The Texas House of Representatives gave initial approval to two of TMA’s priority immunization bills Friday, both authored by Rep. J.D. Sheffield, DO (R-Gatesville). House Bill 2171 prevents the automatic deletion of an 18-year-old’s immunization records from the ImmTrac state registry, preserving them instead until the person turns age 26. House Bill 2474 would require the state to provide vaccine exemption counts down to the school campus level. Thanks to all the physicians and alliance members who attended our special Last Thursday at the Capitol white-coat lobby day. These physician-witnesses testified last week:
- Austin ophthalmologist Jack Pierce, MD, testified before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in favor of Senate Bill 1718 by Sen. Donna Campbell, MD (R-New Braunfels), which would direct the Texas Medical Board to maintain a registry of physicians and therapeutic optometrists who comanage glaucoma patients. He also spoke against Senate Bill 577 by Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), which would allow optometrists to perform certain surgeries.
- Austin neurologist Sara Austin, MD, testified before the House Public Health Committee, expressing our concern with three medical marijuana bills.
- Ryan Van Ramshorst, MD, a San Antonio pediatrician, testified against two bills by Rep. Allen Fletcher (R-Tomball) that would expand the scope of practice of chiropractors.
- Louis P. Appel, MD, an Austin pediatrician, testified on House Bill 2304 by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo), the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) sunset bill. He asked the House Human Services Committee to delay merging the Texas Department of State Health Services and Texas Department of Family and Protective Services into HHSC until 2019, to streamline Medicaid credentialing, and to cut Medicaid red tape.
- Houston neurologist Kim Monday, MD, testified before the House Public Health Committee Tuesday in support of House Bill 2978 by Rep. Greg Bonnen, MD (R-Friendswood), about the role of neurodiagnostic technicians as part of the medical care team.