Lawmakers Pass Legislation to Improve Patient Care

Lawmakers Follow Doctors’ Orders, Pass Legislation to Improve Patient Care

For Immediate Release
June 9, 2009  

Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807  

Brent Annear
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320


 Please attribute the following to William H. Fleming III, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association. Dr. Fleming practices neurology at Memorial Neurological Association in Houston, where he also serves as clinical assistant professor of neurology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.

"In January, the Texas Medical Association prescribed a solid platform designed to fix Texas' broken health care system. Physicians asked lawmakers to begin building a health care system that allows all patients to receive the care they need, when they need it. TMA's Doctor's Orders called on state leaders to support measures that would:

  •  Add accountability and performance standards to health insurance, 
  •  Expand access to care for all Texans, 
  •  Enhance patient safety, and 
  •  Improve quality of care. 

"Despite the economic downturn and late-session delay tactics that killed hundreds of bills, TMA's prescription was followed. Here are just a few of the health care highlights from the 81st legislature that will improve patient care in Texas:

  • Preserved Texas' landmark 2003 medical liability reforms; 
  • Funded community-based obesity prevention program expansions; 
  • Implemented a pilot program to help reduce childhood obesity among Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program enrollees;
  • Protected the patient-physician relationship from corporate interference so that health care decisions are made based on what is right for the patient;
  • Required insurers to use accurate data and valid, recognized standards when ranking or tiering physicians in their networks;
  • Directed the state to evaluate the adequacy of insurers' physician networks in local markets to reduce the chances of out-of-network services and unexpected out-of-pocket costs for patients;
  • Increased funding for graduate medical education in Texas;
  • Expanded the Texas physician loan repayment program;
  • Expanded efforts to improve the use and reliability of health information technology in Medicaid and the health care system;
  • Protected funding to enhance cancer prevention and research programs in Texas;
  • Enhanced funding for local mental health crisis intervention; and
  • Created a lifelong immunization registry in Texas."

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 44,000 physician and medical student members. It is located inAustin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA's key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

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NOTE: Local physician leaders are available for comment.  Please contact Pam Udall or Brent Annear to set up an interview.