Stories written by Sean Price

TMA Town Hall Addresses Financial Turbulence Caused by COVID-19 - 05/20/2020

Two-thirds of physicians who participated in the Texas Medical Association’s third COVID-19 telephone town hall meeting Thursday said it will take at least a month or more for their medical practices to return to the pre-pandemic level of patient volume.

TMA Helps OB-Gyns Answer Their Specific COVID-19 Questions - 05/20/2020

Though most pregnant women who have COVID-19 tend to have mild cases – unless comorbidities are present – obstetrician-gynecologists often face difficult medical and logistical problems when caring for those patients, according to physicians who took part in the Texas Medical Association’s fourth telephone town hall meeting – one devoted specifically to the issues facing OB/Gyns.

Need Help Treating Pediatric Patients With Mental Health Problems? - 05/20/2020

The restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic have created unique challenges for children and teens, including isolation from friends and classmates, uncertainty about the future, and concerns about health and safety.

A Boost for Behavioral Health: New State Programs - 05/13/2020

The Child Psychiatric Access Network (CPAN) plans to start operations in May, giving pediatricians and family physicians across Texas free telemedicine-based consultation and training on community psychiatry. CPAN is a key part of a much larger mental health initiative created by the 2019 Texas Legislature called the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium. Aside from CPAN, the consortium also will help public schools respond to mental health needs among students; expand the psychiatric workforce by paying for psychiatric positions and fellowships; and provide money for research on mental health in Texas.

Breaking Down Barriers: New State Effort Helps Get LARCs to Women Who Need Them - 05/13/2020

In November 2019, HHSC named boosting the use of LARCs as goal No. 1 for improving the health of women and children. The announcement came when HHSC released its first-ever annual business plan, “Blueprint for a Healthy Texas.”

Encourage Recovered COVID-19 Patients to Donate Plasma - 04/30/2020

Convalescent plasma is a promising treatment being developed for COVID-19. But assuming it works – and that’s still a big question – more plasma is needed from people who have recovered, says Susan N. Rossmann, MD, chief medical officer of the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center in Houston.

The Temperature's Rising: Preparing for the Health Effects of Climate Change - 04/30/2020

In Texas, climate change has been blamed for contributing to the severity of several weather and health events, including the 2011 statewide drought, the 2012 outbreak of West Nile virus in Dallas, Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and the steadily increasing prevalence of vector-borne diseases like Zika and chikungunya. Here are some of the most important climate-related health problems Texas physicians can expect according to climate scientists and the physician experts Texas Medicine spoke to.

Talk to Patients About: What’s Wrong With Vaccine Exemptions? - 04/30/2020

In 2003, the Texas Legislature allowed parents to opt their children out of getting mandatory public school vaccines. Since then, exemptions have jumped more than 3,000%, to 72,743 statewide, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. That number of exemptions threatens “herd” or “community” immunity for vaccine-preventable diseases.

Practice Revenues Down by Half or More, Say 60% of Physicians at TMA COVID-19 Town Hall - 04/21/2020

The Texas Medical Association's telephone town hall meeting on Monday gave physicians a chance to question TMA experts on both clinical and practice management issues tied to COVID-19.

Health Science Center Decontaminating N95 Masks for Texas Physicians to Reuse - 04/17/2020

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock has created a chamber that can decontaminate 10,000 N95 masks at a time. The center is offering to do it for free for any Texas physician or medical entity that needs it.

County Society Exec “Literally Meeting With People in Parking Lots” to Get PPE for Physicians - 04/09/2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the international market for personal protective equipment (PPE) into chaos. So physicians across Texas have found they have to go big or go home when it comes to obtaining those critical supplies.

Talk to Patients About: Vaccine Immunity vs. Natural Immunity - 04/09/2020

One persistent anti-vaccine argument goes like this: Getting a disease gives a person stronger or longer-lasting “natural” immunity to that illness than taking the vaccine. It is true that many illnesses confer future immunity to those who get them. But to get that immunity, patients first have to survive pathogens that can permanently destroy their health or end their lives. The quest to obtain natural immunity can cause parents to endanger their children unnecessarily. 

