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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.


Operation Distribution: Physicians Key in COVID-19 Vaccines Distribution - 11/30/2020

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.


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.


Delegates Support Expanding Telemedicine, Financial Relief Programs - 11/19/2020

As telemedicine expands because of the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians at the American Medical Association’s Special Meeting of the House of Delegates approved a measure on Tuesday that called for telemedicine’s use to continue beyond the national public health emergency.


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.


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.


Telemedicine Boot Camp: Physicians Get Trained for the Future of Remote Care - 11/12/2020

Thanks in large part to COVID-19, telemedicine has arrived. Where does it go from here? That was much of the focus of a Telehealth Virtual Bootcamp, an Aug. 29 presentation by the Telehealth Initiative that touched on technology, applications, and payment.


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.


Texas Physicians Getting Millions of Masks to Fight COVID-19 - 11/05/2020

Bottom line: The Texas Medical Association has shipped millions of protective masks acquired from the state to physicians so they can care for patients. Box by box, Texas physicians are getting the protective gear they need to safely care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) and county medical societies’ distribution of millions of state-acquired masks.


Texas Physicians: Expanding Broadband Access Will Help Patients - 11/04/2020

Statement by Texas Medical Association (TMA) President Diana L. Fite, MD, about the Texas Governor’s Broadband Development Council’s recommendations to create a state broadband plan and develop a funding program to support broadband expansion to unserved areas in Texas.


Opioids: The Forgotten Epidemic? - 10/30/2020

COVID-19 inflamed the crisis; telemedicine helps Texas physicians cope with the fallout.


Mixed Bag: Some Payers Capitalize on COVID Chaos; Others Help Make Care Easier - 10/30/2020

Physicians believe some payers are taking advantage of COVID chaos with their drug policies, but also see some plans taking steps to make care easier during the pandemic.


Pandemic Pressures:COVID-19 Poses Serious Behavioral Health Challenges - 10/30/2020

The mental health fallout caused by COVID-19 radiates throughout Texas. In this issue, we look at four of the biggest challenges physicians are responding to as more people say that worry and stress related to coronavirus have negatively impacted their mental health.


Talk to Patients About: Vaccine Testing - 10/30/2020

The COVID-19 vaccines currently under production are expected to reach the public faster than any previous vaccine. But no matter how quickly a vaccine is produced, it still must pass a series of rigorous scientific tests before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will license it for public use.