 2014 04:02 PM

At the 2014 AMA Interim Meeting a special compact designed to facilitate a speedier medical licensure process for physicians seeking licensure in multiple states.  The compact is based on several key principles, including:

  • The practice of medicine is defined as taking place where the patient receives care, requiring the physician to be licensed in that state and under the jurisdiction of that state’s medical board. 

  • Regulatory authority will remain with the participating state medical boards, rather than being delegated to an entity that would administer the compact.

  • Participation in the compact is voluntary for both physicians and state boards of medicine.

The model legislation was developed by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) to make it easier for physicians to obtain licenses in multiple states while providing access to safe, quality care.

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Historic Texas Maps Help Save Themselves
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, December 31, 2014 03:46 PM

The Save Texas History program hit a milestone this week, earning more than $250,000 to preserve historic Texas maps with the on-line sale of the digital reprints of historic Texas maps.

“Save Texas History is preserving and protecting our history — at no cost to Texas taxpayers,” Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said. “This is a great effort any proud Texan can help by buying a map online at www.savetexashistory.org.”  Most maps are just $20.

Among the top-selling maps this year are some of the oldest maps of Texas, thanks to a unique digitization project with Houston map collectors, Frank and Carol Holcomb.  The Holcombs are allowing the General Land Office to digitize their map collection, providing access for the first time to more than 70 important historic maps of Texas, the United States and the Western Hemisphere. The Frank and Carol Holcomb Map Collection includes many maps that show Texas and the Southwest dating to 1513, making them the oldest maps in the collection at the General Land Office Archives and Records.

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Senate Passes Budget Deal; No SGR Fix Included
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, December 31, 2014 03:41 PM

The Senate has passed the $1.1. trillion budget deal by a vote of 56-40.  Clearing the way for President Obama to sign a measure that has disappointed many physician groups.  The bill lacks any fix to the widely hated sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for physician reimbursement under Medicare. Also missing in action: an extension of the current pay bump for primary care physicians who see Medicaid patients.

The medical community has been pushing hard to have the SGR addressed in a lame duck session.  Now we've totally hit the 'Reset' button on this issue.

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2014-15 Flu Vaccine Less Effective Than Usual
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 01:54 PM

The 2014 to 2015 influenza season could be more severe than most — with more hospitalizations and deaths — because the current vaccine looks to be less effective than expected against the dominant influenza strain in circulation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Influenza A(H3N2) viruses account for about 90% of infections, said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, in a news conference. The trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine contains this strain, which matches well to half of the A(H3N2) viruses identified so far.

The other half, however, are antigenically different from the version of the A(H3N2) virus chosen for the vaccine.  "They're different enough that protection may be lower than what we usually see," said Dr Frieden. "It is possible we could have a flu season that is more severe than most."

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Health Spending Growth Drops in 2013
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, December 10, 2014 01:49 PM

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reports that in 2013 overall health spending increased by 3.6% in 2013, the lowest annual rate of increase since 1960.

Last year total health expenditures in the U.S. were $2.9 trillion, or about $9,200 per person.

Spending growth for physician and clinical services was also down, dropping from an increase of 4.5% in 2012 to 3.8% growth in 2013. "Slower price growth in 2013 was the main cause of the slowdown [in this sector], as prices grew less than 0.1%,” CMS said. 

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