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Expanded State Services for Some New Mothers Now Available - 10/22/2020

Certain new mothers in Texas are now eligible for expanded care through Healthy Texas Women (HTW) after the first 60 days of giving birth, including treatment for postpartum depression and substance use disorder.


Cost of Newborn Screening Kits has Increased - 09/25/2020

Beginning Jan. 1, the cost of each Texas Newborn Screening Program kit will increase from $55.24 to $60.58 to accommodate the inclusion of X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) screening, which was added this summer.


Work to Expand Medicaid, Protect Telemedicine, Speakers at TMA Tele-Town Hall Say - 09/18/2020

Texas physicians need to lobby state and federal lawmakers as soon as possible to prevent cuts in important state services, to encourage the expansion of Medicaid, and to preserve gains made in telemedicine, a panel of speakers told participants in a telephone town hall sponsored Thursday by the Texas Medical Association’s Border Health Caucus.


Medicaid Kills Proposed Rule That Would Have Restricted Supplemental Funding, Services - 09/15/2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Monday withdrew a proposed rule that would’ve restricted how states fund their share of Medicaid, causing serious cuts in services.


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.


Don’t Delay. Medicaid and CHIP Relief Fund Process Can Be Lengthy - 08/17/2020

Although the deadline for physicians who treat Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) patients to apply for federal Provider Relief Funds has been extended to Aug. 28, health officials recently emphasized that physicians apply as soon as possible because each practice's Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) must be validated, if it hasn't already. The process can take up to 10 days. CMS also recently made important changes to the eligibility criteria.


Medicaid Grant Could Pay for Your HIE Connection - 08/12/2020

Have you or your practice been considering connecting your electronic health record (EHR) to a health information exchange (HIE), but keep getting hung up by the cost? Well, here’s some good news. Three public HIEs recently were awarded contracts for a Medicaid grant that could pay for you to connect to their exchanges.


Leadership by Fire: Stephanie Stephens New Texas Medicaid, CHIP Director - 08/03/2020

Stephanie Stephens received a not-so-welcome gift entering her new job running Medicaid operations for the nation’s second-largest state: A global pandemic. In that sense, the universe wasn’t easy on Ms. Stephens, the new director of Medicaid and CHIP for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).


Portal to Apply for Medicaid and CHIP Relief Funds Open - 06/11/2020

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has opened a portal for physicians who treat Medicaid and CHIP patients to apply for federal emergency assistance related to COVID-19.


Breaking Down Barriers: New State Effort Helps Get LARCs to Women Who Need Them - 05/13/2020

In November 2019, HHSC named boosting the use of LARCs as goal No. 1 for improving the health of women and children. The announcement came when HHSC released its first-ever annual business plan, “Blueprint for a Healthy Texas.”


Medicine Pushes Texas Medicaid to Help Save Primary Care - 05/08/2020

Leaders of the Texas Medical Association and four large primary care specialty societies on Wednesday painted for senior Medicaid officials the bleak fiscal picture of many physician practices, and requested immediate financial assistance.


Feds Approve Texas’ Request for COVID-19 Medicaid Waiver - 03/31/2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on March 30 approved Texas’ request to waive certain Medicaid regulatory requirements to help physicians and other health care professionals more effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Census Undercount Could Stifle Texas’ Health Services, Doctors Say - 03/11/2020

Texas physicians are urging patients to answer the upcoming U.S. Census to ensure the state won’t lose billions of dollars’ worth of health and human services funding – a loss that could harm the patients themselves.


Physicians Needed for Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Panel - 03/03/2020

March 13 is the new deadline to get your application to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission if you want to serve on its State Medicaid Managed Care Advisory Committee. The panel advises the commission on Medicaid managed care operations statewide.


Learn More About Texas Youth Health at Symposium - 02/26/2020

If you’re interested in learning more about keeping Texas teens healthy and you’d like to make new connections to thought leaders and your peers, make plans to attend the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s ninth-annual symposium, set for April 6-8 in San Antonio.


Zika Update: Mosquito Repellent Covered Under State Health Programs - 02/20/2020

Mosquito repellant prescriptions are covered under Medicaid and other state programs, including the Healthy Texas Women Program. And although those programs require patients to have a prescription for mosquito repellant, patients don’t need to see a physician to get one.


Proposed Medicaid Rule Would Severely Restrict Services, Medicine Argues - 02/03/2020

A proposed federal rule that would restrict how states fund their share of Medicaid would cause serious cuts in services, particularly for children, pregnant women, the elderly, and the disabled. That is the message the Texas Medical Association and multiple state and specialty medical societies have delivered to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.


Maternal Deaths: First U.S. Data Since 2007 Shows Serious Problems Persist - 01/30/2020

Texas’ rate of maternal deaths is slightly above the national level, long-awaited new data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows.


Federal Funding for Women’s Health Services in Texas Restored - 01/24/2020

Texas will again receive matching federal funds for women’s health services through a Medicaid 1115 waiver Gov. Greg Abbott announced Wednesday. Under the agreement, Texas will receive about $350 million from Washington over the next five years to cover the vast majority of costs for its Healthy Texas Women program.


Medicine Pushes For Expanding Medicaid Coverage to New Moms - 12/19/2019

Federal lawmakers must pass a bill that would allow states to provide 12 months postpartum coverage to mothers who lose Medicaid coverage two months after giving birth, and would provide a bump in Medicaid matching dollars for those states, medicine and others said in a letter this week.


Help Medicaid Patients Keep Appointments With Free Rides - 12/11/2019

If your Medicaid patient has trouble keeping his or her appointments with your office due to lack of transportation or gas money, be sure the patient knows how to seek help from Medicaid.


Far-Reaching Implications: The Ripple Effects of Texas' Uninsured Rate - 12/04/2019

Data compiled by the Texas Medical Association and other organizations, as well as physicians’ own anecdotal experiences, show how 5 million uninsured patients in Texas become 5 million dominoes. As they fall, so do countless others representing the health of Texas: The economy and well-being of entire communities. The classmates and friends of uninsured children. And yes, the physicians who deal with the burdens of treating uninsured patients in emergency rooms and providing uncompensated care.


Help Texas Improve Health Outcomes for New Mothers and Infants - 12/03/2019

As a physician, you’ve seen first-hand some of the health challenges new mothers and their infants face, not only during pregnancy but in the days and months after birth. But if you’re interested in learning more about those challenges, and best practices for preventing and caring for them, plan to attend the 2020 Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies Summit in late February.


More Funds for Medicaid, Women’s Health Needed, TMA Tells HHSC - 12/02/2019

Bolstering Medicaid and enhancing women’s health services are once again on the Texas Medical Association’s agenda as it makes recommendations to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) for the agency’s 2022-23 budget requests.


Leveraging LARCs: Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives Part of Texas’ Solution to Unwanted Pregnancies, Maternal Deaths - 11/16/2019

Today LARCs are one of the safest and most-effective types of reversible birth control, but their reputation took a huge hit in the 1970s thanks to the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device (IUD). Memories persist of news reports about the shield’s many defects. This mistrust of LARCs — along with other obstacles to their wider use — hamper progress toward a wider goal for Texas medicine: improving maternal health and reducing maternal deaths across the state.