Blog

COVID-19: A Chance for Health Care Revolution - 04/03/2020

What every health care professional is thinking during the COVID-19 pandemic: Science can no longer be used as a political pawn.


Immediate Changes Needed for Physicians to Stay in Business During the Pandemic - 04/02/2020

The CARES Act offers much-needed help to the acute needs of hospitals and the medical supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic. This aid will facilitate the production of critical supplies such as ventilators and PPE (personal protective equipment). The law failed to consider the needs of the doctors who will run the ventilators and wear the masks.


Practicing Self-Care 2.0 During These Stressful Times - 04/01/2020

If you want to improve your mental and physical well-being during these uncertain times, the following changes might be helpful.


Becoming a Better Physician ”Thanks” to Cancer - 03/24/2020

Having undergone the trials of being a patient awith a 'spiculated lung nodule,' I pray that we physicians remain vigilant in protecting our patients.


In the War Against COVID-19, Physicians Need Proper Armor Now - 03/23/2020

The battle already has begun. We have no time to wait. In a letter to Governor Abbott today, I urged that all personal protective equipment (PPE) from all non-health care industries be diverted to our current fight, by any means necessary. I told him, point blank, that the current shortage of PPE in Texas is unacceptable.


I Won’t Take the Nurse Practitioners’ Bait - 02/21/2020

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is obviously intent on picking a fight with physicians. No thanks. We’ll take the high road, fully aware of the dangers of their plans, and stick with what we know is best for our patients: the physician-led health care team.


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.


Beyond Burnout: Docs Decry Moral Injury From Financial Pressures of Health Care - 02/14/2020

A growing number of physicians, nurses, social workers and other clinicians are using the phrase “moral injury” to describe their inner struggles at work. The term comes from war: It was first used to explain why military veterans were not responding to standard treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.


A Plan for the Uninsured in Texas - 02/05/2020

I call for our TMA to bring all of these groups together to directly address the issue of the uninsured in Texas, to plan a strategy, and to put it in motion.


The Math of Medicare for All - 01/09/2020

With two of the current top Democratic candidates – Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) – espousing Medicare for All, supporters and detractors alike are asking more in-depth questions about the proposal, particularly how much it will cost.


Why I am Hopeful for Health Care (And You Should Be, Too) - 01/03/2020

The positivity, professionalism, and commitment demonstrated by my masters of health administration students leaves me with a confident outlook for American medicine.


Electronic Health Records: The Dream vs. the Reality - 12/27/2019

The only way forward with electronic health records is to continue to improve the system we have, but to do so with a vigor we have not expended to date. We need a significant increase in federal funding and to draw the best minds in technology to build a fully integrated system. We need significant input from physicians and nurses to create EHRs that are intuitive, efficient, and reliable.


Don’t Let it Happen to You: Practice Fined Over Social Media - 12/09/2019

As more people go online to research products and services, online reputation management has become increasingly relevant for physicians.Because of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, physicians cannot respond to online reviews in any way that reveals PHI. Even if a patient discloses their own personal information in a review, physicians cannot respond with the same level of disclosure.


Why Vaccine Opponents Think They Know More Than Medical Experts - 10/24/2019

Given the consistent message from the scientific community about the safety of vaccines, and evidence of vaccine success as seen through the eradication of diseases, why has the skepticism about vaccines continued? One possibility is that attitudes about medical experts help to explain the endorsement of anti-vax attitudes ... that some U.S. adults might support anti-vax policy positions in part because they believe they know more than medical experts about autism and its causes.


Texas Neighborhoods Worlds Apart in Life Expectancy - 10/08/2019

The Houston-based Episcopal Health Foundation last week issued a report comparing the life expectancy at birth of someone born in each of Texas’ 4,709 census tracts. Given the growing recognition of the importance of social determinants of health, I thought I’d dive into the report to find some good examples to share with you. I didn’t realize how deep that dive would become.


Beyond the Slogan “Medicare for All” - 10/03/2019

Medicare For All is becoming popular among Democratic lawmakers and the public. But, as popular as the concept is, the details are lost in the simple slogan of “Medicare for All.”


An Insurance Company Auditor Tried to Destroy My Career - 09/16/2019

It didn’t matter that the charges against me were ludicrous. The potential consequences were only too real, and potentially catastrophic. Had the State Medical Board decided against me, I could have lost my license. I hired a lawyer, sinking more than $8,000 into legal fees. I was cleared by a unanimous committee vote. But other physicians facing similar situations may not be as lucky.


Texans Not Afraid to Look Up Mental Health Concerns Online - 08/22/2019

Although you as a physician might not spend a lot of time consulting Dr. Google, many of your patients do. So it’s a good idea to know what people are most worried about. Turns out, “phobia” is the most-Googled mental health concern in Texas.


Retiring the R-Word: The Right Thing to Do - 07/03/2019

The AMA House of Delegates last month adopted policy that would put the first three phrases on the verboten list for physicians. Kudos to the delegates for recognizing that words, especially in the mouths and pens of powerful people like physicians, really do matter.


With a Grain of Salt - 06/04/2019

Most salt we consume today comes as a preservative in foods that we buy. Table salt and salt added while cooking contribute to about 10% of salt consumption. This helps me talk salt to my patients, informing them that the real salt that one needs to cut is the salt that’s in packaged food items.


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: 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.


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.


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.