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Key Issues - 01/24/2023

At the heart of TMA's agenda for the 2023 Texas legislative session is protecting the practice of medicine and the patient-physician relationship.


Record State Budget Opens Door for Health Care Investment - 01/23/2023

The 88th Texas Legislature kicked off earlier this month, and the Texas Medical Association is already tracking nearly 700 bills, including promising proposals to reduce prior authorization requirements and concerning ones regarding scope expansion.


TMA Moment in Time: First Tuesdays at the Capitol - 01/05/2023

TMA’s signature advocacy event offers invaluable facetime with lawmakers.


CPAN Improves Access to Child Mental Health Care - 12/22/2022

Physicians are using the Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN) in steadily growing numbers, but many more can – and should – take advantage of this free behavioral health service, says Nhung Tran, MD, a developmental-behavioral pediatric specialist in Austin who serves as CPAN’s pediatric consultant and the Texas Pediatric Society’s liaison to CPAN.


Eight Simple Ways to Get Involved in TMA Advocacy - 12/14/2022

Your strong voice is needed to improve the practice of medicine today and for future generations. That's why it's important for all members of the family of medicine to get involved. You don't have to be an advocacy expert. All you need to do is follow these eight steps.


Evidence-Based Strategies Key to Fighting Texas Suicide Rates - 11/29/2022

As 34.2% of adults in Texas report symptoms of anxiety and depression, Texas physicians are calling for the support and expansion of evidence-based strategies and telemedicine services to bolster mental health care across the state.


Physicians Serve as Lead Clinicians to Support Mental Health Intervention - 11/17/2022

The impact of adverse childhood events (ACEs) can be lasting and costly on patient health and medical outcomes. In the United States, more than 20% of adults report experiencing three ACEs during their youth, potentially increasing the risk of negative, chronic health consequences and challenges such as alcoholism, depression, unemployment, heart disease and substance abuse, among many others.


Behavioral Health, Suicide Prevention the Focus of TMA’s Next Distinguished Speaker Series - 11/15/2022

Join experts on Nov. 17 from noon to 1 pm to learn how to improve the behavioral health care systems that strengthen Texas communities and reduce suicide risk at the next Distinguished Speaker Series hosted by the Texas Medical Association and Texas Public Health Coalition (TPHC).


Suicide Risk in Kids With Adverse Childhood Experiences Exacerbated by Pandemic - 11/11/2022

Suicide and suicidal thoughts among high school students who have accumulated adverse childhood experiences became a concern among health care professionals before 2020. But the “social and educational disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated concerns about adolescents’ mental health and suicidal behavior,” according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


DSHS Survey to Inform Legislative Policy on COVID-19 Vaccines in Texas - 11/01/2022

As part of 2021 legislative mandate, the Texas Department of State Health Services is funding a survey to collect feedback from physicians and health care professionals regarding access to COVID-19 vaccines.


Mental Telehealth Paves the Way: Pandemic Flexibilities Expand Access to Care - 11/01/2022

Texas physicians say pandemic-era behavioral telehealth regulatory changes have already proven beneficial – and could be maximized with additional policy reforms, like payment parity for all telehealth visits; in the meantime, the gains of the past few years have forged a path toward future telehealth expansion beyond behavioral health.


Midterms Are Here: The Health of Our Communities Is on the Ballot - 10/31/2022

One of the most important things any of us can do for our health and the health of our communities is to vote. The Health and Democracy Index analyzed 12 public health indicators in relationship to state voting policies and demonstrated a clear relationship between inclusive voting policies and better health outcomes.


Screen Young People Aged 8-18 for Anxiety, USPSTF Recommends - 10/25/2022

The recent recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) that children and adolescents aged 8 to 18 years be screened for anxiety is likely to trigger family conversations about the topic and in turn, spur long-overdue treatment.


Health Plans Begin Implementing Prior Auth Exemption Process - 10/19/2022

With an Oct. 1 deadline on the horizon, health plans have begun implementing Texas’ new prior authorization exemption process requiring them to issue the first so-called “gold cards” by that date.


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.


Compact for Care: Texas Joins Interstate Agreement for Out-of-State Licensure - 10/13/2022

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.


Medicine-Friendly State Senator to Speak at TMA Winter Conference - 10/08/2022

State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), chair of the powerful Committee on Health & Human Services for the current session of the Texas Legislature, will be the keynote speaker during the Texas Medical Association’s virtual Winter Conference.


Texas Physicians Weigh in on Federal Surprise Billing Solution - 10/08/2022

As Texas prepares to implement an arbitration process to address surprise medical bills, Texas physicians are helping the U.S. Congress work on a federal solution. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health tackled surprise billing in a hearing last week to consider the No Surprises Act, draft legislation put together by two committee members.


Legislative Hotline: Governor Signs Key Prior Authorization Bill - 10/07/2022

The work of the 86th Texas Legislature passed its final stage at midnight Sunday, the deadline for Gov. Greg Abbott to to sign, veto, or allow bills to become law without his signature. Among those he signed this weekend was Senate Bill 1742, which requires greater transparency with prior authorizations and mandates that utilization reviews be conducted by a Texas-licensed physician in the same or similar specialty as the physician requesting the service or procedure. It also requires health plan directories to clearly identify which physician specialties are in-network at network facilities.


Pandemic Pressures:COVID-19 Poses Serious Behavioral Health Challenges - 09/20/2022

The mental health fallout caused by COVID-19 radiates throughout Texas. In this issue, we look at four of the biggest challenges physicians are responding to as more people say that worry and stress related to coronavirus have negatively impacted their mental health.


“Gold Card” Final Rules Heed Some, But Not All, TMA Recommendations on Prior Auth Exemption Process - 09/09/2022

Texas physicians have anxiously awaited – and advocated for – relief from onerous prior authorizations, which is now closer than ever.


TMA Proposes Five Goals to Improve Health Care Affordability in Texas - 08/16/2022

Texas Medical Association Board Trustee John Carlo, MD, had a blunt message for Texas lawmakers in recent testimony before the House Select Committee on Health System Reform.


Untangling ImmTrac2: TMA Aims to Build on Immunization Registry Reforms - 07/29/2022

The Texas Medical Association is hopeful state lawmakers will be spurred by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to address ImmTrac2's shortfalls, bolstering public health protections and easing physicians' administrative woes.


Long COVID's Long Shadow: Physicians Respond to an Influx of Long-COVID Patients - 07/29/2022

Long COVID has strained an already overburdened health care system and requires both multispecialty clinics and primary care physicians to meet demand.


Ten Years Later: TMA Advocacy Nets Investments in Women’s Health - 07/27/2022

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.