In addition to the First Tuesdays crowd, several TMA member physicians came to the Capitol to testify before legislative committees for us. Thanks, first, to Austin pediatrician Kimberly Avila Edwards, MD, who testified before the House Public Health Committee in support of House Bill 465 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) and Rep. J.D. Sheffield, DO (R-Gatesville). The legislation would change ImmTrac, the state’s immunization registry, from an opt-in to an opt-out system. Dr. Avila Edwards sat through a boisterous hearing where most of the misguided opponents to the bill thought it would somehow affect the law on exemptions from required school vaccinations. Short answer: It doesn’t.
- Two days later, TMA Trustee Gary Floyd, MD, of Fort Worth, participated in a panel before the House County Affairs Committee. Dr. Floyd discussed GME funding as well as the Medicaid 1115 waiver and how these dollars should be used to improve patient care at the local level.
- That same day, Donald Murphey, MD, medical director of infectious diseases at Cook Children’s Health Care System in Fort Worth, testified before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in support of Senate Bill 538. The measure, by Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown), aims to improve Texas’ emergency response for infectious disease outbreaks.