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Texas Medicine Issues First Endorsements for 2020 - 12/11/2019

Gearing up for the 2020 primary elections, the political action arm of the Texas Medical Association endorsed one candidate seeking an open seat in the Texas Senate and three running for open Texas House seats.


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.  


Finally Settled: Hospitals Settle Physician's Anti-Competition Lawsuit - 12/04/2019

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.


Medicine Pushes State Lawmakers For Stronger Policies to Curb Teen Vaping - 12/03/2019

With the recent rise in severe pulmonary illness linked to vaping and e-cigarettes, state lawmakers on Tuesday took steps to curb use of those products, particularly among children and teenagers.


House Will Study Behavioral Health, Early Childhood Intervention, and More - 12/02/2019

Among a number of health care-related topics, the Texas House of Representatives during the interim “off” year in 2020 will study the state’s behavioral health system, child trafficking prevention, and the effect of technology and “big data” on insurance. House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) released the chamber’s interim charges last week.


Updated White Paper Has Latest Information on Telemedicine in Texas - 11/12/2019

Updated this year, the Texas Medical Association's white paper, Texas Laws and Regulations Relating to Telemedicine, describes the new Texas legal and regulatory requirements that apply to a physician providing telemedicine medical services.


Senate Committees Will Examine Uninsured Rate During Interim Year - 11/06/2019

Texas’ nation-leading uninsured rate will be under the state senate’s microscope in 2020 as part of the interim charges Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has assigned to senate committees. The list of interim charges, released last week, directs the Senate Business & Commerce Committee to “[s]tudy and report on ways to … decrease the uninsured rate in Texas” as part of its examination of the cost of health care.


Texas Voters Approve Renewed Funding for Cancer Research - 11/06/2019

Texas' ongoing battle against cancer just got new life. Voters statewide overwhelmingly approved Proposition 6 on Tuesday to continue funding for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), the state's cancer-fighting agency.


Vote Tuesday to Keep Texas A Leader in Cancer Research - 11/04/2019

The Texas Medical Association is encouraging you to vote for a proposition that would extend Texas’ place as a leader in the fight against cancer. “Please vote AGAINST cancer and FOR saving Texans’ lives. Physicians of TMA urge everyone to VOTE FOR Proposition 6 on Tuesday's ballot to continue to fund the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT),” TMA President David C. Fleeger, MD, said.


Virtual Meeting to Cover Surprise Billing Laws, TMA Member Benefits - 10/28/2019

But if you want to learn even more about Texas' new suprise billing law, or if you want to find out what’s new with the Lone Star Caucus – which represents your county in the Texas Medical Association’s House of Delegates – tune in to a 30-minute virtual meeting scheduled for noon on Tuesday, Nov. 12.


Doctors Can Prohibit Handguns in Medical Offices - 10/24/2019

If you're not exactly jazzed about the thought of patients carrying handguns into your medical practice next year, you can do something to prevent it. House Bill 910 by Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) goes into effect Jan. 1, 2016, and it allows Texans with handgun licenses to openly carry their handguns in a hip or shoulder holster. TMA has received questions regarding whether physicians can post a notice at their practices prohibiting anyone from entering with a handgun – concealed or openly. The answer depends on the type of property the medical office is located on. Generally, a private property owner may post notice prohibiting the carrying of handguns   , but HB 910 contains many requirements. TMA's white paper, titled [insert title and link], has more information for physicians.


Have Your Say on Texas’ New Surprise Billing Law - 10/16/2019

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is holding a public hearing next week on rulemaking for the state’s new “baseball-style arbitration” law to address surprise medical bills. If you wish to speak at the meeting, TDI requests you submit written comments or a summary of your testimony by noon Friday, Oct. 18 “to facilitate a meaningful discussion.”


TMA Urges Public Education As Hemp-Based Products Become Legal - 10/16/2019

State health officials should take steps to ensure that a new law that legalizes the production and sale of hemp and some hemp products helps Texas physicians protect the health of patients who use those products. The Texas Medical Association sent that message in a letter last week to the Department of State Health Services, which was taking comments related to implementation of House Bill 1325.


