Stories from Texas Medicine, November 2013

Protecting Patients, Society - 05/13/2016

Generally, Texas law allows people who pose a significant risk of harming themselves or others to be detained for up to 48 hours with a judge's order. Often times, psychiatric emergencies are managed in emergency departments throughout the state by emergency physicians. The additional burden of requiring a peace officer or judge to become involved before any action can be taken prevents timely treatment of these potentially dangerous patients. The 2013 Texas legislative session did not pass legislation authorizing physician-initiated mental health holds. The Texas Medical Association is part of a workgroup formed to develop a consensus on legislation for the 2015 session.

Feeding the Physician Pipeline - 05/13/2016

After the 2013 Texas Legislature answered the Texas Medical Association's call for more funding for graduate medical education, TMA wasted no time making sure the money gets put into action. In late August, the medical association joined the Texas Hospital Association and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to host a forum to help nonteaching hospitals, medical schools, and other entities take advantage of the nearly $2 million in planning grants that lawmakers authorized for new, first-year medical residency positions.

TMA vs. Cigna - 05/13/2016

Texas Department of Insurance regulations on preferred provider networks were barely a month old in August when the Texas Medical Association renewed its challenge of a Cigna practice the association says violates state law and could prevent physicians from giving their patients the care they need. TMA filed the complaint after Cigna notified physicians it will continue enforcing an old policy on out-of-network referrals.

Good Communication - 05/13/2016

To give patients the best possible care, physicians must be able to communicate with them effectively, especially those who are hearing-impaired or who have limited ability to speak English. Ignorance is no excuse for not complying with federal regulations on accommodating hearing-impaired and limited-English patients. Not following the rules can lead to lawsuits.