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Monday, May 6, 2013


Three weeks remain in the 2013 Texas Legislature. Lots can happen — some of it good — in those 21 days. But I’ll stick my neck out today and venture that medicine will come out of the session as one of the big winners. Here’s why. We laid out our agenda in a comprehensive, straightforward way well before the session began. We’ve flooded the halls with hundreds of white coats on three — this week makes four — First Tuesdays at the Capitol. Dozens of practicing physicians have shown up to testify before House and Senate committees and to lobby their own legislators. So:
  • Both Senate and House versions of the next state budget have significantly more money for more residency slots, more mental health services, and more women’s health services.
  • Our delegated practice bill — Senate Bill 406 — has passed the Senate, won approval from the House Public Health Committee, and is waiting for debate on the House floor.
  • Our bill to improve due process protections for physicians accused of Medicaid fraud — Senate Bill 1803 — passed the Senate and had a House committee hearing.
  • Our red-tape cutters — including standard prior authorization forms and simplified renewal of your state controlled substances permit — have all made significant progress in both chambers.
  • And House Bill 620, which would finally bring some regulation to silent PPOs, is scheduled for House debate on Tuesday. Please contact your representative today and ask for a “YES” vote.
Thanks to last week’s physician witnesses for TMA: John Holcomb, MD, of San Antonio testified for our Medicaid fraud bill. And Eugene Toy, MD, of Houston testified for a bill that aims to improve the quality of care and birth outcomes for pregnant women and their babies.


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