Stories written by Amy Lynn Sorrel

Federal Surprise Billing Law in Effect: Get Educated - 01/21/2022

Despite ongoing litigation over certain aspects of the federal surprise billing law, the patient protection components of the No Surprises Act still took effect at the beginning of the year. With them come a number of changes that could significantly impact physician practices now that balance billing is largely prohibited.

Surprise Billing Rules Garner More Legal Action - 01/12/2022

Pressure is mounting on federal authorities with several legal actions now aiming to stop what physicians and hospitals say is an unfair arbitration process outlined in rules implementing the No Surprises Act, legislation passed in 2020 to address surprise medical bills.

Texas Takes Its Expertise to AMA Interim Meeting - 11/24/2021

Physician representatives of the Texas Medical Association worked to ensure Texas maintains a strong voice in the American Medical Association, bringing firsthand experience to the development of several national policies at the Special Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates Nov. 12-16.

TMA Sues Feds Over Arbitration Rule for Surprise Billing Law - 10/29/2021

The Texas Medical Association has sued federal authorities over rulemaking for the federal surprise billing law, saying it failed to follow clear direction from Congress about how to implement the dispute resolution process meant to determine fair payments for out-of-network care.

TMA Weighs In on Bills to Ban Vaccine Mandates - 10/18/2021

Taking science-based interventions like vaccinations off the table during an ongoing public emergency is like telling coastal residents they can’t board up their windows or fill sandbags as a hurricane approaches.

Biden Extends Vaccine Mandate to Health Care Workers - 09/13/2021

Texas Medical Association staff are busy analyzing President Joe Biden’s latest strategy to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control, which includes vaccination requirements for health care workers in all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified facilities.

Data Driven: Medicaid’s Inspector General Focuses on Fraud Prevention, Not Just Prosecution - 09/06/2021

Since her appointment in 2018, Texas Health and Human Services Inspector General Sylvia Hernandez Kauffman has homed in on using data analytics not only to prosecute fraud, waste, and abuse within the Medicaid program, but also to prevent it from happening in the first place. Texas Medicine spoke to Ms. Kauffman about what appears to be a shift in tone from this department as it also focuses on using the data it collects to educate physicians and other health care professionals on common billing mistakes.

TMA Urges Governor to Allow Local Mask, Vaccination Decisions - 08/27/2021

As physicians across the state toil against the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Medical Association leaders met with Gov. Greg Abbott’s office on Friday to ask for greater flexibility at the local level to respond to and slow the surge and its impacts on the health care system.

Vaccination Efforts Ramp Up as Pandemic Worsens - 08/17/2021

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surging again across the state, Texas Medical Association leaders continue to reiterate that the most important step to getting the pandemic under control is getting people vaccinated.

Update: TMB Extends Emergency Telemedicine Pain Script Waiver - 08/02/2021

The Texas Medical Board (TMB) extended until June 30 its emergency waiver permitting refills of certain controlled substance prescriptions to treat patients with chronic pain who recently saw their doctor in person or via telemedicine.

Need PPE? TMA Has a Vendor List For That - 07/27/2021

Need PPE but have trouble meeting vendor minimums? Have you had difficulty accessing the state supply? Look no further. Now you can use the Texas Medical Association’s new Texas-based PPE vendor guide, with information to help locate what you need from vendors that can supply small- to medium-sized practices with little or no minimum order quantities. 

Ready To Boost Your Leadership Skills? Join TMA's Leadership College - 06/23/2021

Do you want to become more of a leader in organized medicine, your practice, or your community, but worry you don’t have the skills necessary to inspire a team? Apply now for the Texas Medical Association Leadership College, which since 2011 has helped more than 250 physicians develop a deeper understanding of their potential and strengths.

Bailey Caps Trying Year as AMA President, Inspires Physicians to Continue Leadership - 06/21/2021

In a speech concluding a historic and challenging term as American Medical Association president, Fort Worth allergist and immunologist Susan R. Bailey, MD, shared sympathetic and inspiring words for her colleagues as she reflected on a year defined by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Get Paid for COVID-19 Vaccination Costs Not Covered by Insurance Under New HHS Program - 06/08/2021

Since physicians cannot bill patients for COVID-19 vaccine administration, a new federal program aims to fill in the gaps by covering the outstanding costs not covered by health insurance plans.

Delegates Tackle Vaccines, Burnout, Health Plan Practices During Virtual Annual Meeting - 05/24/2021

At the second live virtual convention of the Texas Medical Association House of Delegates, physicians carried out their policymaking duties to improve the health of all Texans despite being scattered across the state. Delegates made headway on policies to address vaccine rollouts and nonmedical exemptions; emergency preparedness; postpartum depression screenings; prevention of suicide and physician burnout; health care reform; Medicaid payments; and red tape reductions and transparency in health plan practices, among others.

Physician Wellness at TexMed: Build Your Resilience Toolkit - 05/24/2021

Frustration. Fatigued. Anxious. Sadness. Overwhelmed. Stressed.

Delegates Address Pandemic, Physician Burnout Measures - 05/21/2021

The pervasive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physician staffing at hospitals pushed the Texas Medical Association House of Delegates last week to adopt new policy supporting a statewide post-pandemic research study to inform and help create a better state response to surges during extended catastrophic events.

“Tragedy and Opportunity Can Coexist.” Outgoing TMA President Reminds Physicians to Remain Resilient - 05/14/2021

When Houston emergency physician Diana L. Fite, MD, took the reins as Texas Medical Association president in May 2020 – just two months after the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the U.S. – she had no idea of the fear, tragedy, and daily unknowns that would mark her leadership and challenge her both professionally and personally.

More COVID-19 Vaccines Available For Your Practice: Order Now - 04/30/2021

Texas’ COVID-19 vaccine supplies are well stocked, and physician practices are likely to see more allocations as the state shifts its vaccination efforts from large, mass vaccination sites “to those where Texans routinely receive medical care,” the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced.

House Speaker’s Health Care Package Includes TMA Priority Bills - 04/08/2021

Several of the Texas Medical Association’s legislative priorities were on display yesterday during a press conference by House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) and a coalition of bipartisan lawmakers, including Rep. Tom Oliverson, MD (R-Cypress).  

Buried in Paperwork - 01/14/2021

The Texas Medical Association reached a landmark agreement with advanced practice nurses and physician assistants on legislation to improve patients' access to care through an improved delegated model for team-based health care. The bill helps establish a more flexible and collaborative practice model that improves on current site-based restrictions.

Texas Physicians Get First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine - 12/17/2020

Fast, smooth, relatively painless. That’s the way Texas Medical Association President Diana L. Fite, MD, described her experience as part of the state’s first batch of essential health care workers to receive initial doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

AMA Adopts Standards for “Public Option” - 11/18/2020

Delegates at the virtual Special Meeting of the American Medical Association passed new policy allowing AMA to advocate that any so-called “public option” proposal to expand health insurance coverage to the nation’s uninsured and underinsured must adhere to a set of standards that include protections for patients and physicians.

Feds Delay Enforcement of Data-Sharing Rules - 11/18/2020

Physicians will have more time to comply with federal rules aimed at improving data-sharing after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday it will delayenforcement of certain provisions from Nov. 2 to April 5, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tell HHSC: How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Practice? - 11/09/2020

Have unexpected technology costs and staffing changes had a substantial impact on your practice during the pandemic? Have inpatient and outpatient services fluctuated? Do you use telemedicine? The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) wants to know and invites physicians to participate in its 2020 COVID-19 Impact Survey.