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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.


End-of-Life Challenge Takes a New Turn - 10/30/2020

TMA fights decision that could strip physicians of their ability to exercise their conscience.


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.


Stay Vigilant When Considering COVID-19 Treatments, TMB Says - 08/12/2020

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.


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.


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.


No Double-Dipping: Tacking Settlement Money onto Negligence Awards at Issue - 04/30/2020

Like many broad legislative measures, Texas’ 2003 medical liability reforms continue to be a target for opponents long after being signed into law. The Texas Medical Association is fighting again to defend them. The measure under siege this time prevents patients who file negligence or other lawsuits from adding to their damage award through family members’ settlements stemming from the same case – that is, no “double-dipping.”


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.


Making Prescribing Less Painful for Physicians - 02/15/2020

I won’t be surprised if physicians around the state are feeling a little angst and anger over the coming March 1 requirement for physicians to check the Texas prescription monitoring program (PMP) before writing prescriptions for opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and carisoprodol. I don’t fault them one bit. This is just one more administrative burden placed on physicians. But I want all of you to understand just how much worse it would have been without the intervention of the Texas Medical Association.


Wage Rule Extends Overtime to More Employees - 02/07/2020

Some of your employees may have become newly eligible for overtime pay on Jan. 1. The U.S. Department of Labor has increased the minimum salary for exempt employees to $684 per week – $35,568 annually – from the previous level of $455 per week ($23,660 annually). Any employee earning less than $684 per week is automatically nonexempt and thus eligible for overtime pay.


Finally Settled: Hospitals Settle Physician's Anti-Competition Lawsuit - 01/08/2020

A Laredo oncologist confidentially settled a years-long lawsuit involving a pair of hospitals he alleged mischaracterized a past legal misfortune to terminate his privileges and eliminate his clinic from competing with the facilities.


TMA Supports Medical Ethics Committee Review Law in Latest Challenge - 12/20/2019

TMA has joined several other organizations on a friend-of-the-court brief in a case challenging the state's medical ethics committee review law. In the most recent challenge, the mother of a 10-month-old girl who since birth has been on life-support at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, has sued the hospital and obtained a temporary restraining order to keep her daughter on life support.


TMB Pulls Proposed Rule on Surprise Bills - 12/09/2019

The Texas Medical Board has withdrawn its proposed rules to implement pieces of the state’s new law introducing baseball-style arbitration on many out-of-network medical bills. At its meeting Friday, the board pulled down its rule proposal, saying in a statement that it “would not cover all providers under the statute.”


Know Your ADA Obligations - 12/04/2019

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.  


Easing the Pain? Opioid Settlement Brings Valuable Funding to Fight Crisis - 11/01/2019

September 2019 brought what could become a major victory for the state’s handling of opioid addiction. Drug-maker Purdue Pharma – which faced thousands of lawsuits from cities and states, including Texas, for its role in the national opioid crisis – announced it had agreed to a settlement with 24 state attorneys general and other plaintiffs. The maker of OxyContin and other pain drugs says the agreement will provide more than $10 billion to address the epidemic.