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State Encourages CDC Infection Control Training for Frontline Workers - 11/24/2021

With infection control now occupying center stage in health care, state health officials are promoting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Project Firstline training videos on infection prevention, hoping the trainings reach all of Texas’ frontline health care workers.


DSHS Report: COVID Vaccines Dramatically Prevent Infection and Deaths - 11/16/2021

Texas physicians have strongly encouraged patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and a new report from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has confirmed why that advice is sound.


TMA Helps Craft Amendment Guaranteeing In-Person Visitation in Nursing Homes - 11/15/2021

In overwhelmingly voting for nursing home residents to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visitation, Texas voters aligned themselves with a critical balance the Texas Medical Association helped lawmakers strike between the need for crucial emotional support in those settings and keeping public health threats at bay.


Medicare Cuts An Insult to Patients And Physicians - 11/12/2021

Opinion column by TMA President E. Linda Villarreal, MD, about significant Medicare cuts planned for January, 2022 if Congress does not act to prevent them.


Pediatric and Adolescent COVID Vaccines Are Not the Same, DSHS Cautions Vaccinators - 11/12/2021

Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccine recently authorized for 5- to 11-year-olds is a different version from the drugmaker’s vaccine for adolescents and adults that comes with different storage and dosage requirements, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is cautioning pediatric vaccinators.


Questions About COVID Vaccine Boosters? TMA Has an FAQ for That - 11/12/2021

Now that booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine have been approved, you are probably getting questions from your patients and have some of your own. The Texas Medical Association has you covered with two new resources.


Impending Medicare Pay Cuts Total Nearly 10% - 11/08/2021

Physicians in Medicare are about to get nickel-and-dimed – only it’s more like hundred-and-thousand-ed. And with a pandemic making this moment one of the worst times to financially hit physician practices still reeling from shutdowns last year, the Texas Medical Association, American Medical Association, and others are urging Congress to stop impending payment cuts that could devastate access to care for the nation’s elderly and disabled.


CMS Finalizes Medicare Physician Pay Cut – But Congress Can Still Act - 11/05/2021

Medicare has released its final 2022 physician fee schedule, cementing a series of mandated pay cuts totaling nearly 10% for Medicare-participating physicians, unless Congress votes to reverse them before the end of the year.


CDC Recommends Pfizer COVID Pediatric Vaccine for Ages 5-11 - 11/03/2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) immunization panel and the agency’s director signed off Tuesday on recommending the Pfizer COVID-19 pediatric vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, allowing millions of children to receive their first shots against the disease.


Caring for Generation COVID: Pandemic Takes Increasing Toll on Kids' Mental Health - 11/03/2021

In addition to the devastating COVID-19 surge fueled by the delta variant, pediatricians like Valerie Smith, MD, and other specialists caring for children point to a shadow pandemic among young patients. The proportion of mental health-related visits for children is on the rise.


Ask the Expert: Requiring Employee COVID Testing - 11/03/2021

In light of a recent governor’s executive order banning COVID-19 vaccine requirements, physician practices may be wondering if instead they can require weekly COVID-19 testing from their employees.


Medicare Cuts Would Threaten Patients’ Access to Care - 11/02/2021

Texas Medicare patients could soon struggle to get a physician’s care if planned Medicare payment cuts take place on January 1. According to a new Texas Medical Association (TMA) survey, the nearly 10% Medicare pay cut Congress has scheduled for the new year could devastate physicians who care for the senior citizens and people with disabilities covered by the federal health insurer.


Social Determinants Undermine Patient Health - 11/02/2021

For many patients, roadblocks like a broken air conditioner neglected by the landlord  are the social determinants of health that impact their well-being and quality of life, and can harm their health. Physicians say the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic also revealed how deeply social determinants disproportionately affect certain populations. For example, due to chronic structural inequities that affect wellbeing, such as safe housing, access to medical care, and certain jobs that carry a higher risk of disease exposure, COVID-19 has disproportionately sickened, hospitalized, and killed people of color and those with low incomes.


TMA Airs Pro-Vaccine Ads During Political Conventions - 11/01/2021

“Vaccines defend what matters – our health, jobs, families.” A new Texas Medical Association (TMA) ad campaign featuring that message will air during the Democratic and Republican conventions to remind Texans of the many ways vaccinations protect us.


Preventable Pain: COVID Surge, Anti-Vax Sentiments Compound Physicians' Turmoil on the Job - 11/01/2021

Pushback from patients on medical advice and course of treatment is nothing new. But physicians say the degree of it – a lack of trust in science, medicine, and expertise – has never been as pronounced as it is now, in the era of the highly contagious delta variant, widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines, and millions of people who simply refuse to avail themselves of them. And it’s piling onto the already-existing assaults on physician mental well-being – now increasingly framed as physician “moral injury.”


Ebola Treatment, Containment Facilities on Tap - 10/29/2021

In the wake of last week's announcement that a New York doctor who returned from Guinea tested positive for Ebola, public health professionals and hospitals have remained vigilant in preparing to respond to potential future cases of the disease.


Code Carefully for Bilateral Procedures - 10/27/2021

Coding for bilateral procedures can be confusing. Many payers accept CPT modifier 50 as an indicator of a bilateral procedure, but they differ in how they apply it to their coding and payment policies.


Payer Flexibilities Continue With COVID Emergency Extension - 10/26/2021

The U.S. Department of Health and Services’ extension of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) until Jan. 16, 2022, means many of the waivers that public and private payers instituted remain in place.


TMA Defeats Bills to Ban Vaccine Mandates - 10/25/2021

Thanks to physician-led grassroots advocacy, the Texas Medical Association beat back bills that aimed to codify Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent executive order banning vaccine mandates. Those bills had failed to advance out of their respective chambers when the Texas Legislature adjourned from its third special session of the year on Oct. 19.


TMA Wins Several COVID Relief Funding Asks - 10/22/2021

The Texas Legislature’s distribution of billions in federal COVID-19 relief funding displayed a commitment to many – though not all – of the Texas Medical Association’s desired uses for the money, including investments in child mental health care and improving maternal mental health access.


TMA White Paper: Does COVID-19 Vaccine Passport Ban Affect Your Practice? - 10/21/2021

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.”


Preorder Pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 Shots by Today - 10/20/2021

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is requesting that pediatric practitioners preorder the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by 5 pm CT today, in light of the Food and Drug Administration’s pending emergency use authorization of that vaccine for ages 5 to 11.


Survey: Medicare Cuts Could Force Physicians to Drop Care Even Amid Pandemic - 10/19/2021

With physicians facing several Medicare payment cuts totaling nearly 10% at the start of 2022, a new Texas Medical Association member survey quantifies the drastic impact the cuts could have on access to care if Congress doesn’t act to stop the cuts.


Survey: Health Officials Plan for Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution - 10/18/2021

As approval for a pediatric version of the COVID-19 vaccine gets underway, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is planning ahead for its distribution and needs your feedback by 5 pm CT this Wednesday, Oct. 20.


TMA Weighs In on Bills to Ban Vaccine Mandates - 10/18/2021

Taking science-based interventions like vaccinations off the table during an ongoing public emergency is like telling coastal residents they can’t board up their windows or fill sandbags as a hurricane approaches.