Tribpedia: Texas Medical Association

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.

Interactive: The Problem with Medicare Spending — and Proposals to Fix it

In the next three months, if lawmakers don’t change the Medicare funding formula or approve yet another Band-Aid to hold it together, physician reimbursement rates will plunge nearly 30 percent. Use this Tribune interactive to understand the budget hole federal lawmakers have dug, Texas physicians’ response to the problem, and the cost of varied proposals to change how Medicare is funded.

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 faces stiff opposition from physician groups, which say it could present a health risk to patients.

Rural Hospitals Hope to Change Hiring Law

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A Texas law dating back to the 1800s that keeps hospitals from directly hiring doctors comes before lawmakers today, in a flurry of bills designed to remove the ban — either for an individual hospital district, or for all the state's rural hospitals. 

Sen. Jane Nelson and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst introduce legislation designed to improve Texas health care.
Sen. Jane Nelson and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst introduce legislation designed to improve Texas health care.

Dewhurst, Nelson Unveil Health Care Bills

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Grapevine, introduced two bills Wednesday they believe will save the state money by increasing "healthy patient outcomes."

Quite an Undertaking

When a family member dies, accessing bank accounts and collecting on insurance policies requires proper paperwork. Despite a state mandate to process death certificates in a timely fashion, however, doctors are dragging their heels, funeral directors say, leaving survivors in the lurch. 

Family nurse practitioner Jean Gisler at her office in Victoria, Texas.
Family nurse practitioner Jean Gisler at her office in Victoria, Texas.

Diagnosis: Turf War

In Texas, nurse practitioners’ livelihoods are tied to physicians: By law, they can’t treat patients without a doctor’s permission. That means if they want to open their own practice, they must petition, and pay, a doctor to grant them “prescriptive authority” — to essentially keep an eye on their work and, in some cases, to be held liable for it. Doctors say this is as it should be. Nurse practitioners and their allies say doctors don't want the competition and charge them enough to run them out of business. “It borders on an immoral situation,” says state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center.

TMA Supports HPV Vaccine For Boys

The Texas Medical Association's leadership body voted this weekend to support vaccinating not just young girls but young boys for the human papillomavirus. But organization officials were quick to note that the vote did not include making such vaccines mandatory, which Gov. Rick Perry tried to do for Texas schoolgirls in 2007.

WhiteGlove House Call Health nurse practitioner Amy Kappler returns from a visit to an Austin patient.
WhiteGlove House Call Health nurse practitioner Amy Kappler returns from a visit to an Austin patient.

Wealth Care Reform

The anticipated rush on primary care physicians — the likely result of health care reform’s insurance expansion — could drive rich Texans into private medical clubs.

Dr. J. James Rohack, a senior staff cardiologist at Scott & White Clinic in Temple, and the president of the American Medical Association
Dr. J. James Rohack, a senior staff cardiologist at Scott & White Clinic in Temple, and the president of the American Medical Association

What the Doctor Ordered

The Texan at the top of the American Medical Association explains why Texas has so much to gain from the health care overhaul, what effect tort reform has had on the state’s medical costs, and what the political ramifications are for his organization's support of the reform bill.  

A Medicaid Mess

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Texas' senior care industry — still reeling from federal Medicare cuts — may face another financial blow, as the state considers reducing Medicaid provider rates to balance the budget in the face of a $10 billion-plus shortfall.

This Might Hurt

Advocates for vaccination records say a complete registry of shots would help the state navigate major health crises. Opponents say it would jeopardize patient privacy. Lawmakers like the potential cost savings, but they still aren’t sure where they stand.

Family First?

Should Texas medical schools be responsible for relieving the state’s primary care shortage? Advocates for family physicians think so. They want state lawmakers to reward medical schools that groom young doctors for family medicine — and penalize those that don’t.