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Know Your ADA Obligations - 12/04/2019

If someone asked you about your training on federal requirements for accommodating patients with disabilities, would your answer sound something like this? “Oh golly. I have no idea. I’m sure I had to read or study something sometime. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been a doctor for quite a while, so I suspect I had to learn it somewhere, but I don’t remember where.” That’s an actual answer from one internal medicine physician in a recent study of doctors’ knowledge of their legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). And if the results of that small study are any indication, many physicians might be lacking in their knowledge on the subject.  


Finally Settled: Hospitals Settle Physician's Anti-Competition Lawsuit - 12/04/2019

A Laredo oncologist confidentially settled a years-long lawsuit involving a pair of hospitals he alleged mischaracterized a past legal misfortune to terminate his privileges and eliminate his clinic from competing with the facilities.


Removing the Pain from Prescribing Pain Meds - 11/07/2019

If you prescribe opioids for chronic pain, there are things you need to know to protect your patients as well as your practice, including knowing which patients need drug monitoring and what type of monitoring should be implemented. Thankfully, the Texas Medical Association’s new e-book, Monitoring Opioid Therapy for Chronic Pain, serves as a brief resource for that information and more.


Doctors Can Prohibit Handguns in Medical Offices - 10/24/2019

If you're not exactly jazzed about the thought of patients carrying handguns into your medical practice next year, you can do something to prevent it. House Bill 910 by Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016, and it allows Texans with handgun licenses to openly carry their handguns in a hip or shoulder holster. TMA has received questions regarding whether physicians can post a notice at their practices prohibiting anyone from entering with a handgun – concealed or openly. The answer depends on the type of property the medical office is located on. Generally, a private property owner may post notice prohibiting the carrying of handguns   , but HB 910 contains many requirements. TMA's white paper, titled [insert title and link], has more information for physicians.


No Cannabis for Pregnant Women or New Mothers, FDA Warns - 10/22/2019

Texas physicians are encouraged to help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration spread the word to pregnant and breast-feeding mothers to avoid using cannabis and cannabis-derived products.


Help Promote National Drug Prescription Take Back Day on Oct. 26 - 10/22/2019

Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which allows people to dispose of prescription drugs safely and anonymously, is scheduled for Oct. 26 at locations throughout the state.


Tapering a Patient’s Opioid Dosage? Follow This Guide - 10/18/2019

In an effort to curb the nationwide opioid epidemic while keeping patients from excessive pain, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week published a guide for physicians considering or initiating a reduction in opioid dosage.


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.


Warning: Watch Your Referrals - 10/01/2019

Federal anti-kickback law has changed, and it’s gotten broader. As a result, you may need to re-examine your practice’s compensation arrangements. That includes payments for laboratory referrals.  


The Doctor - and Lawyer - Will See You Now: Medical-Legal Partnerships - 09/27/2019

Elderly woman. Low-income. Chronic pain. Needs to see a rheumatologist. Needs physical therapy. Struggling to pay rent. Has no insurance. Has no disability coverage. As a family physician at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Austin, Sharad Kohli, MD, sees a lot of cases like this. In similar health care settings, the patient might face two bad choices: wage bureaucratic war to obtain better health care benefits or simply give up. At People’s Community Clinic, Dr. Kohli referred her to an in-house lawyer who successfully appealed her denial of disability insurance. “[The lawyer] got her a significant income, which allowed her to pay her rent and also helped her get insurance through Medicaid and Medicare,” Dr. Kohli said. “And then she was able to see the rheumatologist and the physical therapist.” This kind of success helps explain why medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) like the one at People’s Community Clinic came about in 1993 and began expanding nationally after 2001. Te...


No Docs of All Trades: Ruling Reinforces Expert Witness Reforms - 09/26/2019

Before Texas’ landmark liability reforms passed in 2003, gray areas in the law often led to serious green for people who sued physicians.


TMB Transitions to Electronic Licenses in September - 09/18/2019

Beginning Sept. 1, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) will no longer issue paper licenses for physicians or physician assistants. Instead, new and renewed licenses will be available via the My TMB online portal.


Fighting Back: Practice Wins Court Battle Over Defamatory Online Reviews - 09/03/2019

One practice’s recent legal battle epitomizes physicians’ worst nightmares when it comes to online reviews. Here’s an extreme but glaring real world example, straight from the documents in a lawsuit that Austin Eye first filed in October 2017 over


Court Rejects Hospital Challenge to Defamation Lawsuit - Again - 08/21/2019

Once again, Houston cardiothoracic surgeon Miguel Gomez, MD, has won in court in his battle to collect more than $6 million from Memorial Hermann Health System in a defamation lawsuit.


“The future” of pain treatment? - 08/15/2019

Some physicians, depending on the situation, are avoiding opioids to every reasonable degree, doing their part to keep patients off the drugs that killed more than 42,000 people in the United States in 2016. Fort Worth anesthesiologist Aaron Shiraz, MD, and his group, Trinity Medical Associates, are taking it to a rarely seen extreme.


$18 Million Grants to Help Texas Fight Opioid Abuse - 08/12/2019

More than 70 Texas health institutions have received almost $18 million in federal funds to combat the ongoing nationwide opioid epidemic.


Medical Futility Law Sustained - 08/02/2019

Court tosses out challenge to ethics committee review of end-of-life care.


Final Verdict? Case Tests Court's Ability to Overturn a Jury Verdict - 08/02/2019

It was an overwhelming, 12-0 verdict – a jury’s unanimous rejection of a negligence case against a Laredo physician. Then, a judge took that decision away and ordered a new trial – not because of jury misconduct, or any procedural stumble that usually negates a court decision. It was taken away, essentially, because the judge said so.


The Meaning of Monthly: Court Ruling Offers Hope on Pain Clinic Registrations - 08/02/2019

Physicians can encounter a web of confusion and unfairness when it comes to navigating the Texas Medical Board (TMB). A Travis County district court has given Texas physicians clarity and hope when it comes to certain medical board investigations. The court’s decision, if it holds up, establishes an important precedent for when physicians are required to register their facility as a pain management clinic.


Did You Receive an Email Requiring Registration to the State’s PMP? - 06/19/2019

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.


You Write Scripts? You Better Sign Up With the PMP - 06/19/2019

If you don't yet have a user account set up with the state's prescription monitoring program (PMP), known as PMP Aware, now is a good time to get it done.


TMA Pushing To Delay PMP Mandate, Buy Time for Integration With EHRs - 06/19/2019

Starting Sept. 1, physicians will be required to check the PMP before issuing any prescription for opioids, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or carisoprodol, a mandate the Texas Legislature passed during the 2017 session. As this year’s session of the legislature enters its back stretch, TMA is hoping to persuade lawmakers to delay that mandate until March 2020 to allow for a widespread rollout of PMP-EHR integration.


Are You Ready for Changes to Opioid Prescribing in Texas? - 06/19/2019

Beginning Sept. 1, all prescribers will be required to set up an account with the state’s prescription monitoring program, known as PMP Aware. The Texas State Board of Pharmacy will also begin issuing new official prescription forms that include advanced security features designed to help deter fraud.


Keep Your Patients and Practice Safe from Opioid Prescription Fraud - 06/19/2019

If you prescribe opioids, it’s important to protect your practice and your patients from fraud and substance-use disorder. One way to ensure that patients accurately follow your prescription is to have them sign an informed consent and opioid treatment agreement.


Eight Steps to a HIPAA Security Risk Analysis - 05/30/2019

Many practices have not yet conducted and documented this required HIPAA task. Follow these eight steps to complete your risk analysis.