Our U.S. senators and representatives are back home in Texas for the August recess, and Texas Medical Association President David Fleeger, MD, says their physician-constituents need to contact them to make sure they stop the surprise medical billing epidemic in a way that helps our patients – not big insurance companies.
At the convergence of two countries and two cultures, Texas’ border with Mexico has unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to health care.But what are those challenges, and how can the opportunities there be used to overcome them? Explore those questions and more at the 14th annual Border Health Conference, scheduled for Aug. 22 at the La Posada Hotel in Laredo.
Physicians checked off major accomplishments during the 2019 session of the Texas Legislature, including finally convincing lawmakers that raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 was the right thing for the state's present and future. Medicine also scored improvements on the insurance front and vital funding increases.
To combat the ongoing opioid crisis, state lawmakers passed several measures that change how physicians and other health care professionals will prescribe opioids. However, provisions of the laws take effect at different times, so prescribers should be aware of the deadlines and effective dates of each requirement. Below is a chart showing when each provision takes effect.
Migrant parents and children housed in Texas detention centers must have access to basic necessities, including sufficient food, clean water, clean beds, and health and educational services. That is the message of a letter sent last week to state leaders and Texas lawmakers from several organizations, including the Texas Medical Association.
Thanks to incessant lobbying from physicians, hospitals, organized medicine, and the Physicians Advocacy Institute, a key congressional committee today made significant revisions in a bill to reduce the strain of surprise billing on patients. “This certainly sounds like an improvement,” said Texas Medical Association President David Fleeger, MD, “but the devil will be in the details.”
TMA scored on a wide range of goals to improve the state’s medical landscape during this year’s session of the Texas Legislature, which concluded in May.
Possible changes to how the federal government determines the national poverty level could negatively affect the well-being and health care options for large portions of the population, a coalition of 10 state medical associations told the nation’s chief statistician this week.
Legislation to protect young children by using rear-facing car seats made it to the finish line during the legislative session that ended in May, only to be vetoed by Gov. Greg Abbott early this week. House Bill 448 by Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) would have required children younger than 2 to ride in a rear-facing car set, unless the child is taller than 40 inches and weighs more than 40 pounds, or had a medical condition preventing him or her from sitting in such a seat.
As Texas prepares to implement an arbitration process to address surprise medical bills, Texas physicians are helping the U.S. Congress work on a federal solution. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health tackled surprise billing in a hearing last week to consider the No Surprises Act, draft legislation put together by two committee members.
The work of the 86th Texas Legislature passed its final stage at midnight Sunday, the deadline for Gov. Greg Abbott to to sign, veto, or allow bills to become law without his signature. Among those he signed this weekend was Senate Bill 1742, which requires greater transparency with prior authorizations and mandates that utilization reviews be conducted by a Texas-licensed physician in the same or similar specialty as the physician requesting the service or procedure. It also requires health plan directories to clearly identify which physician specialties are in-network at network facilities.
“Seems like the last two sessions it’s been sort of ‘Groundhog Day.’” The movie reference is how TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst summed up lawmakers’ quest to pass legislation to renew the Texas Medical Board for another 12 years.
Don’t be surprised if the members of the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates leave their annual meeting next week talking with a Texas drawl. Not only is Fort Worth allergist Sue Bailey, MD, likely to be picked as the next AMA president; not only are Texans represented at almost every level of AMA leadership; not only is there a special reception honoring Louis J. Goodman, PhD, who is retiring as CEO of the Texas Medical Association; there’s also this little matter of 11 policy proposals the Texas delegation has submitted for the AMA house to consider.
Respond to Action Alerts. Some bills will be particularly important to TMA, and we request your assistance in either supporting or opposing those bills. Through our Grassroots Action Center and mobile app, VoterVoice, you’ll be able to respond on the fly, sending a message directly to your legislator.
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The 2019 Texas Legislature is now in session — and TMA is ready to fight for medicine. See our plan to help Texas physicians put the health back into health care.
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Landmark reforms passed in 2003 reversed soaring liability insurance rates and helped recruit desperately needed physicians to Texas, especially obstetrician-gynecologists, neurosurgeons, and emergency physicians.
Texas has the highest percentage and number of people without health insurance in the United States, which could cause long-term damage to the state’s economy, says a study released this week by the Texas Alliance for Health Care.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine will stop considering race or ethnicity when selecting candidates for admission, part of an agreement with the U.S. Education Department’s civil rights office.
The Texas Medical Association believes a Texas federal judge’s recent ruling that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional provides a bipartisan pathway to strengthen access to health care and provide coverage for the 4.5 million Texans without health care coverage.
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