What Physicians and Health Care Workers Need to Know about Stay-at-Home Orders - 04/07/2020

Texas' largest counties and cities have issued stay-at-home orders designed to keep residents at home and away from each other as much as possible. Most of the orders exempt health care activities, but the specific language in each varies.

County Medical Societies Take A Bite Out of PPE Shortfall - 04/03/2020

More than 12 county medical societies along with several alliance chapters have found a temporary workaround for Texas' PPE famine: They're asking their communities to donate masks, gloves, face shields, or any other medical supplies that protect them from infection.

Talk to Patients About: Cleanliness vs. Vaccines - 03/31/2020

Historical data proves vaccines work. Year-over-year rates for vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough show that the number of cases drops sharply and remains low after a vaccine is introduced. Anti-vaccine activists have a theory to explain away this data. They say the rise of cleanliness and hygiene in the late 1800s – not vaccines – was the real force in stopping these diseases.

Bracing for the Big Ones: Novel Diseases like COVID-19 Could Test Texas' Public Health System - 03/31/2020

Novel diseases like COVID-19 could be a tough test for Texas’ public health system.

In Defense of Public Health: Peter Hotez, MD, on the Comeback of Preventable Diseases - 03/31/2020

Preventable diseases are back on the map, and Peter Hotez, MD, Texas’ most outspoken vaccine researcher, says physicians need to think globally to help stop the trend.

Talk to Patients About: Vaccines During Pregnancy - 03/30/2020

Protecting moms and babies from certain diseases often starts with pregnant women. Child-bearing women may not realize they pass on disease-fighting antibodies to their babies, protecting them early in life. That protection improves greatly when women get certain vaccines before and during pregnancy. They also may not realize getting vaccinated right after pregnancy can stop the spread of illnesses.  

COVID-19 Will Not Affect Public Charge Status for Immigrant Patients - 03/26/2020

If you care for immigrant patients who are affected by the "public charge" rule – which limits access to green cards for immigrants who receive Medicaid and other public benefits – remind them they can seek all types of medical care for COVID-19 without jeopardizing their immigration status, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Watch Out For COVID-19 Cyber Scams - 03/20/2020

Internet scammers are trying to cash in on the widespread anxiety over COVID-19, and awareness is the best defense, according to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Likewise, the Texas Attorney General's Office has issued a warning about outbreak-related scams.

Governor Declares State of Disaster for Texas on COVID-19 - 03/13/2020

Gov. Greg Abbott escalated Texas' response to the COVID-19 pandemic by declaring a “state of disaster” for all 254 counties Friday, a move that allows state agencies to focus their efforts on the emergency and gives state and local health authorities increased authority to act.

Fighting Epidemics: Robert Haley, MD, Wins Inaugural Nickey Award for Public Health - 03/12/2020

Robert Haley, MD's work on West Nile virus – along with numerous other achievements – earned Dr. Haley the inaugural Dr. Laurance N. Nickey Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented by the Texas Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public Health, the award recognizes a TMA member physician who has made outstanding contributions to medicine through a significant commitment to public health.

TMA COVID-19 Task Force Highlights Problems and How to Address Them - 03/11/2020

The Texas Medical Association COVID-19 Task Force on Tuesday told state lawmakers and fellow physicians to prepare to combat the disease, which so far has affected only a handful of people in Texas.

When COVID-19 Visited This Physician’s Houston Practice: Lessons Learned - 03/10/2020

What happens to your practice when COVID-19 walks through the door? "It's not something you should wait around for – there are steps that can be done to prepare," said Clive Fields, MD, chief medical officer and co-founder of Houston's Village Medical, which has had two unexpected COVID-19 patients since Feb. 26.

CME on CPAN in Bastrop: Learn about Texas’ New Child Psychiatric Access Network - 03/05/2020

The 2019 Texas Legislature set up a statewide network to increase physicians’ access to mental health services via tele-consulting, and now you can learn about it at an upcoming CME event on Thursday, March 12 at Ascension Seton Bastrop Hospital from 6:30-7:45 pm.