News

Legislative Hotline: Act Now For Prior Authorization Relief - 05/24/2019

Please call Gov. Greg Abbott’s office now at (512) 463-2000 regarding two key health insurance reform bills. “Tell him to stand with physicians and our patients against insurance company interference,” Texas Medical Association President David Fleeger, MD, said this morning in an email to all members. “Tell the governor to give the go-ahead for strong prior authorization and utilization review protections in Senate Bill 1742 and/or House Bill 2327.”


Changing the Conversation about Addiction - 05/24/2019

Drug addiction is a chronic medical disease, and stigma about it is keeping millions of Americans – including the growing number who suffer with opioid addiction – from getting proper medical treatment, one of the nation’s foremost addiction specialists told the closing general session audience at TexMed 2019 in Dallas.


Digital Tools Improve Patient-Physician Communication, Says Seattle Mama Doc - 05/24/2019

Technologies like smart phones and social media can benefit physicians and make their jobs easier by spreading accurate, helpful medical information, the physician-blogger better known as Seattle Mama Doc told the opening session audience at TexMed 2019. But if physicians don’t use those technologies more aggressively, they risk letting other, less-reputable voices become the chief information sources for patients.


Minority Scholarship Recipients Recognized at TexMed - 05/24/2019

Thirteen minority students entering Texas medical schools this fall who each were presented with a $10,000 scholarship at TexMed 2019 last week. Physicians selected one incoming student at each Texas medical school based on their academic achievement, commitment to community service, and desire to care for Texas’ increasingly diverse population.


Legislative Hotline: Several Medicine-Friendly Bills Head to Governor - 05/23/2019

Bill to protect employed physicians’ clinical autonomy and independent medical judgment from hospital administrators’ interference among those headed to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk.


11 Outstanding Science Teachers Honored by TMA - 05/23/2019

The Texas Medical Association named 11 Texas science teachers winners of its 2019 Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching during TexMed 2019. The association also recognized outstanding physicians, medical students, mentors, and political activists at the meeting.


Get Awarded For Your Quality Work in 2018 - 05/23/2019

Did you submit Merit-Based Incentive Payment System data for the 2018 Quality Payment Program and feel like you deserve some kind of recognition for your hard work all year long? Apply now for the 2018-19 Physician Practice Quality Improvement Award.


Delegates Gather and Debate to Support Physicians and Patients - 05/22/2019

Meeting for the 150th time last weekend in Dallas, the Texas Medical Association House of Delegates once again proved that no realm of health care can’t benefit from improvements devised by Texas physicians. From controversial topics like abortion and physician certification to physician payment problems and the power of language, the 450-member House plowed through almost 100 reports and resolutions, generating new TMA policy and directing the association to stand strong in its support of physicians and their patients.


Legislative Hotline: Maternal Health Bill Now Awaits Governor’s Approval - 05/22/2019

A bill that directs the Department of State Health Services to develop and implement initiatives to assist pregnant and postpartum women with opioid use disorder and newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, was sent to the governor yesterday. This bill is specifically referring to the TexasAIM Opioid Bundle that evolved out of the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and is strongly supported by TMA.


Don Read, MD, Receives TMA’s Highest Award Posthumously - 05/22/2019

The Texas Medical Association's House of Delegates last week gave the association's highest award to the late Don Read, MD, a Dallas colon and rectal surgeon who had served as the organization's 151st president. Dr. Read died in March after a year-and-a-half-long battle with cancer, so the award was given posthumously.


Legislative Hotline: At Long Last, Tobacco 21 Bill Heads To Governor - 05/21/2019

After several sessions’ trying to protect the health of Texas youth by delaying the onset of smoking and thus nicotine addiction, a bill to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vape products to 21 years is heading to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.


TMA, Associated Organizations Elect Leaders - 05/21/2019

Members of the Texas Medical Association, TMA Foundation, and TMA Alliance elected new leaders during TexMed 2019 in Dallas over the weekend.


