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2020 Novitas Explore Medicare Education Symposiums

When: May 6 - 7, 2020

Where: Online

Register: Click Here

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DWC Issues Memo on New Telehealth Services

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New Telehealth Services Available

CMS has issued a new list of telemedicine and telehealth services that can be reimbursed through Medicare during the federally-declared Public Health Emergency for COVID-19. The complete list of covered services is available on the DWC telemedicine page.

Commissioner Brown has issued this memo on the changes.

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Commissioner's Bulletin on COVID-19

DWC news

DWC Issues Bulletin Suspending Certain Provisions and Rules Due to COVID-19

Commissioner Brown has issued a new bulletin on COVID-19 as it relates to the Texas workers' compensation system. Here are some of the items covered in the new bulletin:

  • work search compliance standards for supplemental income benefits;
  • testing, training, application, and recertification requirements for designated doctors; and
  • required medical exams.

View the full bulletin on the TDI website.

DWC Operations Update in Response to COVID-19

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DWC Operations Update in Response to COVID-19

Commissioner Brown sends an update to system participants about changes in DWC’s operations in response to COVID-19. Read more at

Health Care Professionals and Facilities, Including Abortion Providers, Must Immediately Stop All Medically Unnecessary Surgeries and Procedures to Preserve Resources to Fight COVID-19 Pandemic

Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton


March 23, 2020

Health Care Professionals and Facilities, Including Abortion Providers,

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DEA Okays Telehealth to Prescribe Opioids Amid COVID-19 Emergency

The move to telehealth will make it easier for providers to prescribe an opioid or other controlled substance during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

telehealth prescribing of controlled substances

March 18, 2020 - Telemedicine has found yet another key purpose during the coronavirus public health emergency: the prescribing of controlled substances, such as opioids.

Per new clarification from the US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), healthcare professionals can now prescribe a controlled substance to a patient using telehealth technology.

This announcement comes in the wake of the public health emergency declared by HHS Secretary Alex Azar on January 31, 2020.

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TMB Waiver for Chronic Pain Patients Granted by Governor Abbott

Texas Medical Board Press Release


March 19, 2020

Media contact: Jarrett Schneider, 512-305-7018

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Telemedicine for Workers' Compensation

Telemedicine for Worker’s Compensation

Telehealth is a great tool in battling the spread of infections. Texas workers’ compensation allows for billing and reimbursement of certain telemedicine and telehealth services in place of regular on-site medical care. Ask your doctor about services they might provide.

Learn more on the TDI website.

New Release on Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2018

This is the National Center for Health Statistics/CDC/HHS logo

NCHS Data Brief No. 356, January 2020

PDF Versionpdf icon (423 KB)

Holly Hedegaard, M.D., Arialdi M. Miniño, M.P.H., and Margaret Warner, Ph.D.

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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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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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