Stories from Texas Medicine, January 2021

Staying the Course: Medicine Enters an Unprecedented Session at the Texas Legislature - 01/16/2021

The way the Texas Legislature conducts business during the 2021 session may look different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Texas Medical Association’s commitment to improving health care remains the same. Some of those goals are up against deep cuts to state agency budgets. At the same time, however, the pandemic has created opportunities for medicine to bend lawmakers’ ear on some of its longstanding goals, including advancing access to care, vaccines, health coverage, and telemedicine.


Opening Act: Patients Given Broad Access to Their EHRs - 01/06/2021

Starting April 5, physicians must be ready to electronically share with patients more of the information generated during office visits. This change comes thanks to “information blocking” rules that are part of the 21st Century Cures Act, passed by Congress in 2016 and put into regulation in 2020 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator (ONC).


Troubling Trend: Texas’ 2018 QPP Data Contains More Bad Signs - 01/05/2021

As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services continues to churn out glowing data annually on its Quality Payment Program (QPP), a full picture of the program’s impact eludes the agency’s reporting. According to the Texas Medical Association’s analysis of state-level data in the 2018 QPP Experience Report, it’s clear that small practices continue to feel most of the program’s punitive pressures.


The Handbook of Texas Medicine - 01/05/2021

As a Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) special project, the Handbook of Texas Medicine will add 400 new entries featuring a broad array of topics, as well as revise several hundred existing entries. New Handbook entries will promote a greater understanding of the past while providing valuable context for present-day issues and crises. Upon completion, the Handbook of Texas Medicine will become the first state-based online medical encyclopedia in the U.S. TSHA is honored to collaborate in this endeavor with two venerable institutions: the Texas Medical Association and The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).


The Customer Is Always Right? Patient-Reported outcome Measures Have Fans and Detractors - 01/05/2021

For too long, some doctors say measures of a physician’s quality of care have been about process: the average length of a patient stay, for example, or a patient’s readmission rate. The bottom line is results, and that’s why a shift to patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures is necessary. However, even proponents of PRO measures note that collecting the information from patients for those metrics places burdens on physicians, and some remain skeptical of bonuses and penalties tied to a measure that derives from a subjective factor: what patients think.


COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy - 01/04/2021

Physicians have proven ways to respond to patients’ reluctance on vaccines.


A Different Kind of Patient: CME from TMA Helps Docs ID Human Trafficking Victims - 01/04/2021

A newly revised Texas Medical Association CME teaches physicians how to recognize human trafficking victims who come into their office, and how to help these patients escape what’s sometimes referred to as “modern-day slavery.”