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How to Talk to Patients About the PMP - 02/28/2020

Michael Mackert, PhD, director of the Center for Health Communication at The University of Texas at Austin, addressed physicians’ concerns about talking to patients about the PMP, which prescribers will be required to check before issuing any prescription for opioids, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or carisoprodol beginning March 1.  


The PMP Requirement Begins - 02/28/2020

With EHR integration in place, physicians must check the state prescription monitoring program (PMP) prior to prescribing an opioid starting March 1.


Which Presidential Candidate Stands for What Again? - 02/24/2020

A group of dedicated Harris County physicians has a cure for “too many candidates confusion disorder.” They compiled a simple table of the candidates’ positions on seven key health care policy issues based on the candidates’ official websites and The Washington Post’s “We’re Asking 2020 Democrats Where They Stand on Key Issues.”


PMP Checks Won’t Be Necessary for In-Facility Medications, TMB Says - 02/21/2020

Thanks to Texas Medical Association advocacy, the Texas Medical Boardhas refocused its guidance on when physicians will be required to check the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) before prescribing certain medications starting March 1.


Update: TMB Clears Up Questions About PMP Checks for Inpatient Care - 02/21/2020

Will you be required to check the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) when a patient is admitted to a hospital or emergency department? Will you be required to check PMP Aware upon admission? What if you need to prescribe those medications while the patient is in that facility? The Texas Medical Board issued guidance on those very questions this week.


Reporting System Makes Documenting PMP Checks Easy - 02/19/2020

As you probably already know, beginning March 1, you’ll be required to check the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program, known as PMP Aware, any time you prescribe certain medications. To help you document those checks, PMP Aware allows you to download PDFs that you can add to a patient’s medical record.


Making Prescribing Less Painful for Physicians - 02/15/2020

I won’t be surprised if physicians around the state are feeling a little angst and anger over the coming March 1 requirement for physicians to check the Texas prescription monitoring program (PMP) before writing prescriptions for opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and carisoprodol. I don’t fault them one bit. This is just one more administrative burden placed on physicians. But I want all of you to understand just how much worse it would have been without the intervention of the Texas Medical Association.


Arbitration Law Will be “Messy,” Bring Operational Concerns, Panelists Say - 01/31/2020

 The state’s new law allowing arbitration of payment disputes on certain out-of-network care carries concerns for physicians and uncertainty about what it will look like from an enforcement standpoint, a panel told the Texas Medical Association Winter Conference on Saturday morning.


Register to Vote by Monday - 01/29/2020

Elections, particularly the spring party primaries, determine the practice environment for Texas physicians and our patients. And election season is upon us. To help elect medicine-friendly candidates in the March primaries, you must be registered to vote by Monday, Feb. 3.


Prescription Monitoring Program: Is Your EHR Connected? - 01/27/2020

Beginning March 1, 2020, all prescribers must set up an account with the Texas Prescription Monitoring Program, known as PMP Aware, and check the PMP prior to prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or carisoprodol.


New House Committee Takes on Health Care Costs - 12/16/2019

Two physician legislators will serve on a newly created House Select Committee on Statewide Health Care Costs during the Texas Legislature’s interim year in 2020. The committee will examine the “primary drivers of increased health care costs in Texas.  


Social Media A Vital Tool for Influencing Policy, Panel Says - 12/13/2019

Social media has become indispensable for politicians to reach voters, but it's also a crucial way for voters – like physicians – to influence decision-makers and public opinion, a panel of state representatives and social media consultants said at the Texas Medical Association's Advocacy Retreat on Saturday.


Texas Medicine Issues First Endorsements for 2020 - 12/11/2019

Gearing up for the 2020 primary elections, the political action arm of the Texas Medical Association endorsed one candidate seeking an open seat in the Texas Senate and three running for open Texas House seats.


House Will Study Behavioral Health, Early Childhood Intervention, and More - 12/02/2019

Among a number of health care-related topics, the Texas House of Representatives during the interim “off” year in 2020 will study the state’s behavioral health system, child trafficking prevention, and the effect of technology and “big data” on insurance. House Speaker Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) released the chamber’s interim charges last week.


