News from ACOG Annual Clinic Meeting--District XI is very proud that our Immediate Past Chair, John C. Jennings, MD was elected at the Congress Annual Business Meeting on May 4 to serve as ACOG's Vice President for 2011-12.
And more good news! Congratulations to Luke A. Newton, MD, outgoing District XI Junior Fellow Chair who will now be a national officer of the Junior Fellow Congress Advisory Council, serving as Vice Chair for 2011-12.
Both Drs. Jennings and Newton have done an exceptional job of leading District XI at the state level, and will continue their service and representation at the national level.
Texas Legislative Update
TAOG and District XI have been working together this session to address a number of issues important to ob-gyns. We worked with the sponsor of HB 1983, relating to reducing non-medically indicated deliveries less than 39 weeks, to change the language from statutory interference into the practice of medicine to instead directing the Health and Human Services Commission to develop quality and cost containment programs with the same intent. This should be considered a big win for us, and all physicians, because the original language appointed the state to determine medical indications for delivery and gestational age determination - both clinical issues.
We also helped shape HB 2636 by having our recommendations adopted for the composition of a state committee to evaluate the standards, accreditation and number of NICU's in Texas. Our first Ob-Gyn Advocacy Day on April 5th was a great success, with 25 physicians visiting legislative offices in conjunction with TMA's First Tuesday.
Throughout the session we testified about the dangers of the sonogram bill (HB 15) and its interference with the doctor-patient relationship. However, this bill passed and is at the governor's desk for signature. We testified in support of HB 1133, which would create a Maternal Mortality Review Board, and informed our colleagues at the TMA Interspecialty Committee of its importance, paving the way for more attention on this issue next session. We were successful in speaking about the hazards of some of the scope of practice issues (advanced nurse practitioners and imaging) - although it is incumbent for us to find solutions to the physician workforce shortage and the underserved healthcare needs in Texas.
As the session closes out and we wait to hear if there will be a special session on the budget, we continue to be concerned about the possible discontinuation of the Women's Health Program, as well as ramifications of proposed cuts that will affect patient access, family planning and provider reimbursement.
Support of Compounded 17OHP by Texas HHSC
for Preterm Labor
In March, District XI and TAOG provided input to HHSC regarding the coverage and costs of the 17-Alpha Hydroxyprogesterone (compounded 17OHP) product versus the recently FDA approved Makena product. HHSC agreed that even though Makena recently lowered its cost to $675 per dose, the cost is still very high and therefore the state will restrict its use for Medicaid claims.
The good news is HHSC will continue to support payment for claims submitted for the compounded form of the drug (17OHP). Please see the HHSC letter for details about reimbursement claims for the compounded product.
In Memory of Dr. Dave Kittrell
As many of you are aware, Dr. Dave W. Kittrell of San Antonio passed away in July 2010. Dave was a dear friend and colleague to many across Texas and he played a critical role in advancing the health of women across Texas by being an unapologetic advocate of a woman's right to excellent medical care, whatever her circumstances.
In 2009, the John C. Jennings Endowed Fund was established within ACOG District XI to provide an endowed lectureship in honor of Dr. Jennings to recognize his outstanding contributions to the formation of our new single-state district. District XI is establishing an advocacy lectureship in Dave's honor to be presented at each fall Annual District Meeting. In order to make these lectures of the highest quality, we are asking members to consider making a contribution to the John Jennings Educational Fund in memory of Dr. Kittrell.
Please make your check payable to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, print Jennings Fund-Dave Kittrell in the memo field, and mail to the national office at ACOG, 409 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC, 20024, Attention: Galina Yudovich. Donations are tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt. Mrs. Kittrell will also receive notification of your generosity in remembrance of Dave.