Commentary: Texas Has a Secret Weapon Against Cancer - 10/14/2019

Cancer is the No. 2 cause of death in Texas and across the United States. The good news is that things change, and we can be active agents in making sure that they change for the better. Reauthorization of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) would do more than keep the ball rolling; it would save lives.


Charting Medicine’s Statehouse Progress: A Successful Legislative Session for Physicians - 10/08/2019

Legislation is just one piece of a healthy Texas. But it’s a big piece, and when the Texas Medical Association told the lawmakers of 2019 how it should fit, those legislators largely shaped it to what physicians and patients need. The house of medicine convinced lawmakers that raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21 was the right thing for the state’s present and future. Medicine also successfully persuaded the legislature and Gov. Greg Abbott to improve insurance network adequacy and directories, which will help with surprise medical bills.


State Health Advisory: New Syphilis Testing Requirements During Pregnancy In Effect - 10/04/2019

As of Sept. 1, Texas physicians are required to test pregnant women for syphilis three times: at the first prenatal visit, during the third trimester (no sooner than the 28th week), and at delivery. Previously, state law required testing at the first visit and during the third trimester.


Prescribing Changes in Texas: Know What You Need to Know - 10/01/2019

By now you might know that state lawmakers recently passed a number of changes to how prescriptions for certain pain medications must be written and processed, as part of a larger effort to fight prescription fraud and abuse. That's why the Texas Medical Association created a free on-demand webinar that outlines what prescribers can expect.


Warning: Watch Your Referrals - 10/01/2019

Federal anti-kickback law has changed, and it’s gotten broader. As a result, you may need to re-examine your practice’s compensation arrangements. That includes payments for laboratory referrals.  


The Doctor - and Lawyer - Will See You Now: Medical-Legal Partnerships - 09/27/2019

Elderly woman. Low-income. Chronic pain. Needs to see a rheumatologist. Needs physical therapy. Struggling to pay rent. Has no insurance. Has no disability coverage. As a family physician at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in Austin, Sharad Kohli, MD, sees a lot of cases like this. In similar health care settings, the patient might face two bad choices: wage bureaucratic war to obtain better health care benefits or simply give up. At People’s Community Clinic, Dr. Kohli referred her to an in-house lawyer who successfully appealed her denial of disability insurance. “[The lawyer] got her a significant income, which allowed her to pay her rent and also helped her get insurance through Medicaid and Medicare,” Dr. Kohli said. “And then she was able to see the rheumatologist and the physical therapist.” This kind of success helps explain why medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) like the one at People’s Community Clinic came about in 1993 and began expanding nationally after 2001. Te...


Vote for CPRIT - 09/26/2019

On Nov. 5, Texans will vote on Proposition 6, a constitutional amendment designed to extend CPRIT’s funding by $3 billion and keep the agency’s grants flowing for an estimated 10 additional years. (See “Vote for Proposition 6 on Nov. 5,” page 21.) TMA supports this effort to keep CPRIT’s current funding from running out in 2022.


Moving On: John Zerwas, MD, Trades Politics for Academics - 09/26/2019

John Zerwas, MD, trades politics for academics, but likely will remain a voice of influence


No Docs of All Trades: Ruling Reinforces Expert Witness Reforms - 09/26/2019

Before Texas’ landmark liability reforms passed in 2003, gray areas in the law often led to serious green for people who sued physicians.


86th Texas Legislature Letters and Testimonies - 09/25/2019

During this legislative session, TMA councils and committees are locking down and promoting health care policies to ensure Texas’ patients have access to affordable and high quality health care. Here are TMA’s testimonies, comments, and letters to state lawmakers.


85th Texas Legislature Testimonies and Letters - 09/19/2019

TMA physician leaders already are working on behalf of their profession and their patients to improve Texas health care system. During this legislative session, TMA councils and committees are locking down and promoting health care policies to ensure Texas’ patients have access to affordable and high quality health care. Here are TMA’s testimonies, comments, and letters to state lawmakers.


We Need to Come in Force: Physician-Lawmakers Look Ahead to 2021 - 09/18/2019

A panel of medicine’s representatives in the Texas Legislature said Saturday that 2019 was a good year for medicine in Austin, but unfinished business remains for the next session in 2021.