Stories written by Steve Levine

TMA Launches #MaskHero Campaign and Contest - 08/14/2020

What do Batman and Robin, Captain America, and the Flash have in common? They’re all superheroes whose usual masks wouldn’t do a very good job of stopping the spread of COVID-19 (if superheroes can catch the disease). But public health research demonstrates that nose-to-mouth masks, used correctly, are key to controlling the coronavirus. A new Texas Medical Association social media campaign salutes all the heroes across the state who are wearing the right masks the right way whenever they leave their homes.


Rio Grande Valley Responds to COVID-19 Surge - 07/22/2020

As the case numbers and fatalities shoot upward, as refrigerator trucks crank up their coolers in makeshift morgues, as ambulances wait for hours to unload patients, and as coronavirus-stricken physicians and nurses slip out of the workforce, elected officials in the poorest region of Texas are getting desperate.


Considering Telemedicine in the Wake of COVID-19? - 06/29/2020

Much of America, Texas included, is engaged in a big “what if” conversation about what happens next with the coronavirus disease, COVID-19. Could telemedicine be part of the solution for your practice?


What is This “TMA PPE Portal?” - 06/26/2020

The system the Texas Medical Association set up to connect community physicians with state supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been operating since May 1. But judging by calls to the TMA Knowledge Center, Texas physicians still have lots of questions about the TMA PPE Portal.


Texans Take New AMA Leadership Spots - 06/08/2020

Although Susan Rudd Bailey, MD’s installation as the new American Medical Association president Sunday earned most of the attention, four other Texas physicians earned leadership positions during the virtual 2020 annual meeting of the AMA House of Delegates.


Sue Bailey, MD, Takes Office as AMA President; “Let Doctors Be Doctors” - 06/08/2020

Susan Rudd Bailey, MD, is American physicians’ new leader in the battles against COVID-19 and outside interference in patient care. The Fort Worth allergist took the oath of office as president of the American Medical Association on Sunday, becoming the sixth Texas physician to lead the organization.


Giving a “Sense of Meaning and Purpose” to COVID-19 Sheltering-in-Place - 06/03/2020

Did 45 days of social distancing in Texas’ five largest metropolitan areas save more than 40,000 lives and avoid more than 375,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations? Maybe not exactly.


TMA Asks for Liability Protections, Help for Primary Care, Telemedicine Payment Parity - 05/20/2020

The Texas Medical Association repeated its call for Gov. Greg Abbott to order limited liability protections for physicians and providers responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and looked to Congress for more financial assistance for struggling medical practices.


Medicine Pushes Texas Medicaid to Help Save Primary Care - 05/08/2020

Leaders of the Texas Medical Association and four large primary care specialty societies on Wednesday painted for senior Medicaid officials the bleak fiscal picture of many physician practices, and requested immediate financial assistance.


Need to Resuscitate Your Practice? Ask the Financial Experts - 05/07/2020

Does COVID-19 have your practice down? Maybe on the verge of out? Pick up your phone at 7 pm (CT) Thursday, May 7, for the Texas Medical Association’s third Tele-Town Hall meeting on COVID-19. Hear the latest news on available financing assistance and ask your question to our seasoned finance, practice management, and personnel experts. 


Which Hospitals Are Ready for Elective Surgery? - 04/28/2020

Gov. Greg Abbott announced last week he would relax the prohibition on non-urgent, elective surgeries or procedures.


Inside on Purpose: Remind Your Patients to Keep It Up - 04/28/2020

Texas saxophonist Tomás Ramirez and music, film, and video producer Art Mendoza had to record their contribution to the Texas Medical Association’s “Stay Home, Texas” campaign inside because they certainly couldn’t do it in public.


Keep Away. Are Texans Doing Enough? - 04/10/2020

At least three groups of analysts are trying to measure success at social distancing state by state – and two of them drill down to the local level. All three give Texas fair to middling marks so far.


Medicine Urges Congress to Help “Sustain Physician Practices” Amid COVID-19 Crisis - 03/23/2020

The Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, and numerous other medical societies are calling on congressional leaders to include provisions in the pending coronavirus stimulus legislation that will “sustain physicians and their practices” as they struggle to meet the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Gov. Abbott: No Nonessential Surgeries - 03/23/2020

In a move to conserve hospital capacity and critical resources, and to reduce health care workers’ and patients’ exposure to the coronavirus, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday issued an executive order directing the postponement until late April of all surgeries and procedures “that are not immediately necessary.”


Legal and Ethical Concerns During the Coronavirus Crisis - 03/16/2020

In response to questions raised by physicians around the state, the Texas Medical Association Office of General Counsel and the TMA COVID-19 Task Force have drafted a new white paper and a letter addressing physicians’ legal and ethical responsibilities to patients. The “Legal Pitfalls of Patient Termination” white paper is a detailed document that physicians may find useful in numerous situations.


Which Presidential Candidate Stands for What Again? - 02/24/2020

A group of dedicated Harris County physicians has a cure for “too many candidates confusion disorder.” They compiled a simple table of the candidates’ positions on seven key health care policy issues based on the candidates’ official websites and The Washington Post’s “We’re Asking 2020 Democrats Where They Stand on Key Issues.”


Doctor on the Set: Surgical Resident Thrives in Hollywood - 02/18/2020

About two years ago, Michael Metzner, MD, took a break from his San Antonio surgical residency program for what was supposed to be a year-long gig in the bright lights of Hollywood. He hasn’t come back. He says he will … just not quite yet.


California Model Benefits Insurers, at Physicians’ and Patients’ Expense, Physicians Tell Congress - 02/11/2020

Texas Medical Association physician leaders, along with their colleagues from California and the rest of the country, are on Capitol Hill this week, lobbying Congress to toss out a California-inspired provision from a rapidly moving health insurance bill.


Send TMA Your Prior Auth Nightmare Stories - 01/31/2020

Arbitrary. Confusing. Frustrating. Never-ending. Maddening. Those are some of the terms we can actually print that describe physicians’ perceptions of insurance companies’ prior authorization requirements and approval processes. Your personal stories of patient harm due to prior authorization request delays or denials can give the Texas Medical Association the ammunition it needs to fight this problem. Please submit your stories via email to the TMA Payment Advocacy Department.


Report Positions TMA Response to Firearms Violence - 01/29/2020

“The physicians of Texas continue to grieve with our fellow Texans over yet another heinous episode of gun violence,” Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD, said. “This is more than a public safety problem – this is a public health crisis. Thus, it will require public health type solutions.”


Insurance Companies Have Denied My Doctor’s Orders, 25% of Texas Voters Say - 01/29/2020

One in four Texas voters say their health insurance company has refused to cover what their physician ordered for them or their families, a new statewide survey has found.


Best of Both Worlds: Surgical Resident, Grey’s Anatomy Consultant Blends the Arts and Medicine - 12/17/2019

San Antonio surgical resident Michael Metzner, MD, blends his passions for the arts and medicine as a Grey’s Anatomy consultant.


Texas Medicine Issues First Endorsements for 2020 - 12/11/2019

Gearing up for the 2020 primary elections, the political action arm of the Texas Medical Association endorsed one candidate seeking an open seat in the Texas Senate and three running for open Texas House seats.


Was Your Choice of Specialty Right for You? - 12/10/2019

Did you know ahead of time that your specialty was a good match for your personality and what you want from medicine? Do you wish you had? A third-year medical student at UT Southwestern Medical School wants your help in developing a test to help students find the specialty that’s right for them.