Stories written by Steve Levine

Tell Congress: Protect Patients, Not Health Plans - 08/16/2019

Our U.S. senators and representatives are back home in Texas for the August recess, and Texas Medical Association President David Fleeger, MD, says their physician-constituents need to contact them to make sure they stop the surprise medical billing epidemic in a way that helps our patients – not big insurance companies.


Report Positions TMA Response to Firearms Violence - 08/13/2019

“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.”


Texan Continues String of Woman AMA Presidents - 08/02/2019

After 151 years of all-male leadership at the American Medical Association, a family physician from Texas broke through the glass ceiling on June 17, 1998. Twenty-one years later, another Texas physician is set to become the AMA’s sixth woman president – and its third in a row.


TMA Pushes to End Surprise Bills – The Right Way - 07/10/2019

TMA’s chief lobbyist is working Capitol Hill this week to pass a bill that spares patients the pain of surprise bills but doesn’t give health insurance companies complete control over what it pays physicians who treat patients out of network.


Retiring the R-Word: The Right Thing to Do - 07/03/2019

The AMA House of Delegates last month adopted policy that would put the first three phrases on the verboten list for physicians. Kudos to the delegates for recognizing that words, especially in the mouths and pens of powerful people like physicians, really do matter.


AMA House Punts on Texas Plan to Fix QPP - 06/26/2019

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.


Houston Physician Is AMA Board Chair-To-Be - 06/17/2019

In 2020, Texas physicians will hold the largest reins of power at the American Medical Association. The AMA Board of Trustees last week chose Russell W.H. Kridel, MD, a facial plastic surgeon from Houston, as its new chair-elect. Dr. Kridel has been a board member since 2014 and served as secretary of the board last year. He will become chair following the AMA’s annual meeting in June 2020.


AMA Taps Texas Physician As Next President - 06/10/2019

Susan Rudd Bailey, MD, an allergist from Fort Worth, was unanimously elected today by the American Medical Association House of Delegates to be the next AMA president. “Challenging times remain for our health care system,” she told the delegates


Milestone Shows How Far Women Have Come in Medicine - 06/07/2019

After 151 years of all-male leadership at the nation’s largest physician organization, a family physician from Texas broke through the glass ceiling at the American Medical Association on June 17, 1998. Twenty-one years later, another Texas physician is poised to become the AMA’s sixth woman president – and its third in a row.


Texans Invite AMA to Join Crusade to Fix QPP - 06/04/2019

Don’t be surprised if the members of the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates leave their annual meeting next week talking with a Texas drawl. Not only is Fort Worth allergist Sue Bailey, MD, likely to be picked as the next AMA president; not only are Texans represented at almost every level of AMA leadership; not only is there a special reception honoring Louis J. Goodman, PhD, who is retiring as CEO of the Texas Medical Association; there’s also this little matter of 11 policy proposals the Texas delegation has submitted for the AMA house to consider.


An In-Your-Face Confrontation With the Anti-Vaccine Movement - 05/10/2019

Call it fate, karma, destiny. It was written in his stars, in his professional DNA. It had to happen. Houston pediatrician and microbiologist Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, just had to write Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism.


When the Sausage Starts to Smell - 05/09/2019

Today and tomorrow in the Texas House of Representatives are not for the meek or faint of heart. Sometimes even the boldest of women and men just have to look away.


Tell Your Lawmaker To Include $500 Million Medicaid Pay Boost In State Budget - 04/29/2019

The 10 men and women charged with negotiating the final shape of the state’s 2020-21 budget have received a powerful message from Texas physicians: A strong Texas depends on significant and continuous investments in health care. TMA is urging physicians, medical students, and alliance members who are constituents of the 10 conference committee members to reinforce medicine’s message with telephone calls, emails, letters, and personal visits of their own.


