• Latest Legislative News

    • TMA Supports Bill to Prohibit E-Cigarettes on School Campuses
      TMA reviewed studies on e-cigarette use last year and found many states and communities had already restricted the use of these products. Texas is only one of 10 states that have not already restricted the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. Several studies on e-cigarettes have identified the major components of e-cigarettes (nicotine, propylene glycol, and/or glycerin). There is no water in e-cigarettes. However, because these are unregulated products with poor quality control, physicians and public health experts are concerned about the lack of information on the precise amount and type of compounds in the many different brands of e-cigarettes, and the potential short- and long-term health effects of the compounds produced by heating in these devices.
    • Improve Funding for Mental Health Services
      Investing in mental health services ultimately pays for itself through reduced incarceration and emergency department costs. Additionally, of the DSHS figures demonstrating the billions of dollars our state spends on potentially preventable hospitalizations, more than a third have comorbidities in mental health conditions.
    • Enact Competitive Medicaid/CHIP Physician Payments
      Over the past 18 months, there has been considerable attention paid to Texas’ “broken” Medicaid system, with particular interest in the plummeting physician Medicaid participation rate and the impact that exodus is having on patients’ ability to obtain timely, medically necessary care. We agree that Medicaid needs a facelift. We want to work with you to continue to identify common sense changes that will benefit patients, physicians, and the provider network while also improving patient outcomes and lowering costs. But while the federal government contributes to challenges facing Texas Medicaid, it is the Texas Legislature, not Congress, that determines how much Medicaid and CHIP pay physicians.
    • TWHC Improve Women's Health Care Services
      The Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition (TWHC) and its 61 healthcare, faith, and community-based member organizations are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Texas women, babies, and families by assuring access to preventive healthcare for all Texas women. Access to preventive and preconception care—including health screenings and contraception—means healthy, planned pregnancies and early detection of cancers and other treatable conditions.
    • Repeal Physicians’ Dual-Eligible Payment Cut
      Here’s an example of how the current policy works: An established dual-eligible patient visits a physician office for a routine visit. The 2015 Medicare deductible has been met. The physician bills Medicare for the service. The Medicare allowable payment is $72.44. Medicare will pay the physician $57.95, 80 percent of the allowable. The patient is responsible for the remaining $14.49 (20 percent). For a dual-eligible patient, the physician bills Medicaid for the remaining balance. The Medicaid allowable for the same service is $33.27. Because the Medicare payment exceeded the Medicaid allowable, Texas will not pay any additional amount. The physician must write off the $14.49.
    • Support Funding for Critical DSHS Services
      We strongly encourage your support for continuing the funding of the state’s tobacco cessation and chronic disease prevention programs. We support Exceptional Item 3 to increase the agency’s and state’s capacity to investigate and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. Exceptional Item 9 funding will enable communities to conduct evidence-based activities that promote physical activity and healthy eating.   
    • Improve Funding for GME
      We continue to have a serious physician shortage. Those shortages touch the majority of specialties and they impede access to care. The new expansion grant programs authorized by the last legislature are a big step toward expanding our GME capacity and we are grateful for the legislative commitment toward building our physician workforce. Having the additional $14.25 million is good for the state.  The $65,000 per-resident amount authorized for these programs is significant.  These programs also acknowledge the partnership between medical schools and teaching hospitals in training a resident.
    • Lawmakers Urged to Improve Physicians Medicaid/CHIP Payments
      According to TMA’s biennial physician survey, in 2000 67 percent of Texas physicians accepted all new Medicaid patients. Today, that number is 34 percent. The good news is that increasing physician Medicaid payments actually reverses the decline in participation. From 2012 to 2014, physician participation in Medicaid rose 5 points, a jump attributable to the temporary two-year primary care physician rate increase paid for with federal funds.
    • Curtis Mirkes, DO Explains Why GME Funding is Critical
      We continue to have a serious physician shortage. As you know, those shortages touch the majority of specialties and they impede access to care. The new expansion grant programs authorized by the last legislature are a big step toward expanding our GME capacity and we are grateful for the commitment you and our other legislative members made toward building our physician workforce. Having the additional $14.25 million is good for the state and these programs have several important distinctions. The $65,000 per-resident amount authorized for these programs is significant. These programs also acknowledge the partnership between medical schools and teaching hospitals in training a resident.