TMA Legislative News Hotline
Thursday, April 21, 2011
|Gary Floyd, MD|
A big shout out to TMA’s dedicated physicians and lobbyists who stayed up until 4 am this morning to testify before the House Public Health Committee. The committee took up more than 20 bills that ranged from allowing advanced practice nurses to practice independently of a physician, to expanding the sale of raw milk, to allowing physicians and physician assistants and APNs to provide care over the Internet without first doing an in-person exam. Thanks again to:
- Gary Floyd, MD, a Fort Worth pediatrician, executive vice president of medical affairs at John Peter Smith Health Network and member of the TMA Council on Legislation;
- Lloyd Van Winkle, MD, a Castroville family physician and past president of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians;
- Tricia Elliott, MD, director of the family medicine residency program at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston;
- Jeff Jekot, MD, an anesthesiologist from Austin;
- Russell Thomas, DO, an Eagle Lake family physician who formerly served on the Texas Medical Board and currently serves on the National Federation of State Medical Boards;
- Debra Patt, MD, an Austin oncologist;
- Kimberly Avila Edwards, MD, an Austin pediatrician and medical director of the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity at Dell Children’s Medical Center;
- Greg Kronberg, MD, an Austin anesthesiologist and president the Texas Society of Anesthesiologists;
- Sherid Zaafran, MD, a Houston anesthesiologist; and
- Eddie Seade, MD, an Austin orthopedic surgeon.
- Provide recommendations to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to improve health outcomes and patient safety, and reduce the incidence of potentially preventable hospitalizations and readmissions;
- Direct the state to test new payment and delivery systems that provide incentives to physicians and hospitals to develop more coordinated, evidence-driven, cost-effective care;
- Tie a portion of Medicaid HMO premiums to improved health outcomes and quality; and
- Implement copayments in Medicaid to reduce unnecessary emergency department use.
- Physicians would have an equal say and vote in a collaborative arrangement’s governing board.
- Physicians would have due process protections and the ability to participate in more than one collaborative arrangement in their community.
- The bill protects Texas’ ban on the corporate practice of medicine.
|Rep. Lois Kolkhorst|
TMB reform bills: SB 190 and SB 191 by Senator Nelson were approved by the Senate. Both bills now go to the House Public Health Committee. SB 190 would allow physicians to tape the proceedings of a Texas Medical Board (TMB) informal settlement conference, which eliminates the truly anonymous complaints. It would provide a physician notice if an insurance company files a complaint. It would prohibit the granting of a license to an applicant who has had a medical license suspended or revoked by another state or country (originally, the bill named only the country of Canada). SB 191 would bind TMB to the ruling of an administrative law judge in a proceeding supervised by the State Office of Administrative Hearings. SB 227 by Senator Nelson was also passed by the Senate. It now needs to be referred to a committee in the House. SB 277 would provide discretion for TMB to waive a fine in lieu of a remedial action plan for a minor administrative violation.
Health insurance: SB 822 by Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) was passed by the Senate. Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton), will sponsor the legislation in the House. The measure now goes to the House Insurance Committee for consideration. It would allow physicians who work in an academic setting to treat patients as an “in-network” physician for claims purposes while their applications for credentialing and health plan network participation are being processed.
HB 1405 by Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo) has passed the House and now goes to the Senate State Affairs Committee. The legislation would require plans that utilize a formulary to continue prescription benefits until the next renewal period if the formulary changes in the middle of the plan year. More importantly, HB 1405 would allow patients with individual coverage the same appeal rights as patients with small- or large-group health coverage. This means that a refusal or denial of a prescription drug by the health plan or pharmacy benefit manager would be considered an adverse determination and subject to an independent review if the physician has determined the drug is medically necessary.
Graduate medical education: HB 2908 by Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas) passed the House on second reading today. The bill requires the Higher Education Coordinating Board to assess the number of graduate medical education (GME) slots in the state and whether this number meets the national standards relating to the ratio of GME slots to medical student slots, to make sure the state is maximizing its investment in medical education.
Obesity prevention: HB 127 by Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) is on the House Local and Consent Calendar today. The legislation would limit the availability of sugary drinks on public school campuses.
TMA ON THE MOVE
|Stanley Wang, MD|
- Stanley Wang, MD, an Austin cardiologist and director of legislative affairs for Austin Heart Hospital. He also is a vice chair of the TMA Political Action Committee Board of Directors. Dr. Wang is newly appointed to the board.
- George Willeford III, MD, an Austin gastroenterologist and founding partner of Austin Gastroenterology. He was reappointed.
- Irvin Zeitler, DO, a family physician from San Angelo and vice president of medical affairs at Shannon Medical Center. Dr. Zeitler was reappointed to the board and will continue to be the presiding officer.
The physician of the day at the capitol is James P. McCurdy, MD, of Marble Falls. Dr. McCurdy has practiced family medicine for 29 years. He graduated from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1979. Dr. McCurdy is a member of TMA and the Burnet-Lampasas County Medical Society.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Needed in Austin: patient advocates. Join hundreds of your colleagues and make a difference in legislation affecting you and your patients. Sign up now to attend First Tuesdays at the Capitol on May 3. Register today.
Listen to ReachMD XM 160: Sidney Ontai, MD, MBA, a Plainview, family physician and TMA physician is the first featured doctor in a new national radio franchise premiering this week. ReachMD, an award-winning network for professional medical news, information, and continuing medical education, premieres the new programming series “Voices From American Medicine.” The series features “physicians on the frontlines of medicine discussing their personal stories of triumph, tragedy, humanitarianism and innovation.” “Voices From American Medicine” is produced in cooperation with TMA and other medical associations and societies from across America.
WHAT WE'RE READING
Raw milk under scrutiny after North Texas illnesses (Dallas WFAA [ABC] 8)
Texas Tribune: El Paso Hospitals May Be Allowed to Hire Docs (El Paso KVIA [ABC] 7)
A rainy-day fight? (Houston Chronicle)
The good tax: We favor hiking the levy on cigarettes and banning workplace smoking. It's past time (Houston Chronicle)