April 14, 2019

Vol. 8, No. 15

In this Issue…
Legislative Update
TMLT Seminar Series
Physician Written Articles Needed

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Legislative Update

Key medical legislation continues moving through legislative process


With just under 45 days left in the 86th Legislative Session, here is a snapshot of some of the key bills for medicine and where they stand. 

Senate Bill 21 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), which raises the minimum age to purchase smoking or vape products from 18 to 21 passed the full Senate on Tuesday, April 9. The legislation has moved on to the House and has been referred to the House Public Health Committee.  The companion bill is currently in the House Calendars Committee – House Bill 749 by Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond). 

The House Human Services Committee heard House Bill 4178 by Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), which would significantly overhaul the Medicaid managed care program. This legislation, also known as the Medicaid Efficiency Act, would update the fair hearings process, streamline enrollment and coordination of benefits and simplify the prior authorization process. TMA President, Doug Curran, MD, testified in support of the bill, which is pending in committee. 

The House Insurance Committee heard several important medicine bills supported by TMA, including: House Bill 2582 by Rep. Eddie Lucio, III (D-Brownsville), which would require health plans to advise physicians of price changes for the Department of State Health Services-mandated newborn screening tests and to reimburse physicians for purchasing the tests; House Bill 3058 by Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton), which would prohibit prior authorization for HIV and AIDS prescription drugs and Senate Bill 1742 by Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), which would require health plan directories to clearly identify which physician specialties are in-network at in-network facilities. 

On the End of Life front, TMA opposes two bills, which were left pending in committee: Senate Bill 2089 by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and SB 2129 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe). TMA joins the Conference of Catholic Bishops and other organizations in opposing these bills in an effort to defend the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA). 

A bill strongly supported by TMA passed on third reading in the full House – House Bill 2261 by Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston), which would increase the physician education loan repayment program’s allowable repayment amounts by $5,000 each year, bringing the total amount to $180,000. The bill has moved on to the Senate. Another bill strongly supported by TMA won unanimous approval from the House Public Health Committee – House Bill 1532 by Rep. Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas), which would protect employed physicians’ clinical autonomy and independent medical judgment from hospital administrators’ interference. The bill awaits debate on the House floor. 

On Monday, April 15, a committee substitute for the surprise billing legislation, SB 1264 by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) is eligible to be heard on the Senate floor. TMA has been working with the bill’s authors on the committee substitute. This legislation removes the patient from the surprise billing equation, thus leaving any billing negotiations to be resolved between physicians and health plans.


Please stay tuned to this column for more information and updates from the 86th Session. It’s not too late to get involved. The last First Tuesdays visit to the Capitol is coming up on May 7. To register, visit

For local discussion on this and other legislative advocacy topics, consider joining the BCMS Legislative and Socioeconomics Committee by contacting Mary Nava, chief government affairs officer, at

TMLT Seminar Series

Physician Written Articles Needed

The BCMS Publications Committee is seeking article submissions for San Antonio Medicine magazine in the next few months looking at health issues around topics including public health, corporate medicine and transitional medicine.
Click here to see more coming themes.
BCMS members with an interest in those topics and other areas are encouraged to submit articles for consideration. Articles can be informative or advocative in nature, but not self-promotional.


San Antonio Medicine relies on its member doctors for most of its monthly content. Please consider taking advantage of this valuable resource and benefit to members. Articles are due at least one month in advance of the publication date. There is no length requirement, but 500 to 1,000 words is about average.


If you are interested in writing an article, have something to submit or have any questions, please contact Mike Thomas, BCMS Director of Communications, at All submissions must be approved by the Publications Committee which meets on the first Tuesday of every month in the BCMS building at 4334 N. Loop 1604 W., Ste. 200.

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Circle of Friends Gold Sponsors




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The society continues its pledge to you and only will involve itself in

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