The Weekly Dose           Bexar County Medical Society

Week of Oct. 20,  2013 

Vol. 3, No. 6


Ask your doctor


By John K. Wisniewski

BCMS CEO/Executive Director



Healthcare technology breakthroughs rarely receive media attention, yet recent headlines announced a home page enhancement to the federal government's Marketplace website.  Seriously?  Does access to a website mean access to insurance, and do either mean access to care?  


This would be a good week to make sure your patients understand that coverage questions go to navigators, but for healthcare, they should still ASK THEIR DOCTOR.





Do EHR mandates exist?


It depends. What is your definition of a mandate? You do not have to use an electronic health record (EHR) in your practice, but if you don't, Medicare penalties will be incurred beginning in 2015.


Currently, Medicare is the only payer planning to penalize physicians who are not "meaningfully using" their EHR system. That's right, meaningful use is required to prevent the penalty. The penalties begin at 1 percent in 2015 and will cap at 3 percent in 2017. If at least 75 percent of office-based physicians are not meaningfully using an EHR by 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services secretary has the authority to ratchet the penalty by two more percentage points, capping the penalty at 5 percent in 2019.


TMA created a one-page explanation that charts the penalties for both scenarios and provides information on penalty exemptions.


To prevent the penalty, you must start your meaningful use reporting period by July 1, 2014. The federally established regional extension centers (RECs) are ready to help you with EHR selection, adoption and meaningful use. 


For more information, visit the Texas Regional Extension Center Resource Center on the TMA website by clicking here.


Questions related to EHRs and other office technologies may be directed to TMA's Health Information Technology Department by calling (800) 880-5720 or by email. 




BCMS supports

Healthy Futures of Texas 

Lunch With the Mayor event 



By Mary E. Nava, MBA

BCMS Chief Governmental and Community Relations Officer


Congratulations to Janet Realini, MD, BCMS member and president of Healthy Futures of Texas for another successful Lunch With the Mayor event on Oct. 15.


Opening remarks were provided by Mayor Julian Castro, an avid supporter of Healthy Futures. Attending the luncheon and representing BCMS were Ashok Kumar, MD, BCMS president-elect; Pam Hall, MD; 

Syed Z. Rizvi, MD; Navid Saigal, MD; Varda Ratner of The Patient Institute; John Wisniewski, BCMS CEO and executive director; Susan Merkner, BCMS director of communications; Mary Nava, BCMS chief governmental and community relations officer; August Trevino, BCMS director of development; and Brissa Vela, BCMS director of membership.  Also in attendance were Vincent Fonseca, MD; Robert Luedecke, MD; Buddy Swift, MD; and representing TMA were Karen Batory and Helen Kent Davis from the Public Health and Medical Economics Division.


Healthy Futures of Texas works to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy to support the development of strong families. Proceeds from the Lunch With the Mayor event provide resources to advocate for prevention and to promote and provide the organization's programs and services. During her luncheon remarks, Dr. Realini spoke about the importance of these programs and how the organization has had a profound, positive effect in providing a healthy framework for teenagers, so they can make informed decisions and delay pregnancy. "The need is vast because there are so many unhealthy messages out there," she said.


To learn more about Healthy Futures of Texas and how to help, click here


For local discussion on this and other public health topics, consider joining the BCMS Public Health and Patient Advocacy Committee by contacting Mary Nava at





Saturday, Oct. 26

Westin Riverwalk


Healthy Physicians: Healthy Patients

workshop presented by

Dr. Gregory P. Johnson and

Dr.  Sheila LoboPrabhu  


Click image above

for information and registration



 About The Weekly Dose 

  The Weekly Dose is a service of the Bexar County Medical Society.

Some of the suggestions conveyed may not be applicable to your practice today,
 but the goal is to offer information over time that returns value in excess

of the cost of your membership.

If you would like to recommend future topics to share with your colleagues,

please submit them to the BCMS executive director at

All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.

Copyright 2013
 Bexar County Medical Society, San Antonio, Texas.



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