Magazine story

Texas Medicine Magazine - 04/01/2020

Texas Medicine Magazine


It’s Your House – Come On In - 03/31/2020

The Texas Medical Association House of Delegates. That’s a mouthful. It’s also a great house. And it’s your house. The House of Delegates is nearly 600 women and men physicians, residents, and medical students of all specialties


Talk to Patients About: Cleanliness vs. Vaccines - 03/31/2020

Historical data proves vaccines work. Year-over-year rates for vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough show that the number of cases drops sharply and remains low after a vaccine is introduced. Anti-vaccine activists have a theory to explain away this data. They say the rise of cleanliness and hygiene in the late 1800s – not vaccines – was the real force in stopping these diseases.


Bracing for the Big Ones: Novel Diseases like COVID-19 Could Test Texas' Public Health System - 03/31/2020

Novel diseases like COVID-19 could be a tough test for Texas’ public health system.


Seeking a Measure of Reason: TMA Joins Collaborative to Standardize Quality Metrics - 03/31/2020

TMA joins collaborative seeking to identify and standardize quality metrics.


Going Nowhere: APM Committee Resignations Cast Doubt on Payment Models' Future - 03/31/2020

Resignations from HHS advisory committee cast doubt on future of physician-created alternative payment models.


Desegregating Medicine: Edith Irby Jones, MD, Broke Barriers in All-White Medical Schools in the South - 03/31/2020

 Houston internist Edith Irby Jones, MD, broke barriers in all-white medical schools in the South and in her hometown of Houston. She died at age 91.


“Absurd” Contract Dodge Rejected: Court Lets Cancer Center’s Debt-Collection Suit Proceed - 03/31/2020

Appeals court denies “free speech” challenge to cancer center’s debt-collection suit.


In Defense of Public Health: Peter Hotez, MD, on the Comeback of Preventable Diseases - 03/31/2020

Preventable diseases are back on the map, and Peter Hotez, MD, Texas’ most outspoken vaccine researcher, says physicians need to think globally to help stop the trend.


Back to the Heart - 03/31/2020

Cancer survivor Lee Tomlinson will stress compassionate care at TexMed 2020.


TMA Brings its Fite: Incoming TMA President Diana Fite, MD - 03/31/2020

Incoming TMA President Diana Fite, MD, plans to take on low Medicaid pay and the litany of intrusions taking time away from patient care and contributing to physician burnout


Texas Medicine Back Issues - 03/30/2020

Back Issues


Talk to Patients About: Vaccines During Pregnancy - 03/30/2020

Protecting moms and babies from certain diseases often starts with pregnant women. Child-bearing women may not realize they pass on disease-fighting antibodies to their babies, protecting them early in life. That protection improves greatly when women get certain vaccines before and during pregnancy. They also may not realize getting vaccinated right after pregnancy can stop the spread of illnesses.  


Fighting Epidemics: Robert Haley, MD, Wins Inaugural Nickey Award for Public Health - 03/12/2020

Robert Haley, MD's work on West Nile virus – along with numerous other achievements – earned Dr. Haley the inaugural Dr. Laurance N. Nickey Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented by the Texas Medical Association’s Council on Science and Public Health, the award recognizes a TMA member physician who has made outstanding contributions to medicine through a significant commitment to public health.


Making Billing More Balanced: Congress Considers Surprise Billing Legislation - 03/05/2020

The widespread call to severely curb or end “surprise” medical bills prompted competing federal legislation during the summer and fall of 2019. The negotiations, maneuvering, and bill markups have continued into this year.   


Strength in Numbers: Texas Physicians Promote U.S. Census to Improve Funding - 02/28/2020

Every 10 years, the U.S. Census Bureau tries to enumerate each person living in the U.S., and the stakes always are high. Physicians are trusted members of the community so they’re in a perfect position to talk to reluctant people about the importance of the census.


Under the Gun: How Texas Hospitals, Clinics Can Prepare for Active Shooter Situations - 02/28/2020

Texas hospitals and clinics may need to change how they prepare for active shooter situations.


Taking Their Lumps? TMA Works to Reverse Decision on Future Medical Expenses - 02/28/2020

Does a court have full discretion to decide how much of an award for future medical expenses is paid in periodic payments versus a lump sum? The 4th Court of Appeals said yes, allowing a patient to collect the majority of a $3 million award up front. Medicine is concerned the ruling goes against a tort reform protection requiring periodic payments to be based on evidence the jury used to determine the future-medical award. That ensures patients get the compensation they are due for their future medical expenses but only when they need it.


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.


The Legacy of ARIES: Outdated Technology Interferes with HIV/AIDS Treatment - 02/28/2020

Texas developed the AIDS Regional Information and Evaluation System in the early 1990s to administer federal grants from the then-new Ryan White program, which provides HIV- and AIDS-related health services for patients who can’t get health care coverage or financial resources any other way. Physicians say the reservoir of medical data can be valuable, and without it, they can’t get the funds they need to treat these patients. But the outdated reporting system – which still operates on 1990s technology – causes serious headaches and detracts from patient care.  


Talk to Patients About: Why Do Some Vaccinated People Still Get Sick? - 02/24/2020

Every so often, physicians encounter a patient who still gets sick despite getting vaccinated against that disease. Patients naturally ask, how could this happen? There are various reasons.


Q&A: Stethoscopes and Telescopes - 02/21/2020

Ever since he was a boy, Temple family physician John Manning, MD, has been fascinated by space. Now, Dr. Manning is also an amateur photographer. About 10 years ago, he merged his interests in photography and space into his latest obsession: astrophotography.


Public Health: Tobacco Triumph - 02/19/2020

Texas physicians got the kind of huge win on tobacco issues they haven’t seen in decades – a law to keep tobacco products away from young people.


Reaching for the Cure: Texas Medicaid Doesn't Cover Hepatitis C Drugs Until Patients Are Seriously Ill - 02/18/2020

Infectious disease specialist Ogechika Alozie, MD, has a ready-made solution for patients diagnosed with hepatitis C now that five medications can rid patients of this deadly disease. But for Texas Medicaid patients, there’s a catch. The program does not pay for the cure based just on a diagnosis. Instead, Medicaid pays only after a blood test, biopsy, or sonogram shows the liver is so badly damaged that it’s on the verge of cirrhosis. At that point, patients who get the medication will be cured of their hepatitis C but more vulnerable to other deadly illnesses, like liver cancer.


Not Seeing Eye to Eye: Physician Employment of Optometrists Tested - 02/18/2020

A state board’s concerns over stopping conflicts of interest and a physician’s right to employ and delegate treatment to other professionals are colliding head-on. Now, it’s up to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to sort out what, in his view, the state’s optometry law allows.