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Hospitals, Especially Rural Ones, Face Increased Risk of Closure as Pandemic Funds Dwindle - 01/29/2024

Now approaching the fourth year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas hospitals are still reeling from its impact, facing elevated expenses, depressed patient volume, and tighter margins compared with prepandemic numbers. Rural hospitals, in particular, are at a significantly higher risk of closing.


Healthy Life Requires More Than Just Good Health Care, Survey Says - 08/31/2023

People need good health care, but 57% of Texans know that isn’t everything when it comes to being healthy. Instead, factors like where people live, work, and relax have a bigger impact, most Texans told a recent survey.


Applications Open for Physician Education Loan Repayment Program - 06/22/2023

After closing on and off for more than a year, Texas’ Physician Education Loan Repayment Program, which gives physicians a strong financial reason to practice in rural and underserved areas, is now taking applications.


More Than a Match: UTRGV Medical Students Overcome Pandemic Pressures to Earn Residency Spots - 04/30/2023

Forty-five students in the fourth graduating class of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, along with their family members, friends, and UTRGV officials, gathered at the school’s performing arts center in Edinburg for Match Day. That's the day in March when medical students across the U.S. discover where they will train as resident physicians.


Community Connections: TMA’s Council on Health Promotion Helps Physicians Boost Hometown Health - 04/03/2023

The Texas Medical Association's Council on Health Promotion oversees the organization's outreach programs and helps develop new ones. These programs are used by county medical societies, alliance chapters, medical student groups, and medical practices to improve community health.


Healthy Determination: Texas Physicians are Finding Better Ways to Address Their Patients’ Social Determinants of Health - 03/27/2023

Austin pediatrician Sandra Frasser, MD, learned early in her medical career that many of the biggest health problems patients face cannot be fixed by a trip to the doctor’s office.


TMA Urges Comprehensive Rural Health Care Reform Amid Workforce Shortages - 09/22/2022

Last December, Adrian Billings, MD – a family physician serving Alpine, Marfa, and Presidio – responded to a small plane crash on his way home from work. After he called 911, he saw the lone ambulance in Presidio pass by the crash, on its way to another call. He said the two plane passengers likely wouldn’t have survived had emergency medical services from nearby cities not intervened.


Making a Comeback: Texas Leads the Nation in Congenital Syphilis - 07/29/2022

Texas leads the nation in congenital syphilis cases, and physicians are key to bringing both syphilis and congenital syphilis under control again.


Rural Residencies: Texas Tech’s Rural Training Track Brings More Physicians to Small Towns - 06/30/2022

In all his dreams about becoming a doctor, Ivan Becerra, MD, never imagined he’d lead a cesarean section delivery during just his second year of residency. Yet last August, that’s exactly what he was doing at Pecos County Memorial


How to Start a Medical-Legal Partnership - 06/29/2022

Medical entities can join forces with legal entities to form medical-legal partnerships (MLPs), and these partnerships are helpful for patients whose conditions are worsened by social determinants of health.


Dialing In on Disparities: CDC Grant Helps Texas Tackle COVID-Aggravated Health Gaps - 06/29/2022

It’s a short-term federal grant that Stephen Pont, MD, hopes can make a long-term impact.


Closing the Loop: Payers Address Social Drivers of Health - 06/29/2022

Houston family physician Lindsay Botsford, MD, received a call in late February from a Medicare patient with shingles. She prescribed an antiviral medication to treat the infection – and then the real work began.


The Power of Data: UTHealth Publishes Claims Statistics - 06/29/2022

After three years of work, the Center for Healthcare Data at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth is sharing part of its growing trove of numbers for data-driven discussions on many aspects of health care in Texas. The center doesn’t have all the answers. But its work under a federal certification from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has resulted in valuable state and regional statistics that the center leaders believe provide food not only for thought, but also for policy.


Survey: Addressing Patients’ Social Determinants of Health Fuels Physician Burnout - 04/01/2022

Physicians have long known how social determinants, or drivers, of health impact their patients’ lives, fuel disparities, increase care costs, and ultimately influence physicians’ quality outcomes and payment. They also have a sizable impact on physicians’ mental health, according to part one of The Physicians Foundation’s 2022 Survey of America’s Physicians.  


Navigating a Broken System: Helping Patients Use Health Resources - 03/31/2022

Whether patients do or don’t have health insurance, they need physicians’ help to make the most of their health care resources.


TMA Supports New Quality Measures for Social Determinant Screening - 03/10/2022

Showing its continued commitment to highlighting and addressing social determinants of health, the Texas Medical Association offered its “strongest support” to a pair of new quality measures the National Quality Forum (NQF) is considering for screening of those social factors.


Playing the Long Game: Adrian Billings, MD, Deepens the Rural Physician Bench - 10/02/2021

Although medicine wasn’t his initial choice, Dr. Billings’ passion for his work is palpable and extends far beyond the exam room, especially when he’s training future rural physicians.


Feds Focus New COVID Relief on Rural Areas, Give Grace Period on Previous Reporting Deadline - 09/29/2021

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.


Creative Collaboration: Here’s How Physician Practices Can Help Patients Address Their Social Determinants of Health - 09/06/2021

For physicians, addressing social determinants of health can be difficult because they are set in motion long before a patient arrives for a visit and can undermine the best of medications and treatments.


Feds Distribute Grant to Boost Vaccine Confidence in Rural Texas - 07/28/2021

Texas rural health clinics are receiving more than $7 million out of nearly $100 million the Biden-Harris administration is distributing to rural clinics nationwide to support COVID-19 vaccination outreach.


Health Disparity Report: Texas’ Black Infant Mortality Drops; Other Numbers Mixed - 07/14/2021

While the U.S. has made some improvements in health during recent years, deep and widespread health disparities persist – and, in some instances, have grown, according to the America’s Health Rankings 2021 Health Disparities Report, which also contains some Texas-specific data.


House Approves Bill to Help Address Social Determinants of Health - 05/06/2021

The Texas House of Representatives signed off on establishing a state office for health equity Wednesday morning, agreeing with medicine on the need for a new mechanism to address social determinants of health.


Protect and Revitalize Rural Texans’ Health Care - 03/30/2021

Prior to the arrival of the COVID-19 virus, Texas’ rural health care already faced unprecedented financial and demographic pressures. The pandemic now has amplified the crisis.


Hungering for a Solution: Physicians Can Help Tackle Food Insecurity - 02/01/2021

Not long after COVID-19 hit Texas last March, pediatricians at Austin Regional Clinic (ARC) began screening patients for food insecurity. The timing was coincidental but fortunate given the pandemic’s economic toll.


An Unfortunate Legacy: COVID-19 Reveals Long-Standing Health Inequities - 09/10/2020

COVID-19 reveals longstanding health inequities among minority patients.