Stories written by Sean Price

Talk to Patients About: ACIP - 10/30/2020

 Two federal agencies oversee the way vaccines reach the U.S. public. But only one of them guides physicians on the best way to use those vaccines. That agency is the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the way private companies develop and produce vaccines.)


Opioids: The Forgotten Epidemic? - 10/30/2020

COVID-19 inflamed the crisis; telemedicine helps Texas physicians cope with the fallout.


Pandemic Pressures:COVID-19 Poses Serious Behavioral Health Challenges - 10/30/2020

The mental health fallout caused by COVID-19 radiates throughout Texas. In this issue, we look at four of the biggest challenges physicians are responding to as more people say that worry and stress related to coronavirus have negatively impacted their mental health.


Skipping a Step: USMLE Clinical Skills Test Faces Elimination - 10/30/2020

Many medical educators and students think the clinical skills portion of the USMLE needs to be reformed or eliminated.


Talk to Patients About: Vaccine Testing - 10/30/2020

The COVID-19 vaccines currently under production are expected to reach the public faster than any previous vaccine. But no matter how quickly a vaccine is produced, it still must pass a series of rigorous scientific tests before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will license it for public use.


Our Best Shot: Texas Physicians Help Find Safe, Effective COVID-19 Vaccines - 10/30/2020

Vaccine scientists normally toil in anonymity, spending years nursing their creation through a series of regulatory and financial hurdles before finally earning a license from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  But not in 2020. Creating a vaccine for COVID-19 has become the world’s top priority, so vaccine development is suddenly moving very fast in a high-profile way.


Survey: Many Texans Skipping Care During Pandemic, Considering a Vaccine - 10/28/2020

More than a third of Texans say they or someone in their household have skipped or postponed some type of medical care because of COVID-19, according to an October Episcopal Health Foundation survey that explored attitudes about COVID-19.


On Pause for the Pandemic: Health Issues Sidelined Amid COVID-19 Response - 10/27/2020

Any physician can look out over the COVID-19 landscape and see important areas of health care tied to their specialty that are being downplayed or ignored as resources pour into fighting the pandemic and scared patients chose not to come to their doctors’ offices.


'This Makes Me Feel More Alive': Catching COVID-19 Helped Physician Find New Ways to Help Patients - 10/27/2020

Catching COVID-19 helped family physician Tim Martindale, MD, find new ways to help his patients.


COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Should Include Effective Communication, TMA Tells State - 10/25/2020

COVID-19 vaccines should be distributed effectively and efficiently, particularly early on when supplies are limited, and are seen as trusted tools in the fight against the illness, TMA testified during a public meeting on the state's vaccine distribution plan Monday.


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.


Public Meeting on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Set - 10/15/2020

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response will lay out its plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Texas and hear public comments on those plans in a virtual meeting scheduled Monday, Oct. 19.


Sign Up with DSHS Now to Administer COVID-19 Vaccines - 10/14/2020

Nobody’s certain when the first COVID-19 vaccines will be available, but you can take important steps now to make sure you’re ready to vaccinate patients quickly once the shots arrive, state health leaders said this week.


A Perfect Match? COVID-19 Forces GME Programs, Med Students to Adjust Resident Selection Process - 09/21/2020

COVID-19 has forced GME programs and medical students to make last-minute adjustments in the resident selection process.


Work to Expand Medicaid, Protect Telemedicine, Speakers at TMA Tele-Town Hall Say - 09/18/2020

Texas physicians need to lobby state and federal lawmakers as soon as possible to prevent cuts in important state services, to encourage the expansion of Medicaid, and to preserve gains made in telemedicine, a panel of speakers told participants in a telephone town hall sponsored Thursday by the Texas Medical Association’s Border Health Caucus.


An Unfortunate Legacy: COVID-19 Reveals Long-Standing Health Inequities - 09/10/2020

COVID-19 reveals longstanding health inequities among minority patients.


Talk to Patients About: Texas School Vaccines - 09/07/2020

Regardless of whether education takes place virtually or in-person, Texas school vaccination rules remain in effect for the 2020-21 school year, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. All Texas public schools (and most private schools) and colleges require students to have certain shots before they can attend classes at the beginning of a school year.


Remind Recovered COVID-19 Patients: Donate Convalescent Plasma - 08/21/2020

More than 48,000 COVID-19 patients in the U.S. have been treated so far using convalescent plasma, according to a July 30 report from the Trump administration. But there’s a problem: More plasma is needed.


Encourage Patients, Again, to Answer the U.S. Census - 08/18/2020

Physicians should encourage patients to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census, which directly affects physicians and patients. So far this year, Texas' response rate is 58.7%, below the national response rate of 63.6%.


Encourage Patients to Donate COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma - 08/12/2020

Convalescent plasma is one of the most promising treatment options being studied for COVID-19. Physicians should encourage recovered COVID-19 patients to donate at their local blood bank.


Surge Response: How the Panhandle Handled One of the State’s Biggest COVID-19 Outbreaks - 08/03/2020

IN TEXAS, COVID-19 outbreaks have been especially pronounced in three types of facilities: nursing homes, jails or prisons, and meatpacking plants. The Amarillo area has plenty of all three. But it was the meatpacking plants that drew national attention to Amarillo’s COVID-19 problems. The city, which straddles Potter and Randall counties, has numerous plants that employ 12,000 to 15,000 people. In early April, Amarillo’s two hospitals began filling up with COVID-19 patients who worked at a plant in neighboring Moore County. Two weeks later, workers from a plant in Potter County flooded in.  


E&M Coding About to Change - 08/03/2020

First, the bad news: Physicians need to take some serious time between now and Jan 1, 2021, to study changes that are coming to Medicare outpatient evaluation and management (E&M) codes – changes most private insurers likely will follow. Now the good news: The changes should reduce the amount of documentation needed with each patient.


How to Boost HPV Vaccination Rates During COVID-19 - 07/20/2020

Vaccinations for human papillomavirus (HPV) have plunged since COVID-19 hit Texas in March, but a new virtual project will help Northeast Texas physicians explore strategies for changing that trend. HPV Cancer Free Texas will provide seven monthly one-hour Project ECHO video conferences for CME credit to discuss best practices and evidence-based tools that encourage patients to get HPV vaccinations.


TMA Partners to Boost HPV Vaccination Rates - 07/15/2020

To help improve HPV vaccination rates, the Texas Medical Association joined with a coalition of more than 40 other organizations Tuesday to announce a renewed statewide immunization campaign to prevent HPV-related cancers.


The Doctor - and Lawyer - Will See You Now: Medical-Legal Partnerships - 07/15/2020

Elderly woman. Low-income. Chronic pain. Needs to see a rheumatologist. Needs physical therapy. Struggling to pay rent. Has no insurance. Has no disability coverage. As a family physician at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Austin, Sharad Kohli, MD, sees a lot of cases like this. In similar health care settings, the patient might face two bad choices: wage bureaucratic war to obtain better health care benefits or simply give up. At People’s Community Clinic, Dr. Kohli referred her to an in-house lawyer who successfully appealed her denial of disability insurance. “[The lawyer] got her a significant income, which allowed her to pay her rent and also helped her get insurance through Medicaid and Medicare,” Dr. Kohli said. “And then she was able to see the rheumatologist and the physical therapist.” This kind of success helps explain why medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) like the one at People’s Community Clinic came about in 1993 and began expanding nationally after 2001. Te...