Legislative Hotline: Zero Medicaid Rate Increases in Draft State Budget - 05/20/2019

Lawmakers have released a draft of their negotiations on the final $248 billion 2020-21 state budget, which includes $0 for physician rate increases, despite the Texas Medical Association’s call for a $500 million investment in targeted rate increases in the two-year budget


Women In Medicine Section To Give Female Physicians Better TMA Representation - 05/20/2019

In recognition of the continued growth in the number of female physicians – both in practice and in leadership roles – the Texas Medical Association House of Delegates this weekend approved the creation of the official Women in Medicine Section.


Fleeger Becomes TMA President With Eyes on Adaptation - 05/20/2019

After becoming the Texas Medical Association’s 154th president Saturday, Austin colon and rectal surgeon David C. Fleeger, MD, told TMA’s House of Delegates that medicine must adapt to inevitable and necessary changes while steadfastly adhering to its timeless commitment to patients.


Aging Network 101: Directing Patients to Community Services - 05/17/2019

Many community-based social service agencies provide free or low-cost direction, referrals and resources for older adults. Research shows resources such as senior centers or Area Agencies on Aging can improve patient health outcomes.


Legislative Hotline: Texas Medical Board Sunset and Tobacco 21 Bills Make Progress - 05/16/2019

House Bill 1504 by Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), the Texas Medical Board (TMB) Sunset bill that would extend the TMB for another 12 years, was voted unanimously out of the Senate yesterday. Also, Senate Bill 21 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) – which would raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco and vape products to 21 years, excluding active duty military – passed out of the House today.


Hats Off to Hard Hats - 05/15/2019

In honor of the Hard Hats for Little Heads' 25th year, the Texas Medical Association and TMA Foundation will pass around a bicycle helmet during TMA’s House of Delegates meeting Saturday, May 18, to raise $10,000 to support the program next year.


Legislative Hotline: Insurance Bills In the Spotlight Today - 05/14/2019

Insurance, corporate practice of medicine, tobacco, maternal health bills all moving as session winds down.


Talk to Your Patients About: Hepatitis B - 05/14/2019

Texas Medicine recently highlighted Hepatitis B, a viral liver infection that spreads through contact with blood and other bodily fluids. Hepatitis B has two stages: acute and chronic. The acute stage is often symptomless, making the disease easy to spread unknowingly. The acute stage normally resolves within six months. But if it becomes chronic, the condition can cause lifelong health problems like cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) and liver failure.


Legislative Hotline: Insurance, Public Health, Opioids, and Sunset Bills Still Alive With Two Weeks Left in Session - 05/13/2019

Today is the 126th day of this session; fourteen days remain. This week Senate bills will move in the House and vice-versa. Meanwhile, lawmakers will continue to negotiate the final 2020-21 state budget until the last possible moment. The Texas Medical Association remains steadfast in its request for more funding for Medicaid, women’s health, mental health, and graduate medical education.


Legislative Hotline: Maternal Health, Network Directories, Cancer Research Bills Up for Debate Today - 05/10/2019

House Bill 744 by Rep. Toni Rose (D-Dallas), which would allow continued Medicaid coverage for eligible women up to 12 months postpartum, is set on today’s House Calendar. Medicaid coverage currently expires 60 days after delivery, but the vast majority of maternal deaths occur from 61 to 365 days postpartum. TMA supports this bill.


Be Wise Protecting Lubbock Seniors Against Pneumonia - 05/09/2019

Would you like a side of pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine with your lunch? Senior citizens in Lubbock are getting that option, thanks to a collaboration among the Lubbock County Medical Society Alliance, the City of Lubbock Health Department, and Lubbock Meals on Wheels. The effort is funded by a Local Impact Grant from the Texas Medical Association’s Be Wise – Immunize℠ program.


Texas Physicians Unite To Protect Patient Care - 05/08/2019

Over the past four months, almost 1,300 Texas doctors, medical students, and Texas Medical Association Alliance members came to Austin for TMA’s First Tuesdays at the Capitol advocacy events. Yesterday was the final First Tuesdays of the 2019 legislative session, and about 300 TMA members met with their lawmakers face to face.   


Legislative Hotline: Disaster Liability Protection Bill Goes to Governor - 05/08/2019

Senate Bill 752 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), which would provide liability protection for physicians who volunteer in the aftermath of a disaster, received unanimous approval on the House floor yesterday. It now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature. TMA strongly supports this bill.