Stories written by Sean Price

Tying Immigration to Medicaid Foolish, TMA President Says - 08/20/2019

The Trump Administration's new rule seeking to limit access to green cards for immigrants who receive Medicaid and other government benefits will discourage people from seeing their physicians, worsening medical problems and harming public health, says Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD.


TMA Supports Evidence-Based Care for LGBTQ Youth - 08/20/2019

The Texas Medical Association aggressively opposes any "potentially harmful, unproven therapies," such as conversion therapy, that are designed to change the sexual orientation of LGBTQ young people, TMA President David Fleeger, MD, said in prepared testimony to the Texas Medical Board on Friday.


Unlocking Doors: Minority Scholarship Program Connects Students with Mentors - 08/19/2019

When the Texas Medical Association founded its Minority Scholarship Program in 1998 to diversify the physician workforce, Dr. Ramamurthy became both a contributor and a mentor to students who receive the scholarships. “When you’re mentoring students, one of the things that you want them to understand is that you’re somebody they can talk to who is not only there as a teacher, but as a friend,” she said. Other top donors to the Minority Scholarship serve voluntarily as mentors to student awardees. TMA encourages those arrangements because they can benefit both parties.


A New Understanding: Improving Care for LGBTQ Patients - 08/19/2019

Like everyone else, LGBTQ patients can face some unusual medical problems. But many of these patients’ biggest challenge is that their health problems can be amplified by hostility from others. Meanwhile, structural problems within the health care system frequently discourage LGBTQ patients from visiting physicians. LGBTQ patients frequently avoid physicians because of previous bad experiences. Many physicians who would like to treat LGBTQ patients often hesitate because they fear they lack the training.


Mobilizing Against Measles: Physicians Face the Worst National Outbreak in Decades - 08/12/2019

Measles – a deadly disease the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared eradicated in America in 2000 – has made an unwelcome return in 2019. The anti-vaccine movement is weakening Texas’ ability to withstand outbreaks, but there are still many things physicians can do to work with patients and communities to improve vaccination rates.


Talk to Patients About: Hib - 08/12/2019

Talk to your patients about Haemophilus influenzae type b – or Hib, which, despite its name, does not cause influenza. However, Hib causes several severe illnesses, particularly meningitis, mostly in children younger than 5.


New Laws Improve Opioid Prescription Process in Texas - 08/06/2019

The 2019 Texas Legislature enacted three new laws that will change the way physicians prescribe opioids, including House Bill 3284, which delays the mandate for physicians check the state’s prescription monitoring program, known as PMP Aware, for prescriptions tied to opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and carisoprodol. The bill pushes back the requirement from Sept. 1, 2019, to March 1, 2020.


On Call at the Capitol: TMA's 2019 Legislative Agenda - 08/02/2019

When the 86th Texas Legislature convenes on Jan. 8, TMA will build on its major successes of 2017, renew some of the biggest battles that stalled two years ago, and tackle relatively new ones. Physicians will make their case to a somewhat new makeup of lawmakers as they pursue better Medicaid coverage for postpartum women, insurer accountability for narrow networks, more funding for community mental health, and many other aims.


All Together Now: Health Care Mergers Reshape the Way Texas Physicians Practice - 08/02/2019

Consolidation has touched just about every part of today’s health care industry. Hospitals, medical practices, pharmacies, insurance companies are all merging in various ways — a trend epitomized by the 2018 announcement that hospital systems Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas and Memorial Hermann in Houston plan to become one big nonprofit.


The Making of a Med School - 08/02/2019

Building more medical schoos might seem like an obvious answer to the doctor shortage, especially because medical schools can bring other benefits to a community beyond producing physicians, including prestige, high-paying jobs, and improved health care services. But not everyone is a fan of the idea, and starting one from scratch is complicated. Some have struggled more than others to get established, mostly because of funding.


