Stories from Texas Medicine, December 2017

Cancer Incidence Among Texas Publicly Funded Substance Abuse Treatment Clients - 10/08/2018

In this study, the authors examine the incidence of cancer among a large cohort of patients receiving Texas Department of State Health Services publicly funded substance abuse treatment services between 2005 and 2009. We hypothesized that substance abuse patients would have an increased incidence of cancer, especially cancers associated with alcohol misuse, tobacco use, and opiate dependence. We compared cancer incidence among 119,237 substance abuse patients with those in the Texas general population as reported to the Texas Cancer Registry. The cohort was 60% male; and 50% white, 30% Hispanic, and 20% black. Mean age at the start of follow-up was 47.6 years (SD, 10.5 years), with mean follow-up time of 2.4 years (SD, 1.5 years). Primary drug dependency was 30% alcohol; 25% cocaine; 15% opiate; 13% amphetamine or methamphetamine; and 17% marijuana or other drugs. Almost 75% of the patients used tobacco regularly. The overall age-adjusted incidence rate was lower for substance abusers ...

Expecting the Unexpected - 07/09/2018

Anything From a Simple Power Outage to a Category 5 Hurricane Can Shut Down a Medical Practice. How Can Physicians Make That Shutdown as Temporary as Possible? Practice Management Feature — December 2017 Tex

Closing the Gap - 04/18/2018

Balance billing was one of TMA's biggest legislative wins this year. Senate Bill 507 will expand mediation for out-of-network bills, but nasty financial surprises for patients won't end when it takes effect on Jan. 1.

Difficult Situations - 01/17/2018

A Harris County judge rejected a constitutional challenge to the state’s Advance Directives Act in September, siding with TMA and other organizations in Houston Methodist Hospital’s dispute over whether to withdraw lifesaving treatment. 

Bad Medicine - 11/20/2017

How can physicians safely get rid of old medications and encourage patients to do the same? For generations, people have flushed old prescriptions down the toilet or have held on to them. But these methods can lead to a potentially dangerous situation. 

For Future Reference - 11/20/2017

Reference pricing allows a payer or employer to set a standard, maximum price for a procedure regardless of whether the physician is in or out of network, allowing patients to shop for care. That ability to shop, though, introduces some consequences.