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Building Better Policies

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 13:51:00 GMT

Balances left on medical bills and unwarranted changes to medication: Those are just two of the ways in which health insurers can and do make life difficult for patients and physicians throughout Texas. Two bills that TMA backed in the 85th Texas legislative session — and that earned Gov. Greg Abbott's signature — won't eradicate those problems in Texas. But they should create some relief from the headaches that those two issues have caused throughout the years.



Funding Cancer Research

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:03:19 GMT

During the 85th legislative session, Texas lawmakers approved sunset legislation that will prolong the life of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) from 2021 to 2023.



Lessening the Grip

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:10:41 GMT

The Texas Legislature took a giant step toward lifting the burden of maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements on most Texas physicians by approving Senate Bill 1148. The new law will prevent the Texas Medical Board from using MOC as a requirement for doctors to obtain or renew a medical license. SB 1148 also bars hospitals and health plans from requiring physicians to obtain MOC for credentialing or contracts, though there will be some exceptions.



Investing in Education

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 19:09:12 GMT

During the 85th legislative session, Texas lawmakers helped pave the way for two possible new medical schools, while ensuring that graduates have more options for residency positions.



Public Health's Lean Year

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 18:23:56 GMT

Medicine's agenda advanced on many fronts in the 2017 Texas Legislature, but it made only modest gains in public health. The most significant came in a package of reforms and budget increases for mental health care. Other victories included the passage of House Bill 62, a statewide ban on texting while driving, and House Bill 3576, which provides resources to the Texas Department of State Health Services to track, study, and prevent the spread of Zika. Medicine kept several bad public health bills bottled up in committee.



More Work Done

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 14:55:35 GMT

On June 6, a little more than a week after the Texas Legislature adjourned, Governor Abbott called for the special session to begin on July 18. He directed the legislature to make renewal of the Texas Medical Board and several other state agencies its first priority. He said he would allow the legislature to tackle a list of 19 other items after that.



Clearer and Simpler

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 14:28:54 GMT

Over the past several years, static has clouded the screen displaying telemedicine's proper role in health care as musings, arguments, and litigation created a need for real clarity. Now that TMA and other stakeholders put their collective heads together, the picture should clear up significantly. On May 27, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 1107, which allows telemedicine practitioners in Texas to know their requirements when they serve patients via telephone or other audiovisual means.



Thinking Big

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 18:22:44 GMT

Most public health measures languished in the 85th Texas Legislature, but those for mental health care stood out as a giant exception. Lawmakers passed more than a dozen bills aimed at improving mental health care. And at a time when most state budgets were slashed, funding for mental health care rose ― by a lot.