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New Screening Guidelines Approved to Improve Early Detection of Diabetes and HIV - 01/24/2023

Medicaid and most group health plans will implement updated screening guidelines for diabetes during and after pregnancy, beginning in 2024, thanks to changes recently approved by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.


The Unwinding: What the End of the COVID PHE Means for Continuous Medicaid Coverage - 01/24/2023

After nearly three years and 11 extensions, the federal public health emergency related to COVID-19 is poised to end this spring, and with it, continuous Medicaid coverage for more than 2.5 million Texans.


The Unwinding: What the End of the PHE Means for Telehealth - 01/24/2023

Throughout the pandemic, state and federal governments relaxed regulatory and payment barriers to health care by telemedicine. That includes paying for telemedicine visits at the same rate as in-person visits; allowing the use of non-HIPAA-compliant platforms; and removing so-called geographic site restrictions that would normally require a patient to be seen in the office. In 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also announced a new set of telehealth billing codes, particularly for behavioral health.


As Flu and RSV Drop Omicron Subvariant Poses Unknown Threat - 01/18/2023

A flu and respiratory syncytial virus season that began early and intensely already may have peaked, but other illnesses, including the XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant of the COVID-19 virus, remain threats.


Challenge of a Lifetime: Jennifer Shuford, MD, Helped Lead Texas Through the COVID-19 Pandemic - 01/17/2023

Chief State Epidemiologist Jennifer Shuford, MD, found innovative ways to lead Texas through the COVID-19 emergency.


UPDATE: Feds Poised to Extend COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Through Spring 2023 - 01/13/2023

After continued advocacy by the Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, and other organizations, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seems likely to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency  for an 11th time.


Monkeypox Cases Resurface; CDC Urges Vigilance - 01/05/2023

With cases of monkeypox recently reported in several countries that don’t normally have that virus – including at least one confirmed case in the U.S. – federal health authorities are advising physicians to be on the lookout for the characteristic rash usually associated with monkeypox.


The Unwinding: What the End of the PHE Means for COVID Vaccines, Testing, and Treatments - 01/05/2023

The COVID-19 crisis spurred an unprecedented combination of public health initiatives and funding, much of it made possible by the public health emergency (PHE) declared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in January 2020. When the PHE expires, what will happen to crucial vaccines, testing, and treatments?


Texas Physicians Warn: Don’t Let Accidental Overdose Ruin Your Holidays (and Your Life) - 12/13/2022

The holidays are a time of joy and celebration for many, but they could turn tragic if someone takes one pill they should not. Substance misuse – especially unwittingly taking street drugs that contain fentanyl – can destroy a life. A very small amount of illegally manufactured fentanyl (IMF) can be deadly.


Newborn Screening Kits Expire Dec. 31; Cost Updates Expected Spring 2023 - 12/08/2022

Newborn screening kits with a nine-digit serial number beginning with 20 (e.g. TX 20-XXXXXXX) will expire on Dec. 31, and physicians are encouraged to use the kits to collect specimens and to ensure their stock is up to date after the end of the month.


Pfizer COVID Vaccine Available in Single Doses to Improve Outreach, HHS Announces - 12/05/2022

Physicians eager to combat COVID-19 continue to look for ways to make the vaccines easier for patients to access. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently took an important step in that direction by offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to physicians in single-dose vials for patients 12 and older, says Dallas infectious disease specialist Trish Perl, MD, a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force.


Rotations, Residency Applications, Testing Fees? TMA Low-Interest Loans Can Help - 12/05/2022

As a medical student, Zachary Hamilton, MD, had no idea how he was going to pay for his fourth-year residency applications and travel expenses to interviews. Then he heard about and applied for a TMA low-interest educational loan.


'They Came in Droves': Former TMA President Douglas Curran, MD, Starts an FQHC - 12/04/2022

Former TMA President Doug Curran, MD, fulfilled a long-time dream of expanding care by cofounding the East Texas Community Clinic, a federally qualified health center.


The Down and Dirty on Wastewater Surveillance: COVID-19 Gives it a Boost - 12/04/2022

Wastewater epidemiology has been around for about two decades, but it didn't really take off in Texas until COVID-19 came along.


Help Wanted: Texas’ physician growth strong, but recruitment, diversity still needed - 12/04/2022

Texas' physician workforce has enjoyed strong growth, but there still aren't enough doctors to go around and more diversity is needed.


Growing Representation: TMA's Diversity in Medicine Scholarship Cultivates a Representative Workforce - 12/04/2022

The Texas Medical Association's recently renamed Diversity in Medicine Scholarship program aims to boost underrepresented applicants to Texas medical schools, physicians caring for medically underserved populations, and diversity within the physician workforce.


A Revolving Door: Persistent Staffing Shortages Plague Practices - 12/04/2022

Many medical practices that are struggling with staffing have found stopgap solutions, such as offering hiring wages and reconsidering their divisions of labor, but these may not be sustainable in the long term.


Accelerating Access: Texas' Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Membership Expands Care - 12/04/2022

Texas' recent membership in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact has made it easier for physicians to provide telemedicine care across state lines while also strengthening the Lone Star State's appeal to eligible, out-of-state physicians hoping to relocate.


Physicians Serve as Lead Clinicians to Support Mental Health Intervention - 11/17/2022

The impact of adverse childhood events (ACEs) can be lasting and costly on patient health and medical outcomes. In the United States, more than 20% of adults report experiencing three ACEs during their youth, potentially increasing the risk of negative, chronic health consequences and challenges such as alcoholism, depression, unemployment, heart disease and substance abuse, among many others.


Commissioned With Change : An Interview With HHSC Commissioner Cecile Erwin Young - 11/11/2022

As leader of the state’s largest agency, Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Cecile Erwin Young is faced with some of the largest health care challenges among some of the most vulnerable patient populations. She visited the Texas Medical Association’s Winter Conference in late January to talk to Texas physicians about their concerns in caring for those patients, especially during a pandemic.


How to Automate Payment Processes, Avoid Patient Debt - 11/09/2022

Maximizing automation functions within a practice management system can have many hidden benefits to physician practices, not the least of which is saving on costs and time – and heading off payment delays.


CDC: “Brie” Mindful of Listeria Outbreak Linked to Cheese - 11/01/2022

Don’t cut, bake, or serve recalled cheeses this holiday season.


Physicians Urge Texans to Safely Return Unused Prescription Medication - 10/27/2022

Texas physicians recommend people with unused or expired prescription drugs at home dispose of them safely this weekend, so they are not accidently consumed. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is organizing its biannual prescription drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 29. Prescription drugs can be returned anonymously at pop up locations across the state.


How to Cut Operational Costs? TMA Experts Have Answers - 10/21/2022

The cost-conscious physician trying to cut expenses can start by looking around the office.


New TMA Committee Aims to Protect Private Practice - 10/18/2022

Private practices across Texas face the same threats as their larger counterparts: successive physician pay cuts, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and rising inflation. But they lack access to the same resources when dealing with them. The Texas Medical Association is dedicated to helping them keep their doors open, which led to the formation of a new Ad Hoc Committee on Independent Physician Practice.