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Compact for Care: Texas Joins Interstate Agreement for Out-of-State Licensure - 12/01/2021

The rise of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a change in state law that will not only help make certain telemedicine services permanent but also give out-of-state physicians an easier pathway to join the Texas workforce.


Ten Years Later: TMA Advocacy Nets Investments in Women’s Health - 12/01/2021

A decade ago, the Texas Legislature made a funding decision that devasted low-income women’s access to health care and the physicians and community clinics that care for them. After 10 years, with the help of TMA advocacy and the formation of the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition, funding for family planning and overall women’s health is in significantly better shape.


Texas Prepares to Implement “Gold Card” Prior Auth Bill - 11/30/2021

Soon, physicians who’ve had their fill of insurers’ burdensome prior authorizations will have the chance to earn their way out of them. The Texas Medical Association wants to make sure the  new law giving doctors that “golden” opportunity will be implemented as intended – and is pushing back against health plans’ attempts to reduce its impact.


TMA, Other Physician Groups Urge Reconsideration of Surprise Billing Rule - 11/24/2021

While the Texas Medical Association awaits action on its lawsuit over part of recent rulemaking for the federal surprise billing law, TMA recently teamed with the American Medical Association and others to engage the Biden administration outside court.


Tell Your Uninsured Patients About HealthCare.gov Marketplace Enrollment - 11/19/2021

Enrollment in the federal health insurance marketplace on HealthCare.gov is now open, so it’s a good idea to let your uninsured patients know the option is there. And if they sign up by Dec. 15, their coverage will begin at the start of 2022.


Aetna Launching Patient-Facing Physician Performance Designation - 11/15/2021

Aetna Health Insurance is instituting a physician comparison system for its self-insured members in 2022, in which primary care physicians, obstetrician-gynecologists, and orthopedic hip-and-knee specialists can earn a “designation” based on their performance in two categories.


TMA Helps Craft Amendment Guaranteeing In-Person Visitation in Nursing Homes - 11/15/2021

In overwhelmingly voting for nursing home residents to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visitation, Texas voters aligned themselves with a critical balance the Texas Medical Association helped lawmakers strike between the need for crucial emotional support in those settings and keeping public health threats at bay.


State Plan Tackles Mental Health Coverage - 11/09/2021

Four years after the Texas Legislature passed legislation aimed to improve health plan coverage of mental health conditions and substance use disorders, a state workgroup has released a strategic plan to improve compliance with the law’s protections to put coverage of those treatments on par with other types of health care.


Impending Medicare Pay Cuts Total Nearly 10% - 11/08/2021

Physicians in Medicare are about to get nickel-and-dimed – only it’s more like hundred-and-thousand-ed. And with a pandemic making this moment one of the worst times to financially hit physician practices still reeling from shutdowns last year, the Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, and others are urging Congress to stop impending payment cuts that could devastate access to care for the nation’s elderly and disabled.


TMA Sues Feds Over Unfair Rule for Surprise Billing Law - 11/02/2021

The Texas Medical Association filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Tyler, Texas, after the Biden administration failed to follow clear direction from Congress about how to implement the dispute resolution process set forth in the No Surprises Act, legislation that was passed in 2020 to protect patients from surprise medical bills.


TMA Sues Feds Over Arbitration Rule for Surprise Billing Law - 10/29/2021

The Texas Medical Association has sued federal authorities over rulemaking for the federal surprise billing law, saying it failed to follow clear direction from Congress about how to implement the dispute resolution process meant to determine fair payments for out-of-network care.


AMA: High Concentration in Insurance Markets - 10/25/2021

Most U.S. commercial health insurance markets are “highly concentrated” among the top insurers in those markets, and evidence strongly suggests insurers are “causing competitive harm to consumers and providers of care.” Those were the findings of the American Medical Association’s 2021 update to its annual study, Competition in Health Insurance.


TMA Defeats Bills to Ban Vaccine Mandates - 10/25/2021

Thanks to physician-led grassroots advocacy, the Texas Medical Association beat back bills that aimed to codify Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent executive order banning vaccine mandates. Those bills had failed to advance out of their respective chambers when the Texas Legislature adjourned from its third special session of the year on Oct. 19.


TMA Wins Several COVID Relief Funding Asks - 10/22/2021

The Texas Legislature’s distribution of billions in federal COVID-19 relief funding displayed a commitment to many – though not all – of the Texas Medical Association’s desired uses for the money, including investments in child mental health care and improving maternal mental health access.


TMA Weighs In on Bills to Ban Vaccine Mandates - 10/18/2021

Taking science-based interventions like vaccinations off the table during an ongoing public emergency is like telling coastal residents they can’t board up their windows or fill sandbags as a hurricane approaches.


Physician-Led Results: Grassroots Advocacy Paid Off in Tangible Wins at the Capitol - 10/13/2021

Texas physicians made the most of an extraordinary, scaled-back session of the Texas Legislature in 2021. They helped pass laws to curb prior authorization hassles; keep physicians from incurring new practice costs; install liability protections for future pandemics like COVID-19; extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for new mothers; and keep graduate medical education (GME) fully funded. And so much more.


TMA Makes Its Case on “Starting Point” COVID Relief Bill - 10/05/2021

A bill to distribute nearly $17 billion in COVID-19 relief funds – medicine’s focal point during the current special session of the Texas Legislature – drew both praise and recommendations for improvement from the Texas Medical Association and several state specialty societies.


TMA Urges House Committee to Bolster Border Care Access - 10/05/2021

With 30 years of experience practicing primary care medicine in the Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg internist and Texas Medical Association President E. Linda Villarreal, MD, has unique insight into the region’s health care needs and how state lawmakers can build on previous legislation to address them.


Afghan Evacuees Eligible for Health Insurance, CMS Says - 10/04/2021

Nearly 4,500 people in the first group of evacuees to the U.S. from Afghanistan will resettle in Texas. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) says most evacuees will be eligible for health insurance, and the agency has released guidance outlining their health coverage options.


Funding the Future: Texas Legislature Fully Commits to GME - 10/02/2021

The Texas Legislature’s investment in medical education includes a full commitment to GME.


Enrollment for Marketplace Plans Extended by One Month - 09/24/2021

The Biden-Harris administration has announced a 30-day extension of the upcoming open enrollment period for federal marketplace health plans available through HealthCare.gov, as well as a new monthly special enrollment period targeting people with low incomes.


TMA: Use Rescue Act Funds for Long-COVID Research, Improved Access to Care - 09/24/2021

Following its second letter to key state lawmakers about the best uses for one-time federal COVID-19 relief funding, the House of Medicine has established a broad vision for how that money could help Texas patients and physicians.


Payment Process Problematic Under Federal Surprise Billing Rules - 09/22/2021

The Texas Medical Association has weighed in on federal rulemaking to help curb surprise medical bills, telling federal authorities medicine supports many patient protections in the rules – but is deeply concerned with a key piece of the criteria to determine fair payments for out-of-network care.


TMA White Paper: How to Prohibit Handguns on Private Property - 09/21/2021

Texas’ public handgun-carrying policies – and the rights of certain businesses and private property owners to prohibit the carrying of handguns – have garnered a great deal of legislative and media attention over the past several years, most recently with the Texas Legislature’s passage of permitless carry legislation earlier this year.


Take Three: COVID Relief Funds, Local Vaccine Mandates on Third Special Session Agenda - 09/19/2021

As anticipated, the Texas Legislature will return for a third 2021 special session – and fourth session overall this year – with federal COVID-19 relief funds on the agenda and the House of Medicine hoping to influence how lawmakers will allocate those funds.