The state's health commissioner is blasting the Obama administration's argument that it can't renew a joint state-federal health program because Republican lawmakers have banned Planned Parenthood from participating in it.
In an uncharacteristically angry letter sent to Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Tom Suehs argues that if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) won't let Texas exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women's Health Program, "then no state can ever confidently apply policies and requirements that advance important and legitimate state interests to regulate providers' participation in Medicaid."
Two of the Legislature's top public health leaders are defending Republican lawmakers’ pledge to end the entire Women's Health Program rather than allow Planned Parenthood to participate. The joint state-federal reproductive health program provides contraception and cancer screenings — but not abortions — to 130,000 poor Texans, many of them at Planned Parenthood clinics.
"I guess we all need to see what it looks like when we don’t have it, and then we may need to regroup at that point," said state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, the chairwoman of the House Public Health Committee. "If we lose the Women’s Health Program, obviously, it’s got to be the top of our list in 2013 to look at and open up the conversation again and move forward because it is a safety net for so many women."
Scientists can spend years working on problems that at first may seem esoteric and rather pointless. For example, there's a scientist in Arizona who's trying to find a way to measure the age of wild mosquitoes.
As weird as that sounds, the work is important for what it will tell scientists about the natural history of mosquitoes. It also could have major implications for human health.
A high-ranking official at the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation has resigned amid fallout from the charity's move, since reversed, to halt funding for breast cancer screening by Planned Parenthood.
Karen Handel, a former Republican candidate for governor in Georgia, resigned her job, effective immediately, as senior vice president for public policy. The Associated Press first reported the move. The Komen foundation confirmed the report in an email to Shots.
After days of controversy, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation has said it will continue funding for Planned Parenthood.
Earlier this week, the foundation moved to discontinue funding of breast cancer screening by Planned Parenthood. The Associated Press reported the change came because of a new Komen policy forbidding grants to organizations under official investigation.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure's decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood — which has performed breast cancer screenings and mammograms with Komen grants for the last five years — is hitting home for clinics in Dallas, Austin and Waco.
Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region reports that its six-year partnership with Dallas-based Komen has performed 720 clinical breast exams and risk assessments for poor women under the age of 40. Over the last three years, the North Texas Planned Parenthood chapter in Dallas has used Komen dollars to provide about 580 mammograms to poor women. And in Waco, Planned Parenthood of Central Texas has relied heavily on Komen funds to screen, diagnose and treat women across 10 counties. In 2010, the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program, in conjunction with Komen funding, provided 609 Central Texas women with mammograms, 292 with diagnostic services and 329 with cervical cancer screenings. Twenty-four Medicaid-eligible women with breast or cervical cancer received treatment.
The Dallas-based breast cancer prevention group Susan G. Komen for the Cure has halted its financial support of Planned Parenthood, yet another blow to the family planning organization that provides abortions in some of its clinics.
Planned Parenthood alleges that Komen — which was founded in 1982 by Nancy Goodman Brinker, a former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary under George W. Bush, to honor her deceased sister — succumbed to rising political pressure.
"Our greatest desire is for Komen to reconsider this policy and recommit to the partnership on which so many women count," Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement posted on the organization's website.
Under a federal determination released today, insurers in Texas will have to abide by spending rules set forth in President Obama’s signature health care reform package.
One of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act stipulates that insurers must spend 80% of customers’ premium dollars on medical care, and not overhead costs. Any overhead spending over 20%, and insurance companies would be required to issue rebates to their customers.
To what does Atlantic Cities attribute the Loos’ success? A minimal, “defense-first design” that puts a spigot for washing up outside; sturdy, reinforced doors; and bars at the top and bottom of the structure.
A ruling in a New York federal court is requiring the Social Security Administration to restore benefits to eligible people who may have a warrant out for their arrest.
According to the National Senior Citizens Law Center, an advocacy group for low-income seniors, as many as 100,000 people could benefit from the ruling in Clark v. Astrue that was issued earlier this month. The government had denied Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Supplemental Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits to people with outstanding warrants for alleged parole or probation violations.
