UNDER THE ROTUNDA
Texas physicians are pushing lawmakers on the importance of ensuring enough residency slots exist to train doctors who study in Texas and of preventing gun violence.
Lubbock pulmonologist Cynthia Jumper, MD, today testified in support of Senate Bill 1378 by Sen. Dawn Buckingham, MD (R-Lakeway). SB 1378, heard in the Senate Higher Education Committee, would require graduate medical education (GME) capacity to increase as medical school enrollment grows.
“It simply makes no sense to enroll medical students who will likely have little chance of staying in the state for their residency training when they graduate from medical school due to a shortage of GME,” said Dr. Jumper. “We will simply be setting up medical schools to provide physicians for other states. Medical schools do not produce physicians ready for practice. GME does.”
Yesterday, on the other side of the rotunda, Athens family physician and TMA President Doug Curran, MD, testified in support of House Bill 3054 by Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (D-San Antonio), which would designate June as Gun Violence Awareness Month.
“Having strong state laws on firearm safety will not adequately ensure protection as long as the public is not aware of these requirements or of other measures to reduce firearm violence,” said Dr. Curran.
These bills were left pending in committee and will be voted on at a later time.
GETTING A BILL MOVING
So far this session, lawmakers have filed 7,526 bills. TMA is monitoring 1,934 of them, although that will likely grow. Bills must 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. Sixty-one days remain in this session; the pace will continue to accelerate and the meetings will lengthen. TMA will be calling on you for grassroots advocacy participation and support.
BILLS OF NOTE
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 1, the 2020-21 state budget bill, by Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Richmond), is up for consideration on the House floor today. With hundreds of amendments already in the hopper, debate on the massive bill could stretch well into the night.
- House Bill 1832 by Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton) would clarify the prudent layperson standard and prohibit health plans from retroactively denying emergency care based on a utilization review. TMA supports this bill.
- House Bill 1960 by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo) would create a Governor’s Broadband Council that must include a medical advocacy representative. Developing more broadband infrastructure will expand access to telemedicine and is a priority of TMA’s Committee on Rural Health. TMA supports this bill.
ARE YOU A LEGISLATIVE JUNKIE?
If talk of bills and committees and backroom deals initiate tachycardia, you might want to join TMA Leading Advocates. It’s TMA’s exclusive Facebook group for legislative advocacy. Enjoy special features, news in advance, and a community of TMA members who are excited to talk about the Texas legislature and medicine's advocacy priorities. This closed group is open only to TMA and TMA Alliance members, and TMA and county medical society staff. Join today.
TMA’s 2019 legislative agenda includes priorities to help advance patient care in Texas.
At the top of the list are the state budget, insurance reform, scope of practice, maternal health, the Texas Medical Board and Medical Practice Act, and public health.
TMA member physicians and medical students, and TMA Alliance members play a significant role in advancing medicine’s priorities at the Capitol. Here are some ways you can help:
Make sure you receive TMA’s Legislative News Hotline each day, via Texas Medicine Today. Here’s how: Just log in to the Edit My Interests page on your TMA profile. Ensure you get all the legislative updates by selecting "Health care issues in the Texas Legislature" as one of your Grassroots and Advocacy interests. TMA’s updates on the latest bills affecting medicine will arrive in your inbox as part of Texas Medicine Today at 2 pm each day lawmakers convene at the Capitol throughout Texas’ 86th legislative session.
PHYSICIAN OF THE DAY
Today’s physician of the day is Sister Rosanne Popp, MD, of Houston. Dr. Popp graduated from the UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine, and is a member of both TMA and the Harris County Medical Society.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Whooping cough prompts health advisory at Texas Capitol building – KXAN-TV
More medical residency funding needed [Opinion – Editorial] – San Antonio-Express News
Texas House Committee Advances Bill Making 21 Minimum Age to Buy Cigarettes – WOAI Radio
Affordable Care Act Sign-Ups Total 11.4 Million for This Year – The Wall Street Journal
The measles virus was down and out. Now it’s primed for a comeback – STAT News
CDC Study Suggests Some Pregnant Women Use E-Cigarettes Despite Dangers Of Smoking – KERA News