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Legislative Top 10: What It Took To Renew the TMB for 12 Years - 06/14/2019

Today’s TMA’s Legislative News Hotline video looks at lawmakers’ quest to pass legislation to renew the Texas Medical Board for another 12 years. The Texas Legislature passed the sunset bill this session, House Bill 1504, after the 2017 legislature couldn’t get it done. It awaits Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature.


Legislative Top 10: Law Gives Liability Protections to Physicians Who Respond to Disasters - 06/14/2019

Today’s Texas Medical Association Legislative Hotline video examines Senate Bill 752, which will allow physicians and health care providers to voluntarily respond to disasters without fear of medical liability.


Legislative Top 10: A Closer Look at Texas’ New “Tobacco 21” Law - 06/13/2019

One of the major public health achievements the Texas Medical Association pushed for this past legislative session was Senate Bill 21, which raises the minimum age to buy tobacco and vape-product in Texas from 18 to 21 years. The lifesaving measure, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed last week, is featured in today’s TMA’s Legislative News Hotline video report.  


Legislative Hotline: Governor Signs Corporate Practice, Maternal Health, and Insurance Bills - 06/12/2019

Gov. Greg Abbott signed several medicine-friendly bills into law, including one that creates a process at the Texas Medical Board that employed physicians can use to file complaints against a hospital or other health organization – protecting employed physicians’ clinical autonomy and independent medical judgment from administrator interference.


Legislative Top 10: Lawmakers Take Steps to Keep Texas Mothers Alive - 06/12/2019

Today’s TMA Legislative News Hotline video looks at Senate Bill 750, which requires the state Health and Human Services Commission to expand the Healthy Texas Women program for new mothers beyond the current prevention services it provides. The bill awaits Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature.


Legislative Top 10: Improving Mental Health Care Squeaks into Law - 06/11/2019

Political maneuvering late in the Texas Legislative session saved efforts to improve the effectiveness of and access to behavioral health care in Texas. Today’s TMA Legislative News Hotline video looks at the moves to save Senate Bill 10, which will provide community-level health treatment programs, and mental health research.


Legislative Top 10: Lawmakers Say No to Expanding Scope of Practice - 06/10/2019

Every legislative session, allied health professionals ask lawmakers to broaden their scope of practice to some form of health care only physicians are trained and authorized to provide. Today's TMA Legislative News Hotline video reports that lawmakers passed no such Texas Medical Association-opposed bills this term.


Legislative Top 10: Efforts to Curb Opioid Abuse Await Governor - 06/07/2019

Motivated to act by the ongoing national opioid crisis, the 86th Texas Legislature worked to limit how the powerful drugs are prescribed.  Today's Texas Medical Association Legislative News Hotline video reports on the bill that emerged and describes new prescribing rules for Texas physicians.


Legislative Top 10: Making Sense of Proposed Prior Authorization Fix - 06/06/2019

In today’s Texas Medical Association Legislative News Hotline video, TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst talks about a bill awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature that helps prevent delays in care by providing more transparency for patients and physicians regarding what health plans require for prior authorizations.


Legislative Top 10: Bill Could Protect Patients From Surprise Bills - 06/05/2019

Arguably one of the biggest issues Texas lawmakers tackled this session was surprise billing, as they vowed to protect patients from receiving medical bills for care not covered by insurance. In today’s Texas Medical Association Legislative Hotline video – the second in our “top 10” series of issues the Texas Legislature addressed – TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst explains the bill that could solve the problem.


Legislative Top 10: How Will Medicine Be Funded in the 2020-21 State Budget? - 06/04/2019

In this TMA Legislative News Hotline video, TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst summarizes the health care-related issues and services that lawmakers included in the 2020-21 state budget. (Hint: Some items will please physicians, and some will disappointment them.)


Legislative Hotline Video: What’s Missing From Texas’ Draft Budget? - 06/03/2019

Lawmakers released their two-year spending plan for 2020-21 this week, but TMA Immediate Past President Doug Curran, MD, says one item that’s not included was greatly needed: A pay hike for doctors who care for Medicaid patients.


