Stories from Texas Medicine, March 2019

An In-Your-Face Confrontation With the Anti-Vaccine Movement - 05/10/2019

Call it fate, karma, destiny. It was written in his stars, in his professional DNA. It had to happen. Houston pediatrician and microbiologist Peter Hotez, MD, PhD, just had to write Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel’s Autism.


Out in the Cold: Health Plan Blamed For Major Prompt-Pay Mess - 05/01/2019

Molina Healthcare of Texas isn’t the only insurer to give physicians prompt-pay problems, and it won’t be the last. Some of the practices trying to recover payments blame not just the health plan, but also the extended response time from the state regulator overseeing insurance products and conduct: the Texas Department of Insurance, which says it’s hiring staff and making other changes to improve that response.


Closing a Loophole: Medicine Works to Clarify MOC Law - 04/17/2019

It was an important law that gave physicians new life, greatly restricting the discrimination they can face based on their maintenance of certification (MOC) status. And yet, opponents may have found a way to circumvent the 2017 legislature’s Senate Bill 1148.


Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Physicians Can Get Subpoenaed in Divorce Cases - 03/11/2019

Physicians subpoenaed to participate in a divorce case, whether to testify or simply to supply medical records to the court, could find themselves at the center of an acrimonious split. There are certain things they should know.


Prescription for Addiction: Primary Care Plays Bigger Role in Treating Substance Abuse - 03/11/2019

When primary care physicians step in to fill this treatment voids for substance-use disorder, research shows that good things happen.


The Making of a Med School - 03/11/2019

Building more medical schoos might seem like an obvious answer to the doctor shortage, especially because medical schools can bring other benefits to a community beyond producing physicians, including prestige, high-paying jobs, and improved health care services. But not everyone is a fan of the idea, and starting one from scratch is complicated. Some have struggled more than others to get established, mostly because of funding.


Talk to Patients About: Mumps - 03/11/2019

More than 2,000 U.S. mumps cases occurred in 2018. That’s down from 6,000-plus cases CDC reported in both 2016 and 2017, but a far cry from the hundreds reported in 2012. Texas is not immune. In 2018, mumps outbreaks occurred at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas State University in San Marcos, and a national cheerleading competition in Dallas. Mumps still spreads much faster and more dangerously among unvaccinated groups, and immunization remains the best protection.


Moral Injury: The Pandemic for Physicians - 03/01/2019

We need a safety net for physicians, private psychological support reportable to no one. Otherwise we will continue to see physician burnout and suicide increase.