Stories written by David Doolittle

Caution Urged as Officials Continue to Monitor Coronavirus - 07/08/2020

State and federal health officials continue to monitor COVID-19. As of Tuesday afternoon, 210,585 cases and 2,715 deaths have been confirmed in Texas, according to a tracker for Texas COVID-19 cases published by the state Department of State Health Services.

What’s More Risky, Going to a Bar or Opening the Mail? - 07/08/2020

The Texas Medical Association COVID-19 Task Force and Committee on Infectious Diseases have created a chart that ranks activities on their risk level for COVID-19. The levels are based on input from the physician members of the task force and the committee, who worked from the assumption that – no matter the activity – participants were taking as many safety precautions as they can.

CDC Issues Health Advisory on Certain Hand Sanitizers - 07/07/2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health advisory about serious health effects of hand sanitizers that have tested positive for methanol (wood alcohol), which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested.

TMA Withdraws as GOP Convention Advertiser, Urges Party to Use Funds for Masks - 07/03/2020

The Texas Medical Association has withdrawn as an advertiser to the Texas GOP’s state convention after the party’s executive committee voted last night to go forward with plans to hold an in-person convention in Houston.

Governor Mandates Face Masks in Public Spaces in Most Texas Counties - 07/02/2020

Texans in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases will be required to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces, with some exceptions, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered today. It takes effect at noon July 3.

How to Prescribe Controlled Substances Under COVID-19 Waivers - 07/02/2020

If you treat patients with chronic pain, you can temporarily prescribe certain controlled substances during a telemedicine visit under state and federal waivers issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

TMA PPE Portal “Basically Kept Our Doors Open” - 07/02/2020

Northeast Texas Neurology Associates in Tyler was able to receive enough PPE to stay in business because of the Texas Medical Association PPE Portal, a partnership among TMA, county medical societies, and the state’s Hospital Preparedness Program partners and Regional Advisory Councils.

Here’s CDC Guidance for Vaccinations During COVID-19 - 07/01/2020

With so many changes in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, how can physicians and other health care professionals best administer vaccinations safely? To help answer that question, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently produced interim guidance for administering vaccines during a pandemic.

Telemedicine and COVID-19 – What You Need to Know and Do - 07/01/2020

If you would like more help understanding the changes and how to utilize telemedicine to care for your patients, the Texas Medical Association has created several tools and resources for you.

Governor Expands Elective Surgery Suspension to Hospitals in Four South Texas Counties - 06/30/2020

Gov. Greg Abbott today suspended most non-emergent elective surgeries at hospitals in Corpus Christi and three Rio Grande Valley counties to help ensure capacity for COVID-19 patients.

TMA Urges Republican Party to Change In-Person Convention Plans - 06/30/2020

The Texas Medical Association today urged the Republican Party of Texas to rethink its plans to hold its biennial state convention in person amid a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the state and the Houston area.

Texas Medicaid, CHIP Extend Telemedicine Changes Through July - 06/29/2020

As requested by the Texas Medical Association, the Health and Human Services Commission has extended some Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) flexibilities through July 31.

Texas Needs More Action to Curb Tobacco Use, Health Organizations Say - 06/26/2020

While praising recent restrictions on smoking, e-cigarettes, and vaping products, a coalition of Texas health organizations called on state lawmakers to do even more to keep children from using those products.

PPE Distributed to Fort Worth-Area Physicians - 06/26/2020

Some North Texas physicians are about to receive desperately needed personal protective equipment thanks to a partnership between the Texas Medical Association, the Tarrant County Medical Society, and the North Texas Regional Advisory Council.

Governor Reinstates Business Restrictions As COVID-19 Cases Rise - 06/26/2020

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday once again limited several types of businesses and activities in an attempt to slow the rapid growth of new COVID-19 cases statewide.

A Simple Reminder to Patients from Texas Physicians: “I’m Here” - 06/26/2020

To help you spread the message that Texas physicians are there for their patients, the Texas Medical Association has created a public service announcement  with a simple message: “I’m here.”

Governor Suspends Most Elective Hospital Surgeries in State’s Largest Counties - 06/25/2020

Gov. Greg Abbott has suspended most non-emergent elective surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties in response to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks.

Insurance Payments for Telemedicine Visits Extended to September - 06/24/2020

Texas-regulated insurers must continue to pay for telemedicine services, including mental health visits, at the same rate as in-person visits through Sept. 12, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) said today.

Here Is the Latest Information on How to Treat COVID-19 Patients - 06/23/2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Texas, our understanding of how best to treat patients has evolved. That’s why the Texas Medical Association COVID-19 Task Force has updated its frequently asked questions (FAQ) on COVID-19 treatment.

Here Is the Latest on Testing, Caring for COVID-19 Patients - 06/23/2020

As our understanding of COVID-19 continues to grow, the steps you should take to test and care for patients safely have evolved. That’s why the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force has updated its frequently asked questions (FAQ) documents on testing for the illness, and how to protect your practice and patients.

Governor: Wear a Mask, Texans - 06/23/2020

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday said he has no plans to reinstate business restrictions in Texas despite a significant spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent days.

Reminder: Minimum Safe Standards Still Required Statewide - 06/22/2020

As some Texas counties have begun ordering businesses to require employees and customers to wear masks, physicians across the state also must comply with face-covering requirements – among other minimum safe practices – as required by the Texas Medical Board.  

Texas Among Best in Keeping Medical Students, Residents Practicing In-State, Report Shows - 06/17/2020

Texas continues to rank among the most successful states in retaining physicians from its medical schools and residency programs, beating out 47 other states, data from 2019 show.

Texas Hospitals Can Meet COVID-19 Needs, Governor Says - 06/16/2020

Texas has abundant hospital capacity to treat COVID-19 patients now and in the coming months, Gov. Greg Abbott said today. According to state health officials, 2,518 confirmed COVID-19 patients are currently in Texas’ hospitals. There are almost 15,000 hospital beds and 1,675 intensive care beds available, state figures show.

TMA Podcast Answers Your PPP Loan FAQs - 06/16/2020

If you have been considering applying for a federal loan under the Paycheck Protection Program to help your practice financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have questions.The Texas Medical Association has created a podcast that will help answer many of those questions.