Stories from Texas Medicine, June 2020

Growing Residents: Texas Med Schools Find Ways to Create More GME Slots - 10/21/2020

Texas’ plan to grow and keep more physicians in state is coming to fruition, but it will require constant nurturing to reach harvest. The latest crop will come out of a collaboration between one of the state’s newest medical schools, in Fort Worth, and Baylor Scott and White All Saints Medical Center. The program will create as many as 150 new residency positions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area through 2027. Collaborations between medical schools and health care institutions will add to those numbers in coming years.


Q&A: Preparing for Pandemic, An Interview with Umair Shah, MD, Harris County Public Health - 07/10/2020

Umair Shah, MD, Harris County Public Health executive director, on how COVID-19 has exposed gaps in the public health system.


Paying the Price for PPE - 07/10/2020

The early days of the COVID-19 pandemic threw the market for personal protective equipment (PPE) into chaos. So physicians and county medical societies across Texas found they had to go big or go home when it came to obtaining those critical supplies.


Talk to Patients About: Why Will It Take So Long for a COVID-19 Vaccine? - 07/10/2020

Of all the solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, a vaccine is the most attractive. With just one shot, people could transform the disease from a global disruptor to an easily manageable public health problem. But vaccines can’t be whipped up overnight.


The Class of COVID-19: Texas Medical Students Struggle with Uncertainty - 07/10/2020

Texas medical students struggle to fight the pandemic in their own way while adjusting to a lot of uncertainty.


Implicit Bias in Prenatal Drug Testing - 07/09/2020

Unfortunately, risk-based testing introduces physician bias into decisionmaking, and can disproportionately target low-income, minority, and immigrant women. Simultaneously, physicians can overlook screening patients who are white and higher income, placing their infants at risk for drug withdrawal and birth defects. Universal screening has been touted by many physicians and providers because it eliminates risk for discriminatory practices, provides a basis for early detection and education of pregnant women, and directs physicians to provide resources for pregnant women to quit drug use during pregnancy.


Tort Reform on Trial: Houston Case Challenges Noneconomic Damage Cap - 06/01/2020

Houston case poses challenge to key tort reform limit on noneconomic damages.


Running Out of Reasons: Low Payments, Hassles Leave Physicians Wondering: Why stay in Medicare? - 06/01/2020

Texas physicians who deal with Medicare’s substandard payments and world-class administrative hassles are feeling underappreciated. The latest report from the committee that advises Congress on Medicare payment policy may exacerbate that feeling. In March, the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) released its annual report assessing payments to physicians, among other sectors. MedPAC recommended no changes to the 2021 Medicare physician fee schedule, meaning no increase in physician payments.  


Buying Time: Comptroller Delays Medical Billing Tax Until October 2021 - 06/01/2020

Comptroller delays medical billing tax until October 2021, giving TMA a chance to work out a legislative fix.


Editor's Note: Stick With the Science - 06/01/2020

I was sure I had contracted COVID-19 in November on a trip to Boston. Could one little antibody test give me that confidence? Turns out, no.


New TMA Leaders Chosen Amid Historic Pandemic - 06/01/2020

Despite the suspension of the Texas Medical Association House of Delegates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, special provisions in TMA’s bylaws allowed for limited elections to take place on May 2, including that of Edinburg internist E. Linda Villarreal, MD, as president-elect. And Diana L. Fite, MD, took office as planned as TMA’s 155th president.