Organized Medicine Works

The Tennessee Medical Association and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society are dedicated to enhancing the effectiveness and well-being of members while protecting the health care interests of patients. We are strongest when we work together and when organized medicine represents all doctors, regardless of specialty differences, practice affiliation or political parties. We are the only unified group in Tennessee fighting for doctors.


The percentage reduction in malpractice lawsuits filed since TMA’s 2008 Medical Liability Reform Law went into effect. Fewer lawsuits have led physicians to spending 20 to 50% less on their liability insurance premiums. TMA, local medical societies, and our members led the charge to reform our medical liability system and the first significant reforms in decades were signed into law in 2008. In 2009, we also passed a bill to provide privileged status to peer review done by medical groups. In 2011, we won caps on non-economic damages in malpractice lawsuits. This victory was the result of a long-term fight in the Tennessee General Assembly.


The number of bills introduced during a typical legislative session and actively tracked by TMA and your Medical Society to protect your ability to practice medicine. Hundreds of these bills could impact how YOU practice medicine. Many bills would encroach on the practice of medicine, expand the scope of practice for those who didn’t go to medical school, or weaken important public health measures. Recently, TMA killed bills that would have required criminal background checks for new physician office employees, and allowed psychologists to prescribe. TMA amended legislation that created a state Controlled Substance Monitoring Database to make the process easier for medical practices while providing needed information to physicians.


The cost to every Tennessee physician if organized medicine had not STOPPED cuts in Medicare Reimbursement Rates in one year alone. Some estimates suggest the cuts would have cost the average physician as much as $33,000. Instead, organized medicine has consistently stopped planned rate cuts and won increases. Since most commercial payers calculate their rates from the Medicare schedule, the effect multiplies for every physician. We continue to work toward a permanent fix.


The number of critical topics in TMA’s On-Line Law Guide. The Guide is continually updated on legal topics that impact the practice of medicine. Added to access to TMA’s excellent legal division where members can pose medico-legal, regulatory, or practice management issues, these resources more than recoup the value of your dues. In addition, members can get discounted rates on contract review.


The amount recouped in 2011 by TMA members who availed themselves of expert help offered by the Association’s Insurance Affairs Department. TMA also created an ICD-10/5010 educational series that will run through 2014 to help practices prepare for the new billing/coding system and documentation challenges.


The number of Chattanooga physicians who receive Liability Protection for Charity Care they provide through Project Access and Volunteers in Medicine. In 2007 the Governor signed the Medical Society’s legislation that provides liability protection (except in cases of gross negligence) to physicians who provide charity health care through organized programs, such as Project Access. For information, call Pat Dennison or Rae Bond at 423-622-2872.


Areas in which you can get assistance from TMA’s Practice Management Center, including a Medical Practice Guide to Tennessee’s Doctor Shopping Law, resources to assist with FTC Red Flag rules implementation (while continuing the fight to stop application of the rules to physicians); a Guide to Supervising Nurse Practitioners, updates on prescribing requirements, tamper proof prescription pads, and myriad other issues, and help with insurance hassles.


Copies of the Medical Society Physician Directory distributed annually, making it the premier referral source for the health care community. The Medical Society also provides a telephone referral service for member physicians and fields daily calls from doctors and patients looking for physicians.


Instances of positive media coverage of the profession of medicine generated by the Medical Society’s ongoing work with the media and efforts to increase public understanding of medicine through programs like Mini-Internships and the Youth Leadership Forum, Project Access, and other community health initiatives. Members are invited to submit articles to our weekly “Ask the Doctor” column in the local daily newspaper.

Organized Medicine — the only unified group fighting for Tennessee doctors