Opioid Crisis, Insurance Delaying Care, Issue Debates Top Texas Physicians’ Conference

 May 14, 2019

  • WHAT: Physicians representing all regions of Texas will convene to learn how better to solve the opioid crisis, how to use technology to improve patient care, and consider proposed policy about: insurance company practices that delay patient care; preventing harm from food allergies; doctors’ potential role in stopping human trafficking; physicians distributing medicines (and whether pharmacists should be able to alter doctors’ prescriptions); whether to tax feminine hygiene products; and even electric scooter safety. All of these highlight TexMed 2019, the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) annual physician conference, educational showcase, and expo. Close to 2,000 TMA physician leaders and other health care experts will gather in Dallas for TexMed 2019, the annual meeting of America's largest state medical society.

    TMA will install a new president during TexMed, elect officers, and honor a highly respected physician leader with its top recognition.
  • WHEN: THIS Friday and Saturday, May 17-18 (See details below.)
  • WHERE: Hilton Anatole Hotel, 2201 North Stemmons Freeway, Dallas

  • WHO: Nearly 2,000 TMA member physicians from across Texas, TMA Alliance members, notable speakers in medicine, and other health care experts.

Friday, May 17

  • 9 am – TMA Alliance Opioid Education Symposium. Featured speakers: Carlos F. Tirado, MD, clinical associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and president of the Texas Society of Addiction Medicine; Mark Kinzly, Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative (TONI) and National Harm Reduction Coalition; and Susán Hoemke, mother, speaker, and author of Healing Scarred Hearts.

  • 4 pm – Opening General Session keynote speaker Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, chief of Digital Innovation at Seattle Children’s Hospital: How Technology is Transforming Health Care and the Patient-Physician Relationship. Dr. Swanson is an innovator in digital health who works to draw patients and physicians closer together through creative digital solutions. How can patients engage online with health data, health care, and each other, to participate in maintaining and improving their own health? What new tools – including voice technology – can patients and their caregivers use to help streamline and improve care delivery? Dr. Swanson will explore these issues and more during her examination of medicine's present and future.

Saturday, May 19:

  • 8:30 am-Noon – TMA House of Delegates policymaking meeting – HIGHLIGHTS:
  • 9:15 am – Distinguished Service Award presentation to Don R. Read, MD. Dr. Read, a celebrated Dallas surgeon, will posthumously receive TMA’s highest honor. In addition to providing top-level care to thousands of patients, Dr. Read was a medical missionary overseas, and served in the Vietnam War. He also started a West Nile virus support group after beating the disease more than a decade ago. Dr. Read served in many medical leadership roles, including as TMA’s president. John Carlo, MD, a member of TMA’s Council on Legislation and former president of the Dallas County Medical Society, will recognize Dr. Read for the award, before screening a heartfelt and enlightening interview with the honoree recorded several months ago.

  •  10:45 am – Installation of David C. Fleeger, MD, of Austin, as TMA’s 154th president.
  • Policy debate (throughout the morning). TMA’s House of Delegates will debate and consider adoption of new patient care and health guidelines for the state and organized medicine. Among the house resolutions up for consideration:
    • Should patients have to wait while their doctor gets insurer’s permission to administer a medicine, medical device, or treatment? “Prior authorization” delays patient care, and a resolution aims to curb the number and duration of such authorizations. Should pharmacies’ corporate policies permit them to alter dosage, duration, frequency, or quantity of medicines physicians prescribe?

    • Should restaurants post information about potentially fatal food allergies, and should their employees be taught about the dangers of allergies to eggs, nuts, shellfish, and other foods? 

    • Should government and others be able to thwart physicians’ involvement in patients’ end-of-life care?

    • People using electric scooters are seriously injured and even killed in accidents while scooting. Should these electric scooters – that seem to be turning up everywhere – be better regulated? Should there be a minimum age restriction to ride one, and should riders be required to wear a helmet?

    • Should physicians be able to prescribe and dispense prescriptions and over-the-counter medicine and devices for their patients, easing people’s access to them?

    • Should physicians – and governments – display posters about human trafficking in their clinics and other medical settings, displaying and promoting resources where people can find aid and escape from being victimized by these crimes?

    • Should patients be advised when their generic drug manufacturer changes, potentially changing the content of the drug and its effects? Generic drugs are not required to have the exact same non-medicinal ingredients, though most people probably are unaware. 

    • Medicare Part B doesn’t have fee schedules for several life-saving vaccines such as herpes zoster, hepatitis A, and meningitis, though it does have schedules for other vaccines like the flu vaccine and hepatitis B. Should Medicare cover these shots for seniors and people with permanent disabilities?  

    • Should feminine hygiene products be exempted from sales taxes as “medical necessities,” much like cold remedies, antiperspirants, and bandages are?

  • 1:30 pm – Closing General Session keynote speaker Lipi Roy, MD, board certified addiction medicine specialist and clinical assistant professor at New York University Department of Population Health: The Opioid Crisis: How Did We Get Here and How Do We Get Out? Dr. Roy will discuss medicine’s role in stopping the opioid crisis gripping the U.S. She describes addiction as a chronic relapsing and remitting medical disease of the brain. What evidence-based treatment strategies can physicians and others use for opioid use disorder, including medications and behavioral therapies? How big a role does stigma play in blocking addicts’ care? What tools can physicians and other caregivers use to minimize harm from these powerful drugs as patients fight their addiction?

Reporters, please join us at TexMed 2019, or call for interviews on any of the subjects presented during or after the conference, and we will connect you with a physician expert. Please call or text Brent Annear at (512) 656-7320 or Marcus Cooper at (512) 650-5336 upon arrival at TexMed, and we will help credential you and find what and whom you need.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 53,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.


Contact:  Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org

Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org 

Connect with TMA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The TexMed meeting hashtag is #TexMed2019 

Check out MeAndMyDoctor.com for interesting and timely news on health care issues and policy.

Last Updated On

May 16, 2019