Push Governor Abbott For Prior Auth Relief - 05/31/2019

When the dust settled on the 2019 Texas Legislature earlier this week, Senate Bill 1742 was still standing – carefully negotiated and approved by both chambers. SB 1742 has been sent to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature, yet it languishes unsigned. It’s time to send a simple message to Governor Abbott: “Sign Senate Bill 1742.”


Bill Will Protect Physicians in True Emergencies - 05/30/2019

The recently concluded 2019 session of the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2362 by Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) to address that problem and ensure that physicians working in the emergency room and facing highrisk obstetrical cases requiring immediate and difficult decisions are protected from unwarranted lawsuits.


Legislative Hotline: Done and Gone; Lawmakers Finish Overall Good Session for Medicine - 05/29/2019

Monday was the final day of the 86th Legislative session, when the House and Senate gaveled out sine die, which essentially means without a day specified for future meetings. Here is a list of bills important to medicine that made it across the finish line during the closing weekend and will either head to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for signature or that he’s already signed.


A Growing Problem: Childhood Obesity Could Hamper Military Readiness - 05/28/2019

Childhood obesity has become so widespread in the U.S. that it threatens military readiness, but bills currently moving through the Texas Legislature could help alleviate the problem, according to a pair of state lawmakers.


Legislative Hotline: Act Now For Prior Authorization Relief - 05/24/2019

Please call Gov. Greg Abbott’s office now at (512) 463-2000 regarding two key health insurance reform bills. “Tell him to stand with physicians and our patients against insurance company interference,” Texas Medical Association President David Fleeger, MD, said this morning in an email to all members. “Tell the governor to give the go-ahead for strong prior authorization and utilization review protections in Senate Bill 1742 and/or House Bill 2327.”


Legislative Hotline: Several Medicine-Friendly Bills Head to Governor - 05/23/2019

Bill to protect employed physicians’ clinical autonomy and independent medical judgment from hospital administrators’ interference among those headed to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.


Legislative Hotline: Maternal Health Bill Now Awaits Governor’s Approval - 05/22/2019

A bill that directs the Department of State Health Services to develop and implement initiatives to assist pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder and newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, was sent to the governor yesterday. This bill is specifically referring to the TexasAIM Opioid Bundle that evolved out of the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and is strongly supported by TMA.


Legislative Hotline: At Long Last, Tobacco 21 Bill Heads To Governor - 05/21/2019

After several sessions’ trying to protect the health of Texas youth by delaying the onset of smoking and thus nicotine addiction, a bill to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vape products to 21 years is heading to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.


Legislative Hotline: Zero Medicaid Rate Increases in Draft State Budget - 05/20/2019

Lawmakers have released a draft of their negotiations on the final $248 billion 2020-21 state budget, which includes $0 for physician rate increases, despite the Texas Medical Association’s call for a $500 million investment in targeted rate increases in the two-year budget


Legislative Hotline: Prescription Monitoring and Professional Liability Bills Highlight Today’s Deliberations - 05/17/2019

Today is the 130th  day of the session. But who’s counting? The House and Senate both have less than one week to vote on bills, which must be complete by midnight May 22. Meanwhile, lawmakers are finalizing negotiations on the final 2020-21 state budget; the deadline for agreement between the two chambers is midnight May 26. Here’s a status check on numerous bills that continue to move through the legislative process.


Legislative Hotline: Patient-Friendly Insurance Bills Top Today’s Calendar - 05/17/2019

Today is the 130th day of the 140-day session. Time is quickly running out for bills to pass. Fortunately, physicians’ priority bills are still moving toward the finish line. The House and Senate both have less than one week to vote on bills, which must be complete by midnight May 22. TMA remains steadfast in its request for more funding for Medicaid, women’s health, mental health, and graduate medical education (GME), and will continue to vigorously plead our case.


Legislative Hotline: Texas Medical Board Sunset and Tobacco 21 Bills Make Progress - 05/16/2019

House Bill 1504 by Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), the Texas Medical Board (TMB) Sunset bill that would extend the TMB for another 12 years, was voted unanimously out of the Senate yesterday. Also, Senate Bill 21 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) – which would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vape products to 21 years, excluding active duty military – passed out of the House today.


Legislative Hotline: Insurance Bills In the Spotlight Today - 05/14/2019

Insurance, corporate practice of medicine, tobacco, maternal health bills all moving as session winds down.