Tribpedia: Texas Medical Association

Tribpedia

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) was organized by 35 physicians in 1853 to serve the people of Texas in matters of medical care, prevention and cure of disease, and the improvement of public health.

TMA supports Texas physicians by providing solutions to the challenges they encounter in the care of patients. Nearly 45,000 physicians and medical students are members.

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Trying to Limit Outside Influence in Prescribing Drugs

Physician Christine Le, an osteopathy specialist at the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston, checks up on her patients Mary Ann Goolsby and her husband Joseph Goolsby, Tuesday June 10, 2014.
Physician Christine Le, an osteopathy specialist at the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston, checks up on her patients Mary Ann Goolsby and her husband Joseph Goolsby, Tuesday June 10, 2014.

More doctors and medical facilities are working to reduce the number of interactions between physicians and representatives for pharmaceutical representatives, and they have even received some support from the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Rose Okoro, a nurse practitioner, who owns Daystar Family Clinic in Katy, is shown on May 12. 2014. She says she has struggled to treat a greater number of Medicaid patients because of state regulations.
Dr. Rose Okoro, a nurse practitioner, who owns Daystar Family Clinic in Katy, is shown on May 12. 2014. She says she has struggled to treat a greater number of Medicaid patients because of state regulations.

Nurse Practitioners Look to Ease Supervision Rules

Nurse practitioners say state regulations, which link them to supervising physicians, limit their ability to treat patients in a state with a looming shortage of primary care physicians. As they seek more freedom in the state Medicaid program, physicians say the the current “team-based” model has proved to be effective.

A patient pays cash for a visit to Dr. Gustavo Villarreal's office in Laredo. Villarreal no longer accepts any form of health insurance.
A patient pays cash for a visit to Dr. Gustavo Villarreal's office in Laredo. Villarreal no longer accepts any form of health insurance.

Giving Up on Red Tape, Doctors Turn to Cash-Based Model

While efforts are underway at both the state and federal level to decrease Texas' sky-high rate of residents without health coverage, Texas is seeing an increase in primary care practitioners who are no longer accepting any forms of insurance.

Medicare Providers Want Permanent “Doc Fix”

Advocates for Texas doctors are renewing their calls for reform of a federal Medicare formula that leaves providers threatened with steep cuts to their payments year after year. Members of Texas' congressional delegation say that this year they got closer than ever to a permanent fix. 

Helen Hawkins, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner, treats 13-month-old Kevin Gorostieta at Carousel Pediatrics in Austin on Nov. 8, 2012.
Helen Hawkins, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner, treats 13-month-old Kevin Gorostieta at Carousel Pediatrics in Austin on Nov. 8, 2012.

Medicaid Fraud Settlement Worries Health Providers

For health providers who treat the state’s poorest patients, a high-profile settlement between the Texas health commission's office of inspector general and Carousel Pediatrics has raised questions about how the inspector general’s office distinguishes fraudulent intent from human error.

Nurse practitioner Christina Blanco speaks to the office manager at her medical spa and clinic in Las Cruces, N.M. on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. The spa and clinic was previously in El Paso for several years, but moved to Las Cruces in October and currently has six employees.
Nurse practitioner Christina Blanco speaks to the office manager at her medical spa and clinic in Las Cruces, N.M. on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. The spa and clinic was previously in El Paso for several years, but moved to Las Cruces in October and currently has six employees.

Despite Changes, Nurses Push for More Independence

Although Texas lawmakers loosened physician supervision requirements for advanced practice nurses in the 2013 legislative session, some health providers argue they should have allowed them to practice independently, too. With recruitment campaigns in states like New Mexico, which has more lenient laws, some of these nurses see an incentive to leave the state.

Connie Spears had both legs amputated above her knee as a result of a misdiagnosis in the emergency room.
Connie Spears had both legs amputated above her knee as a result of a misdiagnosis in the emergency room.

Despite Counsel, Amputee Hindered by Tort Laws

Connie Spears, a double amputee, says Texas' tort reform laws obstructed her ability to find a malpractice lawyer and forced a judge to order her to pay thousands of dollars to cover some defendants’ legal bills, because she didn't meet the requirements to prove medical negligence in her lawsuit. Tort reform proponents say such restrictions are the only way to curb frivolous cases.

Dr. Javier Saenz has struggled to keep his South Texas clinic open in the wake of legislative cuts to physicians treating patients eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Dr. Javier Saenz has struggled to keep his South Texas clinic open in the wake of legislative cuts to physicians treating patients eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

Dual Eligible Payments to Be Partially Restored in 2013

Health care providers in Texas who treat dual eligible patients – those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits – will get some relief in 2013. After meeting with a delegation of doctors from the Rio Grande Valley, state leaders agreed to restore a portion of the dollars cut. 

March 6th, 2012: Protest against Texas lawmakers decision regarding changed to the  the Women's Health Program. the federal government is expected to cut funding for the program because Texas improperly excluded Planned Parenthood from its list of providers
March 6th, 2012: Protest against Texas lawmakers decision regarding changed to the the Women's Health Program. the federal government is expected to cut funding for the program because Texas improperly excluded Planned Parenthood from its list of providers

"Obamacare" on Center Stage

Texas Weekly

From contraception and cancer screenings to "Obamacare" and state physician shortages, here's a look at the month ahead in Texas health policy. 

Dr. Javier Saenz with a patient, Elena Chavez, 73. Chavez is part of the 50 percent of patients Saenz sees who draw from both Medicare and Medicaid.
Dr. Javier Saenz with a patient, Elena Chavez, 73. Chavez is part of the 50 percent of patients Saenz sees who draw from both Medicare and Medicaid.

State Cuts Squeezing Elderly Poor and Their Doctors

After the state reduced its share of co-payments for Texans who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, doctors who treat such patients are seeing revenue disruptions. The new rules are poised to save the state $475 million. But the doctors treating dual-eligible patients worry whether the changes will put them out of business.

Texas State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, presents his plans for a medical school before the West Austin Democrats.
Texas State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, presents his plans for a medical school before the West Austin Democrats.

State Senator Leading Fight for Austin Medical School

State Sen. Kirk Watson is on a mission to build a standalone medical school in Austin, and he's taking an unconventional route to get there. He has formed an organizing committee with community institutions to develop public-private partnerships. But a South Texas lawmaker says his region should be next in line for such an institution. 

Toomey with Perry in the Texas House in 1985.
Toomey with Perry in the Texas House in 1985.

Texas Lobbyist Mike Toomey is Force Behind Rick Perry

Should Rick Perry become president, it will be in no small measure because of the efforts of Mike Toomey, a lobbyist and onetime chief of staff to the governor who has tapped a sprawling network of donors, business allies and friendly (or indebted) lawmakers to help him accomplish ambitious political and legislative goals.

Chase Bearden hopes to convince lawmakers that he, and other's needing physical therapy, should be allowed to go to a physical therapist without getting a doctor's referral first.
Chase Bearden hopes to convince lawmakers that he, and other's needing physical therapy, should be allowed to go to a physical therapist without getting a doctor's referral first.

Physical Therapists Fight Mandatory Referrals

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Physical therapists are pushing a bill to allow them to treat patients without a physician referral. The measure has stiff opposition from physician groups, which say it could present a health risk to patients.