UNDER THE ROTUNDA
In poignant testimony delivered yesterday at the Capitol, Texas Medical Association members demonstrated that physicians are dedicated to improving the health of Texans of all ages.
In the House Human Services Committee, Austin geriatrician Michael Krol, MD, spoke in favor of House Bill 1848 by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth), which would establish infection control programs in long-term care facilities.
“Long-term care facilities are home to some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, including the elderly and those with chronic illnesses,” Dr. Krol told lawmakers. “Residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are our parents, grandparents, family members, and friends.”
Establishing infection-control programs, including rapid flu testing when outbreaks are suspected, would reduce the spread and severity of infectious diseases in these facilities, he said.
Galveston pediatrician Ben Raimer, MD, testified in strong support of House Bill 342 by Rep. Phillip Cortez (D-San Antonio), urging lawmakers to provide 12 months of continuous coverage for children on Medicaid, something already in place for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“Lost coverage means children often have gaps in care – gaps that harm their health and contribute to an inefficient Medicaid program for everyone: families, physicians, providers, and the state,” Dr. Raimer told the committee. “As a family’s trusted pediatrician, I do everything I can to ensure children receive medically appropriate preventive, primary, and specialty care at the right time. But all that is for naught if arbitrary red tape and government inefficiency cause a child to lose coverage.”
Both bills were left pending in committee and will be voted on at a later time.
IN OTHER NEWS
Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and Rep. John Frullo (R-Lubbock) presented Senate and House proclamations Tuesday, recognizing the Lubbock and South Plains Colon Cancer Prevention Task Force for its continued efforts in colon cancer prevention and control. Lubbock oncologist Davor Vugrin, MD, who serves both as chairman of the Task Force and as a member of TMA’s Committee on Cancer, was joined at the Capitol by Austin obstetrician-gynecologist Marian Yvette Williams-Brown, MD, chair of TMA’s Committee on Cancer.
GETTING A BILL PASSED
With a flurry of activity, the bill filing deadline finally passed, and 7,452 bills have now been filed. TMA is monitoring 1,622 of them, although that likely will change. Bills must next be referred to committee before they can be heard on the floor and voted on by the full body. Then the process repeats in the other chamber. At this point, almost two-thirds of House and Senate bills have been referred to committee for consideration. Seventy-five days remain in this session.
BILLS OF NOTE
This list will change frequently during the session, but here are some bills TMA is watching now. Keep an eye on your email inbox for Action Alerts as we work to pass or kill bills.
- House Bill 1532 by Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas) would establish a process for physicians employed by a health care facility to file a complaint with the Texas Medical Board against their employer without being subject to retaliation. TMA supports this bill.
- House Bill 3332, Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), would ensure that a patient’s guardian cannot override a do-not-resuscitate order that was requested by the patient. TMA supports this bill.
- House Bill 2086 by Rep. Jay Dean (R-Longview) would require pharmacies and health care facilities to establish a controlled-substance disposal program. TMA supports this bill.
HEALTHY VISION 2025
Healthy Vision 2025 – released in late January – is TMA’s all-inclusive, health care roadmap for legislators.
Want to help spread and promote TMA’s Healthy Vision for Texas? Become a TMA social media ambassador.
TODAY’S GRASSROOTS ADVOCACY TIP
When contacting your legislator, remember to be specific about the action you need, e.g., vote yes on HB10. Remember that every constituent contacting a legislator thinks his or her issue is the most important, so sharing facts or a memorable story as part of your communication will have more staying power than a simple action request. Get more tips in our Grassroots Advocacy Guide.
PHYSICIAN OF THE DAY
Today’s physician of the day is Mark Eidson, MD, of Weatherford. Dr. Eidson graduated from the UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine, and is a member of both TMA and the Parker County Medical Society.
WHAT WE’RE READING
This HIV pill saves lives. So why is it so hard to get in the Deep South? – The Washington Post
At least 228 measles cases have been reported in the US this year, CDC says – CNN
Hospitals, Insurers Set to Resist Price Transparency Proposal – The Wall Street Journal
Texas Floats Plans to Boost Medicaid Funding Through SNF Quality Program – Skilled Nursing News
Poll: 78 percent of Texans support required vaccinations for kids – KXAN-TV
Anti-vaxxers make intrusive public health methods more likely [Opinion – Editorial] – San Antonio Express-News
Surge in measles, flu shows need for vaccines [Opinion – Editorial]– Beaumont Enterprise
Trump proposes big cuts to health programs for poor, elderly and disabled – The Washington Post