Stories with related Professional Interests

Charting Medicine’s Statehouse Progress: A Successful Legislative Session for Physicians - 08/06/2019

Legislation is just one piece of a healthy Texas. But it’s a big piece, and when the Texas Medical Association told the lawmakers of 2019 how it should fit, those legislators largely shaped it to what physicians and patients need. The house of medicine convinced lawmakers that raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 was the right thing for the state’s present and future. Medicine also successfully persuaded the legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott to improve insurance network adequacy and directories, which will help with surprise medical bills.


When Do New Opioid Prescribing Requirements Take Effect? - 08/02/2019

To combat the ongoing opioid crisis, state lawmakers passed several measures that change how physicians and other health care professionals will prescribe opioids. However, provisions of the laws take effect at different times, so prescribers should be aware of the deadlines and effective dates of each requirement. Below is a chart showing when each provision takes effect.


On Call at the Capitol: TMA's 2019 Legislative Agenda - 08/02/2019

When the 86th Texas Legislature convenes on Jan. 8, TMA will build on its major successes of 2017, renew some of the biggest battles that stalled two years ago, and tackle relatively new ones. Physicians will make their case to a somewhat new makeup of lawmakers as they pursue better Medicaid coverage for postpartum women, insurer accountability for narrow networks, more funding for community mental health, and many other aims.


TMB: Back on Track - 08/02/2019

Two years ago during the 2017 regular session, the Texas Legislature put the practice of medicine in the state in serious danger, failing to renew the Texas Medical Board (TMB) and the state’s Medical Practice Act. In 2019 House Bill 1504 by Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) put TMB back on the standard 12-year sunset cycle, renewing the board through 2031.


Opioids and Pharmacy: PMP Extension Granted - 08/02/2019

When it came to opioids and pharmacy matters, some of the major pieces of medicine’s 2019 agenda came down to something everyone wishes they had more of: time. Physicians need it to get comfortable with a mandate to check the state’s prescription monitoring program (PMP). Patients need it to make sure the pain medications they’re prescribed do what the drugs are supposed to do. The legislature listened, and TMA achieved wins on both counts, as well as on increased transparency from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).


Public Health: Tobacco Triumph - 08/02/2019

Texas physicians got the kind of huge win on tobacco issues they haven’t seen in decades – a law to keep tobacco products away from young people.


Insurance: Network Solutions - 08/02/2019

Charting Medicine’s Statehouse Progress TMA went into this session looking to attack insurer network inadequacy and health plans’ use of care impeding prior authorization demands. On both fronts, medicine scored solid legislative wins that will make it


86th Texas Legislature Letters and Testimonies - 07/19/2019

During this legislative session, TMA councils and committees are locking down and promoting health care policies to ensure Texas’ patients have access to affordable and high quality health care. Here are TMA’s testimonies, comments, and letters to state lawmakers.


85th Texas Legislature Testimonies and Letters - 07/19/2019

TMA physician leaders already are working on behalf of their profession and their patients to improve Texas health care system. During this legislative session, TMA councils and committees are locking down and promoting health care policies to ensure Texas’ patients have access to affordable and high quality health care. Here are TMA’s testimonies, comments, and letters to state lawmakers.


Legislative Top 10: Making Sense of Proposed Prior Authorization Fix - 06/06/2019

In today’s Texas Medical Association Legislative News Hotline video, TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst talks about a bill awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature that helps prevent delays in care by providing more transparency for patients and physicians regarding what health plans require for prior authorizations.


Legislative Top 10: How Will Medicine Be Funded in the 2020-21 State Budget? - 06/04/2019

In this TMA Legislative News Hotline video, TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst summarizes the health care-related issues and services that lawmakers included in the 2020-21 state budget. (Hint: Some items will please physicians, and some will disappointment them.)


Legislative Hotline Video: What’s Missing From Texas’ Draft Budget? - 06/03/2019

Lawmakers released their two-year spending plan for 2020-21 this week, but TMA Immediate Past President Doug Curran, MD, says one item that’s not included was greatly needed: A pay hike for doctors who care for Medicaid patients.


