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State of Public Health in Texas Focus of Distinguished Speaker Event - 08/10/2022

John W. Hellerstedt, MD, Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner, will address the state’s public health priorities at a Distinguished Speaker Series event hosted by the Texas Public Health Coalition (TPHC) and the Texas Medical Association (TMA).


Feds Launch Evusheld Ordering Route for Smaller Entities, Quantities - 08/05/2022

Small physician practices now have a new way to access the COVID-19 preexposure drug Evusheld, and in smaller amounts. Practices also can benefit from a new helpline for information on the monoclonal antibody treatment that helps prevent COVID-19 infection among immunocompromised patients at high risk of severe illness.


Talk to Patients About: Monkeypox - 08/05/2022

Monkeypox cases, rarely seen outside of countries in Africa, are rising rapidly, including in Texas, where 485 cases had been reported as of Aug. 2. As a result, physicians may be fielding questions from concerned patients.


UPDATE: Monkeypox Warrants Vigilance Amid National, Global Health Emergency - 08/05/2022

Physicians and other health care professionals should be vigilant to the possibility of monkeypox in patients after the Biden administration declared the outbreak a national public health emergency.


Texas Sales Tax Holiday Includes Masks – Help Patients Prepare for School - 08/02/2022

The first day of the new school year is right around the corner, unfortunately during a time of rising COVID-19 cases. Fortunately, you can help promote healthy school environments during the pandemic and help your patients prepare starting with Texas’ sales tax holiday this weekend.


Getting Another Shot: Physicians Combat Post-COVID Vaccine Hesitancy - 07/29/2022

Thousands of Texas children are getting back-to-school vaccinations before starting the new academic year. As they do, Texas physicians see evidence that skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccines has turned into skepticism about all types of vaccines, infecting once-healthy public perceptions about childhood immunizations.


Making a Comeback: Texas Leads the Nation in Congenital Syphilis - 07/29/2022

Texas leads the nation in congenital syphilis cases, and physicians are key to bringing both syphilis and congenital syphilis under control again.


Talk to Patients About: Human Papillomavirus Vaccine - 07/29/2022

The vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most effective life-saving measures in medicine, and yet it has long suffered from poor public perception.


Challenge of a Lifetime: Jennifer Shuford, MD, Helped Lead Texas Through the COVID-19 Pandemic - 07/29/2022

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


Long COVID's Long Shadow: Physicians Respond to an Influx of Long-COVID Patients - 07/29/2022

Long COVID has strained an already overburdened health care system and requires both multispecialty clinics and primary care physicians to meet demand.


Biden Administration to Launch Specialty Payment Model - 07/27/2022

A new, voluntary Medicare payment model option focused on cancer care opens the value-based care door wider for specialists at a time when such models have been limited.


Coming Soon at TMA: “The State of Public Health in Texas” - 07/26/2022

Join the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Public Health Coalition – in-person or via streaming – as John Hellerstedt, MD, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, reports on “The State of Public Health in Texas” on Thursday, Aug. 11, from noon to 1 pm CT.


CDC Authorizes Novavax Adult COVID Vaccine - 07/22/2022

There’s now a fourth COVID-19 vaccine option available in the U.S. after the federal government gave emergency use authorization to the Novavax vaccine for adults.


Texas’ Expanded Medical Cannabis Program: What You Need to Know - 07/19/2022

Legal uses for medical cannabis in Texas have reached an all-time high. Soaring even higher is interest in the Texas Compassionate Use Program under which physicians can prescribe it.


Q&A: The COVID Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 Subvariants - 07/19/2022

COVID-19’s ability to mutate into faster-spreading variants and subvariants makes it a dangerous moving target for physicians and other health care professionals.


DSHS: Consider Paxlovid as COVID Cases Rise - 07/13/2022

With Texas’ COVID-19 case and hospitalization numbers on a recent upward swing, the state is reminding physicians about the therapeutics available to treat high-risk patients with mild to moderate COVID-19.


Feds Clarify HIPAA Enforcement When Public Health Emergency Ends - 06/29/2022

New federal guidance clarifies that relaxed HIPAA enforcement will end at the conclusion of the COVID-19 public health emergency, while offering instruction on how physicians and others covered by HIPAA can continue to use remote communication technologies to provide audio-only telehealth services.


“Black Robes, Not White Coats”: Can Courts Compel Unproven Treatments? - 06/29/2022

COVID-19 patients and their families have involved judges and attorneys in an effort to compel physicians to treat the disease in unproven ways, against their medical judgment. And in some cases around the country, patients’ families have been successful in getting a court order to do so. The Texas Medical Association’s Committee on Patient-Physician Advocacy, while not directly involved in such cases, has a keen interest in making sure physicians can exercise their medical judgment.


Pinch Points: Health Care Isn’t Immune to a Tight Labor Market - 06/29/2022

Health care isn’t immune to a tight labor market, but employee retention efforts can help.


“Fight the Good Fight:” Fleeger Awarded TMA’s Highest Honor - 06/29/2022

The Texas Medical Association bestowed its highest honor upon Austin colon and rectal surgeon David C. Fleeger, MD, for his confident leadership during difficult times and his longtime advocacy for medicine at the state and national levels.


Talk to Patients About: Natural Immunity vs. Vaccine Immunity for COVID-19 - 06/29/2022

Catching COVID-19 can provide people with a degree of immunity from being reinfected with the disease in the future. This prompts some to opt against vaccination and instead risk getting sick to obtain this “natural immunity” on the assumption they will get a mild case and it will protect them from future illness.


Vaccine Equity Gains: COVID-19 Vaccine Rate Disparities Narrow Amid Physician-Led Outreach - 06/29/2022

When the COVID-19 vaccine rollout began in mid-December 2020, many physicians, advocates, and community leaders worried the health disparities laid bare by the pandemic would repeat themselves.  But improved data collection and innovative outreach efforts – many of them led by Texas physicians and medical students – have helped close these gaps.


CDC: COVID “Rebound” Chance Doesn’t Affect Paxlovid Recommendation - 06/28/2022

Despite the possibility of a symptom recurrence after a COVID-19 patient is treated with Paxlovid, that antiviral drug remains recommended for initial COVID treatment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in a recent health alert.


Monkeypox Wave Intensifies; Get Educated With TMA Fact Sheet - 06/24/2022

The monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. is now the worst documented wave of the disease in the nation’s history, surpassing the previous one in 2003. As cases of this rarely seen disease climb, the Texas Medical Association’s Committee on Infectious Diseases has put together a four-page fact sheet, Monkeypox: What Physicians Need to Know, to help educate physicians.


CDC Recommends COVID Vaccines for Kids as Young as 6 Months - 06/21/2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended two COVID-19 vaccines that now can be used for children between 6 months and 5 years old, meaning physicians and other vaccinators can begin giving those shots – and they’re now available for ordering through the state’s Vaccine Allocation & Ordering System.