Updated White Paper Has Latest Information on Telemedicine in Texas - 11/12/2019

Updated this year, the Texas Medical Association's white paper, Texas Laws and Regulations Relating to Telemedicine, describes the new Texas legal and regulatory requirements that apply to a physician providing telemedicine medical services.


Senate Committees Will Examine Uninsured Rate During Interim Year - 11/06/2019

Texas’ nation-leading uninsured rate will be under the state senate’s microscope in 2020 as part of the interim charges Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has assigned to senate committees. The list of interim charges, released last week, directs the Senate Business & Commerce Committee to “[s]tudy and report on ways to … decrease the uninsured rate in Texas” as part of its examination of the cost of health care.


Texas Voters Approve Renewed Funding for Cancer Research - 11/06/2019

Texas' ongoing battle against cancer just got new life. Voters statewide overwhelmingly approved Proposition 6 on Tuesday to continue funding for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), the state's cancer-fighting agency.


Vote Tuesday to Keep Texas A Leader in Cancer Research - 11/04/2019

The Texas Medical Association is encouraging you to vote for a proposition that would extend Texas’ place as a leader in the fight against cancer. “Please vote AGAINST cancer and FOR saving Texans’ lives. Physicians of TMA urge everyone to VOTE FOR Proposition 6 on Tuesday's ballot to continue to fund the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT),” TMA President David C. Fleeger, MD, said.


Easing the Pain? Opioid Settlement Brings Valuable Funding to Fight Crisis - 11/01/2019

September 2019 brought what could become a major victory for the state’s handling of opioid addiction. Drug-maker Purdue Pharma – which faced thousands of lawsuits from cities and states, including Texas, for its role in the national opioid crisis – announced it had agreed to a settlement with 24 state attorneys general and other plaintiffs. The maker of OxyContin and other pain drugs says the agreement will provide more than $10 billion to address the epidemic.


Virtual Meeting to Cover Surprise Billing Laws, TMA Member Benefits - 10/28/2019

But if you want to learn even more about Texas' new suprise billing law, or if you want to find out what’s new with the Lone Star Caucus – which represents your county in the Texas Medical Association’s House of Delegates – tune in to a 30-minute virtual meeting scheduled for noon on Tuesday, Nov. 12.


Tapering a Patient’s Opioid Dosage? Follow This Guide - 10/18/2019

In an effort to curb the nationwide opioid epidemic while keeping patients from excessive pain, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week published a guide for physicians considering or initiating a reduction in opioid dosage.


Have Your Say on Texas’ New Surprise Billing Law - 10/16/2019

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is holding a public hearing next week on rulemaking for the state’s new “baseball-style arbitration” law to address surprise medical bills. If you wish to speak at the meeting, TDI requests you submit written comments or a summary of your testimony by noon Friday, Oct. 18 “to facilitate a meaningful discussion.”


TMA Urges Public Education As Hemp-Based Products Become Legal - 10/16/2019

State health officials should take steps to ensure that a new law that legalizes the production and sale of hemp and some hemp products helps Texas physicians protect the health of patients who use those products. The Texas Medical Association sent that message in a letter last week to the Department of State Health Services, which was taking comments related to implementation of House Bill 1325.


Prevention of Opioid Abuse Through Education - 10/15/2019

HB 405 was written to require collaborative efforts and involve many stakeholders who are involved in the health and well-being of mothers and infants across our state. This is the best way to ensure that as many women as possible hear about NAS and its harmful outcomes. Creating more awareness of what causes NAS and potential impacts of the condition will only help our state become a better place for all mothers and babies. HB 405 would help bring needed attention and resources to help educate our state on NAS.


Commentary: Texas Has a Secret Weapon Against Cancer - 10/14/2019

Cancer is the No. 2 cause of death in Texas and across the United States. The good news is that things change, and we can be active agents in making sure that they change for the better. Reauthorization of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) would do more than keep the ball rolling; it would save lives.