I always use some EVPGram space to thank TMA physician members who give up their time to testify for medicine before House and Senate committees. This group of 10, though, deserves special commendation for staying at the capitol until 4 am for a marathon House Public Health Committee hearing. The committee took up more than 20 bills Thursday night. Our hearty physicians testified against House Bill 708 by Rep. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), HB 915 by Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Center), and HB 1266 by Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), each of which would allow advanced practice nurses (APNs) to practice independently. They testified against HB 2333 by Rep. Rick Hardcastle (R-Vernon), which would allow a physician to diagnose and treat a patient via the Internet without first establishing a relationship in person or doing a physical exam. It also would allow a physician or telemedicine service to use an unlimited number of physician assistants and APNs to provide care to patients via the Internet. They testified against HB 637 by Rep. Craig Eiland (D-Galveston), which would allow any patient direct access to physical therapists without a physician’s referral. And they testified against HB 75 by Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van), which would expand access to unpasteurized, raw milk.
Our late night witnesses were TMA Council on Legislation member Gary Floyd, MD, a Fort Worth pediatrician; Lloyd Van Winkle, MD, a Castroville family physician; Tricia Elliott, MD, director of the family medicine residency program at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; Jeff Jekot, MD, and Greg Kronberg, MD, anesthesiologists from Austin; Russell Thomas, DO, an Eagle Lake family physician; Debra Patt, MD, an Austin oncologist; Kimberly Avila Edwards, MD, an Austin pediatrician; Sherif Zaafran, MD, a Houston anesthesiologist; and Eddie Seade, MD, an Austin orthopedic surgeon. Thanks again to each of you.