Stories from Texas Medicine, January 2015

Capitol Decisions Ahead - 04/27/2018

Jan. 13 marks the start of the 2015 legislative session. TMA has an ambitious agenda to ensure that the patient-physician relationship is a priority and that legislators consider it as bills work through the legislative process.

Battling a Destructive Virus - 04/28/2017

Infectious disease experts and epidemiologists urge physicians to educate their patients about Ebola and to know the signs that may indicate a patient has the virus.

Sun to Set on Overzealous Fraud Investigations - 05/13/2016

After a scathing Sunset Advisory Commission report on the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Texas Medical Association supports improving the agency's investigations of physicians accused of fraud, waste, and abuse. The report says the OIG — tasked with preventing, detecting, and investigating fraud, waste, and abuse in the Medicaid system — fails at fraud prevention, takes more than three years to resolves cases, and wins back only a fraction of the amount of allegedly abusive or wasteful spending it identifies.

Smoother Sailing? - 05/13/2016

As medical practices prepare to adjust and help care for the newly insured in round two of the Affordable Care Act marketplace, some uncertainties linger. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says it ramped up outreach efforts and largely smoothed out the technical problems from last year that complicated not only patients' enrollment through, but also physicians' ability to track their coverage. Still, the prevalence of high-deductible plans and "narrow" networks that limit the doctors and hospitals patients can use contribute to persistent concerns over access to care.

Minding the Gap - 05/13/2016

Texas chose not to expand Medicaid eligibility in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, leaving more than 1 million uninsured Texans in the coverage gap. Now that several states have succeeded in finding alternative solutions to cover the working poor without expanding Medicaid, some lawmakers are optimistic Texas, too, can develop its own unique plan to draw down the roughly $100 billion in federal funding available over 10 years.

Feeling the Pain - 05/13/2016

On Oct. 6, hydrocodone combination products became a Schedule II drug. Some physicians oppose the change on the grounds it will disrupt care for patients in severe or chronic pain. Other doctors say the change will curb prescription drug abuse and help combat fatal overdoses.