Austin Community College students and staff who make a New Year’s resolution to stop smoking will have an added incentive when they head back to school: ACC’s smoke-free policy takes effect on January 2.
The policy was adopted by the ACC board in October and bans smoking anywhere on college grounds or inside ACC-owned vehicles. Signs reminding people about the new policy will be set up over the winter break.
"Recently we looked at our therapy rates and found out that in Texas, for some reason, we’re paying substantially higher than other states.”
Physical, occupational, and speech therapy services would all be affected, including both out-patient and in-home care. Mary Hennigan with the Texas Occupational Therapy Association says it should come as no surprise that those types of treatment are expensive.
Tomorrow is World AIDS Day. Since 1988, December 1st has been observed around the globe as a day to draw attention to the continuing battle against HIV and AIDS, as well as to those who've lost that battle.
According to Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services, about 200 people contract HIV in Central Texas each year. There are a handful of events around Austin Thursday, giving people a chance to learn about the struggles of living with HIV and also to honor those who have died of AIDS.
The University of Texas is committing $75 million to kick start the new Institute for Applied Cancer Science, which will focus on speeding up the discovery and delivery of effective cancer drugs at a time when pharmaceutical companies have scaled back research and development.
Gov. Rick Perry, taking a break from his busy pursuit of the GOP presidential nomination, was on hand for the announcement at the south campus of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, site of the new facility, in Houston on Monday. Perry said the institute would help Texas cement its position as a leader in cancer research and scientific innovation.
“I believe this state represents a unique crossroads, a place where academic research can come together with a very vibrant private sector to tap into this steadily growing biosciences sector. We’re just scratching the surface of its potential,” Perry said. “We’re creating a culture that will help ensure that great ideas that are born in Texas will stay in Texas, from the laboratory to the marketplace, and then we will export them around the world.”
The Supreme Court has added a case challenging the constitutionality of the provision of last year's health overhaul requiring nearly every American to have health insurance beginning in the year 2014 to the list of cases it will hear this term.
This morning on KUT, we reported on the challenges people with autism face when trying to find gainful employment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports increases in the prevalence of autism. Meanwhile, the state legislature slashed spending that would help people afflicted by the disorder.
Five obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) groups in the greater Austin-area hope to reduce costs and improve their quality of care by merging into a single network called Central Texas OB/GYN Associates or CTOA for short.
Medicare payments to doctors are scheduled to be slashed by almost 30 percent in January unless Congress does something to stop that from happening. A new poll of Texas doctors shows that half of them would stop taking Medicare patients if the cuts take effect.
Medicare is a federal program that provides health insurance to about 47 million people over the age of 65. It also costs taxpayers $452 billion a year.
“Our Medicare patients are like family to us, but most doctors in Texas run small businesses,” former Texas Medical Association (TMA) president Sue Bailey told KUT News. “We have employees to pay. We have rents and utilities to pay just like any small business.”
A disease transmitted by blood sucking parasites may be more common in Texas than scientists previously thought. New research released by the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin suggests suggest South Texas in particular is an area of high risk for Chagas infection.
The tropical parasite triatomine is known commonly as the "kissing bug" because it loves biting faces. Here’s a of one of the bugs to give a sense of scale.
Texas joined 25 other states today in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the the health care overhaul championed by President Obama is unconstitutional. The U.S. Department of Justice filed its own appeal of a lower court ruling, arguing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act should stand as is. The showdown could provide an up-or-down vote on the law in the middle of the 2012 campaign season.
The filling from the 26 states targets three core provisions of the act:
More than two out of five children with cancer in Texas rely on Medicaid for health care, according to an analysis of Medicaid in Texas by Families USA, a non-profit organization that advocates for affordable health care. The report comes as a showdown looms in Washington over how to manage costs of the chronically underfunded program.
Services for sexual assault victims are significantly lacking in Texas, according to a new survey out of the UT-Austin.
The study said, for example, that emergency room wait times for sex assault victims are so long that they often leave before receiving treatment and reporting the assault.
"Sexual assault crimes persist as a social problem in Texas and the need to propel this issue to the public's attention is pressing," the study's lead investigator, Dr. Noël Busch-Armendariz said in a press release.