• Latest Legislative News

    • Promote Physician-Led Health Care Teams
      Texas needs more physicians and other health care professionals working in all parts of the state, especially in rural and border Texas. But the real gains in improving access to and coordination of patient care will come largely from solidifying and expanding the use of physician-led teams. Team-based care capitalizes on the efficiencies of having the right professional providing the right services to the right patient at the right time … with overall direction and coordination in the hands of physicians.
    • More Funding Needed to Strengthen Texas Public Health Services
      TMA strongly urges the Legislative Budget Board to seize this opportunity to invest in Texas’ public health infrastructure as it relates to these costly issues and prevent paying an even higher price in the future.
    • TMA Letter: Improve GME Funding
      Texas has been exceedingly successful in attracting new physicians to the state. In fact, over the past decade, 32,000 new physicians have been licensed. Despite this significant milestone, our state still has a significant amount of catching up to do, mostly as a result of the state’s robust population growth over the past two decades. Texas continues to rank close to the bottom in a state comparison of physicians per capita, despite the number of new physicians.
    • State Needs to Address Psychiatric Physicians' Shortage
      As you are well aware, our state has a great need for more health care professionals, but nowhere is the need more acute than in the area of psychiatric physicians. When Texas ratios of physicians per 100,000 people, by specialty, are compared with U.S. totals, Texas outranks the United States in only four major specialties: aerospace medicine, medical genetics, transplant surgery, and colon and rectal surgery. Meanwhile, Texas ranks below the Unites States for the other 36 out of 40 medical specialties, with psychiatry having the lowest rate at only 58.2 percent of the U.S. ratio. Child/adolescent psychiatry is also near the bottom of the rankings, at 68.7 percent of the U.S. ratio.
    • Improve Interoperability to Exchange Information in State Registries
      Charge: Identify strategies to support the efficient exchange of electronic health information with Texas Health and Human Services enterprise agencies. Examine legal and technical issues around the accessibility of information held in registries maintained by state agencies to authorized health care providers. Identify issues related to health information exchange and providers’ liability, as well as concerns related to transitioning patient data in cases where a provider selects a new electronic health record vendor.
    • Improve Health Care Coverage for Low-Income Texans
      The ACA created two coverage options for uninsured patients with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). One choice, which the U.S. Supreme Court made optional for states, was expanding Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of FPL ($16,104 for an individual or $32,913 for a family of four in 2014). The other was the new health insurance marketplaces, where patients go to buy private insurance. Texas is one of 21 states that chose not to expand Medicaid eligibility in 2014. As a result, more than 1 million uninsured Texans, mostly low-income adults, are left in what’s called the “coverage gap,” which means they make too much money to qualify for Texas Medicaid but not enough to qualify for the marketplace premium tax credits. Few of these Texans have access to other affordable insurance options. Texas Medicaid eligibility for parents is about 20 percent of poverty — less than $4,000 per year.
    • Section 10: Protect and Promote a Fair Civil Justice System
      In our generation, Texas has taken no more important step to strengthen our health care delivery system than passing the 2003 medical liability reforms. The 2003 law swiftly ended an epidemic of lawsuit abuse, brought thousands of sorely needed new physicians to Texas, and encouraged the state’s shell-shocked physicians to return to caring for patients with high-risk diseases and injuries.
    • Progress Made So Far
      Thanks to the collective efforts of Texas’ state and federal legislators, state agency leaders, organized medicine, and public health advocates, we accomplished many of the recommendations in the first edition of TMA’s Healthy Vision 2020. Most of the results stem from actions of the Texas 2013 Legislature, while others are from federal laws and regulations.
    • Licensure Should Stay Intact
      What we really need are standardized processes for licensing similar to medical, dental, and nursing boards for ALL health care providers. Otherwise the burden of proof falls on facilities which employ or contract with these providers and many of those facilities do not have the infrastructure to carry out such investigations.