Stories written by Sean Price

Clearing the Haze: Texas Physicians Demystify Vaping - 01/15/2020

The rise in EVALI deaths and hospitalizations has changed the conversation about vaping and gives physicians an opportunity to champion tighter rules and higher taxes on an untested, unhealthy product that remains lightly regulated in both the U.S. and Texas.


Texas Physicians Propose Mass Violence Prevention Strategies - 01/13/2020

How should Texas address the incidents of mass violence that have rocked the state in recent years? Physicians laid out medicine’s priorities before a special committee of the Texas House of Representatives late last week.


Left In The Dust: Helping Underreporting of Workplace Illnesses - 01/09/2020

Workplace illnesses can be difficult for physicians and patients because some take years to develop and frequently are masked or mimicked by other illnesses. Such a disease may not show itself until decades after the patient has left the job that caused the problem. By then, the illness may be so far along that little can be done. That time lag between exposure and illness is just one of several difficulties Texas physicians face in tackling workplace illnesses. Because Texas does not have a federally-approved plan for developing and enforcing workplace health and safety standards, the state defers to OSHA on this responsibility.


Breaking Down Barriers: New State Effort Helps Get LARCs to Women Who Need Them - 01/02/2020

In November 2019, HHSC named boosting the use of LARCs as goal No. 1 for improving the health of women and children. The announcement came when HHSC released its first-ever annual business plan, “Blueprint for a Healthy Texas.”


Taking Privacy to a New Level: Texas Lowers Reporting Threshold for Security Breaches - 01/02/2020

Federal requirements have not changed, but starting Jan. 1, breach notification requirements will become even more stringent for Texas physicians or medical entities. The Texas Legislature dropped the threshold for breach reporting from 500 patients to 250. House Bill 4390 also requires medical entities to report breaches to the Texas attorney general’s office within 60 days of the breach.


More Women Needed in State Leadership, Panelists Say - 12/13/2019

Women need to be more aggressive about seizing leadership roles in the Texas Legislature and state government, according to a panel of Texas politicians speaking at the Texas Medical Association 2019 Advocacy Retreat on Saturday.


Social Media A Vital Tool for Influencing Policy, Panel Says - 12/13/2019

Social media has become indispensable for politicians to reach voters, but it's also a crucial way for voters – like physicians – to influence decision-makers and public opinion, a panel of state representatives and social media consultants said at the Texas Medical Association's Advocacy Retreat on Saturday.


Talk to Patients About: How Vaccines Work - 12/04/2019

Ignorance is a well-known cause of vaccine hesitancy. Physicians can step into that void to teach patients about what vaccines are and why they’re important. That includes information about the risks and benefits of vaccines, how quickly illnesses spread, and the symptoms and complications of natural infection.


Addressing Autism: Giving Physicians Tools - 12/04/2019

Autism spectrum disorder is a fast-growing, serious developmental disability in the U.S., affecting an estimated one out of 59 children nationally, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is about four times more common in boys than girls. In recognition of its growing importance, TMA’s House of Delegates in 2019 approved a resolution encouraging physicians to expand and promote resources for families of people with autism.


Leveraging LARCs: Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives Part of Texas’ Solution to Unwanted Pregnancies, Maternal Deaths - 11/16/2019

Today LARCs are one of the safest and most-effective types of reversible birth control, but their reputation took a huge hit in the 1970s thanks to the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device (IUD). Memories persist of news reports about the shield’s many defects. This mistrust of LARCs — along with other obstacles to their wider use — hamper progress toward a wider goal for Texas medicine: improving maternal health and reducing maternal deaths across the state.


Texas’ Rise in Uninsured Kids Among Fastest in Nation, Report Says - 11/13/2019

The bad news keeps coming for Texas’ uninsured rate. Between 2016 and 2018, Texas tied for the second-highest jump in the rate of uninsured children among all 50 states, according to a study released Wednesday by Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families in Washington, D.C.


Experience. That’s Why Physicians Lead Medical Teams - 11/07/2019

Because advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants interact with so many patients, many assume nonphysician practitioners are a type of physician or a physician-in-training. This chart compares how physicians, APRNs, and PAs in Texas are educated, trained, and employed in health care settings. It shows why APRNs and PAs are considered vital parts of medical teams – and why physicians are the leaders of those teams.


