• Latest Legislative News

    • Require Childproof Packaging for E-cigarettes
      Texas pediatricians are concerned about the known and unknown health risks associated with smoking or “vaping” e-cigarettes. Scientific conclusions on the effects of e-cigarettes are only now beginning to emerge and vary widely due to variability across devices, e-juices and product brands. However, we feel there is enough evidence associated with the health risks of ingesting e-cigarette liquids that substantial protections need to be put in place in order to protect our smallest children from poisonings.
    • State Budget Negotiations Begin
      Every legislative session, in the process of writing a two-year state budget, the Texas Senate and House of Representatives each craft their own version of the spending plan. The work of reconciling the differences between the House and Senate budgets falls to a 10-person conference committee appointed by the lieutenant governor and speaker of the house. The 2015 Texas Legislature reached that milestone for House Bill 1, this session’s budget bill, on April 23.
    • Advisory Council Improvements Will Help Mothers, Newborns
      The Perinatal Advisory Council has met quarterly and recently provided its recommendations for neonatal levels of care to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). DSHS hopes to officially propose the rules in September 2015. The Perinatal Council’s recommendations parallel national neonatal standards but are designed for Texas. The proposal provides more flexibility to hospitals than the national guidelines to accommodate the unique challenges faced by rural hospitals. At each step of the drafting process, the council obtained lively, honest, and robust stakeholder input.
    • Reach Out and Read Helps Children
      Pediatricians and other medical providers are often the first contact for a family and a trusted authority on all things associated with childhood development. For these reasons the American Academy of Pediatrics has acknowledged that literacy promotion is an essential component of pediatric primary care.  Literacy promotion via the physician’s office is at the heart of the Reach Out and Read program.
    • Preserve Fitnessgram
      Our state is facing a childhood obesity epidemic. The current Fitnessgram measurement provides essential data to allow schools, communities, the state and philanthropic groups to target resources to address the epidemic. Leaders at all levels of government have recognized the magnitude of the childhood obesity epidemic and the need for data to reverse the epidemic. Former Comptroller Susan Combs understood the impact of obesity on Texas and on Texas’ businesses and released reports citing her concern for the projected costs to Texas businesses as a result of the obesity epidemic. Despite promising work and interventions, this threat is real and this threat remains.
    • Medical Power of Attorney Co-Agents a Troubling Idea
      TMA and THA believe designated co-agents for health care decisions would make challenging and complex situations even more difficult and confusing. Under this language, any co-agent may act independently, and a third party may rely on the decisions of any co-agent. Probate attorneys have suggested that in the event of a disagreement between co-agents, the physician or health care provider may refuse to accept the medical power of attorney with respect to that matter. This does not help a physician or hospital when trying to make critical end-of-life decisions, which may or may not include the decisions related to the provision or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. We are sure that we do not have to remind the committee of the sensitive nature of that topic and related legislation.
    • Establish the Texas Health Improvement Network
      TMA has addressed the Texas Legislature many times about the fragmented and under-resourced public health system in Texas. We will be unable to sustain our vibrant economy and population if so many of our patients not only are getting sick with preventable conditions, but also are getting sick earlier and are sicker for longer periods. These are persons who cannot contribute to Texas as they would like — and our economy needs them. A planned, measured strategy as is proposed by THIN will enable us to help our patients — our population — to begin to “bend the curve” in the use of our state resources for “sick care.”
    • Invest in Texas’ Public Health Infrastructure
      Physicians have long understood that we must continue to invest in our state’s public health infrastructure to address costly health concerns and to prevent paying an even higher price tag in the future. Texas’ exploding population in our large and mobile state means we need to ensure that we not only maintain our current public health system, but also continue to seek improvements and enhancements to address the problems raised as our state and population continue to grow.
    • Bill Would Set Health Information Exchange Guidelines
      TMA supports the provisions of the bill that mandate that the executive commissioner ensure that all systems set for future procurement have the needed capabilities to exchange health information securely, in accordance with applicable data exchange standards, to promote interoperability.