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Home   Hot Topics   Governmental Affairs   Practice Management   Membership   Legal Information May 19, 2011
TMA Weekly Headlines

Perry signs physicians' bill into law
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Medical Center of Dimmitt is fully staffed, and for Skylar Bizzell and three other doctors at the Castro County facility this is a big weight off their shoulders because it is not easy for them to recruit physicians. But Bizzell was thrilled to hear the news that Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill authored by Sen. Robert Duncan that allows rural hospitals like those in Ochiltree County to hire their own physicians. "This removes one of the big barriers we have faced over the years," Bizzell said. "Here at our hospital the last time we had a vacancy it took us more than a year to find a doctor. Big city hospitals don't take that long." More

Texas medical industry watches Austin for possible Medicaid cuts
KUHF-FM, May 16, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Texas Medical Association held its annual meeting this past weekend in Houston. More than 1,000 physicians from all over the state gathered for continuing education and updates on health policy. As KUHF Health Science and Technology reporter Carrie Feibel found, the doctors are keeping an anxious eye on the budget process in Austin. More

Nursing homes saved from cuts
San Antonio Express-News, May 16, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
Legislative budget negotiators agreed on spending in many key areas except education, prompting Senate Finance Committee Chairman Steve Ogden to suggest there could be a special session this summer focusing on public schools and universities. The incomplete budget agreement would protect nursing homes from additional cuts in Medicaid reimbursement rates in the next two years, said Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond. That would address concerns that big cuts backed earlier by the House would mean many nursing home closures. More

House passes bill on indigent care for immigrants
Texas Tribune, May 16, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A contentious measure that would allow Texas counties to consider the income of a legal immigrant's sponsor when determining if the immigrant is eligible for indigent health care passed the House. Senate Bill 420, by state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, also would allow counties to take into consideration the income of a sponsor's spouse when the applicant requested indigent care. More

Trauma center chiefs beg for usual funding
Houston Chronicle, May 16, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Warning that proposed state cuts will result in the diversion and deaths of urgent-care patients, leaders of the Houston area's three Level 1 trauma centers pleaded last week for the Texas Legislature to tap unused funding specifically collected for their departments. The officials from Memorial Hermann, Ben Taub and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston came together to say the Legislature's proposal to allot trauma centers nearly 20 percent less than usual from the state's dedicated fund will have tragic consequences. More
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Senate votes $4 billion dollars from Rainy Day Fund for deficit
Texas Tribune, May 16, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Texas Senate approved a $3.97 billion draw on the state's Rainy Day Fund to cover a deficit of the same size in the current budget, but not before rejecting efforts to add on a larger amount to help balance the 2012-13 budget. Sen. Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, matched the size of the withdrawal to the size of the current deficit. But he asked the Senate to use more of the fund than the House used, casting aside other revenue sources that were in that chamber's mix. If that prevails, it would mean a bigger draw on the Rainy Day Fund and would make an additional $855.9 million available for the next budget. More

Doctors, groups clash over asking patients about firearms
USA Today, May 13, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The National Rifle Association and other pro-gun interest groups argue that doctors violate patients' Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms by inquiring about gun ownership. Doctors say they ask only because of safety concerns. Prohibiting them from asking about guns likely violates the First Amendment, at least one constitutional law expert says. Two weeks ago, the Florida Legislature became the first to pass such legislation. More

Electronic medical records vulnerable
The Associated Press via Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, May 16, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
The nation's push to computerize medical records has failed to fully address longstanding security gaps that expose patients' most sensitive information to hackers and snoops, government investigators warn. Two reports released by the inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department find that the drive to connect hospitals and doctors so they can share patient data electronically is being layered on a system that already has glaring privacy problems. Connecting it up could open new pathways for hackers, investigators say. More

Opinion: Swallow bitter pill this time
Houston Chronicle, May 16, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
It may be a "poison pill." And "nothing short of political blackmail," as Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards proclaimed recently at a rally in Austin. There's no doubt it's fiscally irresponsible. And the offending provisions in an otherwise good bill are truly a repugnant example of how blind ideology can run roughshod over good policy and the interests of women. More

Ryan to sharpen Medicare attack
Politico, May 16, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is sharpening his attack on President Barack Obama's Medicare board as a plan "to give government the power to deny care to seniors," in an attempt to retool Republicans' Medicare message. In an address at the Economic Club of Chicago, the Wisconsin Republican plans to argue that Obama and the rest of Washington are "really arguing over who to hurt and how best to manage the decline of our nation," according to advance excerpts of his speech. More

Overshadowed, medical schools face drastic reductions
Texas Tribune, May 18, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Texas medical schools feel like the scorned children of the state's education budget. Lost amid the pleas of parents to restore funding for public education, and the demands of college students to preserve financial aid, the state's health care institutions say few seem to understand the drastic situation they face. At a time when Texas is grappling with a dire — and growing — physician shortfall, medical schools say they won't be able to fully fund the roughly 5,600 students currently enrolled, and could be forced to curb new admissions next year. More

Environmental group joins petition against Las Brisas permit
Corpus Christi Caller-Times, May 12, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More environmental groups have joined the court battle to block the Las Brisas Energy Center air permit. Attorneys for the Environmental Defense Fund and the Texas Clean Air Cities Coalition filed a joint petition in Travis County District Court for a judge to review the permit. More

Parents would 'opt-in' before state keeps child's blood indefinitely
Austin American Statesman, May 17, 2011    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Legislation that appears headed to passage would require the consent of Texas parents before the state could store a baby's blood sample indefinitely for possible research use. A revised version of House Bill 411, called a committee substitute, was approved on a 5-1 vote this morning by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and goes to the full Senate. More

The articles in The Texas Medical Association Weekly Headlines are chosen from a variety of sources, Texas and national, to reflect media coverage of the medical profession and health care issues. Publication of any article does not imply that TMA has endorsed or supports its contents.
TMA Weekly Headlines
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