Stories from Texas Medicine, November 2016

Mental Health Services in Texas Jails - 11/30/2016

Jails and prisons in the United States have become the places where people with mental illness go. Texas jails were surveyed in 2012 to learn how they screened inmates for mental illness. Of these jails, 13% responded. Most screened for suicidal ideation and whether or not an inmate took a medicine. About half the jails offered in-house care, and the other half referred inmates to the local mental health authority. Most jails had a formal jail diversion program, and most thought that mental health illness was increasing. About half had an annual 4-hour training program for staff. Recommendations are made for future care in jails.

Walking the Walk - 11/01/2016

A Houston palliative care and hospice physician shares her family's experience caring for her father, who had a terminal illness, in this special four-part series originally published on the Texas Medical Association's MeAndMyDoctor blog.

Embittered Backlog - 11/01/2016

The Texas Medical Association Payment Advocacy Department has received complaints from several physicians that three of the state's biggest health plans are taking up to eight months to credential them. Without successful credentialing, physician payment for medical services can be delayed and even denied.

A Preemptive Weapon - 11/01/2016

In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which can prevent patients from getting the virus. But the news didn't reach every corner of Texas, and many at high risk for HIV don't know PrEP exists or how to access it.