Stories written by David Doolittle

CMS to Recoup Chronic Care Management Payments - 12/06/2019

Some Texas physicians and outpatient facilities might have to refund payments they received for chronic care management services performed during 2015 and 2016 under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, federal officials said.


TMA Wants to Hear Your Thoughts on Practicing in Texas - 12/05/2019

Since 1990, the Texas Medical Association has asked Texas physicians for their thoughts on health care practice, the economic realities of practicing medicine in the state, and what issues they believe lawmakers should take on. Beginning Jan. 6, check your email inbox for an invitation to participate in the 2020 Physicians Survey.


Medical Billing Services to be Taxed Beginning Jan. 1 - 12/05/2019

“Beginning January 1, 2020, it is agency policy that medical billing services, including those performed prior to submitting a claim to an insurance company, to provide additional information, or to adjust a submitted billing, are taxable insurance services,” the Texas Comptroller’s office announced recently.


TMA Makes Strong Push for Fair Surprise Billing Legislation - 12/04/2019

The Texas Medical Association is urging Texas lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to show their support for federal legislation on surprise medical bills that includes commercially reasonable upfront payments and independent arbitration.


Grants Will Help Texans at Risk for Suicide - 12/04/2019

Just by answering more hotline calls, Texas will be able to improve care for people struggling with thoughts of suicide thanks to a two-year, $3 million grant from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s State Capacity Building Initiative.


Q&A: Food Allergies in Children a Public Health Problem - 12/04/2019

Ask Austin allergist Allen Lieberman, MD, which public health issue hasn’t received the attention it deserves, and his answer shouldn’t be a surprise. “Eight percent of kids have a food allergy,” Dr. Lieberman, who founded Austin Family Allergy and Asthma in 2016, told Texas Medicine. “It’s literally a food-allergy epidemic right now.”


Medicine Pushes State Lawmakers For Stronger Policies to Curb Teen Vaping - 12/03/2019

With the recent rise in severe pulmonary illness linked to vaping and e-cigarettes, state lawmakers on Tuesday took steps to curb use of those products, particularly among children and teenagers.


Vitamin E Acetate “A Strong Culprit” in Vaping-Related Lung Injuries - 12/03/2019

Vitamin E acetate, a sticky substance used in skin lotions and vitamin supplements, could be to blame for severe lung injuries linked to vaping that have sickened more than 200 people in Texas and thousands more across the U.S., health officials said Friday.


Two Texas E. Coli Cases Associated With Romaine Lettuce Identified - 12/03/2019

Health officials have confirmed two E. coli cases in Texas associated with tainted romaine lettuce produced in California. Officials with the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had few details about the Texas cases.


More Cases of Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated With Vaping Identified in Texas - 11/27/2019

The number of people with pulmonary illness linked to vaping continues to rise both in Texas and nationwide. As of Monday, 263 possible cases of EVALI, or e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, have been reported in Texas.


Do You Know Who Can Consent to the Treatment of a Minor? - 11/26/2019

The Texas Medical Association's recently updated white paper, Consent For Treatment of Minors, is there to help you understand what you can and cannot do when treating a person younger than 18.


Flu Season Continues; CDC Offers Free CME on Vaccines - 11/26/2019

If you’re looking for more ways to help prevent and control the spread of seasonal flu by using vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has teamed up with Medscape to offer free CME on the latest vaccine recommendations.


Above-Average Flu Activity Throughout Texas; One Pediatric Death Reported - 11/18/2019

Confirmed and possible cases of flu and flu-like illnesses have risen significantly across Texas in recent weeks, state health officials said, with one death reported – a 5-year-old who lived in the Rio Grande Valley.


“Patient Privacy Must Be Protected,” TMA Says in Response to Ascension-Google Partnership - 11/14/2019

Protecting sensitive patient health information should remain a top priority as technology and health care continue to intersect, Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD, said Thursday in response to a partnership between Google and Ascension health system.


Register Now For The TMA 2020 Winter Conference - 11/14/2019

Attend the Texas Medical Association's 2020 Winter Conference, scheduled for Jan. 24-25 at the Hyatt Regency Austin and the Louis J. Goodman Texas Medical Association Building (Friday only) in downtown Austin. Online registration is now open.


Open Enrollment 2020: Be Prepared for Coverage Changes - 11/13/2019

You’re probably already aware that open enrollment for commercial health insurance plans, including those on the Affordable Care Act Exchanges, opened Nov. 1 and will run through Dec. 15. While some patients won’t make any changes to their coverage, others will make significant changes, including enrolling with a completely different health plan.


Updated White Paper Has Latest Information on Telemedicine in Texas - 11/12/2019

Updated this year, the Texas Medical Association's white paper, Texas Laws and Regulations Relating to Telemedicine, describes the new Texas legal and regulatory requirements that apply to a physician providing telemedicine medical services.


Texas Among Best in Keeping Medical Students, Residents Practicing In-State, Report Shows - 11/11/2019

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.


Get Details About Your 5% Medicare Bonus - 11/05/2019

If you participated in the advanced alternative payment model (APM) track during the 2017 Quality Payment Program (QPP) performance year, full details of your 5% APM incentive payment are finally available.


West Nile Cases Rising in Texas; One Death Confirmed - 10/29/2019

State health officials have confirmed 19 cases of West Nile illness in Texas this year, including one death. Most of the confirmed cases have been identified in El Paso with 13, according to data from the Department of State Health Services. Other cases have been confirmed in Brazoria, Floyd, Hale, Harris, Nolan, and Tarrant counties.


TMA to Trump: Do Not Expand NPPs’ Scope of Practice - 10/29/2019

When President Donald Trump released an executive order earlier this month that would, in part, expand the scope of practice of nonphysician practitioners, the Texas Medical Association vowed to keep physicians at the head of the health care team. On Monday, TMA President David Fleeger, MD, took a major step to do that, urging President Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to remove that language entirely.


Profile: A Strong Start for Texas Women in Medicine - 10/22/2019

Passionate. Knowledgeable. Dedicated. Strong. Those four words only begin to describe the multitude of women who practice medicine throughout Texas. So it’s only fitting that the physician elected as interim chair of the Texas Medical Association’s new Women in Medicine Section exemplifies these qualities.


Honor A Physician Doing Outstanding Public Health Work - 10/22/2019

In celebration of the work Texas physicians are doing in public health, the Texas Medical Association has created an award to recognize a member physician who has made outstanding contributions to medicine through a significant commitment to public health.


No Cannabis for Pregnant Women or New Mothers, FDA Warns - 10/22/2019

Texas physicians are encouraged to help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration spread the word to pregnant and breast-feeding mothers to avoid using cannabis and cannabis-derived products.


Help Promote National Drug Prescription Take Back Day on Oct. 26 - 10/22/2019

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.