Stories written by Amy Lynn Sorrel

Dues Increase, Independent Practice Committee Approved by TMA House - 05/09/2024

With an eye toward strengthening the Texas Medical Association and the Texas physician practices it represents, the House of Delegates approved a handful of new policies that include a phased-in dues increase and a standing committee on independent practice.

TMA Moment in Time: SGR Repeal - 04/09/2024

The historic victory has roots in TMA advocacy and may provide a playbook for future Medicare reform.

Testify Online on TMA Business Items by April 12 - 04/03/2024

As delegates prepare for the Texas Medical Association’s annual policymaking meeting next month, members have until April 12 to submit online testimony on business items to be considered by the House of Delegates at TexMed in Dallas, May 2-4.

Senate Moves Toward Medicare Pay Fix - 02/28/2024

After hundreds of physician leaders from across the country, including Texas, gathered in Washington, D.C., in mid-February, U.S. senators appear to be moving toward a Medicare pay fix alongside House efforts.

TMA Supports Evidence-Based Gender-Affirming Care in Lawsuit - 01/24/2024

As the Doe v. Abbott lawsuit heads to a hearing today over whether to block state investigations involving certain care provided to transgender youth, among other issues, the Texas Medical Association has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case in support of medically necessary, gender-affirming care, and opposing the criminalization of such treatment.

TMA in Talks With State Leadership on Gender-Affirming Care - 01/24/2024

In a series of meetings with state leadership, the Texas Medical Association has reiterated its opposition to the criminalization of medically necessary gender-affirming care and emphasized the need for protecting the patient-physician relationship with transgender youth and adolescents.

Patient Care Protected: TMA Secured Big Legislative Wins With a New Strategy - 01/11/2024

Guided by a set of priorities and girded by grassroots physician advocacy, the Texas Medical Association entered the 2023 legislative session with a laser focused approach and came out hitting targets in every area of medicine’s agenda.

Send TMA Your Prior Authorization Nightmare Stories - 12/11/2023

Arbitrary. Confusing. Frustrating. Never-ending. Maddening. Those are some of the terms we can actually print that describe physicians’ experience with insurance companies’ prior authorization requirements and approval processes.

All in Good Faith: No Surprises Act Requires Practices to Provide Good Faith Estimates of Charges - 12/04/2023

No Surprises Act transparency provisions require practices to provide patients good faith estimates of expected charges – on strict timelines

Feds Extend Telemedicine Prescribing Flexibilities Through 2024 - 11/10/2023

With permanent telehealth prescribing policies still under consideration, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) again has extended temporary pandemic-era telehealth flexibilities to allow physicians to virtually prescribe certain controlled medications, now through Dec. 31, 2024.

Medicare Premiums, Deductibles to Increase in 2024 - 10/27/2023

Medicare patients will be paying more for their coverage in 2024, which will impact how much co-pay practices collect.

Help Promote National Drug Prescription Take Back Day on Oct. 28 - 10/19/2023

Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which allows people to dispose of prescription drugs safely and anonymously, is scheduled for Oct. 26 at locations throughout the state.

TMA Wins Two More Surprise Billing Lawsuits; CMS Suspends Arbitrations - 10/03/2023

Marking a fourth victory for the Texas Medical Association in as many lawsuits, a court on Aug. 24 struck down a large portion of the regulations setting forth a methodology insurers use to calculate the qualifying payment amount, or QPA, used in surprise-billing disputes – part of a series of federal rules TMA has long argued skew the arbitration process in insurers’ favor.

Medicine, Congressional Leaders Strategize to Expedite Medicare Physician Pay Reform - 09/17/2023

TMA and other physician and congressional leaders from around the country convened an advocacy summit to build momentum for legislation to finally help Medicare payments keep pace with inflation. With nearly 40 co-sponsors signed on, and another pay cut on the way, medicine and lawmakers urged physicians to ramp up their advocacy now.

Using Social Media to Curb HPV on Campus - 09/11/2023

With funding help from the TMA Foundation, the association’s philanthropic arm, more than 100 students at Angelo State University in San Angelo and Tyler Junior College in Tyler received free HPV shots at their schools’ health fairs March 5 and 7.

988 Suicide Hotline Remains Unfamiliar One Year Post Launch - 09/08/2023

Suicide hotlines frequently are underused by those who need them most because people are simply unaware of them, says Austin obstetrician-gynecologist Kimberly Carter, MD.

TMA Wins Fourth Lawsuit Challenging Payment Calculations in Surprise Billing Arbitration - 08/28/2023

Marking a fourth victory for the Texas Medical Association in as many lawsuits, a court struck down a large portion of the regulations setting forth a methodology insurers use to calculate the qualifying payment amount, or QPA, used in surprise-billing disputes – part of a series of federal rules TMA has long argued skew the arbitration process in insurers’ favor.

Organized Medicine Assists in Maui Wildfire Response; How You Can Help - 08/21/2023

As aid efforts in the aftermath of the Maui wildfires turn to recovery and rescue, local organized medicine partners are deeply involved in assisting with the island’s health care needs and are sharing opportunities for medicine at large to do the same.

Don’t Forfeit Your APM Incentive Payment; Act Now - 08/14/2023

If you participated in an advanced alternative payment model in the 2021 Quality Payment Program and haven’t yet received your 2023 incentive payment, you have until Sept. 1 to update your billing information – or forfeit the payment.

Patient Care Protected: Women's Reproductive Health - 08/14/2023

One of the Texas Medical Association's top legislative priorities this session was to get clarity for physicians on how they can safely treat pregnant women while protecting the patient-physician relationship.

Court Delivers TMA Win Against Fee Hike, Batching in Surprise Billing Arbitration - 08/10/2023

The court struck down a 600% administrative fee increase and certain unfair rules that narrowed the law’s provisions on combining or “batching” surprise-billing arbitration claims. The decision is one of several victories TMA has won against federal regulators tasked with implementing the federal No Surprises Act.

ACOs, Texas-Style - 07/17/2023

Burdensome federal regulations and antitrust rules and hefty overhead costs are oft-cited stumbling blocks to physician involvement in accountable care organizations (ACOs). So perhaps it came as little surprise when the Texas Legislature, less than enamored with the federal health reform legislation that authorized the coordinated care models, came up with its own rendition. In 2011, state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 7, which created a Texas-style ACO, known as a health care collaborative, to encourage physicians, hospitals, and payers to collaborate on more coordinated, cost-effective health care delivery. Now that the Texas Department of Insurance has adopted rules laying out a path to licensure as a collaborative, Texas physicians have a more flexible option that overcomes many of the barriers preventing them from stepping into integrated care models.

Medicare Pays for End-of-Life Consults - 07/17/2023

As of January, Medicare pays physicians for advance care planning as a separate service, a long-sought victory that promotes educating patients and physicians on the issue. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services created two new payment codes that cover it as a separate service in physician practices and facilities, including hospitals.

Court Hearing Approaches in TMA Surprise Billing Lawsuit - 07/17/2023

With a Feb. 4 court hearing on the horizon, the Texas Medical Association recently reiterated its strong opposition to a part of a federal rule that medicine says unfairly favors health insurers when directing arbiters to resolve payment disputes between insurers and physicians under the federal surprise billing law.

Physician-Led Results: Women’s Reproductive Health - 06/28/2023

Physicians entered the 2023 legislative session with heavy concerns over and difficulties in interpreting Texas' abortion statutes when caring for pregnant women in crisis. A last-minute bill signed by Gov. Greg Abbott now provides some legal defenses under Texas' abortion ban when treating certain potentially life-threatening pregnancy complications.