Our 2017 Prescription to Keep Texas Healthy

The Texas Medical Association’s Healthy Goals Prescribed for the 85th Texas Legislature

TMA represents more than 50,000 doctors and medical school students who are caring for our state’s 27 million citizens. We proudly stand for all Texas physicians and our patients.

Download the full list of TMA's legislative recommendations.

Yes, we make State Senate and State House calls. In each of your legislative communities we have physician members standing by to give first-hand accounts of the good and bad on all proposed health care legislation. For answers and advice, turn to TMA. Please call us, and we will have your local doctors visit with you on any issue before the legislature. 

“Physicians Caring for Texans” is our straightforward motto. Our legislative agenda is straightforward too. We advocate protecting the personal health of all Texans and the fiscal health of our state. 

Stop Health Insurance Tactics That Cause Surprise Medical Bills

  • Expand the current mediation process, while maintaining the $500 threshold, to all physicians and providers providing out-of-network services at certain in-network facilities, and to certain out-of-network scenarios where patients are receiving surprise bills for emergency care. Support SB 507 and HB 1566.
  • Require health plans to maintain accurate directories of their network providers. Support HB 2760 and SB 2210.
  • Allow physicians to override health plans’ use of “step therapy” to substitute prescribed drugs for chronically ill patients. Support SB 680 and HB 1464.
  • Require health plans to prorate copays when less than 30-day supply is ordered. Support SB 697 and HB 1296.

Invest Wisely In Mental Health, Public Health, and Public Safety Programs

  • Ensure parents’ right to know about vaccination exemption rates at their children’s schools. Support HB 2249 and SB 1010.
  • Improve access to quality mental health care services. Support HB 10 and SB 860.
  • Increase minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. Support SB 910 and HB 1908.
  • Ban texting while driving. Support HB 62 and SB 31.

Require Medical School Training and Licensure for All Who Practice Medicine  

  • Medical diagnosis and prescriptive authority must remain the purview of medical-school-trained, licensed physicians. Oppose HB 1415 and SB 681, HB 593 and SB 1240, and SB 728 and HB 2118.

Texas Medical Board Sunset Bill

  • Enact due process protections for physicians.
  • Support HB 3040. 

Protect Our State’s Medical Liability Tort Reform Caps   

  • Since statewide voter approval of noneconomic medical liability damage caps in 2003, Texas has gained 21,000 new physicians. Protecting these caps will help our state continue to improve upon our national ranking of 41st in active patient care physicians per 100,000 population. Oppose HB 719

Protect Coverage and Access to Health Services for Our Most Vulnerable Populations

  • Take advantage of opportunities to switch from federal to Texas-run health care solution for our low-income families, seniors, and Texans with disabilities. 
  • Set physicians’ Medicaid payment rates at least equal to Medicare. 
  • Ensure no reduction in benefits, eligibility criteria, or access to care. 
  • Modernize the Medicaid Vendor Drug Program.
  • Improve Medicaid prior authorization requirements to cut red tape.

Oppose Outside Interference in Physicians’ Practices

  • Prohibit sole use of maintenance of certification (MOC) status for licensing, payment, contracting, or privileges. Support SB 1148 and HB 3216.
  • Do not keep physician-specific cost comparisons from physicians in a physician-led Accountable Care Organization (ACO). Support HB 3124.
  • Authorize TMB oversight and regulation of nonprofit health corporations. Support SB 833 and HB 752. 

Require Same Standard of Medical Care Whether In-Person or By Telemedicine 

  • Physicians providing care to Texans must be licensed in Texas. 
  • Ensure that physicians have access to the patient’s relevant clinical information in order to make a diagnosis and conform to the standard of care. 
  • A medically necessary, covered service should be paid for regardless of how it is provided. 
  • Support SB 1107 and HB 2697. 

Keep Our Texas-Trained Doctors in Texas   

  • Ensure we have 1.1 Texas residency slots for every one Texas medical school graduate. 

Use Technology — Not Mandates — To Address “Doctor Shopping” and Opioid Diversion

  • Require automatic prescriber registration in Texas’ Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. 
  • Authorize the Board of Pharmacy to “push out” electronic notifications to prescribers and pharmacies when data suggests “doctor shopping.” 
  • Add wholesaler delivery data to the Drug Monitoring Program database in order to match dispensing and delivery data by geographic area.
  • Support SB 316.

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