Stories from Texas Medicine, December 2020

Operation Distribution: Physicians Key in COVID-19 Vaccines Distribution - 12/02/2020

Even though COVID-19 vaccines are closer than ever to use by the general public, many questions remain about how they will be distributed to Texas physicians – and how they’ll be received by Texans. That’s why TMA in October weighed in on the state’s distribution plan with recommendations to help ensure COVID-19 vaccines are not only distributed effectively and efficiently, but also seen as trusted tools in the fight against the illness.


Use It or Lose It: Texas’ New Behavioral Health Program Can Help Only If Physicians Use It - 12/02/2020

What if Texas lawmakers created a mental health service that physicians asked for but then not many physicians used it? So far, that is what’s happening with the Child Psychiatric Access Network (CPAN), which gives pediatricians and family physicians across Texas free telemedicine-based consultation and training on community psychiatry.


Rewarding Results: Texas Medicare ACOs Perform Promisingly - 11/30/2020

For the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and many of the accountable care organizations (ACOs) that participated in it, 2019 was billed as a transition year. But data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in September show Texas ACOs fared quite well last year – and a number of Texas physicians and ACO officials say the savings generated are worth the gruntwork that MSSP requires.


The Power of Community: TMA Envisions Locally Focused ACO Model - 11/30/2020

TMA is developing a promising, locally focused version of the accountable care organization (ACO) model that could help cover uninsured and underinsured Texans who fall in the gap or “hole” in the state’s safety net: those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid coverage as it’s now administered in Texas, but also don’t qualify for Medicare.


Talk to Patients About: Why COVID-19 “Parties” Are a Bad Idea - 11/30/2020

Most people have gradually adjusted to the day-to-day changes caused by COVID-19, such as washing hands frequently, wearing masks, and social distancing. But others have looked for strategies to get around the hassles caused by the pandemic. In some cases, this has included deliberately trying to contract the potentially deadly illness through “COVID parties,” events designed to expose people to someone with COVID-19.


Priority: Primary Care - 11/30/2020

The Texas Medical Association and other corners of organized medicine know primary care is part of the bedrock of a sturdy health care system. So medicine – including the Texas Primary Care Consortium (TPCC), of which TMA is a member, and the Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP) – is engaging policymakers to not only help the state’s primary care system survive the pandemic, but also enable it to thrive for the long haul.