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Emergency Triage, Treatment, and Transport - 05/21/2019

The Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport Model already has proven to be a groundbreaking leap in the right direction toward aligning EMS as a true part of the health care field. As programs begin and outcomes are measured, hopefully it will be the first steps of many.


Legislative Hotline: Zero Medicaid Rate Increases in Draft State Budget - 05/20/2019

Lawmakers have released a draft of their negotiations on the final $248 billion 2020-21 state budget, which includes $0 for physician rate increases, despite the Texas Medical Association’s call for a $500 million investment in targeted rate increases in the two-year budget


What’s Killing Texans? Fixing Texas' System for Tracking Deaths - 05/20/2019

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


Legislative Hotline: Prescription Monitoring and Professional Liability Bills Highlight Today’s Deliberations - 05/17/2019

Today is the 130th  day of the session. But who’s counting? The House and Senate both have less than one week to vote on bills, which must be complete by midnight May 22. Meanwhile, lawmakers are finalizing negotiations on the final 2020-21 state budget; the deadline for agreement between the two chambers is midnight May 26. Here’s a status check on numerous bills that continue to move through the legislative process.


Aging Network 101: Directing Patients to Community Services - 05/17/2019

Many community-based social service agencies provide free or low-cost direction, referrals and resources for older adults. Research shows resources such as senior centers or Area Agencies on Aging can improve patient health outcomes.


Legislative Hotline: Patient-Friendly Insurance Bills Top Today’s Calendar - 05/17/2019

Today is the 130th day of the 140-day session. Time is quickly running out for bills to pass. Fortunately, physicians’ priority bills are still moving toward the finish line. The House and Senate both have less than one week to vote on bills, which must be complete by midnight May 22. TMA remains steadfast in its request for more funding for Medicaid, women’s health, mental health, and graduate medical education (GME), and will continue to vigorously plead our case.


Legislative Hotline: Texas Medical Board Sunset and Tobacco 21 Bills Make Progress - 05/16/2019

House Bill 1504 by Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), the Texas Medical Board (TMB) Sunset bill that would extend the TMB for another 12 years, was voted unanimously out of the Senate yesterday. Also, Senate Bill 21 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) – which would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vape products to 21 years, excluding active duty military – passed out of the House today.


Legislative Hotline: Insurance Bills In the Spotlight Today - 05/14/2019

Insurance, corporate practice of medicine, tobacco, maternal health bills all moving as session winds down.


Legislative Hotline: Insurance, Public Health, Opioids, and Sunset Bills Still Alive With Two Weeks Left in Session - 05/13/2019

Today is the 126th day of this session; fourteen days remain. This week Senate bills will move in the House and vice-versa. Meanwhile, lawmakers will continue to negotiate the final 2020-21 state budget until the last possible moment. The Texas Medical Association remains steadfast in its request for more funding for Medicaid, women’s health, mental health, and graduate medical education.


Texas Physicians Fight End-of-Life Bill With Passion - 05/10/2019

When the Texas Medical Association urged members to ask their state senators to vote “no” on a key bill regarding treatment disputes at the end of life, they didn’t hold back. Hundreds of Texas physicians took up the call, using TMA’s Grassroots Action enter to share very personal and passionate messages with their senators.


Legislative Hotline: First Bill-Killing Deadline Passes, Leaving Mass Casualties - 05/10/2019

Today is the 123rd day of this session; 17 days remain. Those 17 days will be a flurry of activity and behind-the-scenes maneuvering to keep bills moving toward passage. Here’s a status check of several bills important to medicine that continue to move through the legislative process.


Legislative Hotline: Maternal Health, Network Directories, Cancer Research Bills Up for Debate Today - 05/10/2019

House Bill 744 by Rep. Toni Rose (D-Dallas), which would allow continued Medicaid coverage for eligible women up to 12 months postpartum, is set on today’s House Calendar. Medicaid coverage currently expires 60 days after delivery, but the vast majority of maternal deaths occur from 61 to 365 days postpartum. TMA supports this bill.


