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Dear TCEP Member:

Over the past 12 months, I have learned that elections matter, relationships influence legislation, and that it is critical for emergency physicians to engage in the legislative process. As I entered this legislative session, one thing stood at the forefront of my mind: to protect the free and independent practice of emergency medicine, a line that sometimes seems to get pushed further and further away from us. Under the leadership of our executive board, government relations committee, and lobbyists, TCEP has done a remarkable job of protecting emergency physicians in the current circumstances. It is incumbent upon emergency physicians to be active participants in the quest for solutions and to always remain strong advocates for their patients.

Our team educated policymakers and staff on the unique nature of emergency medicine, protected the tort reform language of 2003, blocked increased documentation burden around opioid prescriptions, supported increased oversight of health plans’ network adequacy and reimbursement practices, supported improvements in physicians’ ability to care for patients with mental health emergencies, opposed independent practice for APRN’s, and negotiated protections for patients and physicians with the prohibition of balance billing.

With the session behind us, we are currently engaged in the rule making processes that pertain to new laws that have been passed.  For example, in July 2019 TCEP provided written commentary to the Texas Department of Insurance relating to the state’s new balance billing law.

The following outline recaps the bills which were signed into law, and which we will be working on throughout the interim. Bills regarding to:

With Dr. Diana Fite’s and Dr. Arlo Weltge’s recent elections into top positions at the Texas Medical Association, I believe that the 2021 legislative session will be monumental for emergency physicians. We must spend the interim strongly funding our PAC, supporting physician-friendly legislators who are up for election in 2020, and building relationships within the House and the Senate. Your contribution to EMPACT (the Emergency Medicine Political Action Committee of Texas) is greatly appreciated to help the Texas Chapter make a difference for you and all emergency physicians. 

Theresa Q. Tran, M.D., M.B.A.
Chair, TCEP Government Relations Committee