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#TakeBackDay this Saturday October 24th

The DEA’s Take Back Day events provide an opportunity for Americans to prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. Encourage the gathering of unused, unwanted, or expired prescription drugs to dispose of safely during the upcoming event.

When: Saturday, October 24, 2020 – 10 AM to 2 PM

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Input Needed for Development of Utilization Review Agent Plan-Based Audit by Nov 3rd

Input Needed for Development of Utilization Review Agent Plan-Based Audit by Nov 3

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DWC Asks for Input on URA Plan-Based Audit

DWC is asking for input on the development of a Utilization Review Agent (URA) Plan-Based Audit. The audit will evaluate the reasonableness of medical necessity decisions and the professional certification of the URA peer reviewer. 

More information is on the TDI website.

CDC & HHS Request for Comment Management of Acute and Chronic Pain

CDC & HHS Request for Comment Management of Acute and Chronic Pain

It is vitally important for the members of the Texas Pain Society to submit comments to CDC & HHS by June 16, 2020.

You can use the TPS template letter here

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the opening of a docket to obtain comment concerning perspectives on and experiences with pain and pain management, including but not limited to the benefits and harms of opioid use, from patients with acute or chronic pain, patients' family members and/or caregivers, and health care providers who care for patients with pain or conditions that can complicate pain management (e.g., opioid use disorder or overdose)—hereafter called “stakeholders.” CDC will use these comments to inform its understanding of stakeholders' values and preferences related to pain and pain management options.

2020 Novitas Explore Medicare Education Symposiums

When: May 6 - 7, 2020

Where: Online

Register: Click Here

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DWC Issues Memo on New Telehealth Services

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New Telehealth Services Available

CMS has issued a new list of telemedicine and telehealth services that can be reimbursed through Medicare during the federally-declared Public Health Emergency for COVID-19. The complete list of covered services is available on the DWC telemedicine page.

Commissioner Brown has issued this memo on the changes.

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Commissioner's Bulletin on COVID-19

DWC news

DWC Issues Bulletin Suspending Certain Provisions and Rules Due to COVID-19

Commissioner Brown has issued a new bulletin on COVID-19 as it relates to the Texas workers' compensation system. Here are some of the items covered in the new bulletin:

  • work search compliance standards for supplemental income benefits;
  • testing, training, application, and recertification requirements for designated doctors; and
  • required medical exams.

View the full bulletin on the TDI website.

DWC Operations Update in Response to COVID-19

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DWC Operations Update in Response to COVID-19

Commissioner Brown sends an update to system participants about changes in DWC’s operations in response to COVID-19. Read more at

Health Care Professionals and Facilities, Including Abortion Providers, Must Immediately Stop All Medically Unnecessary Surgeries and Procedures to Preserve Resources to Fight COVID-19 Pandemic

Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton


March 23, 2020

Health Care Professionals and Facilities, Including Abortion Providers,

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DEA Okays Telehealth to Prescribe Opioids Amid COVID-19 Emergency

The move to telehealth will make it easier for providers to prescribe an opioid or other controlled substance during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

telehealth prescribing of controlled substances

March 18, 2020 - Telemedicine has found yet another key purpose during the coronavirus public health emergency: the prescribing of controlled substances, such as opioids.

Per new clarification from the US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), healthcare professionals can now prescribe a controlled substance to a patient using telehealth technology.

This announcement comes in the wake of the public health emergency declared by HHS Secretary Alex Azar on January 31, 2020.

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TMB Waiver for Chronic Pain Patients Granted by Governor Abbott

Texas Medical Board Press Release


March 19, 2020

Media contact: Jarrett Schneider, 512-305-7018

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Telemedicine for Workers' Compensation

Telemedicine for Worker’s Compensation

Telehealth is a great tool in battling the spread of infections. Texas workers’ compensation allows for billing and reimbursement of certain telemedicine and telehealth services in place of regular on-site medical care. Ask your doctor about services they might provide.

Learn more on the TDI website.

TMB Responding to Gov. Abbott's State Disaster Declaration

Texas Medical Board Press Release


March 14, 2020
Media contact: Jarrett Schneider, 512-305-7018

Customer service: 512-305-7030 or 800-248-4062

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New Release on Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999–2018

This is the National Center for Health Statistics/CDC/HHS logo

NCHS Data Brief No. 356, January 2020

PDF Versionpdf icon (423 KB)

Holly Hedegaard, M.D., Arialdi M. Miniño, M.P.H., and Margaret Warner, Ph.D.

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John Zerwas, MD, Honored for Service as Texas Lawmaker


The American Medical Association on Tuesday awarded former Texas State Rep. John Zerwas, MD, its Dr. Nathan Award for Outstanding Government Service.

Dr. Zerwas, an anesthesiologist from Richmond, served in the Texas House of Representatives from 2007 to 2019. He stepped down in September to become The University of Texas System’s new executive vice chancellor for health affairs.

“A physician, an advocate, and a citizen-legislator, Dr. Zerwas has served the citizens and patients of Texas with distinction,” AMA Board Chair Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, said in a statement. “As a legislator, he stood on principle, and put science and evidence first when fighting for public health, his constituents, and the people of Texas. For his outstanding work and leadership, the AMA is pleased to present Dr. John M. Zerwas with the Nathan Davis Award.”


Insurance Carrier Scorecards Now Online

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Insurance Carrier Scorecards Now Online

Workers' compensation system and individual insurance carrier scorecards with year-to-date performance information can now be viewed online. The scorecards provide summary information related to complaints, timely reporting and payment of initial temporary income benefits, and timely reporting of medical bills and reconsideration medical bills.

The scorecard is on the TDI website.

DSHS Public Health Agency Action Plan to Address Substance Use in Texas, 2020-2022

Agency Action Plan to Address Substance Use

Men and women suffering with pain trapped inside pill capsules.

Substance use is a complex problem with devastating and lasting effects across the lifespan. It strains our families, it ravages our communities, and threatens the well-being of our entire state. While opioids are still cause for concern, recent trends on the use of methamphetamines, marijuana, other illicit drugs, and alcohol cannot be ignored.

As the state agency entrusted with improving the health, safety, and well-being of Texas, DSHS is committed to addressing substance use.


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Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program

hrsa health workforce

Addiction Medicine Fellowship (AMF) Program

Fiscal Year 2020 Application Due Date: February 25, 2020

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is accepting applications for the fiscal year 2020 Addiction Medicine Fellowship (AMF) Program. The application cycle closes on February 25, 2020.

Please note that modifications have been made to the original Notice of Funding Opportunity. Download the latest version before applying.

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Upcoming Designated Doctor Certification Training


Register for February Designated Doctor Training

Registration is open for Designated Doctor and Maximum Medical Improvement/Impairment Rating (MMI/IR) Required Certification Training for new and re-certifying doctors. Course dates:

February 14, 2020 - February 15, 2020

Training is from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton Austin Airport Hotel.

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Texas Pain Society Emeritus Board Member, C.M. Schade, MD, PhD, PE Elected Presiding Officer of the Prescription Monitoring Program Advisory Committee.

Texas Pain Society Emeritus Board Member, C.M. Schade, MD, PhD, PE 

Elected Presiding Officer of the Prescription Monitoring Program Advisory Committee.

January 15, 2020

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