Stories from Texas Medicine, March 2020

Talk to Patients About: Vaccine Immunity vs. Natural Immunity - 04/09/2020

One persistent anti-vaccine argument goes like this: Getting a disease gives a person stronger or longer-lasting “natural” immunity to that illness than taking the vaccine. It is true that many illnesses confer future immunity to those who get them. But to get that immunity, patients first have to survive pathogens that can permanently destroy their health or end their lives. The quest to obtain natural immunity can cause parents to endanger their children unnecessarily. 


Fighting Epidemics: Robert Haley, MD, Wins Inaugural Nickey Award for Public Health - 03/12/2020

Robert Haley, MD's work on West Nile virus – along with numerous other achievements – earned Dr. Haley the inaugural Dr. Laurance N. Nickey Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented by the Texas Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public Health, the award recognizes a TMA member physician who has made outstanding contributions to medicine through a significant commitment to public health.


Making Billing More Balanced: Congress Considers Surprise Billing Legislation - 03/05/2020

The widespread call to severely curb or end “surprise” medical bills prompted competing federal legislation during the summer and fall of 2019. The negotiations, maneuvering, and bill markups have continued into this year.   


Strength in Numbers: Texas Physicians Promote U.S. Census to Improve Funding - 02/28/2020

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau tries to enumerate each person living in the U.S., and the stakes always are high. Physicians are trusted members of the community so they’re in a perfect position to talk to reluctant people about the importance of the census.


Under the Gun: How Texas Hospitals, Clinics Can Prepare for Active Shooter Situations - 02/28/2020

Texas hospitals and clinics may need to change how they prepare for active shooter situations.


The PMP Requirement Begins - 02/28/2020

With EHR integration in place, physicians must check the state prescription monitoring program (PMP) prior to prescribing an opioid starting March 1.


The Legacy of ARIES: Outdated Technology Interferes with HIV/AIDS Treatment - 02/28/2020

Texas developed the AIDS Regional Information and Evaluation System in the early 1990s to administer federal grants from the then-new Ryan White program, which provides HIV- and AIDS-related health services for patients who can’t get health care coverage or financial resources any other way. Physicians say the reservoir of medical data can be valuable, and without it, they can’t get the funds they need to treat these patients. But the outdated reporting system – which still operates on 1990s technology – causes serious headaches and detracts from patient care.