Stories from Texas Medicine, September 2014

Crossing the Border - 06/02/2016

Hot, humid locations like Southeast Texas provide the perfect environment for the spread of viruses travelers typically bring back to the United States after a trip to the tropics. For instance, dengue and other diseases that travel via mosquito can make their way to the U.S. Gulf Coast. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), 23 Texas patients acquired dengue locally in 2013 — a fourfold increase from the prior 10 years combined. And, dengue is not the only tropical disease to emerge in the United States. DSHS officials identified the first case of chikungunya, a virus also transmitted by mosquitoes, in Texas in July.

Reporting for Duty - 06/02/2016

As Congress and the embattled U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs work to resolve overwhelming backlogs in medical care for the nation's veterans, TMA and physicians across the state are enlisting to stand in the gap and help alleviate the documented access-to-care problems. TMA was one of the first state medical societies to establish a registry of private-sector doctors willing to see veteran patients.

Patient Safety First - 06/02/2016

Thanks to opposition from the Texas Medical Association and other organizations, the Texas Board of Nursing (TBON) has withdrawn proposed rules that would have allowed advanced practice registered nurses to make medical diagnoses. TBON announced its proposal on the heels of another scope-of-practice debate involving dentists. In June, a new State Board of Dental Examiners rule took effect, allowing dentists to screen for and treat sleep disorders. The board adopted the rule even though TMA and the Texas Neurological Society testified against the change, pointing out its potential to harm patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea.

TEXPAC Needs You - 05/13/2016

TEXPAC is poised to get even tougher in an increasingly difficult political environment. TMA's advocacy arm wants to ensure medicine's voice rings in the Texas Legislature and good health policy prevails. The medical profession needs to be politically active now more than ever.

Match-makers - 05/13/2016

Despite the success of this year's Resident Match Day, medical school deans in Texas and across the country remain concerned about a growing number of students who have difficulty matching to a residency training program. They say those numbers could add up to missed opportunities in the form of physicians and medical education dollars that do not immediately end up in a workforce hurting for doctors of every discipline. Medical education leaders also point to an increasingly competitive match climate as part of the problem, as they search for ways to better counsel students to maximize their opportunities early and often throughout their medical education.