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Feds Approve Texas’ Request for COVID-19 Medicaid Waiver - 03/31/2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 30 approved Texas’ request to waive certain Medicaid regulatory requirements to help physicians and other health care professionals more effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


TMA Supports Governor’s Stay Home Mandate - 03/31/2020

Statement by Texas Medical Association (TMA) President David C. Fleeger, MD, about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s statewide stay-at-home executive order except for essential workers and needs.


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.


TMA Applauds Bishops’ Critical Care Guide Support - 03/27/2020

Statement by Texas Medical Association (TMA) President David C. Fleeger, MD, about the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops’ statement in support of Mass Critical Care Guidelines


Texas Physicians Join Governor’s Call for Industry to Donate PPE - 03/27/2020

Statement by Texas Medical Association (TMA) President David C. Fleeger, MD, about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s call for personal protective equipment donations.


TMB Expands Telemedicine, Opportunities for Retired Physicians Because of COVID-19 - 03/20/2020

In response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 “state of disaster” declaration Friday, the Texas Medical Board has taken several steps to help Texas physicians safely and effectively care for patients. On Thursday, the TMB issued a waiver that allows telephone refills of valid prescriptions for treatment of chronic pain by a physician with an established chronic pain patient.


Texas Physicians Say: Remain Calm, Protect Yourself, Stay Safe - 03/17/2020

Statement by Texas Medical Association (TMA) President David C. Fleeger, MD, about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s state of emergency declaration regarding COVID-19.


House Bill 3703 (86th Texas Legislature) and Expansion of Texas’ Compassionate Use Act - 03/12/2020

In its 2019 session, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3703 (Rep. Stephanie Klick), effective immediately, expand­ing the list of diseases that may be treated with low-tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) cannabis. The bill also broadened the types of specialty physicians who may qualify to register with the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas to recommend treatment with low-THC cannabis to patients. A general discussion of these changes and more are discussed here.


Coronavirus vs. Influenza: The Differences and What We Need to know - 03/12/2020

As physicians, other medical experts, and the public learn more about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, scientists are learning more about the similarities – and differences – between COVID-19 and influenza. Both viruses cause respiratory disease, yet the World Health Organization (WHO) reports there are important differences between the two and how they spread.


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.


Health Organizations Praise E-Cigarette Investigation - 03/12/2020

The Texas Medical Association, along with numerous state health organizations, applauded Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s recent announcement of a multi-state investigation into the marketing and sales practices of JUUL Labs, which makes popular e-cigarette devices.


Census Undercount Could Stifle Texas’ Health Services, Doctors Say - 03/11/2020

Texas physicians are urging patients to answer the upcoming U.S. Census to ensure the state won’t lose billions of dollars’ worth of health and human services funding – a loss that could harm the patients themselves.


Physicians Applaud State for Fining Health Plan - 03/09/2020

Statement by Texas Medical Association (TMA) President David C. Fleeger, MD, about the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) sanction of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) for delaying payment of certain out-of-network emergency care claims. TDI also found the plans distributed incorrect information about how to resolve balance bills to many HMO members who received out-of-network emergency care.


TMA Keeps Pressing Congress on Surprise Billing - 03/09/2020

As lawmakers continue their work on a federal solution to surprise medical bills, the Texas Medical Association is on guard to make sure patients will be protected – and physicians get a fair shot to get paid properly. TMA joined 18 other state medical and specialty societies on a letter last week to the chairs and ranking members of three U.S. House committees.  


TMA to TMB: Let Docs Decide Whether In-Person Visit Needed For Subsequent Opioid Scrips - 03/06/2020

The Texas Medical Association has some suggestions for the Texas Medical Board on how to implement the state’s new 10-day limit on opioid prescriptions for acute pain. A letter to the board says it should be up to the physician’s judgment whether a non-initial 10-day prescription for acute pain requires seeing a patient in-person.


Making Billing More Balanced: Congress Considers Surprise Billing Legislation - 03/05/2020

The widespread call to severely curb or end “surprise” medical bills prompted competing federal legislation during the summer and fall of 2019. The negotiations, maneuvering, and bill markups have continued into this year.   


What’s Better, Immunity From a Shot, or From the Disease? - 03/03/2020

Although suffering through a disease sometimes gives you immunity from catching that same disease later in life, vaccinating against diseases instead is the safest way to protect yourself and your loved ones.


Physicians Needed for Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Panel - 03/03/2020

March 13 is the new deadline to get your application to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission if you want to serve on its State Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Committee. The panel advises the commission on Medicaid managed care operations statewide.


How to Talk to Patients About the PMP - 02/28/2020

Michael Mackert, PhD, director of the Center for Health Communication at The University of Texas at Austin, addressed physicians’ concerns about talking to patients about the PMP, which prescribers will be required to check before issuing any prescription for opioids, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or carisoprodol beginning March 1.  


Sparking a Conversation on Vaping - 02/28/2020

A panel of lawmakers and physicians participated in a state Parent Teacher Association (PTA) town hall event at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday. The panel discussed the vaping health epidemic; issues with implementation of a state law passed last year that raised the minimum age to use or purchase tobacco products – including vaping devices – to 21; and the need for support to help students quit.


Strength in Numbers: Texas Physicians Promote U.S. Census to Improve Funding - 02/28/2020

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau tries to enumerate each person living in the U.S., and the stakes always are high. Physicians are trusted members of the community so they’re in a perfect position to talk to reluctant people about the importance of the census.


Under the Gun: How Texas Hospitals, Clinics Can Prepare for Active Shooter Situations - 02/28/2020

Texas hospitals and clinics may need to change how they prepare for active shooter situations.


The PMP Requirement Begins - 02/28/2020

With EHR integration in place, physicians must check the state prescription monitoring program (PMP) prior to prescribing an opioid starting March 1.


Learn More About Texas Youth Health at Symposium - 02/26/2020

If you’re interested in learning more about keeping Texas teens healthy and you’d like to make new connections to thought leaders and your peers, make plans to attend the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s ninth-annual symposium, set for April 6-8 in San Antonio.