Talk to Patients About: Tetanus - 08/02/2019

Almost all U.S. tetanus cases occur among people who are unvaccinated or did not receive a booster shot, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Searching for a Better Online Reputation - 08/02/2019

What people see on the internet can bring in — or drive away — patients. But most physicians are not trained in either communications or digital technology, and so have little understanding of the financial impact of search engines, social media, and review sites.


Borders Without Enough Doctors: El Paso Physicians Volunteer Care for Asylum-Seekers - 08/02/2019

Dr. Gutierrez is part of a small group of El Paso physicians who provide volunteer medical care at the city’s 18 shelters for asylum-seekers entering the United States through the Texas border. What started in October 2018 as a local, ad hoc way to address health care needs among the steady stream of immigrants is gradually turning into a statewide — even national — network of volunteer physicians.


AIMing to Save Lives: More Standardized Care Could Bring Down Texas' Maternal Death Rate - 08/02/2019

Texas’ maternal death rate is still high, and public health officials are betting that more standardized care will bring it down with guidelines set up by the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM).


Talk to Patients About: Hepatitis B - 08/02/2019

There are six different vaccines for hepatitis B in the United States, so there’s no shortage of tools to prevent it. Yet in 2016, more than 1,698 people in this country – and more than 780,000 worldwide – died from this viral liver infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization.


Pushing the Envelope: Match Day, Medicine’s Rite of Passage - 08/02/2019

On March 15, more than 200 medical school seniors, as well as their friends and family, gathered outdoors in Webber Plaza behind the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston. The students were about to learn where they’d be doing their residency training.


Most Valuable Team: Managing Nonphysician Staff Efficiently Can Boost Patient Care and Bottom Line - 08/02/2019

Because state laws and insurer billing requirements governing physician delegation and supervision can be tricky to navigate, practices must stay up to date to avoid potential penalties.


Taking Medicine's Temperature: TMA's 2018 Survey of Texas Physicians - 08/02/2019

TMA’s 2018 Survey of Texas Physicians asked members about their legislative priorities, payer relationships, and practice environment, scope of practice concerns, and much, much more. TMA conducted the email survey in monthly installments between January and August 2018. Here are some highlights.


Talk to Patients About: Meningococcal B - 08/02/2019

Meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine is the new kid on the block for children and adolescents, having won Food and Drug Administration approval in 2014. This presents a problem for physicians: Because there is an older vaccine for the other types of meningococcal bacteria, many patients who’ve had that vaccine wrongly believe they’re also protected against MenB.


Inspiring Choices: Mentorship Can Boost African-American Representation in Medicine - 08/02/2019

African Americans are underrepresented in medicine. Mentorship can help them choose medical careers.


Working Toward Wellness: TMA’s Physician Health and Wellness Exchange Tackles Burnout - 08/02/2019

TMA’s Physician Health and Wellness Exchange helps physicians find ways to fight burnout.


What’s Killing Texans? Fixing Texas' System for Tracking Deaths - 08/02/2019

Distorted death statistics inaccurately portray how people are dying, with significant public health implications. System changes and physician education could help.


Talk to Patients About: Diphtheria - 08/02/2019

Most people know little about diphtheria today thanks to the effectiveness of its vaccine. But fear of this highly contagious bacterial infection – which chokes off patients’ ability to breathe –  was once so strong that it accidentally gave birth to a major sporting event: the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race.


Dell Med’s “Growth Year”: Innovative Curriculum Hits Milepost - 08/02/2019

Dell Medical School turned students’ third year into a “growth year” in which they could pursue either an independent health care project or a dual degree. Here’s how three Dell Med students spent this past year.


Don’t Try This at Work: Security Risk Analysis Is Not a Do-It-Yourself Project - 08/02/2019

Medicare’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) requires practices to conduct a security risk analysis at least once a year. HIPAA requires at least one analysis, and annual check-ups are considered a best practice. Many physicians find out through these reports that their practices have a lot of work to do to keep patient records safe.