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Monday, April 20, 2009

HEALTH PLAN CODE OF CONDUCT BILL EARNS SENATE COMMITTEE HEARING

Charlotte Smith, MD, of Austin testified before the Senate State Affairs Committee for TMA's Health Insurance Code of Conduct Act of 2009 (PDF) — Senate Bill 1257 by Sen. Kip Averitt (R-Waco). The bill is a key part of our Patients’ Right to Know campaign to hold health insurance companies accountable for the promises they make. Other TMA members testified for medicine this week:
  • TMA President-Elect Bill Fleming, MD, testified before the House Public Health Committee for a strong and fair Texas Medical Board to preserve the 2003 health care tort reforms and uphold high ethical and professional standards for physicians. Dr. Fleming provided extensive testimony related to House Bill 3816 by Rep. Fred Brown (R-College Station).
  • Austin psychiatrist Clifford Moy, MD, vice speaker of the TMA House of Delegates, testified for Senate Bill 2243 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), TMA’s bill to enhance the state’s physician loan repayment program. The bill won approval from the Senate Higher Education Committee.
  • Joel Dunnington, MD, professor of radiology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, testified for Senate Bill 544 by Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), the statewide smoking ban bill.
  • TMA President Josie R. Williams, MD, testified for the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) sunset bill — House Bill 2203 by Rep. Carl Isett (R-Lubbock). Dr. Williams told House Insurance Committee members to consider broadening TDI’s authority over abusive business practices used by health insurers. Dr. Williams also testified for House Bill 3120 by Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston), which would help small employers challenge large insurance premium increases.
  • Gary Floyd, MD, a pediatrician from Fort Worth, testified for Senate Bill 532 by Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), which would ensure physicians maintain supervision and accountability of physician assistants and/or advanced practice nurses (APNs) in retail health clinics. Dr. Floyd also testified against two bills that would dangerously expand APNs’ scope of practice.

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