UNDER THE ROTUNDA
Today is the 130th day of the session. But who’s counting?
The House and Senate both have less than one week to vote on bills, which must be complete by midnight May 22.
Meanwhile, lawmakers are finalizing negotiations on the final 2020-21 state budget; the deadline for agreement between the two chambers is midnight May 26.
Here’s a status check on numerous bills that continue to move through the legislative process.
Prescription Monitoring Program/Opioids – TMA supports these three bills, which are scheduled for a hearing today in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee:
- House Bill 3284 by Rep. J.D. Sheffield, DO (R-Gatesville), which would require electronic prescribing of opioids unless a waiver is granted, and establish an advisory committee to the State Board of Pharmacy.
- House Bill 3285, also by Representative Sheffield, which would permit telehealth treatment for substance use, provide grants to law enforcement agencies to provide opioid antagonists, develop and implement an opioid misuse public awareness campaign, and collect and analyze data regarding opioid overdose deaths.
- House Bill 2174, by Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Richmond) – which would help physicians address the opioid crisis by limiting the duration of opioid prescriptions, require electronic prescribing after Jan. 1, 2021, require opioid-related CME, and specify that prior authorization is prohibited for medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
- House Bill 2362 by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) – which would create an exception to the willful and wanton emergency medical care standard if a physician or other health care provider negligently causes a stable patient to require emergency medical treatment – is set for a hearing today in the Senate State Affairs Committee. After extensive negotiation and revision, TMA supports the bill.
- Senate Bill 1742 by Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), which would require health plan directories to clearly identify which physician specialties are in network at network facilities, is set for final debate on today’s House Calendar. TMA testified in support of this bill.
- House Bill 1832 by Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton) – which would prohibit health plan coverage of an emergency care claim dependent on utilization review, protecting the prudent layperson standard – was heard yesterday in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee and left pending. TMA supports this bill.
- House Bill 3041 by Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) – which would allow for renewal of a prior authorization if it expires before the patient receives the medical service or procedure – was heard yesterday in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee and left pending. TMA supports this bill.
- Senate Bill 436 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), which directs the Department of State Health Services to develop and implement initiatives to assist pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder and newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, is set on the House Calendar today. This bill is specifically referring to the TexasAIM Opioid Bundle that evolved out of the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and is strongly supported by TMA.
- House Bill 25 by Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-Clint), which would create a pilot program to streamline nonemergent medical transportation services in Medicaid and allow children to accompany their pregnant mothers on doctor’s visits, was voted out of the Senate 30-1 yesterday. The House now must decide whether to accept the amendments the Senate made to the bill or ask for a conference committee to negotiate the differences. TMA testified in support of this bill last month.
- Senate Bill 21 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) – which would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vape products to 21 years, excluding active duty military – is eligible today for senators to consider the amendments representatives added to the bill. TMA testified in strong support of SB 21 earlier this session.
- House Bill 3345 by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo) – which would allow physicians to choose the best platform for providing telemedicine services, rather than having health plans dictate the platform – was heard in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee yesterday and left pending. TMA strongly supports this bill.
Scope of Practice
- Senate Bill 2438 by Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso), which would allow “full practice” authority for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), was heard in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee yesterday and left pending. TMA opposes this bill .
Graduate Medical Education/Workforce
- House Bill 80 by Rep. Lina Ortega (D-El Paso) would have the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) conduct a study and develop an inventory of existing doctoral-level health science education programs. THECB would then issue a report to the legislature with recommendations for establishing new programs and for expanding existing ones. HB 80 was voted out of the Senate 19-12 without amendments and should head next to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. TMA supports this bill.
TMA is watching each bill, committee substitute, and amendment for any changes, or for an opportunity to amend a stalled TMA-supported bill. If you have a question about a specific bill, contact the advocacy team via the TMA Knowledge Center by email or call (800) 880-7955, Monday-Friday, 8:15 am to 5:15 pm CT.
HEALTHY VISION 2025
Healthy Vision 2025 – released in late January – is TMA’s all-inclusive, health care roadmap for legislators during the regular legislative session and the quickly approaching interim.
Want to help spread and promote TMA’s Healthy Vision for Texas? Become a TMA social media ambassador.
PHYSICIAN OF THE DAY
Today’s physician of the day is Banafsheh Moshiree Thomas, MD, of Grand Prairie. Dr. Thomas graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada and is a member of the Dallas County Medical Society.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Texas House passed one of the nation’s toughest drug-pricing bills. Is it too good to be true? – Houston Chronicle
Texas Poised to Raise the Legal Smoking Age to 21 – U.S. News & World Report
Senate seeks to extend time in end-of-life hospital disputes – Austin American-Statesman
Voters happy with their healthcare, survey finds, highlighting risks of sweeping reform plans – Washington Examiner
White House Wants Patients to Know Health-Care Prices Up Front – The Wall Street Journal
Texas Health to build $128 million specialty center for women and infants in Denton – The Dallas Morning News
Hope still alive for Medicaid system fixes – The Dallas Morning News
US Birth Rate Continues to Fall – The Associated Press
‘I felt cheated. I felt robbed.’ Central Texas mothers share their experiences with postpartum mood – KVUE-TV
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center of El Paso awarded telemedicine expansion grant – KVIA-TV