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Monday, January 14, 2013

TMA AND THA BOARDS FOCUS ON MEDICAID

Led by TMA Board of Trustees Chair Tom Garcia, MD, members of our board met with board members from the Texas Hospital Association (THA) to discuss issues both organizations face during the 83rd Texas Legislature. Both agreed on the need for greater collaboration between physicians and hospitals in the face of significant changes to the health care environment. Much of the discussion focused on the state budget and Medicaid. Although the state is in a significantly better financial position than last session, the expected emergency appropriation of $4.5 billion in additional Medicaid spending will make it challenging to secure additional dollars during the session. Other joint Medicaid priorities include reversing the dual-eligible cut, 1115 waiver implementation, and difficulties with the Office of the Inspector General. We spoke about Medicaid expansion and the need to identify what the legislature could do to provide better coverage and access to this patient population. The groups also discussed the importance of identifying resources to fund graduate medical education and agreed that TMA and THA need to work with the medical schools to find opportunities to grow residency slots. Finally, the two boards discussed numerous health insurance issues, ranging from pricing transparency to silent PPOs to standardizing preauthorization requirements. We agreed to keep in close contact during the session and to reconvene after the completion of bill filing in March. The TMA team also included President Michael E. Speer, MD; President-Elect Steve Brotherton, MD; Immediate Past President Bruce Malone, MD; House Speaker Cliff Moy, MD, and Vice Speaker Susan Strate, MD; and board members Drs. Carlos Cardenas, Lewis Foxhall, David Henkes, Austin King, and Dan McCoy.

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