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Operation Distribution: Physicians Key in COVID-19 Vaccines Distribution - 12/02/2020

Even though COVID-19 vaccines are closer than ever to use by the general public, many questions remain about how they will be distributed to Texas physicians – and how they’ll be received by Texans. That’s why TMA in October weighed in on the state’s distribution plan with recommendations to help ensure COVID-19 vaccines are not only distributed effectively and efficiently, but also seen as trusted tools in the fight against the illness.


“Texas Strong” Mask Campaign Calls on Texans to Come Together to Fight COVID-19 - 12/02/2020

As cases spike again throughout the state, the Texas Medical Association and four other members of the Texas Health Care Industry Strike Force on COVID-19 are reinforcing the call to wear masks through a new public service announcement campaign entitled “Texas Strong.”


Use It or Lose It: Texas’ New Behavioral Health Program Can Help Only If Physicians Use It - 12/02/2020

What if Texas lawmakers created a mental health service that physicians asked for but then not many physicians used it? So far, that is what’s happening with the Child Psychiatric Access Network (CPAN), which gives pediatricians and family physicians across Texas free telemedicine-based consultation and training on community psychiatry.


TMA COVID-19 Experts Urge Testing for Schoolchildren - 12/01/2020

Texas physicians recommend schools use rapid antigen testing along with other on-campus safety measures to detect early signs of coronavirus infection among students and staff. The recommendation comes from the Texas Medical Association (TMA) School Reopening Workgroup, which includes physician members of the TMA COVID-19 Task Force, Committee on Infectious Diseases, and Committee on Child and Adolescent Health, and local health authorities from throughout the state.


Talk to Patients About: Why COVID-19 “Parties” Are a Bad Idea - 11/30/2020

Most people have gradually adjusted to the day-to-day changes caused by COVID-19, such as washing hands frequently, wearing masks, and social distancing. But others have looked for strategies to get around the hassles caused by the pandemic. In some cases, this has included deliberately trying to contract the potentially deadly illness through “COVID parties,” events designed to expose people to someone with COVID-19.


Which is Riskier: Building a Snowman or Celebrating New Year’s Eve at a Bar? - 11/25/2020

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic – and the social distancing recommended to stop its spread – this holiday season will be anything but normal. The Texas Medical Association has created a chart that ranks various holiday traditions and activities based on how risky they are.


Texas Medicaid, CHIP Changes Extended Through 2020 - 11/25/2020

Some Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) flexibilities put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic have been extended through Dec. 31, state health officials announced.


Staff Holiday Party on Hold? Consider Other Morale-Boosting Options - 11/24/2020

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 anything but normal. So, instead of hosting an in-person get-together, what can you do to lift your staff’s spirits to thank them for their hard work this year?


What’s More Risky, Going to a Bar or Opening the Mail? - 11/23/2020

The Texas Medical Association COVID-19 Task Force and Committee on Infectious Diseases have created a chart that ranks activities on their risk level for COVID-19. The levels are based on input from the physician members of the task force and the committee, who worked from the assumption that – no matter the activity – participants were taking as many safety precautions as they can.


State Board Finalizes Medically Accurate Health Education Standards - 11/23/2020

Thanks to an organized push by the Texas Medical Association and its physician members, the State Board of Education last week approved new Texas curriculum standards that include more comprehensive and medically accurate instruction on multiple health-related topics.


Effectively Counseling Patients Amid the Anti-Vaccination Movement - 11/20/2020

Primary care physicians are at the frontline of the annual battle against influenza. Many patients arrive at their clinician’s office with erroneous information about the vaccine and have already decided to refuse their flu shot before they walk through the clinic doors. In response, practices and providers across the country have amplified their efforts.


Talk to Patients About: ACIP - 11/20/2020

Two federal agencies oversee the way vaccines reach the U.S. public. But only one of them guides physicians on the best way to use those vaccines. That agency is the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the way private companies develop and produce vaccines.)


