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Update: OSHA Halts Enforcement of Federal Vaccine Mandate - 11/23/2021

For now, the Biden administration’s sweeping vaccination requirement for large employers is on hold after a federal appeals court blocked the regulation from going into effect, quickly responding to a lawsuit from Texas and other states. If eventually implemented, however, the administration’s rule, issued as part of a pair of regulations on Nov. 4, will carry implications for physicians in larger practice settings.


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.”


Offering Access to Patients With Limited English Proficiency - 10/19/2021

Under the Affordable Care Act and accompanying federal rules, certain medical practices must take “reasonable steps” to provide meaningful access to people with limited English proficiency (LEP). A new Texas Medical Association white paper provides members with information on their LEP obligations under the law and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rulemaking, including the most recent rules published in 2020.


Know Your ADA Obligations - 10/11/2021

If someone asked you about your training on federal requirements for accommodating patients with disabilities, would your answer sound something like this? “Oh golly. I have no idea. I’m sure I had to read or study something sometime. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been a doctor for quite a while, so I suspect I had to learn it somewhere, but I don’t remember where.” That’s an actual answer from one internal medicine physician in a recent study of doctors’ knowledge of their legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). And if the results of that small study are any indication, many physicians might be lacking in their knowledge on the subject.  


TMA Argues to Overturn Physician Dispensing Ban - 07/15/2021

Two Texas physicians are taking on the state’s general ban on physicians dispensing medications out of their offices, now with support from the Texas Medical Association for their argument that the prohibition does more to protect pharmacies than patient care.


DSHS Receives CDC Grant to Help Identify, Report Birth Defects - 07/07/2021

The state of Texas received an assist in combating birth defects when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded the Texas Department of State Health Services a grant for improved surveillance and diagnosis totaling $300,000 per year for five years, the state agency announced.


Dispensing With Reason? Overturning State Ban on Providing Drugs From Physician Offices - 07/03/2021

Only a handful of states effectively ban physicians from dispensing medications out of their offices. Texas is one of them. Two Texas physicians have taken their case to the courts, arguing that the ban is unconstitutional because it does more to protect pharmacies than it does to protect patients. And TMA is lending its support to that argument.


Ruling Could Promote Frivolous Lawsuits, TMA Tells Texas Supreme Court - 06/13/2021

A recent appeals court decision could weaken a key piece of Texas’ 2003 medical liability reforms meant to cut frivolous lawsuits off at the head. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed last week, TMA and Texas Alliance for Patient Access (TAPA) tell the Texas Supreme Court that the law narrowly limits the amount of discovery – the exchange of information in a court case – before the person suing must produce an expert report. And there’s good reason for that, the groups say.  


Livelihood on the Line: Surgeon Sues Hospital over Alleged Disparagement, Malicious Peer Review - 06/10/2021

San Antonio cardiothoracic surgeon sues hospital over alleged disparagement, malicious peer. In less than two years, San Antonio cardiothoracic surgeon J. Marvin Smith III, MD, says his distinguished surgical career spanning about five decades was effectively wiped out.


Hospital Asks for Expedited Trial in Fort Worth Life-Sustaining Treatment Case - 04/30/2021

Believing that court-mandated, life-sustaining treatment is causing harm to a child in its care, Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth is attempting to resolve a highly publicized court case as quickly as possible.


Medicine Trains Its Sight on Scope Expansions - 04/01/2021

A court decision siding with chiropractors is the latest of many scope tests in the legislature and the law.


Stay Vigilant When Considering COVID-19 Treatments, TMB Says - 03/05/2021

The Texas Medical Board (TMB) and Texas Medical Association remind physicians to continue to use strong medical judgment when considering drugs and therapies to treat COVID-19 and to take all appropriate steps when making any treatment decision.


