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Monday, October 18, 2010

WEARY PHYSICIANS WARNED TO BE WARY

Speaker after speaker at TMA 2010 Fall Conference acknowledged physicians’ ongoing unease over the still-uncertain changes coming from Washington and the lack of any long-term solution to the Medicare SGR problem. But, they warned, the road is likely to become bumpier before it smooths out. “Our inability to enact a permanent fix for the SGR — especially with a brand new ‘Medicare cost containment program’ slated to start in just four years — is probably the most frustrating experience of my past 10 years in organized medicine,” said Dr. Bailey. Other speakers cautioned physicians to be careful — but not to stick their heads in the sand — as they examine offers to be part of an accountable care organization (ACO). One expert reminded audience members that they could identify the real winners on that issue if they rewrite the acronym to stand for “Attorneys’ and Consultants’ Opportunity.” On the state legislative front, panelists pointed out that redistricting and the state budget will overwhelm just about every other issue our lawmakers will face in the 2011 session. The projected $10 million-$20 billion budget shortfall will have enormous implications. “We do not have the money to sustain the programs that are in place now,” said State Rep. Susan King (R-Abilene), the only TMA Alliance member in the Texas House. “That means that we must cut, not only to the skin, to the muscle, to the bone, to the bone marrow.”

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