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PBM Clawback Ban Passes Senate, Heads to the Governor - 05/14/2021

Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) fees that take millions of dollars from Texas practices are just one signature away from being outlawed following Senate passage of one of the House of Medicine’s priority measures during a furiously active Thursday afternoon at the Capitol.

House Passes Prior Auth, ImmTrac2 Improvements - 05/14/2021

A pair of big wins capped a successful past week for medicine, as the Texas House of Representatives on Friday afternoon signed off on both curbing the impositions of prior authorization and updating the state’s immunization registry.

Bill-Killing House Deadline Passes; an Update on What’s Still Alive - 05/13/2021

Midnight on Thursday night was the deadline for all bills originating in the House to receive a second reading in that chamber (out of the three required before a chamber finally passes a bill). Any House bill that didn’t yet reach that stage is now dead. Here’s a look at medicine-prioritized measures – in both the House and the Senate – that are still alive after passing at least one chamber.

Residents Educate Lawmakers on the Future of Health Care - 05/13/2021

For many of the nearly two dozen University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School residents who participated in the last virtual First Tuesdays at the Capitol event of this session, the meetings with Texas lawmakers were their first foray into advocacy. Their informed passion and insights would have you believe they were seasoned pros.

Budget Update: Some of TMA’s Big Asks; Where the Bills Stand - 05/07/2021

The conference committee collectively appointed by both chambers of the Texas Legislature is in the process of negotiating the final 2022-23 state budget. And the Texas Medical Association is in the thick of the action as this year’s legislative session hurtles into its final three weeks.

House Approves Bill to Help Address Social Determinants of Health - 05/06/2021

The Texas House of Representatives signed off on establishing a state office for health equity Wednesday morning, agreeing with medicine on the need for a new mechanism to address social determinants of health.

TMA Asks Budget Hagglers for Robust Women’s Health Funding, Task Force on Coverage Expansion - 05/03/2021

The state budget is now in the hands of the conference committee charged with blending the House and Senate versions of what 2022-23 spending should look like. In a detailed letter  this weekend to conferees, the Texas Medical Association laid out the investments lawmakers need to make in the health of their state.

Expanded Broadband Bill Passes Senate, Heads to the Governor - 04/30/2021

Welcome to the first day of the final month of the Texas Legislature’s 2021 session. Expect the flurry of hearings and legislative movement to swirl even faster this week as the House of Medicine and its like-minded lawmakers furiously push for progress ahead of the May 31 finish line.

GME Momentum: Preserving Texas' Steady Progress in Building Residency Positions - 04/29/2021

TMA fights state budget cuts to preserve Texas’ steady progress in building residency positions.

Protecting Your Security: TMA-Improved Breach Notice Bill Passes House - 04/29/2021

Sweating the details on a bill that would require public notifications of systems breaches, TMA helped improve the measure this week to ensure it won’t leave physicians open to further hacking, and the bill passed the Texas House of Representatives on Thursday.

House OKs Needle Exchange Pilot Program to Prevent Infectious Diseases - 04/28/2021

Under SB 967, a public health order issued by a health authority would last just seven days, expiring on the eighth day after it’s issued unless a “governing body of a municipality or the commissioners court of a county that appointed the health authority by majority vote” extends the order. TMA is recommending instead that a local elected official, like a county judge, be the one allowed to extend the order.

House Passes PBM “Clawback” Ban; Physician to Lead House Budget Conferees - 04/27/2021

A bill that would prohibit pharmacy benefit managers from using direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees to “claw back” money from pharmacies after an insurance claim is finished passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

A Win on Mental Health Funding, Setback on GME - 04/23/2021

After about a half-day of wrangling by the Texas House of Representatives over the state budget proposal, a revised 2022-23 state funding scheme emerged Thursday, with medicine claiming victories – such as bumps to behavioral health-related hospital funding – and defeats, like a rejected proposal to expand coverage for uninsured Texans.  

Saying Yes to Updated Vaccine Registry, No to Shaky COVID-19 Science - 04/23/2021

TMA on Wednesday asked state lawmakers to advance a bill to help modernize the state vaccine registry, and to oppose a bill that would require physicians to provide patients who get tested for COVID-19 a brochure that contains “information about preventative measures and treatments” for the disease.

As Budget Discussions Heat Up, TMA Calls For Investments in Critical Public Health Infrastructure - 04/21/2021

The extended COVID-19 public health emergency revealed numerous cracks in the state’s health care infrastructure. Throughout the current legislative session, the Texas Medical Association has been committed to patching those cracks.

House OK’s Restriction of Prior Auth for Autoimmune Scrips - 04/20/2021

The Texas House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill that severely restricts insurers’ ability to impose preauthorization requirements for prescriptions for autoimmune diseases.

First Legislative Win: Senate Sends Medical Billing Tax Fix to Governor’s Desk - 04/20/2021

The state’s pending tax on medical billing services is just one signature from Gov. Greg Abbott away from disappearing – which would keep physicians from paying passed-down costs from outsourced medical billing companies.

Medical Billing Tax Fix Could Head to Governor’s Desk Monday - 04/16/2021

Time is starting to run out on the Texas Legislature’s 2021 session, but some of medicine’s most important priorities are in good shape on the road to becoming law.

House Approves Telemedicine Expansion, Medicaid Postpartum Coverage Bills - 04/14/2021

Expanded insurance coverage of telemedicine, one year of postpartum coverage for pregnant women in Medicaid, and improved continuity of care for their children – some of the Texas Medical Association’s biggest priorities – are all halfway to approval from the Texas Legislature.

Eliminating Care Delays and Waste in Prior Auth - 04/13/2021

The House of Medicine brought one strong reason after another to Tuesday’s House Insurance Committee hearing on why lawmakers should support a measure that takes two major steps to reduce physicians’ prior authorization burden.  

Legislative Hotline: Budget Talk; TMA Bills Advance Toward Passage - 04/13/2021

Budget discussions at the Texas Capitol are looking better for the house of medicine than they did at the start of the legislature’s 2021 session. But physicians need to keep letting lawmakers know how important its priorities are for the state’s 2022-23 funding.  

Legislative Hotline: Chasing the “Gold” on Prior Auth; Gender-Affirming Care - 04/12/2021

The Texas Medical Association is sending three physician leaders to Tuesday's House Insurance Committee hearing to address the hassles and care impediments of health plans’ preauthorization requirements.

Medical Billing Tax, Prior Auth, Telemedicine Hit Committee Hearings - 04/09/2021

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to take a look today at a bill that would protect billing companies from a tax currently scheduled to begin in October – and protect physicians and patients from any of those costs billing organizations pass on to them.

New Tools to Help Medicine Fight Prior Auth Hassles - 04/09/2021

TMA has created a prior auth social media toolkit that includes messages, sample posts, and articles that you can share on your personal or practice social media channels.

House Speaker’s Health Care Package Includes TMA Priority Bills - 04/08/2021

Several of the Texas Medical Association’s legislative priorities were on display yesterday during a press conference by House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) and a coalition of bipartisan lawmakers, including Rep. Tom Oliverson, MD (R-Cypress).