Commentary: Online Testimony Remains a Success at TexMed
By Dr. John Flores

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the majority of House of Delegates business to a virtual format, and TMA has since made permanent the process of taking initial testimony online. That process proved to be quite effective.   

At this year’s TexMed, yet again, the online testimony was vigorously utilized: More than 300 testimonies on nearly 100 items of business were submitted, in line with last year.   

Also, our interim reference committee reports – published and available to the house prior to the in-person meeting – gave delegates more time to focus their live testimony and to reach out to other stakeholders to formulate mutually beneficial solutions. Live testimony, while sometimes spirited, was much shorter. The duration of some reference committee hearings appears to be shortening (one was completed in 30 to 45 minutes), with business taking place more efficiently.  

Our chairs noted that their report's recommendations were occasionally swayed by nuanced live testimony that instructed them on particulars of policy that may have been incorrectly understood. And since delegates trusted that their online testimony was equally regarded as live testimony, they weren't as often compelled to repeat the same testimony in person.  

This time-saving process gave back our delegates time to participate in the other myriad demands on them at our annual meeting.  

In addition, the reference committees finished their final deliberations in a fraction of the time compared with previous meetings. Their work was more polished since most was completed the week before, allowing them to utilize their valuable time to concentrate on the more contentious issues our house tackles.  

The quality of the reference committees’ work was obvious in the House of Delegates working meeting: Out of the 96 items deliberated, only 21 were extracted, and ultimately only three of the reference committee recommendations were altered by the house.  

The efficiency of this process can and will be improved upon, but these results speak for themselves. 

Last Updated On

May 26, 2023

Originally Published On

May 26, 2023

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