Stories written by David Doolittle

Encourage your Patients to Participate in the Texas COVID-19 Antibody Study - 01/21/2021

Researchers with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have asked physicians to encourage patients to participate in a statewide seroprevalance study on the human antibody response to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

President Biden Outlines Steps to Address COVID-19 Pandemic - 01/20/2021

In a series of executive orders released before taking office Tuesday, President Joseph Biden took several steps to address the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including issuing a mask challenge, re-engaging with the World Health Organization (WHO), and coordinating a unified national response.

What You Need to Know About Mandatory E-Prescribing Controlled Substances - 01/12/2021

The Texas Medical Association has created a “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) document that can help you understand state and federal laws that went into effect Jan. 1 requiring physicians to electronically prescribe controlled substances as well as various waivers.

Webinar to Troubleshoot ImmTrac2 Errors for COVID-19 Vaccine - 01/11/2021

State health officials have scheduled a live webinar designed to help address common errors and data quality issues when reporting COVID-19 vaccine information to ImmTrac2, the state’s vaccine registry. The webinar is set for 1 to 2 pm (CT) Friday, Jan. 15.

Submit 2020 Data Now to Avoid Medicare Pay Cut - 01/08/2021

If you participated in Medicare’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), the window to submit data to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) opened Jan. 4 and closes March 31. The deadline to submit all claims under the Quality performance category is March 1.

COVID-19 UK Variant Identified in Texas - 01/07/2021

COVID-19 Vaccines Report, Jan. 6, 2021: Vaccines A Harris County resident was diagnosed with Texas’ first case of a COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom during the fall, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) announced today.o Go to Large Hubs, Officials Say

Health Plans Extend Telemedicine, Cost-Share Waivers - 01/05/2021

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health plans in Texas have adopted various temporary deadlines and extensions as part of their coronavirus policies.

Don’t Delay Administering Vaccines, Health Officials Tell Facilities - 12/30/2020

State health officials are urging facilities that have received COVID-19 vaccines to not delay administering those vaccines and to report all inoculations to ImmTrac2, the state’s vaccine registry.

TMA Offers Guidance on Clearing Youth Athletes Who Have Recovered From COVID-19 - 12/23/2020

As schools and other recreational leagues prepare for spring sports seasons in the upcoming year, the Texas Medical Association has published guidance for physicians to clear athletes ages 18 and younger who have recovered from COVID-19.  

What’s Different About the Available COVID-19 Vaccines? - 12/23/2020

To help you and your patients understand the differences and similarities between the COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, the Texas Medical Association has compiled important links to review before administering either vaccine.

Ten Things to Know to Administer COVID-19 Vaccines - 12/23/2020

State health officials have begun distributing COVID-19 vaccines across the state, based on guiding principles that prioritize essential health care workers and vulnerable populations. Here are 10 things to know about administering vaccines manufactured by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

Federal Lawmakers Agree to Surprise Billing Restrictions, Physician Payment Protections - 12/23/2020

Federal lawmakers put new restrictions on surprise medical billing, reduced requirements that would’ve cut physician Medicare payments, and secured COVID-19-related relief for physicians as part of a massive omnibus legislation package approved this week.

Health Plans to Cover Costs of Administering COVID-19 Vaccines - 12/23/2020

Individual health plans, Medicare, and Medicaid will cover COVID-19 vaccine administration fees without cost-sharing, TMA has learned. Meanwhile, the federal government will pay for each COVID-19 vaccine serum – even if it is part of a claim – at least through the end of the national public health emergency, TMA understands.

Texas Medical Board Posts More Details on E-Prescribing Waivers - 12/22/2020

Beginning Jan. 1, prescriptions for all controlled substances must be filed electronically. However, prescribers who demonstrate financial or technical hardships, or other exceptional circumstances, can apply for a waiver that, if approved, will grant a one-year delay.

All Texans 65 and Older Prioritized for COVID-19 Vaccine - 12/22/2020

Anyone 65 and older and people with chronic health conditions such as, but not limited to, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obesity, and pregnancy will be among the next group to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines, state health officials announced today.

“Vaccinate All Medical Staff,” Medicine Tells Hospitals - 12/22/2020

As more COVID-19 vaccines are distributed to facilities across the state, the Texas Medical Association is dedicated to working so that all Texas physicians receive doses to protect themselves and their patients.

Monoclonal Antibody Treatments Available for COVID-19 Outpatients in Texas - 12/21/2020

Physicians treating certain COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms should be aware that monoclonal antibody treatments are available at select Texas outpatient facilities.

Texas Medicaid, CHIP Changes Extended Into January - 12/18/2020

Some Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) flexibilities put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic have been extended into January, state health officials announced.

Hospital Physicians, Staff Among First to Receive COVID-19 Vaccines; Enroll Soon - 12/14/2020

More than 100 hospitals in 34 counties will receive Texas’ first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine this week, the Texas Department of State Health Services has announced. The allocation strategy prioritizes essential health care workers and vulnerable populations.

UHC Postpones Higher Liability Coverage Requirements Plan - 12/11/2020

UnitedHealthCare (UHC) postponed a plan that would require Texas physicians to substantially increase their professional liability insurance coverage in order to participate in its networks. The move comes after the Harris County Medical Society and Texas Medical Association expressed serious concerns about the new policy.

Take Action: Tell Federal Lawmakers to Stop Medicare Payment Cuts - 12/10/2020

TMA urges you to tell your federal lawmakers to support HR 8702, also known as the “Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act,” which would freeze Medicare Part B payments at 2020 rates for two years.

E-Prescribing of Controlled Substances to be Required Jan. 1 - 12/09/2020

Although state law and Medicare policy will require electronic prescriptions for all controlled substances beginning Jan. 1, Texas prescribers have several options for delaying implementation for at least another year.

New CMS Rule Allows More Physician Self-Referrals Under “Stark Law” - 12/04/2020

Physicians who have financial relationships with medical services facilities, such as labs and imaging services, are able to refer more Medicare or Medicaid patients to those facilities under a final rule published this week.

New TMA Ads Remind Texans of the Importance of Vaccines - 12/03/2020

In a new ad campaign that debuted during the Democratic National Convention, TMA reminds Texans of the many ways vaccinations protect us. A second ad will run Thursday, Aug. 27, during the closing night of the Republican National Convention.

“Texas Strong” Mask Campaign Calls on Texans to Come Together to Fight COVID-19 - 12/02/2020

As cases spike again throughout the state, the Texas Medical Association and four other members of the Texas Health Care Industry Strike Force on COVID-19 are reinforcing the call to wear masks through a new public service announcement campaign entitled “Texas Strong.”