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Physician-Led Results: TMA-Backed Bills Signed Into Law - 06/17/2021

An impressive number of medicine’s priorities already have been penned into law thanks to physicians’ hard work at the Capitol in person, virtually, and at the grassroots level.

AMA Report: Medicare Physician Spending Fell Sharply During First Half of 2020; Telehealth Spending Up - 06/17/2021

Thanks to the early shutting down and shutting in prompted by COVID-19, spending on Medicare physician services fell as much as 57% short of expected levels during April 2020, and nearly one-fifth below expected spending over the first six months of that year.

Medicaid Waiver Extension Request Should Include Physicians, Uninsured Coverage, TMA Testifies to HHSC - 06/15/2021

Facing the loss of crucial uncompensated care funding, the Texas Medical Association is helping the state craft a request to the Biden administration to reinstate an extension on Texas’ Medicaid 1115 Transformation Waiver. And that request should include physicians in the safety net plan, Gary Floyd, MD, TMA’s president-elect for 2022-23, testified at a recent hearing.  

Bad Scope Bills Defeated - 06/11/2021

Among other ill-advised proposals put forth during this year’s session, the House of Medicine stopped every troublesome attempt by nonmedical professionals to creep into the practice of medicine during this session.

GME Momentum: Preserving Texas' Steady Progress in Building Residency Positions - 06/11/2021

TMA fights state budget cuts to preserve Texas’ steady progress in building residency positions.

Wins on GME, Mental Health Funding Highlight Medicine’s Budget Year - 06/10/2021

When it comes to health care, as with so many aspects of life, money talks. And the Texas Legislature this year showed medicine’s advocates that it’s allocating the state’s money with Texas’ health needs in mind.

First Across the Finish Line: Medical Billing Tax Eliminated - 06/07/2021

More than a year of work and collaboration came to fruition with House Bill 1445 by Rep. Tom Oliverson, MD (R-Cypress), which classifies outsourced medical billing as being outside the realm of insurance services. When Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill on April 30, it nullified a medical billing tax scheduled to take effect Oct. 1.

Medicare Recouping COVID-19 Loans - 06/04/2021

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently began automatic recoupment of advance payments it made to practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency announced.

Medicare Provides MIPS Relief Due to Texas Winter Storm - 06/02/2021

Certain practices affected by Texas’ statewide winter storm won’t have to submit data for Medicare’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for 2021.

Medicare Eliminates Cost Category Factor in 2020 MIPS - 06/01/2021

Medicare is continuing to acknowledge recent extraordinary events in granting physicians relief from its Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

Senate Elects Physician Legislator in High-Ranking Position for Interim Session - 06/01/2021

In its final meeting of 2021, the Texas Senate elevated Sen. Donna Campbell, MD (R-New Braunfels), to president pro tempore for the upcoming interim session, making the emergency physician third in line for governor.

A Winning Wrap-Up: Medicine’s Biggest Victories of the 2021 Session - 06/01/2021

The strangest session of the Texas Legislature in recent memory wrapped up with a wild and twisty final weekend, and the Texas Medical Association was in the thick of it as it tried to get as many of medicine’s priorities to the governor’s desk as possible.

MIPSperceptions: Study Confirms Doctors’ View of Medicare Program as Burdensome - 05/31/2021

Physicians’ perceptions of Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) have run along these and other unflattering lines since MIPS first launched in 2017. But a Physicians Foundation-funded study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine sought to better quantify how physician practice leaders perceive MIPS, one of the two participation tracks in Medicare’s Quality Payment Program. (The Texas Medical Association has representation on the Physicians Foundation’s board of directors.)

Telemedicine, Liability Bills Move Ahead - 05/25/2021

One of the Texas Medical Association’s prime priorities – expanded telemedicine – is one step closer to being a fixture in Texas health care after the state Senate passed a TMA-championed measure on Monday to make permanent some COVID-19-era allowances for telemedicine.

New Prior Auth Bill Would Make “Gold Cards” Continuous, If It Passes - 05/24/2021

The House of Medicine’s biggest tool left in this year’s legislative session to curb prior authorization passed the Senate last weekend but with an overhaul of the system that would exempt physicians from preauthorizations for certain services.

Longer Coverage, Longer Lives: COVID-19 Relief Bill Could Help With Medicaid Postpartum Coverage - 05/24/2021

TMA urges Texas to keep pregnant women on Medicaid 12 months postpartum following federal enticement in COVID-19 relief bill.

Final-Week Crunch Time: Budget Wins, 11th-Hour Bill Action - 05/21/2021

We’re officially in the final week of the Texas Legislature’s 2021 session, and the next few days figure to be a furious storm of finalizing, gear-shifting, and negotiating at the Capitol.

Bill to Preserve Clerkships for In-State Students Headed to Governor’s Desk - 05/19/2021

All session long, the Texas Medical Association has made it a priority to preserve and bolster medical education in Texas, with an emphasis on keeping the state’s budding medical talent within its borders.

“Gold Card” Bill Heard in Senate Committee - 05/18/2021

A trio of testifiers for the Texas Medical Association hit Tuesday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing to keep pushing a crucial prior authorization reform measure toward the finish line.

The Graveyard: Scope Bills That Are No Longer a Threat, Thanks to TMA - 05/17/2021

There are still 13 days left until the House of Medicine can officially breathe easy on lawmakers’ most misguided ideas. But thanks to the Texas Medical Association’s diligence at the Capitol, many of the most dangerous state bills of 2021 have officially gone to the Texas Legislature’s graveyard.

PBM Clawback Ban Passes Senate, Heads to the Governor - 05/14/2021

Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) fees that take millions of dollars from Texas practices are just one signature away from being outlawed following Senate passage of one of the House of Medicine’s priority measures during a furiously active Thursday afternoon at the Capitol.

House Passes Prior Auth, ImmTrac2 Improvements - 05/14/2021

A pair of big wins capped a successful past week for medicine, as the Texas House of Representatives on Friday afternoon signed off on both curbing the impositions of prior authorization and updating the state’s immunization registry.

Bill-Killing House Deadline Passes; an Update on What’s Still Alive - 05/13/2021

Midnight on Thursday night was the deadline for all bills originating in the House to receive a second reading in that chamber (out of the three required before a chamber finally passes a bill). Any House bill that didn’t yet reach that stage is now dead. Here’s a look at medicine-prioritized measures – in both the House and the Senate – that are still alive after passing at least one chamber.

Residents Educate Lawmakers on the Future of Health Care - 05/13/2021

For many of the nearly two dozen University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School residents who participated in the last virtual First Tuesdays at the Capitol event of this session, the meetings with Texas lawmakers were their first foray into advocacy. Their informed passion and insights would have you believe they were seasoned pros.

Budget Update: Some of TMA’s Big Asks; Where the Bills Stand - 05/07/2021

The conference committee collectively appointed by both chambers of the Texas Legislature is in the process of negotiating the final 2022-23 state budget. And the Texas Medical Association is in the thick of the action as this year’s legislative session hurtles into its final three weeks.