• Our 2017 Prescription to Keep Texas Healthy

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    As always, the TMA professional staff will complement the relationships that physician leaders have built with their senators and representatives as they work to promote TMA’s 2017 agenda. Tops on the list are the state budget, insurance reform, scope of practice, telemedicine, the Texas Medical Board, and public health priorities. 

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  • Texas Wins Tort Border Battle
    The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a Lubbock physician entangled in a question of whether Texas or New Mexico law should apply in a liability case involving care that was provided in Texas but for a New Mexico patient.
    Directory Measure Aims to Tackle Surprise Bills; TMA Continues Push for Public Health Priorities
    The 60-day bill-filing deadline for the Texas Legislature has come and gone, allowing one thick puff of smoke to finally clear from the 2017 legislative fire. Now, medicine can focus on the hottest logs in the fire pit. For TMA, that means more than 1,400 pieces of legislation to track, with measures that address such smoldering topics as the network inadequacies that fuel surprise-billing issues; public health issues like vaccination exemptions and tobacco use; proper definition and regulation of telemedicine; and troubling scope-related legislation that would allow other practitioners to infringe on the practice of medicine.
    Renew Your Passion; Come to TexMed 2017
    Join us for TexMed 2017, TMA's annual meeting, at the new Marriott Marquis and the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston May 5-6. TexMed is a free member benefit. Register today, and renew your passion for medicine, for leadership, and for Houston.
    Your Video Guide to Texas' New Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
    In an effort to address the very real and debilitating crisis caused by the misuse of opioid pain medicines, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission has recommended a mandate that all prescribers and pharmacists check the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program before prescribing any controlled medication.
    TMA Asks Feds to Delay Next EHR Upgrade Mandate
    TMA joined with the American Medical Association and 104 other medical societies in asking the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to defer implementation of the 2015 Edition of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT).
    Texas Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Attestation Deadline Extended
    The Texas Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program extended the deadline for physicians to attest to receive incentives for program year 2016. The new deadline is May 15, 2017.
    Upcoming Value-Based Care and Quality Events
    As the health care industry moves toward the concept of value-based care, many physician leaders are seeking ways to accelerate the transformation within their own organizations. If you are interested in making the transition from volume to value, two upcoming events will help you gauge your options.
    AMA Honors State Senator for Medical School Effort
    The American Medical Association presented State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) with the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service, primarily for his work in helping The University of Texas at Austin launch a new medical school in the city.
    DSHS Grand Rounds Spring Semester Starts April 5
    Led by physician and health care leaders from around the state and the nation, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) free Grand Rounds lectures return early next month.
    TMA Outlines EHR Concerns for House Chair
    The potential for electronic health records (EHRs) to transform health care remains constrained by the lack of effective health information exchange technology, TMA says in a letter to U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-The Woodlands).
    Supervise an APRN or PA? What You Need to Know
    Delegating duties to an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), physician assistant (PA), or other nonphysician can be an excellent way to enhance your practice and improve your patients' access to quality medical care. But, a newly updated TMA white paper cautions, you have to do it right. Your license to practice may be at risk.
    TMA Foundation Grants Support Collaborations to Prevent Illness
    Improving the health of all Texans through prevention is the focus of two grants recently approved by the TMA Foundation Board of Trustees.
    Visit the Riviera in Style
    TMA physicians, friends, and family are invited to take advantage of the extended early-bird discount on a highly-anticipated Gohagan & Company trip during Oct.2–10: the Riviera and Islands of France, Italy, and Spain. Gohagan, a leading provider of international and domestic travel experiences, is an approved travel program for TMA members.
    UHC Delays Beacon Lab Benefit Program
    Strong opposition from organized medicine pushed UnitedHealthcare (UHC) to put on hold an expansion of its Laboratory Benefit Management Program, which would have been extended to fully insured commercial plan patients in Texas effective March 1.
    Sunset Commission Calls for Mandatory Pain Med History Checks
    In its Report to the 85th Legislature the Sunset Advisory Commission recommends breathing 12 more years of life into the Texas Medical Board and goes into great detail about TMB's oversight of physicians who prescribe "extremely addictive and dangerous drugs, particularly drugs designed for patients with chronic pain, as some of these drugs contribute to an epidemic of addiction and overdose throughout the country." The commission recommends "the board target its inspections of pain management clinics toward the top prescribers, that the board more effectively monitor prescribing patterns through the newly enhanced Prescription Monitoring Program (PDMP), and that physicians and physician assistants be required to search the program and review a patient's prescription history before prescribing dangerous pain medications."
    Challenges in Austin, Change in Washington
    One month into Texas' 2017 legislative session, the ramp-up is beginning as medicine and lawmakers ready for what's certain to be a flurry of activity related to health care.
    Victory: Anthem-Cigna Merger Blocked by Court
    In a significant win for organized medicine and the nation's patients, federal judge Amy Berman Jackson blocked the proposed Anthem-Cigna merger. She found that the merger would have substantially lessened competition for the sale of health insurance to national employers, resulting in higher prices and diminished prospects for innovation. Anthem Inc. planned to take over Cigna for $50 billion. American Medical Association findings show the Anthem-Cigna merger would enhance market power in 85 metropolitan areas within 13 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, and Virginia.
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