Organized medicine’s voice rang out at the third installment of TMA’s First Tuesdays at the Capitol this year. More than 250 physicians, residents, students, and TMA Alliance members marched to the Capitol and urged lawmakers to support TMA’s 2015 legislative agenda. Once again, many thanks to those doctors who testified — some into the early morning hours — for medicine before House and Senate committees:
- Portland radiologist Isabel Menendez, MD, testified at the House Insurance Committee against House Bill 3133, which would remove the $1,000 threshold for mediation on out-of-network bills from facility-based physicians.
- Scott Holliday, DO, an anesthesiologist from Dallas, testified at that same hearing against House Bill 1638, which prohibits physicians from balance billing in emergency care situations
- Also at the House Insurance Committee, Austin psychiatrist Thomas Kim, MD, testified in support of House Bill 2348 by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo), which would stop health plans from discriminating against physicians who provide telephone consultation services for patients. Dr. Kim, a member of TMA’s Council on Health Service Organizations, also asked the committee to oppose House Bill 2172 by Representative Smithee, which says that a patient-physician relationship may be established via “telemedicine medical services.”
- Sara Austin, MD, an Austin neurologist, asked Insurance Committee members to support House Bill 1514 by Rep. J.D. Sheffield, DO (R-Gatesville), which requires labeling on identification cards issued for patients covered under the Affordable Care Act insurance exchange. Dr. Austin also testified against House Bill 3102, which would require any health care practitioner or facility to disclose in writing to the patient the price that will be accepted as payment in full for any health care service at least three business days before providing that service (other than emergency care) or forfeit any amount for unanticipated additional services provided.
- Heather Aguirre, DO, a family medicine resident from Corpus Christi, testified in the House Public Health Committee against House Bill 1263, which would allow physical therapists to treat patients without a physician’s referral.