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CDC Revises Opioid Guidelines in the Wake of Confusion, Overreaction - 11/29/2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued revised guidelines to help safely prescribe opioids, and one of the reasons, the agency freely admits, is to clear up confusion caused by its last set of guidelines issued in 2016.


Early Voting Ends Nov. 4: Cast Your Vote for Medicine - 11/03/2022

Election Day is Nov. 8, and with early voting under way, now is the time to check out whom the Party of Medicine is supporting in your district.


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.


Eight Simple Ways to Get Involved in TMA Advocacy - 10/28/2022

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.


Physicians Urge Texans to Safely Return Unused Prescription Medication - 10/27/2022

Texas physicians recommend people with unused or expired prescription drugs at home dispose of them safely this weekend, so they are not accidently consumed. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is organizing its biannual prescription drug Take Back Day on Saturday, Oct. 29. Prescription drugs can be returned anonymously at pop up locations across the state.


Help Promote National Drug Prescription Take Back Day on Oct. 29 - 10/26/2022

Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which allows people to dispose of prescription drugs safely and anonymously, is scheduled for Oct. 26 at locations throughout the state.


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.


Are You Ready for Changes to Opioid Prescribing in Texas? - 10/14/2022

Beginning Sept. 1, all prescribers will be required to set up an account with the state’s prescription monitoring program, known as PMP Aware. The Texas State Board of Pharmacy will also begin issuing new official prescription forms that include advanced security features designed to help deter fraud.


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.


Despite Deadline, New Prescription Forms Still Not Received - 10/08/2022

Many Texas physicians are now unable to write prescriptions for certain pain medications because of ongoing problems when ordering the state’s new prescription forms. As of June 1, all Schedule II prescription forms ordered before Sept. 1, 2018, were no longer valid. However, many Texas physicians have told the Texas Medical Association they are still awaiting the new forms.


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.


“Rainbow” Fentanyl-Related Overdoses Among Youth Trigger DEA, DSHS Warnings - 09/29/2022

In the wake of a series of overdoses and deaths in Hays County, Texas public health and federal law enforcement agencies have released advisories about multicolored or “rainbow” fentanyl.


Combating Opioid-Related Deaths Requires New Approach, TMA Tells Lawmakers - 09/19/2022

In order to address a surge in deaths tied to synthetic opioids, Texas must take a comprehensive approach that includes revamping state regulations related to pain management clinics and prescription monitoring, and expanding mental health treatment, Mesquite pain management specialist C.M. Schade, MD, told members of the Texas House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Health.


Overdose Deaths Persist Despite Physician Efforts to Reduce Opioid Prescribing, per AMA Report - 09/12/2022

Even as deaths from illicit drugs like fentanyl are rising, a new American Medical Association report shows a 45% decrease in opioid prescribing over the past decade in Texas.


“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.


Senate Evaluates Post-Pandemic Strategies on Mental Health - 07/01/2022

In the face of “grim” research around the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on mental health, the Texas Medical Association is telling state lawmakers to respond with robust regulatory support of telehealth and investments to improve all Texans’ access to care.