Groups push for 'easy fixes' to cut docs' administrative burden

With doctors' administrative burden sitting high on their list of grievances for several years running, medical societies are working to create more streamlined systems so physicians can work more efficiently.

While national organizations such as the American Medical Association have advocated to spare all doctors, at least for now, from the time and expense of upgrading to the ICD-10 coding system, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) has proposed several measures to make medical practices' existing tasks more efficient.

In particular, Texas Senate Bill 166, which is awaiting the governor's signature, would eliminate repetitive paperwork by allowing licensed healthcare providers in all settings (not just hospitals) to collect accurate patient information from a patient's driver's license, the Texas Tribune reported.

In addition, Senate Bills 644 and 1216, now approved by the Senate and referred to a House committee, would standardize health payers' preauthorization forms required for prescription drugs and health services. After initial pushback, insurers are behind the change as long as Texas Department of Insurance ensures the state's standardized forms match federal standards and allow for electronic transmission of the records.

"A lot of these things are easy fixes," Michael Speer, M.D., president of the TMA, told the newspaper. "It's just a matter of getting enough people to come together and agree that it's the right fix."

According to the TMA, which represents more than 47,000 physicians and medical students, each of its physicians spends nearly $83,000 a year on administrative costs. Physicians across the country routinely tell FiercePracticeManagement that they often stay at the office until 9 p.m. or later to complete paperwork.

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