Public Health

Aging Network 101: Directing Patients to Community Services - 05/17/2019

Many community-based social service agencies provide free or low-cost direction, referrals and resources for older adults. Research shows resources such as senior centers or Area Agencies on Aging can improve patient health outcomes.

Ensure Patients Are Taking Steps Toward Healthy Aging - 05/09/2019

May is Older Americans Month, and this year’s theme – Connect, Create, and Contribute – highlights ways older adults can interact with their community. Negative habits can add up over a lifetime and limit a person’s ability to connect. Physical activity and healthy eating are crucial to aging and living well, yet more than 80% of adults do not meet the physical activity guidelines for aerobic and strengthening exercises.

Infections Reported After Umbilical Cord Blood Injections - 05/08/2019

Eight Texas patients developed bacterial infections soon after receiving an umbilical cord blood derived stem cell product from mid 2017 through September of 2018, state health officials said in an advisory.

Digital Communication Tools Can Help Address Health Care Disparities - 05/07/2019

Some of you are probably wondering how a radiologist like me can play a role in furthering health equity. Information technology is at the heart of radiology’s daily practice, and employing technology through clinical-decision support tools like the Radiology Support, Communication, and Alignment Network (R-SCAN) is where radiology can play a significant role on the health care team.

Help Aging Texans Age Well - 05/01/2019

Throughout Older Americans Month, Texas Medicine Today will share information from HHSC to help older Texans live and age well and live independently. Are you concerned a patient’s social network is shrinking, they’re not getting enough exercise, or they’re at risk of falling? See how you can help older Texans age well.

Hepatitis B Infection Can Cause Liver Damage, Cancer - 05/01/2019

The bottom line: Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection that can be short-term or long-term. Some people can die from it or suffer other serious diseases like cancer, while others experience no symptoms. People can become infected through sexual contact, by sharing needles, or from an infected mother passing it to her baby at birth.

Learn How To Build Your Community’s Primary Care Foundation - 04/24/2019

Despite the many challenges faced by primary care practices in Texas, many find innovative ways to provide timely, accessible, and person-centered care to their patients and communities. The seventh-annual Texas Primary Care Consortium Annual Summit, scheduled for June 20-21 at the Renaissance Austin Hotel, will showcase many of these practices and many of these innovations.  

Streamlining Newborn Screening Consent - 04/23/2019

While SB 1404’s stated intent is to streamline the disclosure and consent for long-term storage process for newborn screening, our organizations are concerned about potential unintended consequences.

Helping Teachers Protect Children From Abuse and Neglect - 04/22/2019

Children with cognitive and other disabilities are at least three times more likely to experience some form of maltreatment, abuse, or neglect than children without special needs. We appreciate Rep. Gonzalez’ proposal, which acknowledges that children with special needs may be at greater risk of abuse and maltreatment – and that this requires a better understanding of the signs and symptoms of abuse.

Don’t Eliminate Fitness Assessments in Schools - 04/22/2019

Fitness assessments continue to be a critical tool for monitoring obesity in our state. We share the committee’s goal to improve schools’ ability to focus on student achievement, and would like to underscore for the committee both the academic benefits to physical activity4 and economic gains that could be realized from reducing obesity statewide.

Out of the Shadows - 04/22/2019

Lubbock physicians shine a light on sex trafficking and get victims needed care.

Help Texas Improve Care For Children With Disabilities - 04/16/2019

Are you interested in improving health care services for families of children who have a disability? If so, you might want to apply to become a member of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Policy Council for Children and Families.

Protect Texas Youth From Powdered Alcohol - 04/15/2019

Powdered alcohol poses significant risks to the future generations of Texans if allowed to make its way to market as it makes alcohol more easily accessible, concealed, consumed, misused, and overconsumed. Given the well-known risks of adolescent alcohol consumption, and the inability of regulation to keep alcohol from being consumed by teenagers, banning the production and sale of powdered alcohol is the best way to keep adolescents safe from this potential threat to their lives and  the lives of others.

Keep Water Safe for Schoolchildren - 04/15/2019

Our communities and residents must be well-informed about the need for strong monitoring of drinking water quality and safety. Every day we encourage our patients to turn away from sugar-sweetened beverages and drink more water, but our best efforts to support their health or help them recover from an illness are moot if these patients, many young children, do not have access to safe drinking water.

Report Suspected Silicosis Cases - 04/10/2019

State health officials are investigating an apparent cluster of silicosis and are reminding physicians to report suspected cases of the severe, often fatal lung disease.

Protect Babies – Cover Newborn Screening Tests - 04/09/2019

HB 2582 is crucial to ensuring the long-term stability of our newborn screening program and the financial solvency of the medical homes for Texas babies. Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony today.

Allow Peace Officers to Administer Epinephrine - 04/04/2019

By seeking to include peace officers as authorized administrators of an epinephrine auto-injector, the bill recognizes the significant risk of anaphylaxis and the importance of access to lifesaving epinephrine. We request that the author and committee consider providing an important policy provision in SB 1827 to align with the existing law for school districts, which the Texas Legislature carefully developed in 2015 and 2017 through Chapter 38 of the Education Code.

Syringe Service Programs Are Important to Public Health - 04/02/2019

Syringe service programs (SSPs) are proven to prevent the spread of infectious disease by providing free, sterile injection equipment and safe disposal of used needles and syringes for people who inject drugs.  SSPs cannot function without the time and talents of dedicated employees, volunteers, and other individuals who operate them.

TMA to Give 1,800 Helmets to Texas Kids in April - 04/02/2019

The Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Hard Hats for Little Heads program will give away 1,800 bicycle helmets to Texas children in April – which is designated as Child Safety Month in Texas – to protect them from head injuries.

Protect Yourself Against Tetanus: Bacterial Infection Attacks Muscles - 04/01/2019

The bottom line Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection. Commonly known as “lockjaw,” tetanus causes painful muscle spasms in the jaw, neck, and stomach area, as well as other serious symptoms.

AIMing to Save Lives: More Standardized Care Could Bring Down Texas' Maternal Death Rate - 03/28/2019

Texas’ maternal death rate is still high, and public health officials are betting that more standardized care will bring it down with guidelines set up by the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM).

Here’s How You Can Help Improve Brain Injury Care - 03/27/2019

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is seeking members for the Texas Brain Injury Advisory Council, which advises the HHSC executive commissioner and Office of Acquired Brain Injury on how to implement sustainable service and support that meet the needs of people who have survived a brain injury.

Improving Trauma-Informed Care for Children - 03/26/2019

Childhood trauma can have lifetime consequences if left unaddressed. It is imperative that Texas find constructive approaches to reducing the incidence of trauma among children while also ensuring the state’s health care delivery system has the expertise to respond appropriately when trauma has occurred. As such there are provisions of each bill that we support. At the same time, our organizations also have voiced serious concerns about the bills and cannot support them as filed. We ask you to consider the following as you deliberate on both bills.

Improving Awareness of Firearm Safety - 03/26/2019

TMA members remain focused on proven prevention and harm-reduction methods in all areas of public and population health. Physicians have a role in addressing gun violence and firearms safety. Physicians are talking to their patients about safety measures in the home including the measures that will prevent firearm mortality and morbidity. We encourage you to take action to approve House Bill 3054, and we offer our assistance with implementation of this important legislation.

Preserve Texas’ Newborn Screening Program - 03/21/2019

However, the success of our newborn screening program should not be taken for granted. It requires a diligent partnership among the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) laboratory, hospitals, physicians, and health plans.