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Congress Needs to Get This Right - 12/12/2019

The Texas Medical Association, with our nearly 53,000 physician and medical student members, was very pleased to see the Ways and Means Committee weigh in on the debate over surprise medical billing legislation. While the details are yet to come, the general outline of that proposal looks quite promising.


Texas' New Surprise Billing Law: Are You Ready? - 12/11/2019

Texas’ baseball-style arbitration law takes effect for certain out-of-network medical care beginning Jan. 1, 2020. It’s a big change from how disputes on out-of-network medical bills have been handled in the past – and you need to know how to navigate it. There are nuances to consider, and disciplinary action from the Texas Medical Board (TMB) may await you if you balance-bill in violation of the law. That’s why the Texas Medical Association has produced a digestible, seven-page summary of the surprise-billing law.


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.


TMB Pulls Proposed Rule on Surprise Bills - 12/09/2019

The Texas Medical Board has withdrawn its proposed rules to implement pieces of the state’s new law introducing baseball-style arbitration on many out-of-network medical bills. At its meeting Friday, the board pulled down its rule proposal, saying in a statement that it “would not cover all providers under the statute.”


TMA Stands Firmly Against Surprise Medical Billing “Compromise” - 12/09/2019

“There is a right way and a wrong way to protect patients from surprise medical bills, and the so-called compromise federal legislation announced this weekend in Washington, D.C., is definitely the wrong way,” Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD, said Monday.


TMA Makes Strong Push for Fair Surprise Billing Legislation - 12/04/2019

The Texas Medical Association is urging Texas lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to show their support for federal legislation on surprise medical bills that includes commercially reasonable upfront payments and independent arbitration.


Medicine Pushes State Lawmakers For Stronger Policies to Curb Teen Vaping - 12/03/2019

With the recent rise in severe pulmonary illness linked to vaping and e-cigarettes, state lawmakers on Tuesday took steps to curb use of those products, particularly among children and teenagers.


Vitamin E Acetate “A Strong Culprit” in Vaping-Related Lung Injuries - 12/03/2019

Vitamin E acetate, a sticky substance used in skin lotions and vitamin supplements, could be to blame for severe lung injuries linked to vaping that have sickened more than 200 people in Texas and thousands more across the U.S., health officials said Friday.


House Will Study Behavioral Health, Early Childhood Intervention, and More - 12/02/2019

Among a number of health care-related topics, the Texas House of Representatives during the interim “off” year in 2020 will study the state’s behavioral health system, child trafficking prevention, and the effect of technology and “big data” on insurance. House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) released the chamber’s interim charges last week.


More Cases of Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated With Vaping Identified in Texas - 11/27/2019

The number of people with pulmonary illness linked to vaping continues to rise both in Texas and nationwide. As of Monday, 263 possible cases of EVALI, or e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, have been reported in Texas.


Miss the TMA Virtual Meeting? Watch It Now - 11/20/2019

Were you unable to tune in to the Texas Medical Association’s virtual meeting last week? If you missed it, you can check out the meeting anytime on TMA’s virtual meeting webpage.


Updated White Paper Has Latest Information on Telemedicine in Texas - 11/12/2019

Updated this year, the Texas Medical Association's white paper, Texas Laws and Regulations Relating to Telemedicine, describes the new Texas legal and regulatory requirements that apply to a physician providing telemedicine medical services.


Senate Committees Will Examine Uninsured Rate During Interim Year - 11/06/2019

Texas’ nation-leading uninsured rate will be under the state senate’s microscope in 2020 as part of the interim charges Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has assigned to senate committees. The list of interim charges, released last week, directs the Senate Business & Commerce Committee to “[s]tudy and report on ways to … decrease the uninsured rate in Texas” as part of its examination of the cost of health care.


Texas Voters Approve Renewed Funding for Cancer Research - 11/06/2019

Texas' ongoing battle against cancer just got new life. Voters statewide overwhelmingly approved Proposition 6 on Tuesday to continue funding for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), the state's cancer-fighting agency.


Vote Tuesday to Keep Texas A Leader in Cancer Research - 11/04/2019

The Texas Medical Association is encouraging you to vote for a proposition that would extend Texas’ place as a leader in the fight against cancer. “Please vote AGAINST cancer and FOR saving Texans’ lives. Physicians of TMA urge everyone to VOTE FOR Proposition 6 on Tuesday's ballot to continue to fund the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT),” TMA President David C. Fleeger, MD, said.


Virtual Meeting to Cover Surprise Billing Laws, TMA Member Benefits - 10/28/2019

But if you want to learn even more about Texas' new suprise billing law, or if you want to find out what’s new with the Lone Star Caucus – which represents your county in the Texas Medical Association’s House of Delegates – tune in to a 30-minute virtual meeting scheduled for noon on Tuesday, Nov. 12.


Medicine to Congress: Don’t Give Health Plans More Leverage - 10/24/2019

The federal government should take a balanced approach to surprise medical bills that includes commercially reasonable upfront payments and independent arbitration, the Texas Medical Association and many other medical societies are telling key members of Congress.


Medical Students Win TMA Foundation Grants to Help Texans - 10/21/2019

Texans in cities across the state will benefit from nearly $27,000 in Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) grant funding awarded to budding physicians for health-improvement projects.


Have Your Say on Texas’ New Surprise Billing Law - 10/16/2019

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is holding a public hearing next week on rulemaking for the state’s new “baseball-style arbitration” law to address surprise medical bills. If you wish to speak at the meeting, TDI requests you submit written comments or a summary of your testimony by noon Friday, Oct. 18 “to facilitate a meaningful discussion.”


TMA Urges Public Education As Hemp-Based Products Become Legal - 10/16/2019

State health officials should take steps to ensure that a new law that legalizes the production and sale of hemp and some hemp products helps Texas physicians protect the health of patients who use those products. The Texas Medical Association sent that message in a letter last week to the Department of State Health Services, which was taking comments related to implementation of House Bill 1325.


Commentary: Texas Has a Secret Weapon Against Cancer - 10/14/2019

Cancer is the No. 2 cause of death in Texas and across the United States. The good news is that things change, and we can be active agents in making sure that they change for the better. Reauthorization of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) would do more than keep the ball rolling; it would save lives.


Charting Medicine’s Statehouse Progress: A Successful Legislative Session for Physicians - 10/08/2019

Legislation is just one piece of a healthy Texas. But it’s a big piece, and when the Texas Medical Association told the lawmakers of 2019 how it should fit, those legislators largely shaped it to what physicians and patients need. The house of medicine convinced lawmakers that raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 was the right thing for the state’s present and future. Medicine also successfully persuaded the legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott to improve insurance network adequacy and directories, which will help with surprise medical bills.


State Health Advisory: New Syphilis Testing Requirements During Pregnancy In Effect - 10/04/2019

As of Sept. 1, Texas physicians are required to test pregnant women for syphilis three times: at the first prenatal visit, during the third trimester (no sooner than the 28th week), and at delivery. Previously, state law required testing at the first visit and during the third trimester.


Prescribing Changes in Texas: Know What You Need to Know - 10/01/2019

By now you might know that state lawmakers recently passed a number of changes to how prescriptions for certain pain medications must be written and processed, as part of a larger effort to fight prescription fraud and abuse. That's why the Texas Medical Association created a free on-demand webinar that outlines what prescribers can expect.


CDC: More Possible Pulmonary Disease Cases Linked to Vaping Reported - 09/27/2019

Texas health officials are investigating suspected cases of pulmonary disease among people who have reported vaping, according to a health alert posted Friday.