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Bad Medicine

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 16:46:13 GMT

How can physicians safely get rid of old medications and encourage patients to do the same? For generations, people have flushed old prescriptions down the toilet or have held on to them. But these methods can lead to a potentially dangerous situation. 



Closing the Gap

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 17:04:48 GMT

Balance billing was one of TMA's biggest legislative wins this year. Senate Bill 507 will expand mediation for out-of-network bills, but nasty financial surprises for patients won't end when it takes effect on Jan. 1.



Difficult Choices

Fri, 13 May 2016 18:10:09 GMT

Different circumstances bring different levels of complexity to end-of-life care decisions. Physicians must act in the best interest of the patient, but with the ethical responsibility of not doing any intentional harm. As end-of-life issues heat up again in Capitol debates, protecting physicians' ability to carry out that duty under the 1999 Texas Advance Directives Act is a key feature of legislation the Texas Medical Association developed in collaboration with the Texas Hospital Association, the Texas Catholic Conference, the Texas Alliance for Life, and other faith-based groups. The groups are also pushing for reforms they believe will improve transparency and communication for all parties affected by these decisions.




Expecting the Unexpected

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:02:24 GMT

Anything From a Simple Power Outage to a Category 5 Hurricane Can Shut Down a Medical Practice. How Can Physicians Make That Shutdown as Temporary as Possible? Practice Management Feature — December 2017 Tex



For Future Reference

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:42:35 GMT

Reference pricing allows a payer or employer to set a standard, maximum price for a procedure regardless of whether the physician is in or out of network, allowing patients to shop for care. That ability to shop, though, introduces some consequences. 



Cancer Incidence Among Texas Publicly Funded Substance Abuse Treatment Clients

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 15:33:50 GMT

In this study, the authors examine the incidence of cancer among a large cohort of patients receiving Texas Department of State Health Services publicly funded substance abuse treatment services between 2005 and 2009. We hypothesized that substance abuse patients would have an increased incidence of cancer, especially cancers associated with alcohol misuse, tobacco use, and opiate dependence. We compared cancer incidence among 119,237 substance abuse patients with those in the Texas general population as reported to the Texas Cancer Registry. The cohort was 60% male; and 50% white, 30% Hispanic, and 20% black. Mean age at the start of follow-up was 47.6 years (SD, 10.5 years), with mean follow-up time of 2.4 years (SD, 1.5 years). Primary drug dependency was 30% alcohol; 25% cocaine; 15% opiate; 13% amphetamine or methamphetamine; and 17% marijuana or other drugs. Almost 75% of the patients used tobacco regularly. The overall age-adjusted incidence rate was lower for substance abusers than for the general population but not significantly so. This was true for several specific cancer sites as well, again not reaching statistical significance in most cases. Statistically lower rates of liver cancer were found for male and female substance abusers; higher rates of alcohol-related cancers were observed for males. Multivariate models estimated significant increases in cancer incidence among substance abusers with increasing age. Hispanics were at greater risk of liver cancer but at decreased risk of lung cancer. The only significant substance-specific effect was for alcohol abusers, who were at significantly higher risk than all other groups for developing alcohol-related cancers.