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Governor Approves Bill to Reduce Prior Authorization Hassles - 01/14/2022

Care for countless Texas patients will happen more quickly by reducing health insurers’ bureaucratic delays, thanks to a bill Gov. Greg Abbott allowed to become law this weekend. The Texas Medical Association  prioritized curbing health insurers’ onerous prior authorization practices this legislative session, resulting in passage of House Bill 3459 by Rep. Greg Bonnen, MD (R-Friendswood), and Sen. Dawn Buckingham, MD (R-Lakeway), with considerable support by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound).


PAC-ing a Punch for Medicine: Involvement in TEXPAC Lays Foundation for Legislative Victories - 01/03/2022

TEXPAC leaders say legislative victories happen because of grassroots, physician-driven efforts to elect friends of medicine to office. TEXPAC helps generate those victories with a dogged, systematic evaluation of candidates who have the profession’s best interests at heart, endorsing and funding the ones who demonstrate their medical mettle. It’s the Party of Medicine, not of Democrats or Republicans; a candidate’s stances on TMA’s top issues, and the impressions of TEXPAC physicians in a candidate’s district, are what carry the most sway.


Compact for Care: Texas Joins Interstate Agreement for Out-of-State Licensure - 12/01/2021

The rise of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a change in state law that will not only help make certain telemedicine services permanent but also give out-of-state physicians an easier pathway to join the Texas workforce.


Ten Years Later: TMA Advocacy Nets Investments in Women’s Health - 12/01/2021

A decade ago, the Texas Legislature made a funding decision that devasted low-income women’s access to health care and the physicians and community clinics that care for them. After 10 years, with the help of TMA advocacy and the formation of the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition, funding for family planning and overall women’s health is in significantly better shape.


Revalidate Your Medicaid Enrollment Soon - 11/16/2021

If you’re a physician participating in the Texas Medicaid program and saw your required revalidation period for the program extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, take note: The end of that extension is coming on Feb. 28, 2022.


TMA Helps Craft Amendment Guaranteeing In-Person Visitation in Nursing Homes - 11/15/2021

In overwhelmingly voting for nursing home residents to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visitation, Texas voters aligned themselves with a critical balance the Texas Medical Association helped lawmakers strike between the need for crucial emotional support in those settings and keeping public health threats at bay.


State Plan Tackles Mental Health Coverage - 11/09/2021

Four years after the Texas Legislature passed legislation aimed to improve health plan coverage of mental health conditions and substance use disorders, a state workgroup has released a strategic plan to improve compliance with the law’s protections to put coverage of those treatments on par with other types of health care.


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.


Federal Bill Includes Longer Medicaid Coverage for New Mothers and Children - 10/27/2021

A federal budget bill under negotiation in Congress would expand Medicaid coverage for both new mothers and children, and the Texas Medical Association has signed onto a letter urging preservation of those provisions.


TMA Defeats Bills to Ban Vaccine Mandates - 10/25/2021

Thanks to physician-led grassroots advocacy, the Texas Medical Association beat back bills that aimed to codify Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent executive order banning vaccine mandates. Those bills had failed to advance out of their respective chambers when the Texas Legislature adjourned from its third special session of the year on Oct. 19.


TMA Wins Several COVID Relief Funding Asks - 10/22/2021

The Texas Legislature’s distribution of billions in federal COVID-19 relief funding displayed a commitment to many – though not all – of the Texas Medical Association’s desired uses for the money, including investments in child mental health care and improving maternal mental health access.


Congress May Extend Postpartum Medicaid Coverage to 12 Months - 10/19/2021

Federal legislation could move Texas toward one of the Texas Medical Association’s long-time goals for improving maternal health – extending Medicaid postpartum coverage from two months to a full year.


TMA Weighs In on Bills to Ban Vaccine Mandates - 10/18/2021

Taking science-based interventions like vaccinations off the table during an ongoing public emergency is like telling coastal residents they can’t board up their windows or fill sandbags as a hurricane approaches.


How to Avoid Coding Mistakes in Texas Medicaid - 10/15/2021

Ensuring Texas Medicaid dollars are spent for their intended purpose requires the Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) to work with health care professionals to prevent waste. Accurate medical coding is part of that work. Incorrect codes result in overpayments – which impact taxpayers – and underpayments, which can impact your practice.


Physician-Led Results: Grassroots Advocacy Paid Off in Tangible Wins at the Capitol - 10/13/2021

Texas physicians made the most of an extraordinary, scaled-back session of the Texas Legislature in 2021. They helped pass laws to curb prior authorization hassles; keep physicians from incurring new practice costs; install liability protections for future pandemics like COVID-19; extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for new mothers; and keep graduate medical education (GME) fully funded. And so much more.


How to Reverify Patients’ Medicaid Eligibility When the Public Health Emergency Ends - 10/06/2021

With the federal public health emergency (PHE) slated to expire at the end of 2021, millions of Medicaid patients across the U.S. are at risk of losing their coverage. Texas physicians should prepare by scheduling services as soon as possible for such patients and evaluating the financial impact of potential increases in uncompensated care. They also should expect to reverify patients’ Medicaid eligibility when the PHE expires.


TMA Makes Its Case on “Starting Point” COVID Relief Bill - 10/05/2021

A bill to distribute nearly $17 billion in COVID-19 relief funds – medicine’s focal point during the current special session of the Texas Legislature – drew both praise and recommendations for improvement from the Texas Medical Association and several state specialty societies.


TMA Urges House Committee to Bolster Border Care Access - 10/05/2021

With 30 years of experience practicing primary care medicine in the Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg internist and Texas Medical Association President E. Linda Villarreal, MD, has unique insight into the region’s health care needs and how state lawmakers can build on previous legislation to address them.


Funding the Future: Texas Legislature Fully Commits to GME - 10/02/2021

The Texas Legislature’s investment in medical education includes a full commitment to GME.


TMA: Use Rescue Act Funds for Long-COVID Research, Improved Access to Care - 09/24/2021

Following its second letter to key state lawmakers about the best uses for one-time federal COVID-19 relief funding, the House of Medicine has established a broad vision for how that money could help Texas patients and physicians.


TMA White Paper: How to Prohibit Handguns on Private Property - 09/21/2021

Texas’ public handgun-carrying policies – and the rights of certain businesses and private property owners to prohibit the carrying of handguns – have garnered a great deal of legislative and media attention over the past several years, most recently with the Texas Legislature’s passage of permitless carry legislation earlier this year.


Take Three: COVID Relief Funds, Local Vaccine Mandates on Third Special Session Agenda - 09/19/2021

As anticipated, the Texas Legislature will return for a third 2021 special session – and fourth session overall this year – with federal COVID-19 relief funds on the agenda and the House of Medicine hoping to influence how lawmakers will allocate those funds.


TMA: Boost Tech With COVID-19 Relief Funds - 09/13/2021

With connectivity on its mind, the House of Medicine logged in to a dialogue with state leaders and inputted its first official suggestions about how to distribute $16 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds.


Texas Safety-Net Programs Tied to 1115 Waiver Get New Life – for One Year - 09/10/2021

A key component of Texas’ safety net for low-income people remains intact – for at least another year – thanks to an agreement between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to extend three federally funded programs that were set to expire.


Medicaid Relaxes Prior Authorization for Hep C Antiviral Drugs - 09/06/2021

For years, Texas Medicaid patients with hepatitis C haven’t had access to overwhelmingly effective, often-curative antiviral therapy unless they had advanced liver disease. In many cases, getting the antiviral drugs at that point was too little, too late.