Outrageous Overreach Medicine Fights Broad Documentation Requests - 02/27/2021

When Andrew Indresano, MD, got a subpoena in January 2019, he found it “a little shocking” and “really invasive.” The Fort Worth orthopedic surgeon wasn’t even part of the personal-injury lawsuit for which he was being asked to produce a backward-looking swath of documents.


State Supreme Court Sides With Chiropractors on Neurological Test - 02/02/2021

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that chiropractors can perform a diagnostic test used to evaluate a patient’s eye movements, a setback for medicine in a 10-year court battle.


New CMS Rule Allows More Physician Self-Referrals Under “Stark Law” - 12/04/2020

Physicians who have financial relationships with medical services facilities, such as labs and imaging services, are able to refer more Medicare or Medicaid patients to those facilities under a final rule published this week.


Preserving Do No Harm: Supreme Court Tosses Challenge to Medical Ethics Committee Law - 10/13/2020

Twenty years after it took effect, Texas’ medical ethics committee review law has withstood challenge after challenge. The Texas Supreme Court is on the verge of ending the latest high-profile attack on the law that ensures physicians can uphold their professional obligation to “do no harm.” In October 2019, the state’s high court declined to take up Kelly v. Houston Methodist Hospital, in which the mother of a deceased patient attempted to overturn a provision of the Texas Advance Directives Act. Justices’ action leaves intact an appeals court decision that preserves physicians’ ability to use their medical judgment in end-of-life cases.


Dulling the Pain of Future Damages: High Court Ruling Addresses Periodic Payments - 09/02/2020

Texas Supreme Court decision carries new implications for periodic payment of future medical expenses.


Pandemic Poses Legal Pitfalls: TMA Seeks Better Liability Shields - 08/03/2020

Under Texas law, physicians treating COVID-19 patients in a volunteer capacity have potential defenses against lawsuits that might arise from that care. But for non-volunteer physicians on the COVID battlefield – often working in harrowing, overloaded settings, high on patient count and low on equipment – the same liability shields don’t exist. And with a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations taking hold in June, the Texas Medical Association continued its pandemic-long push to extend liability protections to all frontline physicians, volunteer or not.


Some Clarity, Some Fog: AG Opines on Physician-Optometrist Relationship - 07/01/2020

An opinion by the Texas attorney general will keep the Texas Optometry Board (TOB) from exerting influence over the practice of medicine – to a certain point.


Covered for COVID? Business Interruption Insurance Could Come in Handy - 07/01/2020

Business interruption insurance could come in handy for losses related to COVID-19.


Tort Reform on Trial: Houston Case Challenges Noneconomic Damage Cap - 06/01/2020

Houston case poses challenge to key tort reform limit on noneconomic damages.


TMB Expands Telemedicine, Opportunities for Retired Physicians Because of COVID-19 - 05/19/2020

In response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 “state of disaster” declaration Friday, the Texas Medical Board has taken several steps to help Texas physicians safely and effectively care for patients. On Thursday, the TMB issued a waiver that allows telephone refills of valid prescriptions for treatment of chronic pain by a physician with an established chronic pain patient.


TMA White Paper Explains Minimum Safe-Practice Standards Rule - 05/13/2020

The Texas Medical Board’s new rule requiring practices follow minimum safe-practice standards has caused a lot of questions and headaches for physicians throughout the state. To help ease any pain, the Texas Medical Association has published a white paper on the rule, which went into effect May 1.


“Absurd” Contract Dodge Rejected: Court Lets Cancer Center’s Debt-Collection Suit Proceed - 04/30/2020

Appeals court denies “free speech” challenge to cancer center’s debt-collection suit.


TMA to TMB: Let Docs Decide Whether In-Person Visit Needed For Subsequent Opioid Scrips - 03/06/2020

The Texas Medical Association has some suggestions for the Texas Medical Board on how to implement the state’s new 10-day limit on opioid prescriptions for acute pain. A letter to the board says it should be up to the physician’s judgment whether a non-initial 10-day prescription for acute pain requires seeing a patient in-person.