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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.


TMA to Trump: Do Not Expand NPPs’ Scope of Practice - 10/29/2019

When President Donald Trump released an executive order earlier this month that would, in part, expand the scope of practice of nonphysician practitioners, the Texas Medical Association vowed to keep physicians at the head of the health care team. On Monday, TMA President David Fleeger, MD, took a major step to do that, urging President Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to remove that language entirely.


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.


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.


TMA Says “No” to Federal Scope Expansion Under President’s Medicare Executive Order - 10/09/2019

At least one piece of President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on Medicare will meet strong opposition from the Texas Medical Association. “Know this: TMA will stand up for our profession and our patients to prevent this totally unwarranted scope-of-practice expansion from becoming reality,” said TMA President David C. Fleeger, MD.


Physicians Need to Prepare for New Opioid Rules and Best Practices - 10/09/2019

Texas physicians need to prepare for changes in state law tied to opioid prescribing in the coming months, according to the three-physician panel that addressed "Responding to the Opioid Epidemic" at the 2019 Texas Medical Association Fall Conference.


Prescription Monitoring Program: Is Your EHR Connected? - 10/03/2019

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.


The Changing Face of the Opioid Epidemic - 09/27/2019

Opioid abuse and overdose deaths continue to rise in the U.S., with more than 46,000 opioid-related deaths in 2017, up from 5,000 in 2000, data show. But the problem can’t be explained in total deaths alone. The crisis also has changed in character since 2001, new data show.


Opioids and Pharmacy: PMP Extension Granted - 09/16/2019

When it came to opioids and pharmacy matters, some of the major pieces of medicine’s 2019 agenda came down to something everyone wishes they had more of: time. Physicians need it to get comfortable with a mandate to check the state’s prescription monitoring program (PMP). Patients need it to make sure the pain medications they’re prescribed do what the drugs are supposed to do. The legislature listened, and TMA achieved wins on both counts, as well as on increased transparency from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).


CRNAs Can’t Administer Anesthesia Unless Physician Delegates It, AG Rules - 09/12/2019

The state attorney general has agreed with the Texas Medical Association in an official opinion that keeps certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) from administering anesthesia without physician delegation.


Opioids, Telemedicine, Legislative Update to Highlight TMA Fall Conference - 09/10/2019

Physicians Meet to Address Health Care Priorities. Navigating the opioid crisis, using telemedicine to expand a medical practice and help more patients, and top issues from the 2019 Texas Legislature highlight the 2019 Texas Medical Association (TMA) Fall Conference. 


TMB Clarifies New 10-Day Limit on Opioids - 08/30/2019

The Texas Medical Board is trying to head off confusion about the state’s new 10-day opioid prescribing limit for acute pain, which takes effect on Sunday. TMB’s statement, released Friday, appears to address concerns that the new law means acute pain patients must be completely cut off from opioids beyond the 10-day mark. That’s not the case, according to the statement.


New Laws Improve Opioid Prescription Process in Texas - 08/06/2019

The 2019 Texas Legislature enacted three new laws that will change the way physicians prescribe opioids, including House Bill 3284, which delays the mandate for physicians check the state’s prescription monitoring program, known as PMP Aware, for prescriptions tied to opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and carisoprodol. The bill pushes back the requirement from Sept. 1, 2019, to March 1, 2020.


New Electronic Form To Be Used To Report Certain Drug Overdoses - 08/06/2019

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has created an online form for physicians and other health care professionals to report overdoses from controlled substances such as opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamines. The new electronic form is expected to make reporting and collecting overdose data more efficient, DSHS officials said.


When Do New Opioid Prescribing Requirements Take Effect? - 08/02/2019

To combat the ongoing opioid crisis, state lawmakers passed several measures that change how physicians and other health care professionals will prescribe opioids. However, provisions of the laws take effect at different times, so prescribers should be aware of the deadlines and effective dates of each requirement. Below is a chart showing when each provision takes effect.


Respecting the Roles: TMA Battles Another Round of Scope of Practice Bills - 08/02/2019

When nonmedical professionals ask the Texas Legislature for the authority to practice medicine, TMA mounts a full-court press, letting lawmakers know why there are some roles only physicians can fill.


Scope of Practice: Shot Down - 08/02/2019

When it comes to shooting down dangerous attempts to expand non-medical practitioners’ scope of practice, TMA’s advocacy army once again proved to be expert marksmen in 2019. Medicine trained its scope on bills that would have allowed nurse practitioners, chiropractors, and optometrists, among others, to wade into the practice of medicine.


Get Qualified to Prescribe Opioid Addiction Medication - 07/22/2019

If you care for patients with opioid-use disorder, you’re probably familiar with buprenorphine, a medication that can be used at home to treat opioid addiction. But if you haven’t heard about it, or if you would like more information, tune in to a free online training course to qualify for a waiver to prescribe buprenorphine.


Court Sides With TMA in Final Ruling on Chiropractic Scope of Practice Lawsuit - 06/26/2019

We won! In a final judgment by Travis County District Court Judge Rhonda Hurley, TMA prevailed in its long-held declaration that the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners' (TBCE's) rules permitting chiropractors to make medical diagnoses and perform other medical procedures exceed the chiropractic scope of practice.  


TMA Opposes Dental Board's Sleep Apnea Treatment Rules - 06/26/2019

TMA is fighting the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners' (TSBDE's) proposed rule changes for dental treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. The association told TSBDE in a letter TMA "strongly opposes any attempt to expand the dentists' scope of practice through the promulgation of rules that TMA contends not only lack support in, but also conflict with, the applicable law passed by the Texas Legislature. Unfortunately, this opposition extends to the rules adopted to be effective on June 11, 2014, and the new March 18, 2016, rule proposal."


Victory! Marriage and Family Therapists Can't Diagnose - 06/26/2019

In a scope-of-practice victory for medicine, the Supreme Court of Texas upheld the Third Court of Appeals' decision that the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists' (MFT's) diagnostic assessment rule exceeds the scope of marriage and family therapy.


Houston Judge Changes Course, Says DOs Can File Commitment Papers - 06/26/2019

Physicians across Texas are breathing a sigh of relief — at least for now — thanks to Harris County Probate Judge Rory Olsen's decision to allow doctors of osteopathy (DOs) to file Certificates of Medical Examinations needed for mental health commitments. TMA and a host of other physician organizations have been fighting the judge's initial ruling, which prohibited DOs from signing the commitment papers.


Keep Your Patients and Practice Safe from Opioid Prescription Fraud - 06/19/2019

If you prescribe opioids, it’s important to protect your practice and your patients from fraud and substance-use disorder. One way to ensure that patients accurately follow your prescription is to have them sign an informed consent and opioid treatment agreement.


Despite Deadline, New Prescription Forms Still Not Received - 06/19/2019

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.


Legislative Top 10: Lawmakers Say No to Expanding Scope of Practice - 06/10/2019

Every legislative session, allied health professionals ask lawmakers to broaden their scope of practice to some form of health care only physicians are trained and authorized to provide. Today's TMA Legislative News Hotline video reports that lawmakers passed no such Texas Medical Association-opposed bills this term.