UNDER THE ROTUNDA
The optimism was bright even if the skies were dark yesterday during the Texas Medical Association’s first of four First Tuesdays at the Capitol. Nearly 200 physician, medical student, and alliance members visited legislative offices to both share and learn information important to medicine this session.
Check out our collection of photos and social media posts from the event.
Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee heard invited testimony on Article II (health and human services) funding; today, public testimony was received. TMA and the Texas Public Health Coalition submitted written comments supporting the Department of State Health Services’ base funding request and specifically referenced several of the moredetailed items, such as data integrity and the state laboratory.
The full House Appropriations Committee began deliberating Article II this morning, covering Medicaid, Health and Human Services Commission contracting, state hospitals, and Child Protective Services, among other topics. Beginning next week, the Subcommittee on Article II will spearhead those discussions. We also anticipate the House to begin referring bills to committees next week.
The House and Senate adjourned until early next week.
Three-plus weeks into session, bill filing continues as the March 8 filing deadline nears. The current count is more than 2,100 bills filed. The Texas Medical Association is monitoring nearly 450 of them ¾ in keeping with previous sessions’ rates of more than 20 percent of all bills filed. Just over 30 days remain for bills to be filed — the rate of filing likely will accelerate now that committees are set.
HEALTHY VISION 2025
Healthy Vision 2025 ¾ released last week ¾ is TMA’s all-inclusive, health care roadmap for legislators.
Want to help spread and promote TMA’s Healthy Vision for Texas? Become a TMA social media ambassador.
SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK REDUX
With committee assignments complete and committee referrals for bills underway, the urgency for your grassroots participation will increase. Different phases of the legislative process invite and require different kinds of participation. Review this quick refresher on how a bill becomes a law in Texas and our Grassroots Advocacy Guide so you can be a more effective grassroots advocate for TMA.
ARE YOU A LEGISLATIVE JUNKIE?
If talk of bills and committees and backroom deals initiate tachycardia, you might want to join TMA Leading Advocates. It’s TMA’s exclusive Facebook group for legislative advocacy. Enjoy special features, news in advance, and a community of TMA members who are excited to talk about the Texas Legislature and medicine's advocacy priorities. This closed group is open only to TMA and TMA Alliance members, and TMA and county medical society staff. Join today.
TMA’s 2019 legislative agenda includes priorities to help advance patient care in Texas.
Top on the list are the state budget, insurance reform, scope of practice, maternal health, the Texas Medical Board and Medical Practice Act, and public health.
TMA member physicians and medical students, and TMA Alliance members play a significant role in advancing medicine’s priorities at the Capitol. Here are some ways you can help:
- Register for First Tuesdays at the Capitol – there are three left;
- Testify before a House or Senate committee;
- Learn more about TEXPAC, TMA’s bipartisan political action committee;
- When called to do so, respond to Grassroots Action Center alerts on specific bills via our new VoterVoice app; and/or
- Make sure you receive TMA’s Legislative News Hotline each day, via Texas Medicine Today. Here’s how: Just log in to the Edit My Interests page on your TMA profile. Ensure you get all the legislative updates by selecting "Health care issues in the Texas Legislature" as one of your Grassroots and Advocacy interests. TMA’s updates on the latest bills affecting medicine will arrive in your inbox as part of Texas Medicine Today at 2 pm each day lawmakers convene at the Capitol throughout Texas’ 86th legislative session.
PHYSICIAN OF THE DAY
Physician of the Day is a service the Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP) provides the Texas Legislature. Each day the legislators are in session, the group names a physician to serve in the Capitol. This tradition started in 1971 and has continued every legislative session since, including special sessions.
Today’s physician of the day is Doug Curran, MD, of Athens. Dr. Curran graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Services, is a member of the Henderson County Medical Society and is the current TMA president.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Five cases of measles confirmed in the greater Houston area – Houston Chronicle
Bell County health officials confirm possible measles case, others await results – KCEN-TV
Baylor Scott & White calls off mega merger with Houston hospital system – The Dallas Morning News
Trump is planning campaign to halt transmission of HIV in U.S. 2030 – The Washington Post
Demand for Long-Acting Birth Control Rose After Trump’s Election Amid Insurance Concerns, Study Shows – The New York Times
Texas eyes another $3 billion round of cancer research bonds – The Bond Buyer
Medical Student Run Clinic Honored With Champion of Health Award – Tech View – TTUHSC El Paso
Ideas To Curb Surprise Medical Bills Percolate With Rare Bipartisan Push – Kaiser Health News
Sexual assault survivors applaud legislature’s bipartisan effort to address the issue – The Dallas Morning News