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Federal Telehealth Extension Bill Advances to Senate - 08/19/2022

Signaling strong support to build on the COVID-19-era gains in telemedicine, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would extend Medicare’s telehealth payment and regulatory flexibilities through the end of 2024, should the public health emergency end before then.


Texas Children Among Most at Risk of Losing Health Coverage When PHE Ends - 08/19/2022

Texas is one of six states where children enrolled in Medicaid and in the Children’s Health Insurance Program are especially at risk of losing their health insurance when the public health emergency ends.


Public Health Emergency’s End Would Kickstart Medicaid Eligibility Re-Checks. Here’s How to Prepare - 08/19/2022

After strong advocacy by the American Medical Association and other organizations, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services appears poised to extend the COVID-19 public health emergency for a 10th time.


Health Commissioner Reflects on Texas’ Pandemic Response, Honored by State Senate - 08/18/2022

Nearly two and a half years after the first positive COVID-19 test result was reported in Texas, Department of State Health Services Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, is taking stock of what happened next and how to prevent the next pandemic.


Texas Medicaid to Loosen Access to Hepatitis C Treatment - 08/18/2022

Texas Medicaid patients with hepatitis C have struggled for years to access potentially curative antiviral medications. But this will get much easier on Sept. 1.


Purchase Bebtelovimab Directly From Distributor Starting Aug. 15 - 08/18/2022

With federally funded distribution of the COVID-19 therapeutic bebtelovimab coming to an end, physicians must now purchase the monoclonal antibody directly from the distributor starting the week of Aug. 15, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.


TMA Proposes Five Goals to Improve Health Care Affordability in Texas - 08/16/2022

Texas Medical Association Board Trustee John Carlo, MD, had a blunt message for Texas lawmakers in recent testimony before the House Select Committee on Health System Reform.


Medicaid Extends Reenrollment Time Frames - 08/09/2022

To help manage a backlog of revalidation applications stemming from the transition to Medicaid’s new Provider Enrollment Management System (PEMS), the state’s Medicaid claims payment contractor announced it will extend revalidation timeframes for physicians and other health care practitioners and suspend disenrollments related to that process.


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.


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.


The Only Alternative: Medicaid Practices May Not Be Viable Without Value-Based Care - 07/29/2022

For years, the Texas Medical Association has pushed for a significant Medicaid physician pay bump every year that the Texas Legislature meets, without success. As long as that streak continues, physicians looking to make Medicaid more worthwhile for their bottom line have to find another way. Value-based systems – and the alternative payment models that drive them – have been the path Medicaid managed care organizations and practitioners have been methodically walking in recent years.


Untangling ImmTrac2: TMA Aims to Build on Immunization Registry Reforms - 07/29/2022

The Texas Medical Association is hopeful state lawmakers will be spurred by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to address ImmTrac2's shortfalls, bolstering public health protections and easing physicians' administrative woes.


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.


Ten Years Later: TMA Advocacy Nets Investments in Women’s Health - 07/27/2022

A decade ago, the Texas Legislature made a funding decision that devasted low-income women’s access to health care and the physicians and community clinics that care for them. After 10 years, with the help of TMA advocacy and the formation of the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition, funding for family planning and overall women’s health is in significantly better shape.


New Texas Website Streamlines Access to Medicaid Enrollment, Family Resources - 07/26/2022

Physicians who frequently refer patients to no- and low-cost state services like health insurance and child care will find that easier now that the state has launched familyresources.texas.gov, a website that puts links to those services all in one place.


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.


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.


Senate Evaluates Post-Pandemic Strategies on Mental Health - 07/01/2022

In the face of “grim” research around the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on mental health, the Texas Medical Association is telling state lawmakers to respond with robust regulatory support of telehealth and investments to improve all Texans’ access to care.


State Transferring Millions for School Safety, Mental Health Programs After Uvalde Shooting - 07/01/2022

Quickly following a series of legislative hearings to address the Uvalde shooting, Texas leaders have announced the transfer of more than $105.5 million within the state budget to fund a series of school safety and mental health programs through August 2023.


“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.


What's Next for Prior Authorization: Texas' 'Gold Card' Law Winds Through Rulemaking - 06/29/2022

Physician advocates, alongside the Texas Medical Association, are looking to this fall’s legislative races as they monitor the rulemaking underway to implement the "Gold Card" law and prepare to push for additional reforms during the 2023 legislative session that kicks off in January.


“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.