Push Governor Abbott For Prior Auth Relief - 05/31/2019

When the dust settled on the 2019 Texas Legislature earlier this week, Senate Bill 1742 was still standing – carefully negotiated and approved by both chambers. SB 1742 has been sent to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature, yet it languishes unsigned. It’s time to send a simple message to Governor Abbott: “Sign Senate Bill 1742.”


Bill Will Protect Physicians in True Emergencies - 05/30/2019

The recently concluded 2019 session of the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2362 by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) to address that problem and ensure that physicians working in the emergency room and facing highrisk obstetrical cases requiring immediate and difficult decisions are protected from unwarranted lawsuits.


Legislative Hotline: Prescription Monitoring and Professional Liability Bills Highlight Today’s Deliberations - 05/17/2019

Today is the 130th  day of the session. But who’s counting? The House and Senate both have less than one week to vote on bills, which must be complete by midnight May 22. Meanwhile, lawmakers are finalizing negotiations on the final 2020-21 state budget; the deadline for agreement between the two chambers is midnight May 26. Here’s a status check on numerous bills that continue to move through the legislative process.


Legislative Hotline: Patient-Friendly Insurance Bills Top Today’s Calendar - 05/17/2019

Today is the 130th day of the 140-day session. Time is quickly running out for bills to pass. Fortunately, physicians’ priority bills are still moving toward the finish line. The House and Senate both have less than one week to vote on bills, which must be complete by midnight May 22. TMA remains steadfast in its request for more funding for Medicaid, women’s health, mental health, and graduate medical education (GME), and will continue to vigorously plead our case.


Texas Physicians Fight End-of-Life Bill With Passion - 05/10/2019

When the Texas Medical Association urged members to ask their state senators to vote “no” on a key bill regarding treatment disputes at the end of life, they didn’t hold back. Hundreds of Texas physicians took up the call, using TMA’s Grassroots Action enter to share very personal and passionate messages with their senators.


Legislative Hotline: First Bill-Killing Deadline Passes, Leaving Mass Casualties - 05/10/2019

Today is the 123rd day of this session; 17 days remain. Those 17 days will be a flurry of activity and behind-the-scenes maneuvering to keep bills moving toward passage. Here’s a status check of several bills important to medicine that continue to move through the legislative process.


When the Sausage Starts to Smell - 05/09/2019

Today and tomorrow in the Texas House of Representatives are not for the meek or faint of heart. Sometimes even the boldest of women and men just have to look away.


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.


Closing a Loophole: Medicine Works to Clarify MOC Law - 04/17/2019

It was an important law that gave physicians new life, greatly restricting the discrimination they can face based on their maintenance of certification (MOC) status. And yet, opponents may have found a way to circumvent the 2017 legislature’s Senate Bill 1148.


Medical Debt and Credit Reports - 04/16/2019

While we are working to remove the patient from disputes between the insurance carrier and the physician, simply preventing the physician from seeking payment options for care already rendered despite the patient’s insurance not covering the service is placing the burden and the penalties in the wrong place. For these reasons, we cannot support HB 2732.


Transparency in Prior Auth and Physician Referrals - 04/15/2019

When a patient is preauthorized to receive a health care service scheduled at a facility, the health plan should use the information on the form to inform the patient of the network status of any physicians or health care providers who may be involved in the preauthorized care. The health plan also should use the information to tell the patient what level of coverage the plan will be provide and what the patient’s financial responsibility will be to all physicians and providers.


Eliminate Prior Auth for In-Network Physicians - 04/15/2019

Prior authorization is often very burdensome and can present a significant impediment to optimal patient care. Prior authorization can cause delays in medically necessary care, which may detrimentally affect patient health and finances. Excessive prior authorization requirements also create administrative hassles for physicians and consume time that otherwise would be devoted to patient care.


Require Timely Updates to Network Directories - 04/12/2019

HB 1880 will help prevent out-of-network bills through proper consumer information but will also help in ensuring insurance companies have adequate networks.  While the bill as substituted does keep the 30 day update for directories intact, it does require that upon notice of contract termination by a health plan that an update must be made to reflect this change, in the directory within two days of the effective date of the change.  Additionally, in an era of more surprise bills due to the narrow networks of health plans, this information being accurate leads to be another tool in the toolbox of consumer protection.