TMA Delegates Establish Legislative Priorities for 2013

Wading through a lengthy handbook of reports and resolutions, the House of Delegates set Smoke-Free Texas, more residency slots, and restored funding for the Texas Physician Education Loan Repayment Program and the Statewide Preceptorship Program as priorities for the 2013 legislative session. Among the other highlights, the house:

  • Asked for restoration of funding for the state family planning program and Texas Women’s Health Program;
  • After extensive debate, voted to study whether general hospitals in urban counties should have a physician on site to respond to emergencies 24 hours per day, seven days per week;
  • Said only licensed physicians or their appropriately supervised physician assistants or advanced practice nurses should conduct athletics-participation physicals for Texas schoolchildren;
  • Set policy to make Medicare’s Value-Based Purchasing Program fair and financially sound;
  • Adopted a new plan to help physicians who belong to inactive county medical societies;
  • Supported efforts to prevent elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks of gestation;
  • Said TMA should work to require allied health professionals to clearly display proper identification;
  • Called for new regulations against, and education about, the dangers of distracted driving;
  • Said the state should use only scientifically accurate information in the brochure physicians must give to all patients requesting an abortion, and lawmakers should reduce the loss-of-license penalty for physicians who do not comply with the new abortion-sonogram law; and
  • Adopted strong new policy to protect clinical training opportunities for Texas medical students.
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