Stories written by Brent Annear

Legislative Top 10: What It Took To Renew the TMB for 12 Years - 06/14/2019

Today’s TMA’s Legislative News Hotline video looks at lawmakers’ quest to pass legislation to renew the Texas Medical Board for another 12 years. The Texas Legislature passed the sunset bill this session, House Bill 1504, after the 2017 legislature couldn’t get it done. It awaits Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature.


Legislative Top 10: Law Gives Liability Protections to Physicians Who Respond to Disasters - 06/14/2019

Today’s Texas Medical Association Legislative Hotline video examines Senate Bill 752, which will allow physicians and health care providers to voluntarily respond to disasters without fear of medical liability.


Legislative Top 10: A Closer Look at Texas’ New “Tobacco 21” Law - 06/13/2019

One of the major public health achievements the Texas Medical Association pushed for this past legislative session was Senate Bill 21, which raises the minimum age to buy tobacco and vape-product in Texas from 18 to 21 years. The lifesaving measure, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed last week, is featured in today’s TMA’s Legislative News Hotline video report.  


Legislative Top 10: Lawmakers Take Steps to Keep Texas Mothers Alive - 06/12/2019

Today’s TMA Legislative News Hotline video looks at Senate Bill 750, which requires the state Health and Human Services Commission to expand the Healthy Texas Women program for new mothers beyond the current prevention services it provides. The bill awaits Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature.


Legislative Top 10: Improving Mental Health Care Squeaks into Law - 06/11/2019

Political maneuvering late in the Texas Legislative session saved efforts to improve the effectiveness of and access to behavioral health care in Texas. Today’s TMA Legislative News Hotline video looks at the moves to save Senate Bill 10, which will provide community-level health treatment programs, and mental health research.


Legislative Top 10: Lawmakers Say No to Expanding Scope of Practice - 06/10/2019

Every legislative session, allied health professionals ask lawmakers to broaden their scope of practice to some form of health care only physicians are trained and authorized to provide. Today's TMA Legislative News Hotline video reports that lawmakers passed no such Texas Medical Association-opposed bills this term.


Legislative Top 10: Efforts to Curb Opioid Abuse Await Governor - 06/07/2019

Motivated to act by the ongoing national opioid crisis, the 86th Texas Legislature worked to limit how the powerful drugs are prescribed.  Today's Texas Medical Association Legislative News Hotline video reports on the bill that emerged and describes new prescribing rules for Texas physicians.


Legislative Top 10: Making Sense of Proposed Prior Authorization Fix - 06/06/2019

In today’s Texas Medical Association Legislative News Hotline video, TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst talks about a bill awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature that helps prevent delays in care by providing more transparency for patients and physicians regarding what health plans require for prior authorizations.


Legislative Top 10: Bill Could Protect Patients From Surprise Bills - 06/05/2019

Arguably one of the biggest issues Texas lawmakers tackled this session was surprise billing, as they vowed to protect patients from receiving medical bills for care not covered by insurance. In today’s Texas Medical Association Legislative Hotline video – the second in our “top 10” series of issues the Texas Legislature addressed – TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst explains the bill that could solve the problem.


Legislative Top 10: How Will Medicine Be Funded in the 2020-21 State Budget? - 06/04/2019

In this TMA Legislative News Hotline video, TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst summarizes the health care-related issues and services that lawmakers included in the 2020-21 state budget. (Hint: Some items will please physicians, and some will disappointment them.)


Legislative Hotline Video: What’s Missing From Texas’ Draft Budget? - 06/03/2019

Lawmakers released their two-year spending plan for 2020-21 this week, but TMA Immediate Past President Doug Curran, MD, says one item that’s not included was greatly needed: A pay hike for doctors who care for Medicaid patients.


Legislative Video Hotline: Good News On Maternal Health, Cancer, Liability, And More - 05/10/2019

With just 17 days until sine die, the Texas House of Representatives’ deadlines yesterday and today mean death to lots of legislation, good and bad. This week’s TMA Legislative Hotline video also provides a rapid-fire summary of recent days’ movement on several TMA priority bills and news of a record for TMA grassroots advocacy.


