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CDC Revises Opioid Guidelines in the Wake of Confusion, Overreaction - 11/29/2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued revised guidelines to help safely prescribe opioids, and one of the reasons, the agency freely admits, is to clear up confusion caused by its last set of guidelines issued in 2016.


Marketplace Enrollment Could Help Blunt Potential Uninsured Surge as Public Health Emergency Ends - 11/11/2022

AA number of positive changes expanding access to and affordability of federal marketplace health plans could be coming just in time as Texas’ uninsured rate stands to worsen after the end of the public health emergency.


Commissioned With Change : An Interview With HHSC Commissioner Cecile Erwin Young - 11/11/2022

As leader of the state’s largest agency, Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Cecile Erwin Young is faced with some of the largest health care challenges among some of the most vulnerable patient populations. She visited the Texas Medical Association’s Winter Conference in late January to talk to Texas physicians about their concerns in caring for those patients, especially during a pandemic.


Physicians Urge Texans to Safely Return Unused Prescription Medication - 10/27/2022

Texas physicians recommend people with unused or expired prescription drugs at home dispose of them safely this weekend, so they are not accidently consumed. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is organizing its biannual prescription drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 29. Prescription drugs can be returned anonymously at pop up locations across the state.


Help Promote National Drug Prescription Take Back Day on Oct. 29 - 10/26/2022

Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which allows people to dispose of prescription drugs safely and anonymously, is scheduled for Oct. 26 at locations throughout the state.


Address Delayed Care Pileup, TMA Tells House Panel - 10/17/2022

The COVID-19 pandemic strained an already overburdened primary health care system in Texas, making it vital that state lawmakers back measures that encourage patients to see a physician and catch up on delayed care before it gets even worse, Tyler pediatrician Valerie Smith, MD, told the Texas House of Representatives Select Committee on Health Care Reform.


Despite Deadline, New Prescription Forms Still Not Received - 10/08/2022

Many Texas physicians are now unable to write prescriptions for certain pain medications because of ongoing problems when ordering the state’s new prescription forms. As of June 1, all Schedule II prescription forms ordered before Sept. 1, 2018, were no longer valid. However, many Texas physicians have told the Texas Medical Association they are still awaiting the new forms.


“Rainbow” Fentanyl-Related Overdoses Among Youth Trigger DEA, DSHS Warnings - 09/29/2022

In the wake of a series of overdoses and deaths in Hays County, Texas public health and federal law enforcement agencies have released advisories about multicolored or “rainbow” fentanyl.


Combating Opioid-Related Deaths Requires New Approach, TMA Tells Lawmakers - 09/19/2022

In order to address a surge in deaths tied to synthetic opioids, Texas must take a comprehensive approach that includes revamping state regulations related to pain management clinics and prescription monitoring, and expanding mental health treatment, Mesquite pain management specialist C.M. Schade, MD, told members of the Texas House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Health.


“Administrative Churn” Could Cost Texas Medicaid Patients Their Coverage When PHE Ends - 09/13/2022

Nearly half of the 15 million Medicaid patients across the U.S. at risk of losing coverage when the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends may fall prey to “administrative churning.” That is, they could lose coverage despite remaining eligible because of difficulties navigating the renewal process, address changes, and other administrative challenges.


Overdose Deaths Persist Despite Physician Efforts to Reduce Opioid Prescribing, per AMA Report - 09/12/2022

Even as deaths from illicit drugs like fentanyl are rising, a new American Medical Association report shows a 45% decrease in opioid prescribing over the past decade in Texas.


Access to Hep C Treatment in Texas Medicaid Delayed - 09/07/2022

Texas Medicaid patients with hepatitis C will have to wait a little longer to access potentially curative antiviral medications.


Texas Medicaid to Loosen Access to Hepatitis C Treatment - 08/21/2022

Texas Medicaid patients with hepatitis C have struggled for years to access potentially curative antiviral medications. But this will get much easier on Sept. 1.


Texas Children Among Most at Risk of Losing Health Coverage When PHE Ends - 08/19/2022

Texas is one of six states where children enrolled in Medicaid and in the Children’s Health Insurance Program are especially at risk of losing their health insurance when the public health emergency ends.


Medicaid Extends Reenrollment Time Frames - 08/09/2022

To help manage a backlog of revalidation applications stemming from the transition to Medicaid’s new Provider Enrollment Management System (PEMS), the state’s Medicaid claims payment contractor announced it will extend revalidation timeframes for physicians and other health care practitioners and suspend disenrollments related to that process.


The Only Alternative: Medicaid Practices May Not Be Viable Without Value-Based Care - 07/29/2022

For years, the Texas Medical Association has pushed for a significant Medicaid physician pay bump every year that the Texas Legislature meets, without success. As long as that streak continues, physicians looking to make Medicaid more worthwhile for their bottom line have to find another way. Value-based systems – and the alternative payment models that drive them – have been the path Medicaid managed care organizations and practitioners have been methodically walking in recent years.


New Texas Website Streamlines Access to Medicaid Enrollment, Family Resources - 07/26/2022

Physicians who frequently refer patients to no- and low-cost state services like health insurance and child care will find that easier now that the state has launched familyresources.texas.gov, a website that puts links to those services all in one place.


CMS Drops Opposition to Texas’ Medicaid Waiver Extension; TMA Concerns Persist - 05/26/2022

Texas’ safety net got a reprieve when the federal government agreed to drop its opposition to a 10-year extension of Texas’ Medicaid 1115 Transformation Waiver, ensuring an annual $3.8 billion to offset uncompensated care through 2030.


Maximize Medicaid Coverage Under New State Laws, TMA Tells Legislature - 05/24/2022

The Texas Medical Association recently advised state policymakers on two big upcoming events that will affect millions of Texans relying on Medicaid – and the physicians who treat them.


Self-Reporting Errors to OIG - 04/05/2022

More physicians are taking advantage of the opportunity to self-audit and self-disclose overpayments during the course of a Texas Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation. Self-reports to the OIG in fiscal year 2021 lead to the resolution of 45 cases, totaling $8.1 million; only 12 self-reports were made just three years earlier. Those using the self-report process include physicians, clinics, hospitals, home health agencies, and mental health rehabilitative services entities.


Bolster Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment With These Grants - 04/05/2022

Organizations interested in increasing access to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage can apply for up to $1.5 million each after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)  announced on Jan. 27 that it was committing more than $49 million in federal grants to the Biden administration’s effort to “fund organizations that can connect more eligible children, parents, and pregnant individuals to health care coverage.”


Texas Secures More Than $1 Billion as Part of Opioid Settlement - 04/05/2022

Texas is receiving more than $1 billion in a settlement agreement with three major pharmaceutical distributors over the national opioid epidemic, which will be used for prevention, education, and medication-assisted treatment.


Federal Grants Available to Help Expand Opioid Use Disorder Treatment - 04/04/2022

Federal health authorities have opened up applications for more than $25 million in grants to expand access to medication-assisted treatment and prevent prescription drug misuse.


Medicaid to Fix Physician Enrollment Problems With TMA's Help - 03/31/2022

A rocky start for the state’s new Medicaid Provider Enrollment and Management System frustrated a number of practices around the state – and caused some worries that care they provided might go unpaid.


So Much Uncertainty: Struggle to Renew Medicaid 1115 Waiver Endangers Behavioral Health Care for Low-Income - 10/31/2021

Uncertainty over the waiver’s future has thrown confusion into many of the state’s biggest behavioral health efforts.