Magazine story

Operation Distribution: Physicians Key in COVID-19 Vaccines Distribution - 12/02/2020

Even though COVID-19 vaccines are closer than ever to use by the general public, many questions remain about how they will be distributed to Texas physicians – and how they’ll be received by Texans. That’s why TMA in October weighed in on the state’s distribution plan with recommendations to help ensure COVID-19 vaccines are not only distributed effectively and efficiently, but also seen as trusted tools in the fight against the illness.


Use It or Lose It: Texas’ New Behavioral Health Program Can Help Only If Physicians Use It - 12/02/2020

What if Texas lawmakers created a mental health service that physicians asked for but then not many physicians used it? So far, that is what’s happening with the Child Psychiatric Access Network (CPAN), which gives pediatricians and family physicians across Texas free telemedicine-based consultation and training on community psychiatry.


Texas Medicine Magazine - 12/01/2020

Texas Medicine Magazine


Patient Privacy’s New Frontier: AMA Aims to Keep Apps Honest With Personal Health Data - 12/01/2020

In the evolving world of health information technology, some vendors that store and transmit health information – such as the tech minds behind certain mobile apps – are getting their hands on patient data without any HIPAA leash to rein in their use of it. Now, organized medicine is doing its part to preserve patients’ privacy when their health information finds its way outside of HIPAA-covered organizations.


Texas Medicine Back Issues - 11/30/2020

Back Issues


Rewarding Results: Texas Medicare ACOs Perform Promisingly - 11/30/2020

For the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and many of the accountable care organizations (ACOs) that participated in it, 2019 was billed as a transition year. But data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in September show Texas ACOs fared quite well last year – and a number of Texas physicians and ACO officials say the savings generated are worth the gruntwork that MSSP requires.


The Power of Community: TMA Envisions Locally Focused ACO Model - 11/30/2020

TMA is developing a promising, locally focused version of the accountable care organization (ACO) model that could help cover uninsured and underinsured Texans who fall in the gap or “hole” in the state’s safety net: those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid coverage as it’s now administered in Texas, but also don’t qualify for Medicare.


Talk to Patients About: Why COVID-19 “Parties” Are a Bad Idea - 11/30/2020

Most people have gradually adjusted to the day-to-day changes caused by COVID-19, such as washing hands frequently, wearing masks, and social distancing. But others have looked for strategies to get around the hassles caused by the pandemic. In some cases, this has included deliberately trying to contract the potentially deadly illness through “COVID parties,” events designed to expose people to someone with COVID-19.


Priority: Primary Care - 11/30/2020

The Texas Medical Association and other corners of organized medicine know primary care is part of the bedrock of a sturdy health care system. So medicine – including the Texas Primary Care Consortium (TPCC), of which TMA is a member, and the Texas Academy of Family Physicians (TAFP) – is engaging policymakers to not only help the state’s primary care system survive the pandemic, but also enable it to thrive for the long haul.


Effectively Counseling Patients Amid the Anti-Vaccination Movement - 11/20/2020

Primary care physicians are at the frontline of the annual battle against influenza. Many patients arrive at their clinician’s office with erroneous information about the vaccine and have already decided to refuse their flu shot before they walk through the clinic doors. In response, practices and providers across the country have amplified their efforts.


Talk to Patients About: ACIP - 11/20/2020

Two federal agencies oversee the way vaccines reach the U.S. public. But only one of them guides physicians on the best way to use those vaccines. That agency is the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates the way private companies develop and produce vaccines.)


Telemedicine Boot Camp: Physicians Get Trained for the Future of Remote Care - 11/12/2020

Thanks in large part to COVID-19, telemedicine has arrived. Where does it go from here? That was much of the focus of a Telehealth Virtual Bootcamp, an Aug. 29 presentation by the Telehealth Initiative that touched on technology, applications, and payment.


A Case for More Coverage: Studies Suggest Medicaid Expansion Would Fiscally Benefit Texas - 11/12/2020

Two recent studies suggest expanding Medicaid will not only save Texas money, but add to the Lone Star State’s coffers.


Champions of Medicine: TEXPAC-Endorsed Incumbents Head to November Elections - 10/30/2020

Each election, TEXPAC, the Texas Medical Association’s nonpartisan political arm, throws its support behind candidates who have demonstrated their support for a medicine-friendly agenda.


Mismatch Game: PMP Errors Could Harm Patient-Physician Relationship - 10/30/2020

Now that Texas prescribers must check a patient’s history in the state’s prescription monitoring program (PMP) before prescribing opioids, plus three other drug classes, the errors are becoming more apparent.  


Opioids: The Forgotten Epidemic? - 10/30/2020

COVID-19 inflamed the crisis; telemedicine helps Texas physicians cope with the fallout.


Mixed Bag: Some Payers Capitalize on COVID Chaos; Others Help Make Care Easier - 10/30/2020

Physicians believe some payers are taking advantage of COVID chaos with their drug policies, but also see some plans taking steps to make care easier during the pandemic.


Pandemic Pressures:COVID-19 Poses Serious Behavioral Health Challenges - 10/30/2020

The mental health fallout caused by COVID-19 radiates throughout Texas. In this issue, we look at four of the biggest challenges physicians are responding to as more people say that worry and stress related to coronavirus have negatively impacted their mental health.


End-of-Life Challenge Takes a New Turn - 10/30/2020

TMA fights decision that could strip physicians of their ability to exercise their conscience.


Skipping a Step: USMLE Clinical Skills Test Faces Elimination - 10/30/2020

Many medical educators and students think the clinical skills portion of the USMLE needs to be reformed or eliminated.


Talk to Patients About: Vaccine Testing - 10/30/2020

The COVID-19 vaccines currently under production are expected to reach the public faster than any previous vaccine. But no matter how quickly a vaccine is produced, it still must pass a series of rigorous scientific tests before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will license it for public use.


On Pause for the Pandemic: Health Issues Sidelined Amid COVID-19 Response - 10/27/2020

Any physician can look out over the COVID-19 landscape and see important areas of health care tied to their specialty that are being downplayed or ignored as resources pour into fighting the pandemic and scared patients chose not to come to their doctors’ offices.


Road to Recovery: COVID-19 Tests, Bends, and Breaks Texas Practices - 10/27/2020

Ricardo Garza, MD, was still walking the tightrope: standing, but unable to withstand another gust of wind. COVID-19 swept away about 35% of the San Antonio solo cardiologist’s practice revenue, and that was just what he could calculate as he waited for insurers to process straggling claims. But he had returned to in-office operations without any layoffs. While some practices are surviving – and trying their best to prepare for future threats – others weren’t so lucky. On-the-ground experiences align with the Texas Medical Association’s Practice Viability Survey in showing COVID-19 was, and still is, a disruptor unlike any other – challenging or torpedoing the viability of various practice types.


'This Makes Me Feel More Alive': Catching COVID-19 Helped Physician Find New Ways to Help Patients - 10/27/2020

Catching COVID-19 helped family physician Tim Martindale, MD, find new ways to help his patients.


Growing Residents: Texas Med Schools Find Ways to Create More GME Slots - 10/21/2020

Texas’ plan to grow and keep more physicians in state is coming to fruition, but it will require constant nurturing to reach harvest. The latest crop will come out of a collaboration between one of the state’s newest medical schools, in Fort Worth, and Baylor Scott and White All Saints Medical Center. The program will create as many as 150 new residency positions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area through 2027. Collaborations between medical schools and health care institutions will add to those numbers in coming years.