Stories written by Alisa Pierce

House Recognizes TMA Alliance on First Tuesdays’ 20th Anniversary - 03/10/2023

Clad in commemorative scarves honoring the 20th anniversary of First Tuesdays at the Capitol, Texas Medical Association Alliance (TMAA) members stood tall among a sea of white coats as State Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton) recognized their dedication to medicine on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives on March 7.

Grassroots Governance: Councils, Committees Fuel TMA’s Physician-Driven Engine - 03/09/2023

With a finger on the pulse of health care, TMA’s nine councils and 12 standing committees work through grassroots advocacy and collaboration to initiate policies and programs that support Texas patients and physicians and provide solutions to the challenges they encounter.

Talk to Patients About: Vaccines for Older Adults - 03/01/2023

This material is designed to help you talk to your patients and help them understand the benefits of vaccines.

Blood Test Update to Help Detect, Treat Child Lead Exposure Sooner - 02/28/2023

Consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, Texas health officials have updated blood testing in children to help detect and treat lead exposure sooner.

Prevent Improper Code Bundling With New Medicare Tool - 02/15/2023

Physicians can take advantage of a new Medicare tool to sort through the thousands upon thousands of service codes that can be bundled together for claims payment – and avoid improper billing.

WIC Baby Formula Flexibilities End in March as Shortage Resolves - 02/14/2023

With the nationwide baby formula shortage coming to an end, February is the last month that alternative infant formula brands will be offered to families under the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), says the Texas Department of State Health Services. The change comes as Texas WIC begins its five-year contract with Enfamil manufacturer Mead Johnson.

The Unwinding: What the End of the PHE Means for Telehealth - 02/01/2023

Throughout the pandemic, state and federal governments relaxed regulatory and payment barriers to health care by telemedicine. That includes paying for telemedicine visits at the same rate as in-person visits; allowing the use of non-HIPAA-compliant platforms; and removing so-called geographic site restrictions that would normally require a patient to be seen in the office. In 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also announced a new set of telehealth billing codes, particularly for behavioral health.

Texas on Guard Following Ohio Measles Outbreak - 01/19/2023

A recent outbreak of measles among unvaccinated children in Ohio prompted the Texas Department of State and Health Services to issue a health advisory with guidance for physicians and other health care professionals should they encounter the disease.

Legislative Priority #10: E-Cigarette Regulation and Taxation - 01/06/2023

Tobacco is another area in which the Texas Medical Association has made big strides after several multiple sessions of hard work, and the battle now continues to bring regulation and taxation of e-cigarettes on par with other tobacco products.

Legislative Priority #8: Protect Texas’ Vaccine Laws, Modernize ImmTrac2 - 01/06/2023

Goal: Upgrade the state’s vaccine registry system to make it more user-friendly to practices.

Legislative Priority #5: Protect Tort Reform - 01/06/2023

Goal: Preserve Texas’ landmark 2003 medical liability reforms, which continue to undergird a strong Texas physician workforce.

OIG: Physicians Incorrectly Billing for End-of-Life Care Planning - 01/05/2023

Advance care planning (ACP) services were meant to give patients the opportunity to choose the care that is right for them at the end of their lives or during medical crises that could render them unable to make personal health decisions.

In Times of Need: How PBF Assists Physicians Financially and Emotionally - 12/12/2022

The Physicians Benevolent Fund assists physicians financially and emotionally.

Newborn Screening Kits Expire Dec. 31; Cost Updates Expected Spring 2023 - 12/08/2022

Newborn screening kits with a nine-digit serial number beginning with 20 (e.g. TX 20-XXXXXXX) will expire on Dec. 31, and physicians are encouraged to use the kits to collect specimens and to ensure their stock is up to date after the end of the month.

Check Claims Dates for Drug Administration as Coding Updates Loom - 12/02/2022

With annual updates to billing codes for medications set for Jan. 1, physicians are reminded to use the most current National Drug Code (NDC) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) combinations when filing claims for drug administration.

Evidence-Based Strategies Key to Fighting Texas Suicide Rates - 11/29/2022

As 34.2% of adults in Texas report symptoms of anxiety and depression, Texas physicians are calling for the support and expansion of evidence-based strategies and telemedicine services to bolster mental health care across the state.

How to Automate Payment Processes, Avoid Patient Debt - 11/09/2022

Maximizing automation functions within a practice management system can have many hidden benefits to physician practices, not the least of which is saving on costs and time – and heading off payment delays.

E/M Revisions in 2023 CPT Code Set Aim to Simplify Documentation - 11/02/2022

In an effort to continue to tamp down physicians’ administrative burden, the American Medical Association has revised the codes and guidelines for most evaluation and management services in its 2023 Current Procedural Terminology code set.

Nationwide Adderall Shortage Expected to Last Through 2022 - 10/31/2022

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expects a nationwide shortage of Adderall and Adderall IR to extend through the end of the year, following manufacturing delays by the largest producer of Adderall in the country, Teva Pharmaceuticals LLC.

Blues to Expand HMO Network in January; Check Your Status - 10/21/2022

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) will expand its MyBlue Health HMO network to six Texas counties starting in January.

Unvaccinated Numbers Down, Well-Checks Up in Spring Branch, Northwest Houston With TMA Outreach - 10/17/2022

Hundreds of Spring Branch and Northwest Houston-area kids headed back to school all caught up on their vaccinations and well-child checks, thanks in part to the Texas Medical Association’s Vaccines Defend What Matters initiative.

Ebola Outbreak Spurs Precautionary Warning for Texas Physicians - 10/11/2022

A recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Uganda has public health officials reminding Texas physicians to stay vigilant when treating patients with suspected cases.