Stories written by Steve Levine

Medicine Urges Congress to Help “Sustain Physician Practices” Amid COVID-19 Crisis - 03/23/2020

The Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, and numerous other medical societies are calling on congressional leaders to include provisions in the pending coronavirus stimulus legislation that will “sustain physicians and their practices” as they struggle to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Gov. Abbott: No Nonessential Surgeries - 03/23/2020

In a move to conserve hospital capacity and critical resources, and to reduce health care workers’ and patients’ exposure to the coronavirus, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday issued an executive order directing the postponement until late April of all surgeries and procedures “that are not immediately necessary.”


Legal and Ethical Concerns During the Coronavirus Crisis - 03/16/2020

In response to questions raised by physicians around the state, the Texas Medical Association Office of General Counsel and the TMA COVID-19 Task Force have drafted a new white paper and a letter addressing physicians’ legal and ethical responsibilities to patients. The “Legal Pitfalls of Patient Termination” white paper is a detailed document that physicians may find useful in numerous situations.


Considering Telemedicine in the Wake of COVID-19? - 03/09/2020

Much of America, Texas included, is engaged in a big “what if” conversation about what happens next with the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Could telemedicine be part of the solution for your practice?


Which Presidential Candidate Stands for What Again? - 02/24/2020

A group of dedicated Harris County physicians has a cure for “too many candidates confusion disorder.” They compiled a simple table of the candidates’ positions on seven key health care policy issues based on the candidates’ official websites and The Washington Post’s “We’re Asking 2020 Democrats Where They Stand on Key Issues.”


Doctor on the Set: Surgical Resident Thrives in Hollywood - 02/18/2020

About two years ago, Michael Metzner, MD, took a break from his San Antonio surgical residency program for what was supposed to be a year-long gig in the bright lights of Hollywood. He hasn’t come back. He says he will … just not quite yet.


California Model Benefits Insurers, at Physicians’ and Patients’ Expense, Physicians Tell Congress - 02/11/2020

Texas Medical Association physician leaders, along with their colleagues from California and the rest of the country, are on Capitol Hill this week, lobbying Congress to toss out a California-inspired provision from a rapidly moving health insurance bill.


Send TMA Your Prior Auth Nightmare Stories - 01/31/2020

Arbitrary. Confusing. Frustrating. Never-ending. Maddening. Those are some of the terms we can actually print that describe physicians’ perceptions of insurance companies’ prior authorization requirements and approval processes. Your personal stories of patient harm due to prior authorization request delays or denials can give the Texas Medical Association the ammunition it needs to fight this problem. Please submit your stories via email to the TMA Payment Advocacy Department.


Report Positions TMA Response to Firearms Violence - 01/29/2020

“The physicians of Texas continue to grieve with our fellow Texans over yet another heinous episode of gun violence,” Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD, said. “This is more than a public safety problem – this is a public health crisis. Thus, it will require public health type solutions.”


Insurance Companies Have Denied My Doctor’s Orders, 25% of Texas Voters Say - 01/29/2020

One in four Texas voters say their health insurance company has refused to cover what their physician ordered for them or their families, a new statewide survey has found.


Best of Both Worlds: Surgical Resident, Grey’s Anatomy Consultant Blends the Arts and Medicine - 12/17/2019

San Antonio surgical resident Michael Metzner, MD, blends his passions for the arts and medicine as a Grey’s Anatomy consultant.


Texas Medicine Issues First Endorsements for 2020 - 12/11/2019

Gearing up for the 2020 primary elections, the political action arm of the Texas Medical Association endorsed one candidate seeking an open seat in the Texas Senate and three running for open Texas House seats.


Was Your Choice of Specialty Right for You? - 12/10/2019

Did you know ahead of time that your specialty was a good match for your personality and what you want from medicine? Do you wish you had? A third-year medical student at UT Southwestern Medical School wants your help in developing a test to help students find the specialty that’s right for them.


TMA Stands Firmly Against Surprise Medical Billing “Compromise” - 12/09/2019

“There is a right way and a wrong way to protect patients from surprise medical bills, and the so-called compromise federal legislation announced this weekend in Washington, D.C., is definitely the wrong way,” Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD, said Monday.


AMA House Punts on Texas Plan to Fix QPP - 11/20/2019

A decision on whether the American Medical Association (AMA) will join the Texas Medical Association’s call for major changes to Medicare’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) will have to wait a few more months, the AMA House of Delegates decided at its annual meeting in Chicago last week. The QPP overhaul was just one of 11 resolutions the Texas delegation to the AMA took to the five-day meeting. Most of the other 10 received a very warm welcome.


AMA House Rejects MIPS Plan - 11/20/2019

Led by the Texas delegation, the American Medical Association House of Delegates on Tuesday rejected as inadequate a plan to improve Medicare’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) and its highly-flawed Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) track.


Texas Students and Residents Nab AMA Posts - 11/18/2019

Ten residents and medical students from Texas won elections over the weekend at the 2019 interim meeting of the American Medical Association in San Diego.


Is Your School a Vaccine-Exemption Hot Spot? - 11/13/2019

Students have returned to public schools across the state, and most parents have ensured that their children have all the necessary immunizations. But an ever-growing number have not.


Texas Neighborhoods Worlds Apart in Life Expectancy - 10/08/2019

The Houston-based Episcopal Health Foundation last week issued a report comparing the life expectancy at birth of someone born in each of Texas’ 4,709 census tracts. Given the growing recognition of the importance of social determinants of health, I thought I’d dive into the report to find some good examples to share with you. I didn’t realize how deep that dive would become.


Fix Medicare Now, TMA Tells Feds - 10/01/2019

Unless the federal government increases physicians’ Medicare payments and overhauls Medicare’s hassle-laden Quality Payment Program (QPP), access to health care for millions of American seniors and people with disabilities “is at risk,” the Texas Medical Association told Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma.


Eanes Schools Near Top of Vaccine Exemption List - 09/03/2019

The Eanes Independent School District ranks fifth among major Texas school districts with the largest share of students claiming a conscientious exemption from mandatory vaccines.


Northwest, Keller, and Aledo Schools Near Top of Vaccine Exemption List - 09/03/2019

Three Tarrant County school districts rank among the major Texas school districts with the largest share of students claiming a conscientious exemption from mandatory vaccines.


Boerne Schools Near Top of Vaccine Exemption List - 08/30/2019

The Boerne Independent School District ranks fourth among major Texas school districts with the largest share of students claiming a conscientious exemption from mandatory vaccines.


Prosper, McKinney Schools Near Top of Vaccine Exemption List - 08/30/2019

Two Collin County school districts rank among the major Texas school districts with the largest share of students claiming a conscientious exemption from mandatory vaccines.


Dripping Springs, Lake Travis Schools Top Vaccine Exemption List - 08/30/2019

The two major Texas school districts with the largest share of students claiming a conscientious exemption from mandatory vaccines are Dripping Springs and Lake Travis.