TMA's Legislative News Hotline

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Want to stay fully informed of the latest dealings in the Texas Legislature when it is in session? Then subscribe today to TMA Legislative News Hotline.

Hotline is a daily electronic newsletter for TMA members only that reports the legislature's latest actions on bills affecting Texas medicine. The hotline is delivered each legislative day before noon beginning Jan. 1. A weekly recap, delivered each Sunday, is also available.

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Latest issues of TMA's Legislative News Hotline

TMA Legislative News Hotline: Friday, May 26, 2017

Budget Bill Close: Word has it lawmakers in both chambers will vote on the budget as early as Saturday. The Conference Committee compromise bill totals $216.7 billion in all funds, and $106.8 billion in state general revenue dollars. It also draws $1 billion from the rainy day fund, an idea embraced by the House Appropriations Committee in House Bill 1. The final budget also utilizes some of the Senate’s accounting idea of delaying payment of transportation dollars until the start of the next biennium, to credit this budget that amount. A breakdown of what the conference committee did.

TMA Legislative News Hotline: Thursday, May 25, 2017

House Passes Maintenance of Certification Bill Allowing Hospitals to Use MOC: Wednesday afternoon the House overwhelmingly gave final approval to the maintenance of certification (MOC) bill, Senate Bill 1148 by Sen. Dawn Buckingham, MD (R-Lakeway). Lawmakers on Tuesday night removed hospitals from the bill via an amendment. That caveat means hospitals could still use MOC status to determine physicians’ eligibility to practice in their institutions.

TMA Legislative News Hotline: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Surprise Billing Measure Signed: Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a bill to address surprise medical bills, Senate Bill 507 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), and Rep. John Frullo (R-Lubbock). The TMA-priority law will expand the billing mediation process to all physicians and other providers providing out-of-network services at certain in-network facilities. It also expands mediation to out-of-network situations for emergency care. The law takes effect on Sept. 1.

Step Therapy Override Signed Too: Tuesday, Governor Abbott also signed into law the TMA-supported step therapy override measure, Senate Bill 680 by Senator Hancock. The bill empowers physicians to override health plans’ step therapy protocols, allowing them to continue prescribing an effective medication even if the insurer’s step therapy plan calls for a change in medication. The new law also takes effect on Sept. 1.

TMA Legislative News Hotline: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

MOC Day: Senate Bill 1148 by Sen. Dawn Buckingham, MD (R-Lakeway), the bill that would rein in mandatory maintenance of certification requirements, is on the House calendar for today. TMA urges physicians to use the TMA Grassroots Action Center to write state representatives in support of SB 1148 (600 have sent emails thus far!). Or on Twitter, tweet your rep.

TMA Legislative News Hotline: Monday, May 22, 2017

MOC: Senate Bill 1148 by Sen. Dawn Buckingham, MD (R-Lakeway), the bill that would rein in mandatory maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements, is on the House calendar for Tuesday. If you haven’t done it yet, please use the TMA Grassroots Action Center to write your state representative in support of SB 1148. On Twitter, tweet your rep.

Budget: The House-Senate Budget Conference Committee on Saturday evening revealed the long-awaited compromise state budget for the 2018-19 biennium. The committee, led by co-chairs Sen. Jane Nelson (R- Flower Mound) and Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R- Richmond), met for hours unveiling its work and finalizing it to accommodate Gov. Greg Abbott’s priorities.  More...

TMA Legislative News Hotline: Week Ending May 19, 2017

In this week’s TMA Legislative News Hotline video, we caught up with two physicians weighing in on bills still in play. One physician leader talks about improving how we monitor and deal with infectious diseases, like the Zika virus. Another top doctor discusses myths associated with a move that would broaden the sale of raw milk — which sailed through the Senate this week. We also run through a brief scorecard of some TMA-priority bills. Watch that and more in just a few minutes, in this week’s TMA Legislative News Hotline video.   

Budget Compromise Released: Late Saturday afternoon, the conference committee hammering out differences in the House and Senate versions of the proposed 2018-19 state budget announced a compromise. You can read about the big political fights (ie, using some of the Rainy Day Fund as the House proposed, and some accounting tricks as the Senate proposed) in this article from the Texas Tribune. Meanwhile, TMA analysts are scouring the budget documents to determine the fate of Medicaid funding, public health defenses, and medical education finances.