Stories written by David Doolittle

Microsoft Windows, Server Systems Vulnerable to Hackers, Feds Warn - 01/17/2020

Texas physicians should look out for a security weakness in Microsoft Windows 10, Server 2016, and Server 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said this week.


Register Now For The TMA 2020 Winter Conference - 01/13/2020

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.


Reconnect With Your IMG Colleagues at TMA Winter Conference - 01/13/2020

Join your colleagues in Austin and enjoy all of the International Medical Graduate (IMG) Section events at TMA Winter Conference, Jan. 24-25 at the Hyatt Regency, Austin.


Texas Needs More Action to Curb Tobacco Use, Health Organizations Say - 01/10/2020

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.


Cost of Newborn Screening Kits has Increased - 01/07/2020

Beginning Jan. 1, the cost of each Texas Newborn Screening Program kit will increase from $55.24 to $60.58 to accommodate the inclusion of X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) screening, which was added this summer.


Medicare Sequestration Cuts, GPCI Floor Continue - 01/07/2020

As we begin 2020, it’s a good time to remember that several Medicare policies that affect physician payment remain in effect. Medicare sequestration, the federal government’s 2% across-the-board payment cut, will continue until further notice. In addition, Medicare’s 1.0 floor for the Geographic Practice Cost Indices (GPCI) has been extended temporarily, once again, to May 23.


Hospitals Can Improve Care for Patients With Hearing-Loss, TMA Says - 01/03/2020

Hospitals and emergency departments should provide specific forms of identification for patients with hearing loss, the Texas Medical Association emphasized to the Texas Hospital Association last year.


Q&A: Physician Podcaster Jeffrey Jarvis, MD - 01/02/2020

A love of teaching is what propelled Jeffrey Jarvis, MD, into his latest undertaking: hosting a nationally distributed podcast.


Comptroller Postpones Taxing Medical Billing Services - 12/30/2019

After meeting with the Texas Medical Association, the state comptroller’s office will postpone the date that medical practices will be required to pay taxes on medical billing services by an outside company. The comptroller’s office in November announced that medical billing services would be subject to sales and use taxes beginning Jan. 1. That date has been pushed back to April 1.


Laptop Encryption Helps You Stay HIPAA Compliant - 12/19/2019

If you or your practice store financial or patient information on laptop computers, you could face hefty fines if those devices are lost or stolen. Thankfully, one important step toward protecting patient data, and yourself, is simple thanks to widely available encryption tools.


Six Pediatric Deaths Reported as Flu Cases Rise in Texas - 12/19/2019

Six children in Texas have died of flu-related illness since the season started at the end of September, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said last week. Four were not vaccinated for the current season, and health officials are still gathering information on the other deaths.


Medicine Pushes For Expanding Medicaid Coverage to New Moms - 12/19/2019

Federal lawmakers must pass a bill that would allow states to provide 12 months postpartum coverage to mothers who lose Medicaid coverage two months after giving birth, and would provide a bump in Medicaid matching dollars for those states, medicine and others said in a letter this week.


TMA Wants to Hear Your Thoughts on Practicing in Texas - 12/19/2019

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.


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 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.