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Legislative Hotline Jan. 15: House Adopts Mask Protocol for New Session, Announces Electronic Comment Portal - 01/16/2021

The Texas Legislature finished its last business Thursday before a long early vacation, after the House of Representatives adopted rules for the 2021 session, including a mask requirement on the House floor and the option to electronically submit comments.


Lobbying Tips - 01/14/2021

The involvement of physicians, medical students and alliance members is vital to the success of TMA’s grassroots lobbying efforts. A vital asset to TMA’s professional lobbying team, only you can give your state legislators the most accurate picture about how the issues really affect the practice of medicine and the patients of Texas. TMA offers some tips for lobbying your legislator on the issues of importance to you.


Legislative Hotline Jan. 14: Senate Reduces Votes Needed to Debate Bills - 01/14/2021

A decrease in the Republican majority in the Senate this session prompted an inevitable discussion Wednesday about the procedure for bringing bills to the floor for debate.


Legislative Hotline Jan. 13: House Speaker Chosen as Session Gets Under Way - 01/13/2021

The Texas Legislature on Tuesday gaveled in what’s sure to be one of the most unique sessions in its history, with both the House and the Senate making quick work of their first day before adjourning.


Preserve Health Care Funding in State Budget - 01/09/2021

Writing a two-year budget for a state as diverse, vast, and rapidly growing as Texas is never easy. During a global pandemic, it will be even harder. Not only will lawmakers face unpredictable economic crosswinds, but also higher need for state-funded services to support Texans affected by COVID-19.


Taxing Medical Billing Services Harms Health Care - 01/05/2021

Texas has not considered the practice and provision of medical care and health care services to be taxable.  According to the Texas Occupations Code §151.002, billing for treatment performed is part of the practice of medicine.


Provide Meaningful Health Care Coverage for Uninsured Texans - 01/05/2021

Texas can no longer ignore the human, social, and economic impact of having more than 20% of our people uninsured. Health care coverage matters, resulting in healthier constituents and more economically prosperous communities.


Staying the Course: Medicine Enters an Unprecedented Session at the Texas Legislature - 01/04/2021

The way the Texas Legislature conducts business during the 2021 session may look different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Texas Medical Association’s commitment to improving health care remains the same. Some of those goals are up against deep cuts to state agency budgets. At the same time, however, the pandemic has created opportunities for medicine to bend lawmakers’ ear on some of its longstanding goals, including advancing access to care, vaccines, health coverage, and telemedicine.


Improve Access to Immunizations - 12/17/2020

Vaccinations are important, safe, and effective. They defend our families, our community, and our economy from infectious diseases. The COVID 19 pandemic clearly illustrates what can happen when a vaccine does not exist to ward off a deadly infectious disease.


TMA to Fight for Health Coverage Expansion, Scope of Practice During 2021 Legislature - 12/08/2020

At the 2020 Texas Medical Association Advocacy Retreat on Saturday, Debra Patt, MD, chair of TMA’s Council on Legislation, laid out a preview of medicine’s top legislative priorities for the upcoming session.


Strengthen Texas’ Physician Workforce - 12/03/2020

The pandemic will change the physician workforce in Texas. Economic pressures may convince some physicians to take early retirement or to leave patient care; and hospitals may be forced to close residency programs. With three new medical schools, Texas will need MORE residency positions to maintain the target ratio of 1.1 to 1, in hopes of keeping our medical student graduates in state.


Arbitration Law Will be “Messy,” Bring Operational Concerns, Panelists Say - 12/02/2020

 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.


Free Webinar: Help TMA Pass Medicine-Friendly Laws - 11/17/2020

If you’re interested in learning about TMA’s top issues for the upcoming Texas legislative session, and how you can help, tune in to the TMA Alliance’s final enrichment webinar of 2020, scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 19.


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.


Help Shape Texas Health Care Through Grassroots Advocacy - 11/04/2020

Register for the Women Physicians Section’s latest virtual event, Strengthening Medicine Through Advocacy, to be held from 6 to 7 pm Monday, Nov. 9, via Zoom. All Texas Medical Association members are invited.


Champions of Medicine: TEXPAC-Endorsed Incumbents Head to November Elections - 10/30/2020

Each election, TEXPAC, the Texas Medical Association’s nonpartisan political arm, throws its support behind candidates who have demonstrated their support for a medicine-friendly agenda.


Last Chance For Early Voting: The House of Medicine Needs You - 10/30/2020

Election Day – Nov. 3 – is less than one week away. Early voting ends tomorrow – Friday, Oct. 30. Statewide, nearly half of Texas’ record number of registered voters have taken advantage of early voting to cast ballots. Ensure the House of Medicine’s voice is heard by voting.


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.


Strengthen Texas' Public Health Capabilities - 10/09/2020

On behalf of TMA, please read comments relating to Interim Charge I. Implementation of new funding and full-time equivalent positions for the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Vital 2 Statistics Unit; and implementation of DSHS Rider 29; evaluate the capacity of immunization programs to prevent, reduce, and eliminate vaccine preventable diseases in adults and children.


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.


TMA Weighs In On COVID-19 Surprise Billing, Insurance Premiums, and More - 09/09/2020

TMA submitted written testimony Tuesday to the House Committee on Insurance, providing details and recommendations on price gouging, surprise medical bills, health insurance premiums, and more caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


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.