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Monday, April 11, 2011


More than 350 physicians, alliance members, and medical students from across the state participated in First Tuesdays at the Capitol. They met with their lawmakers to discuss the impact of the deep state budget cuts on local health care services for Texas’ seniors, children, and persons with disabilities and mental illnesses. They also urged legislators to support a statewide smoking ban, prevent efforts by nonphysician practitioners to expand their scope of practice, and support funding for graduate medical education and the physician loan repayment program. This was just the most visible component of TMA’s grassroots lobbying at the capitol last week. Consider also:

  • During the First Tuesdays event, TMA President Susan Rudd Bailey, MD, and TMA Trustee Tom Garcia, MD, joined Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Senator Nelson, and cycling champion Lance Armstrong at a news conference calling on legislators to support cancer research and prevention in Texas.
  • Sara Austin, MD, a member of TMA’s Council on Legislation, testified in support of SB 1661 by Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock). This bill establishes protections for physicians’ clinical autonomy and gives to the physician board of directors of nonprofit health care corporations (501[a]s) the responsibility for all policies related to clinical care. It also strengthens the role of TMB in supervising the activities of 501(a)s.
  • John Holcomb, MD, a member of TMA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Medicaid and the Uninsured, testified before the House Public Health Committee when it took up more than a dozen bills to cut the cost of Medicaid services. The committee heard bills that ranged from charging Medicaid patients a copay and making Medicaid the payer of last resort, to forcing federally qualified health care clinics and other community clinics to stay open until 10 pm to treat patients.
  • Janet Realini, MD, MPH, a San Antonio family physician, testified before committees in both chambers on five bills that would extend the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.


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