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We Need to Come in Force: Physician-Lawmakers Look Ahead to 2021 - 09/18/2019

A panel of medicine’s representatives in the Texas Legislature said Saturday that 2019 was a good year for medicine in Austin, but unfinished business remains for the next session in 2021.


TMA Can Take Lead in Addressing Social Determinants of Health - 09/16/2019

Despite widespread knowledge about the impact of social determinants of health – such as housing and food insecurity – the U.S. health care system does a poor job of taking those factors into account when caring for patients, the co-founders of The Health Initiative, a Boston nonprofit, told physicians at the Texas Medical Association's Fall Conference on Saturday.  


House Bill 3703 (86th Texas Legislature) and Expansion of Texas’ Compassionate Use Act - 09/12/2019

In its 2019 session, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3703 (Rep. Stephanie Klick), effective immediately, expanding the list of diseases that may be treated with low-tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) cannabis. The bill also broadened the types of specialty physicians who may qualify to register with the Compassionate Use Registry of Texas to recommend treat-ment with low-THC cannabis to patients.


AIMing to Save Lives: More Standardized Care Could Bring Down Texas' Maternal Death Rate - 09/12/2019

Texas’ maternal death rate is still high, and public health officials are betting that more standardized care will bring it down with guidelines set up by the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM).


New Web Page Helps You Help Prevent Student Concussions - 09/11/2019

To help you prevent and/or care for traumatic brain injuries, the Texas Medical Association has created a web page about student-athlete concussions to raise awareness among physicians, student-athletes and their parents, and coaches.


Firearms Safety: A Growing Public Health Threat - 09/04/2019

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.


Out of the Shadows - 09/04/2019

Lubbock physicians shine a light on sex trafficking and get victims needed care.


Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitalization in Texas 1999 to 2010 - 09/03/2019

The primary purpose of the study was to examine the role public sector payers (Medicare and Medicaid) and providers (Texas state mental health hospitals) play in psychiatric hospitalization, using Texas annual hospital discharge files from 1999 to 2010. Psychiatric hospitalization, as defined by a primary behavioral health diagnosis (ICD-9 diagnoses 290-314.99) averaged 146,876 discharges per year, approximately 5.24% of all hospitalizations in the state. Children younger than 18 years accounted for 27,035 discharges per year. The top 4 diagnostic groups were depression (29%), bipolar disorder (22%), schizophrenia (18%), and alcohol-drug disorders (14%). More patients with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders were served by the public sector, while more patients with depression or alcohol-drug disorders were served by private insurance. Interestingly, patients with bipolar disorder were distributed relatively evenly across both payment groups and ages. Length of stay decreased fr...


A Qualitative Approach to Understanding HIV-Related Stress in Texas - 09/03/2019

Much of the southern United States is characterized by unique social, structural, and political systems that may relate to increased stress and poor health outcomes for those living with HIV. Notably, research indicates that Texas has higher survival rates for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) than general southern trends, which might suggest that Texans living with HIV experience HIV-related stressors and coping strategies influential to health differently than those living elsewhere in the South. This study used grounded theory and semi-structured interviews to increase understanding of HIV-related stress in Texas. Participants (N=20) were 12 people living with HIV in Texas and 8 HIV-care providers in Texas. Results indicated 5 emergent stress-related themes: housing strain, substance use, limited financial abilities, relationship dynamics, and internal pressures and psychosocial resiliency. Results also highlighted some of the potential...


Clearing the Air on Cannabis: New Texas Laws Create Challenges for Physicians - 09/03/2019

Before the 2019 Texas Legislature passed House Bill 3703, the medical use of cannabidiol (CBD) products in Texas was confusing for physicians and authorized only a narrow group of patients: people with intractable epilepsy. Thanks in part to the new state law, it’s still confusing and includes a somewhat larger group of patients – all patients with epilepsy as well as those with seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), autism, terminal cancer, and incurable neurodegenerative diseases. Confusion has been fueled by another 2019 measure: House Bill 1325 legalized the production and sale of hemp and some products derived from hemp that have high levels of CBD, which is non-euphoric and has low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC), the psychoactive element in marijuana.


