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TMA: Use Rescue Act Funds for Long-COVID Research, Improved Access to Care - 09/24/2021

Following its second letter to key state lawmakers about the best uses for one-time federal COVID-19 relief funding, the House of Medicine has established a broad vision for how that money could help Texas patients and physicians.


Feds Focus New COVID Relief on Rural Areas, Give Grace Period on Previous Reporting Deadline - 09/22/2021

The Biden administration has announced plans to distribute $25.5 billion in funding to physicians, hospitals, and other health care facilities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the Provider Relief Fund (PRF), and will open the portal for funding applications on Sept. 29.


HHSC: COVID Vaccine Documentation Can’t Be Required for Medicaid Treatment - 09/22/2021

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is notifying practitioners who see Medicaid patients that those patients can’t be required to provide documentation of their COVID-19 vaccination status as a condition of receiving services under Texas Medicaid.


Feds Adjust Monoclonal Antibody Distribution System - 09/21/2021

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Monday it would start distributing monoclonal antibody drugs to states on a weekly basis, effective immediately. State health departments will be responsible for distributing their allocation to individual sites each week.


OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Standards Raise Concerns for Physician Practices - 09/20/2021

New COVID-19 emergency standards that the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enacted last month “could harm the financial viability of many physician practices, potentially backfiring” on the Biden administration’s attempts to improve access to care, the Texas Medical Association is telling the U.S. Department of Labor.


Off-Label COVID Vaccines Can Expose Physicians to Liability - 09/20/2021

The Biden administration’s plan to make booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccines available as soon as Sept. 20 – which came and went on Monday without that availability – has raised questions among physicians about liability for giving the extra shots before they are fully approved.


Take Three: COVID Relief Funds, Local Vaccine Mandates on Third Special Session Agenda - 09/19/2021

As anticipated, the Texas Legislature will return for a third 2021 special session – and fourth session overall this year – with federal COVID-19 relief funds on the agenda and the House of Medicine hoping to influence how lawmakers will allocate those funds.


COVID-19 Surge Revives Need for Awareness on Monoclonal Antibody Treatments - 09/17/2021

With COVID-19 cases spiking again across Texas, public health officials are urging physicians to acquaint themselves with the criteria for patients who can receive monoclonal antibody therapy.


Use This Permission Letter to Excuse Students from School Due to COVID-19 - 09/17/2021

If you treat students suspected of exposure to COVID-19, the Texas Medical Association COVID-19 Task Force has created a draft letter you can use to document the patient's excusal or return to school.


COVID-19: Billing and Coding - 09/16/2021

View COVID-19 resources related to billing and coding.


Funding Opportunity: Boost Health Equity - 09/14/2021

Using $2 million it received from a federal government award, the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) is offering a funding opportunity for physician practices looking to help minority groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.


TMA: Boost Tech With COVID-19 Relief Funds - 09/13/2021

With connectivity on its mind, the House of Medicine logged in to a dialogue with state leaders and inputted its first official suggestions about how to distribute $16 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds.


Biden Extends Vaccine Mandate to Health Care Workers - 09/13/2021

Texas Medical Association staff are busy analyzing President Joe Biden’s latest strategy to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control, which includes vaccination requirements for health care workers in all Medicare- and Medicaid-certified facilities.


Update: Enrollment Closes This Week For COVID-19 Antibody Response Survey - 09/10/2021

Texans between the ages of 5 and 80 can sign up to help The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) in its ongoing effort to improve science’s understanding of COVID-19 through the Texas Coronavirus Antibody Response Survey (Texas CARES).


CDC Recommends Pfizer Vaccine, Says More Data Needed on Boosters - 09/08/2021

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory group has recommended use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 and older after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued full approval on Aug. 23.


Report: Most Private Payers Have Stopped COVID Cost-Sharing Waivers - 09/08/2021

Private health insurance plans have largely stopped waiving patient cost-sharing for COVID-19 treatment, according to a recent report by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and Kaiser Family Foundation. The data represent an overwhelming shift from payer cost-sharing policies during 2020 as indicated by previous research.


Talk to Patients About: Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) - 09/06/2021

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is the early warning system for vaccine safety in the U.S. While it’s important for identifying vaccine side effects, the data it collects can be misunderstood.


Data Driven: Medicaid’s Inspector General Focuses on Fraud Prevention, Not Just Prosecution - 09/06/2021

Since her appointment in 2018, Texas Health and Human Services Inspector General Sylvia Hernandez Kauffman has homed in on using data analytics not only to prosecute fraud, waste, and abuse within the Medicaid program, but also to prevent it from happening in the first place. Texas Medicine spoke to Ms. Kauffman about what appears to be a shift in tone from this department as it also focuses on using the data it collects to educate physicians and other health care professionals on common billing mistakes.


Federal Law Offers Physicians COVID-19 Liability Protections - 09/03/2021

While the Texas Legislature passed stronger liability protections in Senate Bill 6, giving physicians breathing room to respond to a pandemic emergency, federal liability protections installed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic also give doctors some latitude and peace of mind – specifically, around COVID-19 testing, drug treatment, and vaccinations.


Restrictions on School Masking Unlikely to Pass Legislature - 09/02/2021

As the final days of the Texas Legislature’s second special session dwindle, it appears certain that lawmakers will not advance any bills on masking requirements in schools. That’s good news for the Texas Medical Association, which has helped scuttle attempts to undercut local decisionmaking authority on masking.


TMA in the Thick of Legislature’s Masking Authority Talks - 09/01/2021

An eventful Monday evening in the Texas Legislature featured the near-certain death of a bill that would prohibit public schools from requiring masks – thanks to fervent Texas Medical Association advocacy.


Commentary: This Is Different - 08/31/2021

As physicians we’re used to encountering illness on a daily basis. And 18 months in, COVID-19 illnesses are unfortunately all too familiar.


TMA White Paper: Does COVID-19 Vaccine Passport Ban Affect Your Practice? - 08/31/2021

If you run a business, any business – including a medical practice – you may be subject to Texas’ new law barring businesses from requiring customers to produce COVID-19 vaccine documentation – now known in common parlance as a “vaccine passport.”


Talk to Patients About: Breakthrough Infections for COVID-19 Vaccinations - 08/31/2021

 The new mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 are highly effective at giving people immunity against the disease. But as with all other vaccines, that immunity is not 100% for everyone who receives them.  


TMA Urges Governor to Allow Local Mask, Vaccination Decisions - 08/27/2021

As physicians across the state toil against the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Medical Association leaders met with Gov. Greg Abbott’s office on Friday to ask for greater flexibility at the local level to respond to and slow the surge and its impacts on the health care system.