Tell Your Senator To Include $500 Million Medicaid Pay Boost In State Budget - 04/29/2019

The 10 men and women charged with negotiating the final shape of the state’s 2020-21 budget have received a powerful message from Texas physicians: A strong Texas depends on significant and continuous investments in health care. TMA is urging physicians, medical students, and alliance members who are constituents of the 10 conference committee members to reinforce medicine’s message with telephone calls, emails, letters, and personal visits of their own.


Tell Your Representative To Include $500 Million Medicaid Pay Boost In State Budget - 04/29/2019

The 10 men and women charged with negotiating the final shape of the state’s 2020-21 budget have received a powerful message from Texas physicians: A strong Texas depends on significant and continuous investments in health care. TMA is urging physicians, medical students, and alliance members who are constituents of the 10 conference committee members to reinforce medicine’s message with telephone calls, emails, letters, and personal visits of their own.


Online Anti-Vaxxers Don’t Deter Texas Physician - 03/13/2019

Frisco anesthesiologist Zach Jones, MD, doesn't let antivax Internet trolls stop him from spreading vaccination message.


Healthy Vision 2025 Calls for Teamwork, not Scope Expansion - 02/07/2019

The sentence has appeared in every edition of the Texas Medical Association’s Healthy Vision series since the first Healthy Vision 2010 was published 14 years ago: “TMA opposes any efforts to expand any health professionals’ scope of practice beyond what is safely permitted by their education, training, and skills.” That focus on safety remains an integral part of  Healthy Vision 2025 , published last week. And that sentence remains, verbatim.    


Physician’s Emotional Tale Illustrates the Tragedy of Maternal Death - 02/07/2019

I’d never met Eugene Hunt, MD, but reached out to him last year as we were writing  Healthy Vision 2025 , the latest edition of TMA’s advocacy blueprint. A major section of the document details our legislative plans to address Texas’ alarming increase in maternal morbidity and mortality. I wanted to include the story of a physician who had been through the trauma of losing a new mother post-partum. I got a tip to call Dr. Hunt.


Healthy Vision 2025 Aims to Stop Outside Interference - 02/07/2019

The Texas Medical Association’s Healthy Vision 2025 ¾ released this week ¾ seeks to eliminate the burnout-inducing interference that wastes physicians’ time and delays their patients’ care.


Our Healthy Vision for Healthy Texans Starts With Healthy Practices - 02/07/2019

The Texas Medical Association’s  Healthy Vision 2025 – released last week – draws a roadmap for how legislators can ensure that Texas physicians can keep their practices running and robust so they can provide the care their patients need.


More Dissatisfaction With U.S. Health Care Quality, Access - 02/05/2019

The percentage of Americans dissatisfied with the quality and availability of health care in the nation have reached levels not seen in a decade, according to data the Gallup organization released in late January.


Healthy Vision 2025 Provides Medicaid, Uninsured Fixes - 02/04/2019

The combination of the country’s highest uninsured rate and a stressed Medicaid program threaten not only the health of millions of Texans, but also the health of the economy, Texas Medical Association President Doug Curran, MD, says. TMA’s Healthy Vision 2025 ¾ released this week ¾ urges the Texas Legislature to take meaningful steps to make it easier for every Texan to see a physician.


Healthy Vision 2025 Launched – TMA’s Advocacy Agenda for Health - 01/28/2019

The Texas Medical Association today formally launched Healthy Vision 2025, the association’s strategic advocacy plan to “put the health back into health care.” The 31-page document focuses on TMA’s advocacy goals for the 2019 Texas Legislature.


Check Out TMA’s Free, Online Patient Safety Course - 01/24/2019

It’s one of those hidden gems of TMA membership: a comprehensive online course to help you improve patient safety. It’s also a very good course. And thanks to the generous support of our friends at TMA Insurance Trust, Patient Safety and Medical Errors is free for members.


Muslim Surgeon Keeps Leadership Post in Tarrant County GOP - 01/11/2019

Southlake trauma surgeon Shahid Shafi, MD, will retain his position as vice chairman of the Tarrant County Republican Party after a failed attempt to vote him out of the position because he is Muslim.