John Zerwas, MD, Honored for Service as Texas Lawmaker


The American Medical Association on Tuesday awarded former Texas State Rep. John Zerwas, MD, its Dr. Nathan Award for Outstanding Government Service.

Dr. Zerwas, an anesthesiologist from Richmond, served in the Texas House of Representatives from 2007 to 2019. He stepped down in September to become The University of Texas System’s new executive vice chancellor for health affairs.

“A physician, an advocate, and a citizen-legislator, Dr. Zerwas has served the citizens and patients of Texas with distinction,” AMA Board Chair Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, said in a statement. “As a legislator, he stood on principle, and put science and evidence first when fighting for public health, his constituents, and the people of Texas. For his outstanding work and leadership, the AMA is pleased to present Dr. John M. Zerwas with the Nathan Davis Award.”


Insurance Carrier Scorecards Now Online

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Insurance Carrier Scorecards Now Online

Workers' compensation system and individual insurance carrier scorecards with year-to-date performance information can now be viewed online. The scorecards provide summary information related to complaints, timely reporting and payment of initial temporary income benefits, and timely reporting of medical bills and reconsideration medical bills.

The scorecard is on the TDI website.

DSHS Public Health Agency Action Plan to Address Substance Use in Texas, 2020-2022

Agency Action Plan to Address Substance Use

Men and women suffering with pain trapped inside pill capsules.

Substance use is a complex problem with devastating and lasting effects across the lifespan. It strains our families, it ravages our communities, and threatens the well-being of our entire state. While opioids are still cause for concern, recent trends on the use of methamphetamines, marijuana, other illicit drugs, and alcohol cannot be ignored.

As the state agency entrusted with improving the health, safety, and well-being of Texas, DSHS is committed to addressing substance use.


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Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program

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Addiction Medicine Fellowship (AMF) Program

Fiscal Year 2020 Application Due Date: February 25, 2020

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting applications for the fiscal year 2020 Addiction Medicine Fellowship (AMF) Program. The application cycle closes on February 25, 2020.

Please note that modifications have been made to the original Notice of Funding Opportunity. Download the latest version before applying.

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Upcoming Designated Doctor Certification Training


Register for February Designated Doctor Training

Registration is open for Designated Doctor and Maximum Medical Improvement/Impairment Rating (MMI/IR) Required Certification Training for new and re-certifying doctors. Course dates:

February 14, 2020 - February 15, 2020

Training is from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton Austin Airport Hotel.

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Texas Pain Society Emeritus Board Member, C.M. Schade, MD, PhD, PE Elected Presiding Officer of the Prescription Monitoring Program Advisory Committee.

Texas Pain Society Emeritus Board Member, C.M. Schade, MD, PhD, PE 

Elected Presiding Officer of the Prescription Monitoring Program Advisory Committee.

January 15, 2020

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On the Shoulders of Giants: Legends of Texas Anesthesiology Gabor B. Racz, M.D., ChB, DABPM, FIPP

Below is an excerpt from an article published on January 15, 2020 in the Texas Society of Anesthesiologist Newsletter: 


On the Shoulders of Giants: Legends of Texas Anesthesiology Gabor B. Racz, M.D., ChB, DABPM, FIPP

Grover E. Murray Professor

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DWC Finalizes the Medical Quality Review CY 2020 Annual Audit Plan

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DWC Finalizes the Medical Quality Review CY 2020 Annual Audit Plan

On November 4, 2019, the Division of Workers’ Compensation solicited input for the 2020 Medical Quality Review Annual Audit Plan (Annual Plan); specifically, input regarding the proposal for categories within the Annual Plan.

The Annual Plan sets the priorities for the medical quality review audits during the upcoming year. This includes the scope, methodology, selection criteria, and program area responsibilities described in the Medical Quality Review Process .

More information about the Annual Plan is on the TDI website.

TPS E- News | Deadline to Dispute Your Sunshine Data is 12/31/2019

Open Payments: Review and Dispute Data by December 31

On June 28, CMS published program year 2018 Open Payments data along with updated and newly submitted data from previous program years (2013-2017). This data is available for review and dispute through December 31. 

Physicians and teaching hospitals: Review of the data is voluntary but strongly encouraged. Use the Open Payments Search Tool to review publicly available data. If you believe any records attributed to you are inaccurate, you may initiate a dispute and work with the reporting entity to reach a resolution. Note: CMS does not mediate disputes.

