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Caution Urged as Officials Continue to Monitor Coronavirus - 02/28/2020

Health officials continue to monitor the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19, but “the risk for all Texans remains low,” the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said.


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.


Fighting Epidemics: Robert Haley, MD, Wins Inaugural Nickey Award for Public Health - 02/28/2020

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.


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.


Spread the Word: Texas Needs Organ Donors - 02/25/2020

The Texas Legislature in 2019 designated Wednesday, Feb. 26, “Texas Bone Marrow, Blood, and Organ Donation Registry Day." It's an effort inspired by Anh Nguyen Reiss, MD, a Houston obstetrician and gynecologist who died in 2016 of myelodysplastic syndrome. Her unsuccessful effort to find a bone marrow donor spurred greater education about the need for more donors of all types.


PMP Checks Won’t Be Necessary for In-Facility Medications, TMB Says - 02/21/2020

Thanks to Texas Medical Association advocacy, the Texas Medical Boardhas refocused its guidance on when physicians will be required to check the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) before prescribing certain medications starting March 1.


Public Health: Tobacco Triumph - 02/19/2020

Texas physicians got the kind of huge win on tobacco issues they haven’t seen in decades – a law to keep tobacco products away from young people.


Reaching for the Cure: Texas Medicaid Doesn't Cover Hepatitis C Drugs Until Patients Are Seriously Ill - 02/18/2020

Infectious disease specialist Ogechika Alozie, MD, has a ready-made solution for patients diagnosed with hepatitis C now that five medications can rid patients of this deadly disease. But for Texas Medicaid patients, there’s a catch. The program does not pay for the cure based just on a diagnosis. Instead, Medicaid pays only after a blood test, biopsy, or sonogram shows the liver is so badly damaged that it’s on the verge of cirrhosis. At that point, patients who get the medication will be cured of their hepatitis C but more vulnerable to other deadly illnesses, like liver cancer.


Clearing the Haze: Texas Physicians Demystify Vaping - 02/18/2020

The rise in EVALI deaths and hospitalizations has changed the conversation about vaping and gives physicians an opportunity to champion tighter rules and higher taxes on an untested, unhealthy product that remains lightly regulated in both the U.S. and Texas.


Making Prescribing Less Painful for Physicians - 02/15/2020

I won’t be surprised if physicians around the state are feeling a little angst and anger over the coming March 1 requirement for physicians to check the Texas prescription monitoring program (PMP) before writing prescriptions for opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and carisoprodol. I don’t fault them one bit. This is just one more administrative burden placed on physicians. But I want all of you to understand just how much worse it would have been without the intervention of the Texas Medical Association.


Did You Receive an Email Requiring Registration to the State’s PMP? - 02/05/2020

TMA can confirm that an email sent Friday afternoon asking physicians to register for a PMP Aware account are indeed legitimate; however, there is no deadline to register.


Your Video Guide to Texas' New Prescription Drug Monitoring Program - 02/05/2020

In an effort to address the very real and debilitating crisis caused by the misuse of  pain medicines, the Texas Legislature has passed legislation to mandate that all prescribers and pharmacists check the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) before prescribing or dispensing certain medications.


Help Patients Stand Up to Be Counted in the Census - 02/05/2020

Physicians can improve census reporting by stressing the census’ importance to patients and explaining that it’s safe. The information people give is private and guarded from other branches of federal, state, and local governments. People will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail March 12, and the final counting will end July 31.


Texas Physicians Propose Mass Violence Prevention Strategies - 02/03/2020

How should Texas address the incidents of mass violence that have rocked the state in recent years? Physicians laid out medicine’s priorities before a special committee of the Texas House of Representatives late last week.


You May Need to Refile Some Medicare Claims - 02/03/2020

Be on the lookout for Medicare claims you’ve filed since Oct. 1 in which procedure codes failed to process, causing a rejected claim. You will need to refile these claims.


Grants to Promote Healthy Brain Development - 02/03/2020

Twelve Texas organizations whose programs help early childhood brain development will receive a share of $3.5 million in grants from the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF), the foundation said last week.


Continue to Watch for Coronavirus, Health Officials Say - 02/03/2020

Although no cases of the new coronavirus that originated in China have been confirmed in Texas, physicians are urged to use precaution with patients who have a fever and/or symptoms of lower respiratory illness, U.S. health officials said Friday.


CDC to Host Coronavirus Webinar Friday - 01/30/2020

If you are interested in learning more about the new coronavirus outbreak that began in China, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will host a webinar on Friday for physicians and other health care professionals.


Insurance Companies Have Denied My Doctor’s Orders, 25% of Texas Voters Say in New Poll - 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.


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.”


Firearms Safety: A Growing Public Health Threat - 01/29/2020

Michael Bagg was bothered by how his fellow students at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston reacted to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which killed 58 people. He started talking with a classmate about ways to address firearms that would improve safety while also respecting the rights of gun owners. Together, they came up with a preclinical curriculum for an elective class on firearms safety that has been taught at the school for the past two years. The course, which more than 100 students have attended, addresses topics such as the treatment of injuries and threat identification.


Addressing Autism: Giving Physicians Tools - 01/29/2020

Autism spectrum disorder is a fast-growing, serious developmental disability in the U.S., affecting an estimated one out of 59 children nationally, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is about four times more common in boys than girls. In recognition of its growing importance, TMA’s House of Delegates in 2019 approved a resolution encouraging physicians to expand and promote resources for families of people with autism.


Coronavirus Fears Overshadowing Influenza Threat - 01/28/2020

Although the new coronavirus outbreak that began in China has grabbed headlines recently, physicians should remind their patients that influenza continues to be a major concern in Texas.


Bryan, Fort Worth Nonprofit Clinics Win TMA Foundation Health Awards - 01/28/2020

Low-income, uninsured people in Bryan can get health care, and underserved Texans can access vision-saving surgery, thanks to the two special health care nonprofits recognized by the Texas Medical Association Foundation’s (TMAF’s) 2020 John P. McGovern Champion of Health Awards. TMAF presented the awards to the honorees on Saturday at the TMA Winter Conference, in Austin.