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Monday, June 8, 2009

LAWMAKERS FOLLOWED DOCTOR'S ORDERS: SESSION A SUCCESS FOR PHYSICIANS AND PATIENTS

The strange 81st session of the Texas Legislature ended with some very good news for physicians and patients. “Thanks to patients’ champions in the House and Senate, the 2009 Texas Legislature passed bills to reform health insurance, increase access to health care, preserve the patient-physician relationship, and improve the health of all Texans,” Dr. Fleming said. Lawmakers:
  • Preserved Texas’ landmark 2003 medical liability reforms (pending Governor Perry’s veto of HB 3485);
  • Increased funding for graduate medical education in Texas;
  • Required insurers to use accurate data and valid, recognized standards when ranking or tiering physicians in their networks;
  • Expanded efforts to improve the use and reliability of health information technology in Medicaid and the health care system;
  • Funded expansions of community-based obesity prevention programs;
  • Directed the state to evaluate the adequacy of insurers’ physician networks in local markets to reduce the chances of out-of-network services and unexpected out-of-pocket costs for patients;
  • Expanded the Texas physician loan repayment program;
  • Protected funding to enhance cancer prevention and research programs in Texas;
  • Enhanced funding for local mental health crisis intervention; and
  • Created a lifelong immunization registry in Texas.

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