TMLT Offering Premium, Coverage Relief to Physicians During COVID-19 Emergency

This was originally published on the Texas Medical Association’s website.

Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT), the largest medical liability insurance provider in Texas, has announced several changes to help members care for COVID-19 patients and to offer relief from financial hardships related to the pandemic.  

In a statement, TMLT said it will not cancel any policy if members cannot pay premiums on time because of COVID-19.

In addition, if you have temporarily closed your practice during the crisis, you might be able to change your status to a “leave of absence” or “part time basis,” TMLT said. This change could assist in reducing your premium during the time when you are unable to practice, the insurer said. 

“We know that the executive order about elective surgeries and procedures is causing financial strain for many practices, and we will be flexible in finding a solution to help you through this difficult time,” TMLT President and CEO Robert D. Donohoe said. “If you expect your premium payment will be delayed, please contact us as soon as possible.” 

TMLT also is offering medical professional liability coverage at no cost to any retired Texas physician working on a volunteer basis and in direct response to the emergency order regarding the pandemic. Find more information about the coverage in a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on the TMLT website. 

During the crisis, TMLT staff is available to take your calls from 8 am to 8 pm (CT) at (800) 580-8658. If calling after 8 pm, follow the telephone prompts to report a claim, ask a risk management question, or ask a question about your account. Onlnine payments can also be made through TMLT’s guest portal or by logging in to your myTMLT account.  

“As the CEO of Texas Medical Liability Trust, it has been my greatest honor to serve and protect the physicians of Texas and beyond,” Mr. Donohoe said. “And now, at perhaps the medical community’s greatest hour of need in a generation, I pledge my full support and the personal support of TMLT’s employees to provide service and assistance in any way we can.”

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 4/3/20

COVID-19 Positive cases: 383*

COVID-19 related deaths: 7

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 23

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Friday, April 3, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

* These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.

Task force of doctors being built in Fort Worth to help with possible coronavirus surge

by Nichole Manna

Originally published in the Star-Telegram.

A task force of physicians who can help during a possible surge of COVID-19 patients is being created by the Tarrant County Medical Society

The task force will help care for patients who need to see a doctor for reasons other than COVID-19

“As COVID-19 continues to spread, we anticipate a surge in new patients, particularly those who may have cold or flu symptoms but are not critical,” a notice from the society said. “We are creating this Task Force of physicians to be ready for deployment in the event of this surge. Contact us if you are interested in volunteering to assist with triage and low acuity ‘walking well’ patients at our local hospitals.”

Brian Swift, chief executive officer of the Tarrant County Medical Society, said this ask will be used to start building a list of both practicing physicians, and retired physicians.

Read the full article here.


TMLT offers malpractice insurance at no cost to retired physicians who volunteer during the COVID-19 crisis

Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT) will now offer insurance coverage at no cost to retired Texas physicians who resume practicing medicine during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

This medical professional liability coverage will be offered without premium to any Texas physician working on a volunteer basis and in direct response to a governmentally declared emergency order regarding the COVID-19 crisis.

Details of the coverage include:

  1. Coverage will be offered to retired physicians working on a non-paid, volunteer basis only.
  2. All retired Texas physicians are eligible, whether they have been TMLT policyholders or not.
  3. Membership in the Texas Medical Association is not required.

Physicians can apply for coverage by downloading and completing an online form and returning it to TMLT.

You can also call TMLT’s underwriting department at 800-580-8658 or 512-425-5800 or email at underwriting@tmlt.org to apply or learn more.

From Robert Donohoe, president and CEO of TMLT:

“To offer additional support to Texas physicians and the public, TMLT is offering medical liability coverage, at no cost, to retired physicians who come back to work and help their colleagues during the COVID-19 emergency. It is our job to assist physicians in any way possible as this crisis continues to intensify.”

About TMLT
The largest medical liability insurance provider in Texas, TMLT serves more than 20,000 health care professionals. Rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company, TMLT is the only medical professional liability insurance provider exclusively endorsed by the Texas Medical Association.

Tarrant County COVID-19 Activity – 4/2/20

COVID-19 Positive cases: 325*

COVID-19 related deaths: 6

Recovered COVID-19 cases: 23

Data from Tarrant County Public Heath’s (TCPH) report of COVID-19 activity in Tarrant County, updated Thursday, April 2, 2020 at 12:15 p.m. Find more COVID-19 information from TCPH here.

* These data are provisional and are subject to change at any time.

Deaths and recovered cases are included in total COVID-19 positive cases.

This Can Help Your Practice’s Revenue During COVID-19

This was published by Texas Medical Association. You can read the original version here.

This is not business as usual. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected physician practices both clinically and economically. 

You may already have made changes in how you care for patients, such as utilizing telemedicine in place of in-person visits. 

For a big picture perspective, Catalyst Health Network, a clinically integrated primary care network, has created a financial workbook you can download that calculates the effect a decrease in patient encounters and revenue has on your practice. 

You also can make adjustments in operating expenses that can keep your practice’s finances healthy. 

According to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) benchmark data, staff salaries and building occupancy are the two largest expenses in a physician practice. Staffing alone typically accounts for 25% of total operating expenses, and leases account for another 6% to 10%. 

However, these can be difficult sums to change: We want to support our staff, and we need to maintain an office space. 

There are other fixed expenses, like insurance payments, that may be deferred but not necessarily adjusted. However, there are some things you can do: 

Lease: Contact your landlord to discuss a deferment of monthly payments. If you are in your renewal period, negotiate a deal that includes a lower payment and/or deferment for the first few months of the new lease. 

Staffing: There are a few options like layoffs or furloughs, but be sure to consider your future funding needs as your decision could have an impact on loan forgiveness. If you furlough, you still need to pay for benefits. Furloughed staff are eligible to apply for unemployment as well. You also can consider rotating staff if you have patient care or billing needs to fulfill. 

Supplies: Stop automatic orders so you can have more control over which medical and office supplies you pay for. Consider joining a group purchasing organization (GPO) for pricing considerations if you are not already a member. 

Equipment leasing: Contact your vendors for any assistance they could provide during the current crisis. Your vendors might be able to defer or lower payments for a period of time. Evaluate use of equipment to determine if it is truly necessary to your practice. If not, return it and eliminate a payment. 

Subscriptions: Suspend any magazine or other unnecessary subscriptions. 

Shredding/Biohazard/Laundry Services: Suspend services you are currently not using. 

On the income side, Catalyst Health Network also has created a tool that compares the Small Business Association’s (SBA) lending options: Express Loan, the Paycheck Protection Program, and Economic Injury Disaster Loans. The tool has information on when and where to apply, the qualification requirements, and other pertinent details. 

The Texas Medical Association Practice Viability webpage includes more information and resources to help keep your practice afloat, including frequently asked questions (FAQs) on practice viability and human resources issues. 

Remember, you can find the latest news, resources, and government guidance on the coronavirus outbreak by visiting TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center regularly.