Legislative Hotline Video: Don’t Penalize Physicians For Protecting Patients - 04/26/2019

This week’s TMA Legislative News Hotline video takes an in-depth look at a bill that would penalize doctors who make this difficult choice to protect their most vulnerable patients. Austin pediatrician Mai Duong, MD, tells us why the bill would be harmful.


Hotline Video: Medicine Calls For Tobacco Reforms - 04/12/2019

In this week’s TMA Legislative Hotline Video, watch physicians and lawmakers argue why a bill making its way through the Capitol could save the lives of thousands of young Texans.  


Legislative Hotline: Bill to Raise Tobacco-Purchase Age Moving Forward - 04/05/2019

Lawmakers unveiled new balance-billing legislation this week, while several physicians testified on key issues such as limiting scope-of-practice expansions, medical liability, and pharmacy benefit managers. All of this and more in this week’s TMA Legislative News Hotline video.


Legislative Hotline Video: Prior Auth Reform, GME Take Center Stage At The Capitol - 04/05/2019

Big issues bring out big voices in this week’s Texas Medical Association Legislative News Hotline video. TMA’s president, board members, and Council on Legislation members testified in Capitol committees this week, pushing for prior authorization reform and improvements to graduate medical education.


Hotline Video: Should Health Plans Have Sole Power to Set Out-Of-Network Rates? - 03/29/2019

This week’s Texas Medical Association Legislative Hotline video takes a first look at a new bill that could give health plans exclusive power to set rates they pay physicians – for out-of-network care.


Legislative Hotline Video: Physicians Push For Stronger Medical Board, Liability Protections - 03/29/2019

In this week’s Texas Medical Association Legislative News Hotline video, five TMA physicians argue why they support various bills, including extending children’s Medicaid, liability protections for physicians who respond to disasters, and strengthening the Texas Medical Board.


Hotline Video: TMA Leader Calls For More GME Funds - 03/01/2019

In the Capitol this week, Lubbock internist Cynthia Jumper, MD, urged budget-writing lawmakers to adequately fund graduate medical education so Texas won’t lose ground in physicians per capita.


Hotline Video Recap: TMA President Calls For Insurance Expansion - 02/22/2019

Texas Medical Association President Doug Curran, MD, makes an impassioned pitch for broader coverage for Texas’ millions of uninsured people in this week’s TMA Legislative News Hotline video.


Video Recap: Health Commissioners Push for More Public Health Funding - 01/29/2019

As lawmakers were beginning to look over proposed budget bills in both the House and the Senate, Texas’ most-recent health commissioners made a bid for adequate public health and prevention funding this week in a rare appearance together


Video Recap: The First Week of the 86th Texas Legislature - 01/18/2019

The first week of the 86th session of the Texas Legislature is in the books. Lawmakers in the Senate and House convened Tuesday to begin what promises to be a busy session dominated by the budget, school finance, and property taxes. Medicine has a long list of priorities for legislators as well. This week’s Texas Medical Association Legislative Hotline video features TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst detailing parts of our legislative wish list, starting with the budget and better Medicaid funding.


TEXPAC Endorses Candidates for March Primary Elections - 01/17/2018

TEXPAC, the political arm of the Texas Medical Association, today announced the physician group’s endorsements for the March party primary elections.


New Funds Will Keep TMA Walk With a Doc Walkers Active, Informed, Healthier - 01/09/2018

The Texas Medical Association Foundation received a $42,625 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) that the foundation will use to help fund the 2018 Walk With a Doc (WWAD) Texas program. The goal of the BCBSTX grant is to help raise awareness about prevention and early detection of chronic kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — diseases often prevented by an active and tobacco-free lifestyle. The Walk With a Doc Texas program supports this goal by helping physicians organize walks in their communities to encourage physical activity, reverse the consequences of a sedentary life, and improve the health and well-being of Texans.