Legislative Video Hotline: Good News On Maternal Health, Cancer, Liability, And More - 05/10/2019

With just 17 days until sine die, the Texas House of Representatives’ deadlines yesterday and today mean death to lots of legislation, good and bad. This week’s TMA Legislative Hotline video also provides a rapid-fire summary of recent days’ movement on several TMA priority bills and news of a record for TMA grassroots advocacy.


Ensure Patients Are Taking Steps Toward Healthy Aging - 05/09/2019

May is Older Americans Month, and this year’s theme – Connect, Create, and Contribute – highlights ways older adults can interact with their community. Negative habits can add up over a lifetime and limit a person’s ability to connect. Physical activity and healthy eating are crucial to aging and living well, yet more than 80% of adults do not meet the physical activity guidelines for aerobic and strengthening exercises.


When the Sausage Starts to Smell - 05/09/2019

Today and tomorrow in the Texas House of Representatives are not for the meek or faint of heart. Sometimes even the boldest of women and men just have to look away.


Texas Physicians Unite To Protect Patient Care - 05/08/2019

Over the past four months, almost 1,300 Texas doctors, medical students, and Texas Medical Association Alliance members came to Austin for TMA’s First Tuesdays at the Capitol advocacy events. Yesterday was the final First Tuesdays of the 2019 legislative session, and about 300 TMA members met with their lawmakers face to face.   


Legislative Hotline: Disaster Liability Protection Bill Goes to Governor - 05/08/2019

Senate Bill 752 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), which would provide liability protection for physicians who volunteer in the aftermath of a disaster, received unanimous approval on the House floor yesterday. It now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature. TMA strongly supports this bill.


Infections Reported After Umbilical Cord Blood Injections - 05/08/2019

Eight Texas patients developed bacterial infections soon after receiving an umbilical cord blood derived stem cell product from mid 2017 through September of 2018, state health officials said in an advisory.


86th Texas Legislature Letters and Testimonies - 05/07/2019

During this legislative session, TMA councils and committees are locking down and promoting health care policies to ensure Texas’ patients have access to affordable and high quality health care. Here are TMA’s testimonies, comments, and letters to state lawmakers.


Digital Communication Tools Can Help Address Health Care Disparities - 05/07/2019

Some of you are probably wondering how a radiologist like me can play a role in furthering health equity. Information technology is at the heart of radiology’s daily practice, and employing technology through clinical-decision support tools like the Radiology Support, Communication, and Alignment Network (R-SCAN) is where radiology can play a significant role on the health care team.


Legislative Hotline: Final White Coat Invasion of the Session – Impactful as Always - 05/07/2019

Today was the final First Tuesdays at the Capitol advocacy event of the legislative session, and during the white coat invasion Texas Medical Association and TMA Alliance members were well informed for their visits with lawmakers on bills that TMA is both pushing and fighting.


Integrating Mental and Physical Health - 05/07/2019

Physicians strongly support a greater statewide focus on academic mental health and substance use research, and recognize the promise of new research opportunities presented through HB 10 and the institute. We are pleased to see HB 10 calls for a statewide research framework focused on preventing, identifying, and treating many serious and costly conditions, including depression, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders.


Legislative Hotline: Join Us For the Final First Tuesdays of the Session Tomorrow - 05/06/2019

Tomorrow is the final First Tuesdays advocacy event of the legislative session, and the white coat invasion will be well informed for their visits with lawmakers on bills that the Texas Medical Association is both supporting and opposing. Twenty-one days remain in this legislative session. To put into perspective how quickly bills that originated in the House must move to have a chance to become law this session, they must be out of committee today, and have had their initial debate on the House floor by the end of the day Thursday, May 9. Then the process repeats in the Senate.


A Growing Problem: Childhood Obesity Could Hamper Military Readiness - 05/06/2019

Childhood obesity has become so widespread in the U.S. that it threatens military readiness, but bills currently moving through the Texas Legislature could help alleviate the problem, according to a pair of state lawmakers.


Legislative Hotline: Governor Signs Bill Creating New Medical School - 05/06/2019

Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 826 by Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Richmond), which creates the University of Houston College of Medicine, into law Thursday, after it was unanimously approved by the Senate. The new medical school, which will be the 13th in Texas, will welcome its inaugural class in the fall of 2020.