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A Case for More Coverage: Studies Suggest Medicaid Expansion Would Fiscally Benefit Texas - 11/12/2020

Two recent studies suggest expanding Medicaid will not only save Texas money, but add to the Lone Star State’s coffers.


Opioids: The Forgotten Epidemic? - 10/30/2020

COVID-19 inflamed the crisis; telemedicine helps Texas physicians cope with the fallout.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Recertification Required for Healthy Texas Women Program - 10/28/2019

If you provide health care services through the Healthy Texas Women (HTW) program, or if you want to begin providing HTW services, the annual recertification period is just around the corner.


Tapering a Patient’s Opioid Dosage? Follow This Guide - 10/18/2019

In an effort to curb the nationwide opioid epidemic while keeping patients from excessive pain, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week published a guide for physicians considering or initiating a reduction in opioid dosage.