AMA Policy Calls on Medicine to Oppose Racism, Recognize It as a Public Health Threat - 11/18/2020

At a Special Meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates, the nation’s physicians confronted racism nationwide by adopting several policies that recognize racism as a public health threat.


AMA House Addresses COVID-19 Vaccine Skepticism, Future Pandemics - 11/18/2020

The COVID-19 pandemic permeated activities at a Special Meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates, culminating in passage of two public health measures designed to help contain the disease.


State Board Could Remove Vaccine Education From Public Schools - 11/17/2020

There is still time to tell your state education board member to reject any amendments to the immunization language in the draft Health Education TEKS, and to ensure future generations of Texas children are informed on the importance of vaccines to overall health.


New TMA Chart, Podcast Assess the COVID Risks of Various Holiday Activities - 11/17/2020

How risky is traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house during a pandemic? Physicians of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) COVID-19 Task Force and TMA Committee on Infectious Diseases announce two new tools to help Texans enjoy holiday activities while avoiding things that pose the greatest risk of spreading COVID-19: A new infographic and podcast.


Health Professionals to State Leaders: Protect Texas’ PPE Supply - 11/13/2020

Gov. Greg Abbott and state lawmakers must do everything possible to ensure that Texas physicians and other health care professionals have adequate supplies of personal protective equipment during the global COVID-19 pandemic. That is the message the Texas Medical Association and other health care organizations sent to Governor Abbott and lawmakers in a letter Friday.


New Distribution System Will Ship PPE to Physicians, Clinics in Desperate Need - 11/13/2020

Texas physicians in desperate need of personal protective equipment (PPE) will soon get the supplies they’ve been asking for. The Texas Medical Association (TMA), in collaboration with state agencies, county medical societies, and other statewide health organizations, is establishing an online portal where health professionals can apply for shipments of PPE.


County Society Exec “Literally Meeting With People in Parking Lots” to Get PPE for Physicians - 11/13/2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the international market for personal protective equipment (PPE) into chaos. So physicians across Texas have found they have to go big or go home when it comes to obtaining those critical supplies.


Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) & Specimen Collection and Testing Resources COVID-19 - 11/13/2020

Health care personnel should immediately notify both infection control personnel at their health care facility and their local or state health department in the event of a PUI. COVID-19 is a notifiable condition that should be reported to your local health department immediately if either suspected or confirmed. Testing and specimen submission to the DSHS laboratory requires pre-approval from your local health authority. Commercial and drive through laboratory testing is also available. Please consider these as testing options for yourself and your patients due to their larger capacity to test compared to public health laboratories.


COVID-19 Vaccine, Treatment Drug Offer Hope for Treating Patients - 11/12/2020

A COVID-19 vaccine candidate and an investigational drug treatment took major steps this week in the fight against the ilness.


Allow Choice Between In-Person and Virtual Learning, TMA Tells School Leaders - 11/12/2020

Although face-to-face education is superior to virtual learning, the time isn’t right for school districts to “completely dismantle” remote schooling, the Texas Medical Association is telling state education leaders.


Cigna Extends COVID-19 Waivers - 11/10/2020

With the COVID-19 public health emergency now set to end Jan. 20, Cigna has extended some of its waivers and other COVID-19 exceptions, and introduced some payment changes.


TMB Emergency Rule Allows Chronic-Pain Telephone Refills - 11/09/2020

In response to the state’s continuing COVID-19 disaster declaration, the Texas Medical Board adopted a new emergency rule allowing for refills of prescriptions for chronic pain patients who recently saw their doctor via telemedicine.  


Tell HHSC: How Has COVID-19 Impacted Your Practice? - 11/09/2020

Have unexpected technology costs and staffing changes had a substantial impact on your practice during the pandemic? Have inpatient and outpatient services fluctuated? Do you use telemedicine? The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) wants to know and invites physicians to participate in its 2020 COVID-19 Impact Survey.