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AG Paxton: All U.S. Attorneys General Call on Congress to Pass Bipartisan FIGHT Fentanyl Act

Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton


December 11, 2019

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TMB Statement on Senate Bill 1264 Rulemaking

Texas Medical Board Press Release



November 27, 2019

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Starting Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder Improves Compliance With Other Medications - Pain Medicine News

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital reported that patients treated with buprenorphine for opioid use disorder show surprisingly significant improvements in adhering to medications for other chronic unrelated conditions.

Published in the journal Medical Care (2019;57[9]:667-672), the population-based, retrospective study reviewed medical records for more than 12,000 patients with a diagnosis of opioid use disorder (OUD) who were given buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist widely used to treat OUD. Expanded use of buprenorphine is linked with the national epidemic of opioid misuse. In 2016, approximately 700,000 Americans filled buprenorphine prescriptions—more than double the number 10 years earlier. However, a recent study found disparities in access to the medication. The rate of Medicaid-covered prescriptions for buprenorphine was much lower in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.


JH Part B Financial Information Now Available in Novitasphere

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Novitasphere, our free, secure internet portal, now provides users with access to Financial Information to obtain the following:

  • Check number
  • Check amount
  • Check date
  • Check status

In addition, users are able search using the Financial Control Number lookup tool to identify the claim involved.

Important reminder! Effective January 1, 2020, all claims submitted to Medicare must be billed with the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) in place of the Health Insurance Claim number (HICN).  Use the MBI Lookup tool in Novitasphere to obtain your patients’ MBIs!  Angela from Professional Rehab Associates finds the MBI Lookup tool to be one of the most beneficial features in Novitasphere.  “I love that when patients give us their old Medicare cards, I can still look it up to get their new ID number.” 

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DEA warns of counterfeit prescription opioids

DETROIT — The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is warning the public about a counterfeit medication that is killing people.

The DEA says drug cartels of manufacturing mass quantities of counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid that is lethal in some doses.

A DEA statement says the cartels are capitalizing on the opioid epidemic and the counterfeit pills are responsible for thousands of opioid-related deaths in America each year. is a pragmatic step in fight against opioids

The Trump administration has launched a smart new salvo in the public health offensive against the opioid epidemic.

Addiction to these prescription painkillers and related street drugs continues to wreak havoc in communities across the nation. Last week, the White House announced the launch of a new website that will make it easier to find specialized medical care close to home.

This confidential, easy-to-use resource has a name succinctly summing up its mission — It also allows individuals to customize their search results beyond location, a feature that existing “find a substance abuse provider” websites often don’t offer.


Input Needed for 2020 Medical Quality Review Annual Audit Plan

Input Needed for 2020 Medical Quality Review Annual Audit Plan

The Division of Workers’ Compensation is asking for input on the 2020 Medical Quality Review Annual Audit Plan (Annual Plan). The Annual Plan sets the priorities for the Medical Quality Review Panel audits during the upcoming year.

More information is on the TDI website.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Diversion Control Division, US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

October 26, 2019 – 10AM to 2PM

The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

Locate a Collection Site Near You

Search by zip code or city/state to find a collection site near you.

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Research Group Releases Pharmacy Formulary Report

analysis of injured employee outcomes after the texas pharmacy closed formulary

Research Group Releases Pharmacy Formulary Report

The Research and Evaluation Group has released a report on Texas pharmacy closed formulary outcomes. This study looks at injured employee outcomes such as return-to-work rates and health outcomes since the formulary was implemented.

Need just the key findings? Check the TDI website for our new snapshot tool on the pharmacy formulary report.

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Texas Pain Society E-Newsletter

Physicians and Teaching Hospitals


**Review and Dispute activities start on April 1st and can continue until end of the calendar year**

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Hassenbusch Continued Learning Case Study Presentations

CALL FOR CASE STUDIES: The Texas Pain Society invites members and others to submit case studies to be considered for presentation at the 11th Annual Scientific Meeting.

The call for case study is open to Texas fellows and residents in a pain fellowship. Entries must be received before the cutoff date. All submissions will be reviewed by the committee and the top 5 submissions will be asked to present live at the TPS 11th Annual Scientific Meeting in October.

 2019 Winners!

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