One Health Conference to Explore Connection Among Humans, Animals, and the Environment - 08/30/2019

If you are interested in being a part of the increasing collaboration between medical and veterinary professions, make plans to attend Harris County Public Health's One Health Conference next month in Houston.


Prepare for Hurricane Season With Facebook Live Discussion - 08/22/2019

If you want to get a head start on what this year’s hurricane season could bring, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission will hold a Facebook Live talk at 12:15 pm (CT) on Aug. 26.


Texans Not Afraid to Look Up Mental Health Concerns Online - 08/22/2019

Although you as a physician might not spend a lot of time consulting Dr. Google, many of your patients do. So it’s a good idea to know what people are most worried about. Turns out, “phobia” is the most-Googled mental health concern in Texas.


Tying Immigration to Medicaid Foolish, TMA President Says - 08/20/2019

The Trump Administration's new rule seeking to limit access to green cards for immigrants who receive Medicaid and other government benefits will discourage people from seeing their physicians, worsening medical problems and harming public health, says Texas Medical Association President David C. Fleeger, MD.


TMA Supports Evidence-Based Care for LGBTQ Youth - 08/20/2019

The Texas Medical Association aggressively opposes any "potentially harmful, unproven therapies," such as conversion therapy, that are designed to change the sexual orientation of LGBTQ young people, TMA President David Fleeger, MD, said in prepared testimony to the Texas Medical Board on Friday.


Physicians to Address Care Issues at 14th Border Health Conference - 08/15/2019

Top physicians and other health care leaders will meet in Laredo, Texas, to discuss critical health care needs and the challenges that face communities along the U.S.-Mexico border, during the 14th Annual Border Health Conference.


Conference to Explore Border Health Challenges - 08/15/2019

At the convergence of two countries and two cultures, Texas’ border with Mexico has unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to health care.But what are those challenges, and how can the opportunities there be used to overcome them? Explore those questions and more at the 14th annual Border Health Conference, scheduled for Aug. 22 at the La Posada Hotel in Laredo.


Report Positions TMA Response to Firearms Violence - 08/13/2019

“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.”


Migrants in Texas Detention Centers Need Basic Care, TMA President Says - 08/12/2019

Migrant parents and children housed in Texas detention centers must have access to basic necessities, including sufficient food, clean water, clean beds, and health and educational services. That is the message of a letter sent last week to state leaders and Texas lawmakers from several organizations, including the Texas Medical Association.


Talk to Patients About: Hib - 08/12/2019

Talk to your patients about Haemophilus influenzae type b – or Hib, which, despite its name, does not cause influenza. However, Hib causes several severe illnesses, particularly meningitis, mostly in children younger than 5.


What’s Killing Texans? Fixing Texas' System for Tracking Deaths - 08/02/2019

Distorted death statistics inaccurately portray how people are dying, with significant public health implications. System changes and physician education could help.


Keeping Kids Safe in and Around the Water: New AAP Guidelines - 08/02/2019

Drowning is the leading cause of death in children 1-4 years of age, and is the second leading cause of death in children under 14. In the March 2019 issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a revised policy statement on “Prevention of Drowning.”


Public Health: Tobacco Triumph - 08/02/2019

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.


Vaccinations Available for Tarrant County Kids, Adults - 08/01/2019

Uninsured and underinsured Tarrant County residents can get low-cost vaccinations to prepare for school, and to prevent harmful and potentially deadly diseases. The Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Be Wise – ImmunizeSM program will join efforts with the Immunization Collaboration of Tarrant County (ICTC) to provide vaccinations to local kids, as well as adults.


Keep Hib Germs Away: Vaccination Can Prevent Serious Childhood Illness - 08/01/2019

Many things aren’t harmful until they are. This applies to the Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) bacteria: It typically can live in our noses and throats without causing harm, but if Hib moves to other parts of the body, it can cause serious illness or even death.