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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.  


Overdoses Still Climb Despite Big Drop in Prescription Opioids - 10/08/2021

The number of opioid prescriptions has dropped 44% since 2011, yet there are still more drug-related overdose deaths than ever – a clear sign policymakers should work to remove barriers to care for patients, according to the American Medical Association’s 2021 Overdose Epidemic Report.


Opioid Settlement Could Help Texas Tackle Addiction - 07/29/2021

Texas could receive as much as $1.5 billion under a multistate settlement over the national opioid epidemic, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has announced.


Opioids: Resources for Prescribing and Addiction Treatment - 07/20/2021

Get access to information about medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. Online resources for prescribing opioids appropriately also are available.


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.


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.


Buprenorphine Prescriptions Easier Under HHS Rule Change - 05/03/2021

Buprenorphine is widely seen as one of the most effective medications for treating opioid use disorder. But physicians trying to prescribe it have faced a big obstacle: The U.S. government required they first take a special eight-hour training course.


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.


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.


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

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


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.


Medicaid Changing Prior Authorization Criteria for Certain Opioid Prescriptions - 08/28/2020

Beginning Sept. 1, Texas Medicaid will implement updated clinical prior authorization criteria for opioid prescriptions for certain Medicaid fee-for-service and managed care patients.


The PMP Requirement Begins - 08/18/2020

With EHR integration in place, physicians must check the state prescription monitoring program (PMP) prior to prescribing an opioid starting March 1.


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.


TMB Sets Rules on Acute-Pain Scrip Limit, Opioid CME - 07/31/2020

Texas’ pain management requirements underwent several important changes by law in the past year. Now, the Texas Medical Board has issued rules clarifying what prescribers must do to comply with those laws.


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.


Prescription Monitoring Program: Is Your EHR Connected? - 06/12/2020

Beginning March 1, 2020, all prescribers must set up an account with the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program, known as PMP Aware, and check the PMP prior to prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or carisoprodol.


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.