Stories written by Emma Freer

The Next-Gen Practice: How Millennials Are Transforming Medicine - 09/28/2022

Millennials, now the largest living adult generation in the U.S., are searching for on-demand care, transparent pricing, and more supportive workplaces, providing the impetus for new practice models and for existing practices to adapt.


You've Got Direct Mail: Direct Messaging Offers Practice Benefits - 09/28/2022

Direct messaging is a low-cost, electronic communication method similar to email that allows physicians to exchange protected health information over the internet in a secure, HIPAA-compliant manner.


Upcoming Flu Season, Vaccine Hesitancy Could Intensify as Side Effects of Pandemic - 09/27/2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaped recent flu seasons, and there’s reason to believe this trend will continue.


TMA Fights Another Proposed Medicare Pay Cut, While Pressing for Reform - 09/26/2022

TMA recently responded to the Medicare's 984-page proposal with concerns about a 4.4% pay cut and other potentially harmful changes related to scope expansion, e-prescribing penalties, and physicians’ administrative burden.


What's New in Value-Based Care - 09/23/2022

Once dubbed unicorns, value-based care (VBC) models that eschew fee-for-service payment in favor of rewarding quality have materialized; the Texas Medical Association aims to be on the crest of this wave with the formation of its new Task Force on Alternative Payment Models.


TMA Urges Comprehensive Rural Health Care Reform Amid Workforce Shortages - 09/22/2022

Last December, Adrian Billings, MD – a family physician serving Alpine, Marfa, and Presidio – responded to a small plane crash on his way home from work. After he called 911, he saw the lone ambulance in Presidio pass by the crash, on its way to another call. He said the two plane passengers likely wouldn’t have survived had emergency medical services from nearby cities not intervened.


Strength in Numbers: Women Physicians Seek to Change the Culture of Medicine - 09/22/2022

In Texas, women accounted for 36% of active physicians as of September, just under the national rate of 37% and more than double their share 25 years ago. They now outnumber men among Texas medical school enrollees, suggesting they may account for most of the physician workforce in future decades.


TMA Puts Physicians’ Wellness First With New Program - 09/21/2022

The demands of the pandemic have heightened a sense of urgency to support physicians' health and well-being. With that in mind, TMA launched it's Wellness First - Supporting Physicians Health campaign during Fall Conference. Check out the CME program line-up and register soon.


Payment, Paperwork Parity Critical to Preserving Telehealth Gains, TMA Tells Lege - 09/20/2022

If pandemic era telehealth gains are to be preserved, lawmakers must help ensure physicians are paid the same rates and held to the same documentation and medical record retention standards for telehealth visits as they are for


“Administrative Churn” Could Cost Texas Medicaid Patients Their Coverage When PHE Ends - 09/13/2022

Nearly half of the 15 million Medicaid patients across the U.S. at risk of losing coverage when the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends may fall prey to “administrative churning.” That is, they could lose coverage despite remaining eligible because of difficulties navigating the renewal process, address changes, and other administrative challenges.


Under Construction: Alternative Payment Models Pose Challenges for Specialists - 09/12/2022

Many physician specialists face a conundrum: Without a dedicated alternative payment model in place for their specialty, there's little incentive for them to break away from the fee-for-service paradigm.


“Gold Card” Final Rules Heed Some, But Not All, TMA Recommendations on Prior Auth Exemption Process - 09/09/2022

Texas physicians have anxiously awaited – and advocated for – relief from onerous prior authorizations, which is now closer than ever.


Access to Hep C Treatment in Texas Medicaid Delayed - 09/07/2022

Texas Medicaid patients with hepatitis C will have to wait a little longer to access potentially curative antiviral medications.


Inflation Reduction Act Expands Health Coverage, Ignores Medicare Payment Fix - 08/30/2022

The Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law on Aug. 16, has made headlines for its deficit- and climate change-related provisions. But the omnibus legislation also will expand health care coverage and lower Medicare prescription drug costs.


Information Unblocked: Rules Requiring Docs to Give Patients Prompt Access to EHRs Prove Mostly Useful - 08/24/2022

The information blocking regulations stemming from the 21st Century Cures Act, which Congress passed in 2016, broaden patients' access to their electronic medical records and have proven mostly useful since taking effect in April 2021.


Texas Medicaid to Loosen Access to Hepatitis C Treatment - 08/21/2022

Texas Medicaid patients with hepatitis C have struggled for years to access potentially curative antiviral medications. But this will get much easier on Sept. 1.


Texas Children Among Most at Risk of Losing Health Coverage When PHE Ends - 08/19/2022

Texas is one of six states where children enrolled in Medicaid and in the Children’s Health Insurance Program are especially at risk of losing their health insurance when the public health emergency ends.


Public Health Emergency’s End Would Kickstart Medicaid Eligibility Re-Checks. Here’s How to Prepare - 08/19/2022

After strong advocacy by the American Medical Association and other organizations, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services appears poised to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency for a 10th time.


Health Commissioner Reflects on Texas’ Pandemic Response, Honored by State Senate - 08/18/2022

Nearly two and a half years after the first positive COVID-19 test result was reported in Texas, Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, is taking stock of what happened next and how to prevent the next pandemic.


Generational Pull: Vivek Rao, MD, Has Passion for Medicine in His DNA - 08/15/2022

Odessa allergist Vivek Rao, MD, comes from a family of physicians and inherited their passion for organized medicine.


Talk to Patients About: Monkeypox - 08/05/2022

Monkeypox cases, rarely seen outside of countries in Africa, are rising rapidly, including in Texas, where 485 cases had been reported as of Aug. 2. As a result, physicians may be fielding questions from concerned patients.


UPDATE: Monkeypox Warrants Vigilance Amid National, Global Health Emergency - 08/05/2022

Physicians and other health care professionals should be vigilant to the possibility of monkeypox in patients after the Biden administration declared the outbreak a national public health emergency.


Health Insurers Now Required to Post Comprehensive Price Data - 08/01/2022

Physicians, patients, and employers have long wondered whether they’re getting a fair shake from health insurers, whose prices have been clouded in secrecy – until now.


Value-Based Care for All: Practices of All Sizes Can Make the Switch - 07/29/2022

Moving away from fee-for-service requires taking on risk as well as hiring staff, launching new programs, and investing in data analysis, but practices of all stripes have made the switch successfully.


Untangling ImmTrac2: TMA Aims to Build on Immunization Registry Reforms - 07/29/2022

The Texas Medical Association is hopeful state lawmakers will be spurred by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to address ImmTrac2's shortfalls, bolstering public health protections and easing physicians' administrative woes.