Texas Voters Approve Renewed Funding for Cancer Research - 11/06/2019

Texas' ongoing battle against cancer just got new life. Voters statewide overwhelmingly approved Proposition 6 on Tuesday to continue funding for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), the state's cancer-fighting agency.


Talk to Patients About: The Autism Myth - 11/04/2019

It’s hard to find a medical myth that’s been more thoroughly debunked than the notion that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism. But this mountain of evidence doesn’t stop anti-vaccine advocates from recycling this myth, which dates back to 1998.


Keeping Outbreaks at Bay: El Paso's High Vaccination Rate Pays Off - 11/01/2019

"El Paso’s 2019 Measles Outbreak Hits 5,000 Cases.” That headline was never written and – thanks in part to dedicated work by El Paso physicians and health care workers – never will be.


Texas' High Rate of Uninsured Hurting the Economy, Study Says - 10/30/2019

Texas has the highest percentage and number of people without health insurance in the United States, which could cause long-term damage to the state’s economy, says a study released this week by the Texas Alliance for Health Care.


Talk to Patients About: Flu - 10/24/2019

Flu is serious, and the vaccine can prevent or minimize the illness.


Texas Health Care Professionals Praise CPRIT’s Cancer-Prevention Funding - 10/22/2019

Kathleen Schmeler, MD, spends a lot of time trying to vaccinate young Texans against human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer and other types of cancer. As part of a special four-person panel on the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Monday, Dr. Schmeler described how funding from CPRIT makes her work possible.


Health Officials Lay Out Blueprint for Making Texas Healthier - 10/16/2019

Texas health officials Wednesday released their inaugural "Blueprint for a Healthy Texas," which identifies 12 health care target areas most important to the state and lays out plans for addressing them in 2020.


Physicians Need to Prepare for New Opioid Rules and Best Practices - 10/09/2019

Texas physicians need to prepare for changes in state law tied to opioid prescribing in the coming months, according to the three-physician panel that addressed "Responding to the Opioid Epidemic" at the 2019 Texas Medical Association Fall Conference.


Talk to Patients About: Measles Update - 10/01/2019

Measles outbreaks in the U.S. were once a rare event, but in 2019 they turned into a potential public health crisis. Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 8, more than 1,200 cases of the deadly disease – which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared eradicated in America in 2000 – have been confirmed in 30 states.


The Doctor - and Lawyer - Will See You Now: Medical-Legal Partnerships - 09/27/2019

Elderly woman. Low-income. Chronic pain. Needs to see a rheumatologist. Needs physical therapy. Struggling to pay rent. Has no insurance. Has no disability coverage. As a family physician at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Austin, Sharad Kohli, MD, sees a lot of cases like this. In similar health care settings, the patient might face two bad choices: wage bureaucratic war to obtain better health care benefits or simply give up. At People’s Community Clinic, Dr. Kohli referred her to an in-house lawyer who successfully appealed her denial of disability insurance. “[The lawyer] got her a significant income, which allowed her to pay her rent and also helped her get insurance through Medicaid and Medicare,” Dr. Kohli said. “And then she was able to see the rheumatologist and the physical therapist.” This kind of success helps explain why medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) like the one at People’s Community Clinic came about in 1993 and began expanding nationally after 2001. Te...


The Promise of Artificial Intelligence - 09/27/2019

“Prepare Yourselves, Robots Will Soon Replace Doctors in Healthcare,” screamed the headline in a 2017 Forbes magazine article. Media coverage like that makes it easy to see why artificial intelligence (AI) sounds like scary science fiction to some physicians.


Vote for CPRIT - 09/26/2019

On Nov. 5, Texans will vote on Proposition 6, a constitutional amendment designed to extend CPRIT’s funding by $3 billion and keep the agency’s grants flowing for an estimated 10 additional years. (See “Vote for Proposition 6 on Nov. 5,” page 21.) TMA supports this effort to keep CPRIT’s current funding from running out in 2022.


A New Understanding: Improving Care for LGBTQ Patients - 09/18/2019

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.