Stories written by David Doolittle

Texas Physicians Unite To Protect Patient Care - 05/08/2019

Over the past four months, almost 1,300 Texas doctors, medical students, and Texas Medical Association Alliance members came to Austin for TMA’s First Tuesdays at the Capitol advocacy events. Yesterday was the final First Tuesdays of the 2019 legislative session, and about 300 TMA members met with their lawmakers face to face.   


Infections Reported After Umbilical Cord Blood Injections - 05/08/2019

Eight Texas patients developed bacterial infections soon after receiving an umbilical cord blood derived stem cell product from mid 2017 through September of 2018, state health officials said in an advisory.


Get Rewarded For Your Practice’s Behavioral Health Models - 05/07/2019

Have you integrated mental or behavioral health care into your practice? Is your practice’s model simple, innovative, and easy for a variety of primary care practices to copy and use for themselves? Are you interested in winning $10,000 for work you’ve already done? If the answer to all of those questions was yes, consider entering the Texas Academy of Family Physicians’ Behavioral Health Integration Innovators Competition.


Survey Shows Most Burnt-Out Specialties - 04/26/2019

According to a nationwide survey of health care professionals conducted last year, several specialties have burnout rates of 50 percent or more. Hospitalists led the survey, with 66 percent of respondents feeling burnt out.


Reduce Stress and Fight Burnout in Healthy Ways - 04/23/2019

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and the Texas Medical Association would like to remind you about free CME courses in the TMA Education Center that can help physicians deal with stress.


More Than 1 Million More Texans Could Be Covered, Report Shows - 04/18/2019

Expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act would help put a substantial dent in the number of uninsured Texans, a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows.


Texas Tech School Of Medicine Agrees To Drop Race As Admission Consideration - 04/12/2019

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine will stop considering race or ethnicity when selecting candidates for admission, part of an agreement with the U.S. Education Department’s civil rights office.


Get Awarded For Your Quality Work in 2018 - 04/12/2019

Did you submit Merit-Based Incentive Payment System data for the 2018 Quality Payment Program and feel like you deserve some kind of recognition for your hard work all year long? Apply now for the 2018-19 Physician Practice Quality Improvement Award.


Report Suspected Silicosis Cases - 04/10/2019

State health officials are investigating an apparent cluster of silicosis and are reminding physicians to report suspected cases of the severe, often fatal lung disease.


White Coats State Medicine’s Case to Lawmakers During First Tuesdays Event - 04/04/2019

About 400 Texas physicians, medical students, and TMA Alliance members came to Austin on Tuesday to advocate for medicine face-to-face with state lawmakers during First Tuesdays at the Capitol.


Gender Salary Disparity Continues Despite Mild Gains, Report Shows - 04/02/2019

The salary gap between male and female physicians remains high in several Texas metropolitan areas despite a nationwide decrease from 2017 to 2018, a new study shows.


More Medicaid GME Funding Possible For More Texas Teaching Hospitals - 04/01/2019

More Texas teaching hospitals are now eligible to receive federal dollars from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services through the Medicaid graduate medical education program.


Gastroenterologist Gives Patients An In-Depth Look at Colon Cancer Screening - 03/29/2019

Remember how we told you recently that March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and therefore a good time to remind your at-risk patients about regular screening? Well, one Austin gastroenterologist took raising awareness one step further by allowing cameras into … the exam room for his very first colonoscopy after his 50th birthday.  


Deadline to Submit 2018 MIPS Data is April 2 - 03/27/2019

If you plan to participate in the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, submitting your data for 2018 on time is not something to fool around with. That’s why the Texas Medical Association reminds you that the deadline to submit data for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’2018 Quality Payment Program is April 2 – the day after April Fool’s Day.


Here’s How You Can Help Improve Brain Injury Care - 03/27/2019

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is seeking members for the Texas Brain Injury Advisory Council, which advises the HHSC executive commissioner and Office of Acquired Brain Injury on how to implement sustainable service and support that meet the needs of people who have survived a brain injury.


Obit: TMA Past President Don Read, MD, Led Life Of Service - 03/26/2019

Dallas colon and rectal surgeon Don R. Read, MD, the 151st president of the Texas Medical Association, died March 21 after a short battle with cancer. He was 77.


Help Protect Your Patients From Colorectal Cancer - 03/26/2019

We’re reaching the tail end of March, which is a good time to remind you that March has been designated National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. To help curb colorectal cancer in Texas, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission encourages physicians to talk to their patients about regular screening.


How to Avoid MIPS Penalty with Minimal Reporting by April 2 - 03/25/2019

For 2018 reporting, your 2020 Medicare payments will be cut even more – by 5 percent – if you are required to participate in MIPS but choose not to submit data. So if you’d rather get paid in full next year (or – even better – receive a payment bonus), there’s still time to submit 2018 data. But you should act fast. The deadline is April 2.


Google Your Way To Disposing Of Unused Drugs? - 03/21/2019

If you’re looking for a way to help your patients put a dent in the nation’s opioid epidemic, look no further than Google Maps.  Google Maps recently added a search feature that will make it easier for your patients to dispose of unwanted and unused medications.  


Say No To Bill That Takes Physicians Out Of Balance Billing - 03/20/2019

The Texas Medical Association is fighting a bill working its way through the Capitol that would allow insurance plans to unilaterally determine payment for out-of-network billing.


Say No To Bill That Would Take Physicians Out Of Balance Billing - 03/20/2019

The Texas Medical Association is fighting a bill working its way through the Capitol that would allow insurance plans to unilaterally determine payment for out-of-network billing.


Keep Your Patients and Practice Safe from Opioid Prescription Fraud - 03/19/2019

If you prescribe opioids, it’s important to protect your practice and your patients from fraud and substance-use disorder. One way to ensure that patients accurately follow your prescription is to have them sign an informed consent and opioid treatment agreement.


Four Tips For Creating An Effective Online Presence - 03/13/2019

Patients (and Google) expect your website to be more than an online business card. To reach as many potential patients as possible, your site should be mobile-friendly, contain high-quality educational content, and show up at the top of search results. Check out these suggestions to make sure your practice doesn’t get lost online.


Your EHR Vendor Is Not Responsible For Your Security Risk Analysis - 03/11/2019

A Security Risk Analysis is a living document that should be reviewed at least annually to find new vulnerabilities, such as new technology, system upgrades, and any other changes within your practice that could affect the security of protected health information.


Most Texans Support Mandatory Childhood Vaccinations, Yet Another Poll Shows - 03/08/2019

Although an anti-vaccine movement has continued to grow in Texas, the vast majority of voters support requiring vaccinations for Texas children, results from a poll released this week show.