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Monday, September 22, 2008

TEXAS PHYSICIANS TESTIFY ON MEDICAID, CONTROLLED DRUG TRACKING

Because it meets in formal session for only 140 days every other year, the Texas Legislature accomplishes a lot of important work – especially with complex issues – through committee hearings and investigations between sessions. TMA stood strongly for physicians and patients at two such hearings last week:
  • San Antonio pulmonologist John Holcomb, MD, represented TMA at a joint hearing of the Senate Finance and Health and Human Services committees. Dr. Holcomb is chair of TMA’s Select Committee on Medicaid, CHIP, and the Uninsured, which has been doing extensive work of its own lately. He thanked lawmakers for the historic 25- and 10-percent increases they approved last year in physicians’ payments for children’s and adults’ services in the Medicaid program, respectively. But Dr. Holcomb told legislators that TMA continues to seek Medicare parity for Medicaid payments as well as parity among payments for children’s and adults’ services in Medicaid. At that hearing, Medicaid officials said the program is on track to go over budget by $1.2 billion this fiscal year (PDF).
  • Austin anesthesiologist Cathy Scholl, MD, and Fort Worth emergency medicine specialist Jim Cox, MD, testified for TMA at the House Public Health Subcommittee on Access to Controlled Substances. They outlined physicians’ concerns with the state’s new program to collect more information from prescriptions for Schedule II-V controlled substances.

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