Blog

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.


Digital Communication Tools Can Help Address Health Care Disparities - 05/07/2019

Some of you are probably wondering how a radiologist like me can play a role in furthering health equity. Information technology is at the heart of radiology’s daily practice, and employing technology through clinical-decision support tools like the Radiology Support, Communication, and Alignment Network (R-SCAN) is where radiology can play a significant role on the health care team.


Help Aging Texans Age Well - 05/01/2019

Throughout Older Americans Month, Texas Medicine Today will share information from HHSC to help older Texans live and age well and live independently. Are you concerned a patient’s social network is shrinking, they’re not getting enough exercise, or they’re at risk of falling? See how you can help older Texans age well.


Learn How To Build Your Community’s Primary Care Foundation - 04/24/2019

Despite the many challenges faced by primary care practices in Texas, many find innovative ways to provide timely, accessible, and person-centered care to their patients and communities. The seventh-annual Texas Primary Care Consortium Annual Summit, scheduled for June 20-21 at the Renaissance Austin Hotel, will showcase many of these practices and many of these innovations.  


Gastroenterologist Gives Patients An In-Depth Look at Colon Cancer Screening - 03/29/2019

Remember how we told you recently that March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and therefore a good time to remind your at-risk patients about regular screening? Well, one Austin gastroenterologist took raising awareness one step further by allowing cameras into … the exam room for his very first colonoscopy after his 50th birthday.  


Beyond the Slogan “Medicare for All” - 03/11/2019

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.”


Where Do We Go From Here With Our Health Care System? - 03/04/2019

To say that Medicare works well, denies the fact that in many patients are no longer able to go to the doctor of their choice. In fact, even finding a doctor is difficult. Additionally, many doctors no longer participate in the Medicare program. This program is only one step away from a single payer health care system, which was once referred to as socialized medicine.


Physician’s Emotional Tale Illustrates the Tragedy of Maternal Death - 02/07/2019

I’d never met Eugene Hunt, MD, but reached out to him last year as we were writing  Healthy Vision 2025 , the latest edition of TMA’s advocacy blueprint. A major section of the document details our legislative plans to address Texas’ alarming increase in maternal morbidity and mortality. I wanted to include the story of a physician who had been through the trauma of losing a new mother post-partum. I got a tip to call Dr. Hunt.


The Financial Burden of Cancer Care - 01/30/2019

As a board-certified radiation oncologist, I’m trained to know all about cancer and its physical effects on people. Similarly, as a board-certified hospice and palliative care physician, I am well-versed about the psychosocial and spiritual trials patients go through, especially at the end of life. But a recent study I read stopped me in my tracks with a disturbing finding: Cancer is bankrupting an astounding number of patients.


A Dozen Ways the Shutdown is Affecting Health Care - 01/18/2019

As other industries are struggling through the partial government shutdown, it would be easy to feel positive about health care. Funding for both Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) are secure due to appropriation bills that predate the current crisis. VA benefits, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) are — at least at face value — protected. But that is not the whole story.  


Rural FP Finds Rewards With Full-scope Training, Deep Roots - 01/04/2019

Texas physician acknowledges the hard work it takes to build a solo practice in a rural community.


What Do Opioids, MOC, and Lawsuits Have in Common? - 12/10/2018

Texas’ new opioid prescribing rules, board certification, and lawsuits top the list of popular topics that Texas Medicine Today covered this year. Want to know what else intrigued Texas physicians in 2018? Here’s a list of our top 10 most read stories for our inaugural year. 


Why You Should Take a Sabbatical (And How to Make the Most of It) - 11/20/2018

There are different ways to get away, and how we go about it may depend on where we are in life. During the routine work year, breaks can come in all shapes and sizes, from the afternoon off to a three-day weekend, or a more substantial week or more off for a vacation. These standard breaks rejuvenate us and help us stay focused when we are back at work. A sabbatical is something altogether different


A Sermon Every Physician Should Read - 11/17/2018

Linda G. Fischer, a chaplain with the Palliative Care Team at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, offered the following as the opening invocation at the 2018 Interim Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates on Nov. 10, 2018. This reporter was so struck by the power of her words that I felt every Texas physician would benefit from reading them.


New FDA-Approved Flu Drug Has Roots in Texas - 10/25/2018

The science behind what makes a new flu drug work has roots right here in Texas, particularly The University of Texas at Austin (UT).


Health Care Tops Guns, Economy As Voters’ Top Issue - 10/22/2018

Health care has emerged as the top issue for voters headed into the midterm elections, but fewer than half of them say they are hearing a lot from candidates on the issue, according to a new poll released Thursday.  


Why I'm Building a Solo Practice — Again - 09/27/2018

So here I am, starting over more than 30 years into practice. Has it been worth it? I'm practicing at the highest level of my training, devoting more time to each patient and making decisions based solely on what's best for patients without being beholden to a health system and its financial goals.