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Caution Urged as Officials Continue to Monitor Coronavirus - 02/20/2020

Health officials continue to monitor the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19, but “the risk for all Texans remains low,” the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said.


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.


Public Health: Tobacco Triumph - 02/19/2020

Texas physicians got the kind of huge win on tobacco issues they haven’t seen in decades – a law to keep tobacco products away from young people.


Reaching for the Cure: Texas Medicaid Doesn't Cover Hepatitis C Drugs Until Patients Are Seriously Ill - 02/18/2020

Infectious disease specialist Ogechika Alozie, MD, has a ready-made solution for patients diagnosed with hepatitis C now that five medications can rid patients of this deadly disease. But for Texas Medicaid patients, there’s a catch. The program does not pay for the cure based just on a diagnosis. Instead, Medicaid pays only after a blood test, biopsy, or sonogram shows the liver is so badly damaged that it’s on the verge of cirrhosis. At that point, patients who get the medication will be cured of their hepatitis C but more vulnerable to other deadly illnesses, like liver cancer.


Clearing the Haze: Texas Physicians Demystify Vaping - 02/18/2020

The rise in EVALI deaths and hospitalizations has changed the conversation about vaping and gives physicians an opportunity to champion tighter rules and higher taxes on an untested, unhealthy product that remains lightly regulated in both the U.S. and Texas.


Help Patients Stand Up to Be Counted in the Census - 02/05/2020

Physicians can improve census reporting by stressing the census’ importance to patients and explaining that it’s safe. The information people give is private and guarded from other branches of federal, state, and local governments. People will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail March 12, and the final counting will end July 31.


Texas Physicians Propose Mass Violence Prevention Strategies - 02/03/2020

How should Texas address the incidents of mass violence that have rocked the state in recent years? Physicians laid out medicine’s priorities before a special committee of the Texas House of Representatives late last week.


Grants to Promote Healthy Brain Development - 02/03/2020

Twelve Texas organizations whose programs help early childhood brain development will receive a share of $3.5 million in grants from the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF), the foundation said last week.


Arbitration Law Will be “Messy,” Bring Operational Concerns, Panelists Say - 01/31/2020

 The state’s new law allowing arbitration of payment disputes on certain out-of-network care carries concerns for physicians and uncertainty about what it will look like from an enforcement standpoint, a panel told the Texas Medical Association Winter Conference on Saturday morning.


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.


CDC to Host Coronavirus Webinar Friday - 01/30/2020

If you are interested in learning more about the new coronavirus outbreak that began in China, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will host a webinar on Friday for physicians and other health care professionals.


Report Positions TMA Response to Firearms Violence - 01/29/2020

“The physicians of Texas continue to grieve with our fellow Texans over yet another heinous episode of gun violence,” Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD, said. “This is more than a public safety problem – this is a public health crisis. Thus, it will require public health type solutions.”


Firearms Safety: A Growing Public Health Threat - 01/29/2020

Michael Bagg was bothered by how his fellow students at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston reacted to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which killed 58 people. He started talking with a classmate about ways to address firearms that would improve safety while also respecting the rights of gun owners. Together, they came up with a preclinical curriculum for an elective class on firearms safety that has been taught at the school for the past two years. The course, which more than 100 students have attended, addresses topics such as the treatment of injuries and threat identification.


Addressing Autism: Giving Physicians Tools - 01/29/2020

Autism spectrum disorder is a fast-growing, serious developmental disability in the U.S., affecting an estimated one out of 59 children nationally, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is about four times more common in boys than girls. In recognition of its growing importance, TMA’s House of Delegates in 2019 approved a resolution encouraging physicians to expand and promote resources for families of people with autism.


Register to Vote by Monday - 01/29/2020

Elections, particularly the spring party primaries, determine the practice environment for Texas physicians and our patients. And election season is upon us. To help elect medicine-friendly candidates in the March primaries, you must be registered to vote by Monday, Feb. 3.


Coronavirus Fears Overshadowing Influenza Threat - 01/28/2020

Although the new coronavirus outbreak that began in China has grabbed headlines recently, physicians should remind their patients that influenza continues to be a major concern in Texas.


Bryan, Fort Worth Nonprofit Clinics Win TMA Foundation Health Awards - 01/28/2020

Low-income, uninsured people in Bryan can get health care, and underserved Texans can access vision-saving surgery, thanks to the two special health care nonprofits recognized by the Texas Medical Association Foundation’s (TMAF’s) 2020 John P. McGovern Champion of Health Awards. TMAF presented the awards to the honorees on Saturday at the TMA Winter Conference, in Austin.


Urge Patients to Use Common Virus Prevention as Coronavirus Investigation Continues - 01/24/2020

Texas physicians should recommend patients take the usual precautions to avoid viruses as health officials investigate a novel coronavirus outbreak that began in China.


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.


Primary Care Consortium Seeking Breakout Proposals For Summit - 01/24/2020

The Texas Primary Care Consortium is looking to you to make its upcoming annual summit more in line with your experience with practice transformation. Here’s your chance to lead a breakout session.


Warning: Mercury in Skin Creams from Mexico - 01/10/2020

Texas health officials are warning physicians to watch for mercury poisoning after a woman who purchased cosmetics in Mexico was hospitalized in Texas.  


Left In The Dust: Helping Underreporting of Workplace Illnesses - 01/09/2020

Workplace illnesses can be difficult for physicians and patients because some take years to develop and frequently are masked or mimicked by other illnesses. Such a disease may not show itself until decades after the patient has left the job that caused the problem. By then, the illness may be so far along that little can be done. That time lag between exposure and illness is just one of several difficulties Texas physicians face in tackling workplace illnesses. Because Texas does not have a federally-approved plan for developing and enforcing workplace health and safety standards, the state defers to OSHA on this responsibility.


Cost of Newborn Screening Kits has Increased - 01/07/2020

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.


Texas Physicians Explain Herd Immunity Needed to Fight Contagious-Disease Hotspots - 01/06/2020

A community with enough vaccinated people can protect each other from the spread of contagious disease. Herd immunity – also known as community immunity – protects those who are not immune and those who cannot or choose not to get vaccinated.


Breaking Down Barriers: New State Effort Helps Get LARCs to Women Who Need Them - 01/02/2020

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.”