Articles

If Congress Doesn’t Fund CHIP, Thousands Of Pregnant Texans Will Lose Health Insurance, Too →

KUTNovember 29, 2017Articles

If Congress doesn’t reauthorize funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) soon, it’s not just Texas children who could lose access to health insurance; thousands of pregnant women could lose coverage, too. Continue Reading »

How to be a good friend to someone who’s suffered pregnancy loss →

Robyn Horsager-Boehrer for Me & My OBGNovember 20, 2017Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Losing a pregnancy can affect expecting women and couples in a thousand ways, even if they don’t talk about their feelings. But as a friend or loved one, it’s important that you offer support. Continue Reading »

An Advocate for Texas Medicine Is Gone →

By G. Sealy Massingill, MD for Texas MedicineNovember 7, 2017Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

For years now, I’ve been trying to emulate a mentor who shaped my outlook on advocacy for medicine and our patients. Ralph Joseph Anderson, MD, was a man and a physician who meant more to the women and doctors in Texas than many know. He certainly meant more to me in my professional life than anyone else.  Continue Reading »

Texas insurers to cover advanced breast cancer screenings →

Texas TribuneOctober 31, 2017Articles

At an Austin radiology center on a recent afternoon, a technologist pointed to an X-ray image to explain what doctors can see on a 3-D mammogram more clearly than on a 2-D one: blood vessels, mammary glands — and early signs of cancer. Continue Reading »

Maternal mortality rates are ‘stunningly high’ for black women in Texas →

Los Angeles TimesOctober 26, 2017Articles

Three weeks after Cassaundra Lynn Perkins gave birth to premature twins, she returned to the hospital, feeling unwell. She phoned her mother from her hospital bed at 3:30 in the morning.

Continue Reading »

Senate Interim Charges Released →

Me & My OBGOctober 24, 2017Articles

The Texas Lt. Governor released the first interim charges for Senate committees to study before next session. Several are of importance to women’s health. Continue Reading »

The Rate Of Maternal Mortality In Texas Is The Highest In The Developed World →

Texas StandardOctober 2, 2017Articles

Texas is taking its first steps to bring down the state’s maternal mortality rate. On Friday, a task force set up by the state legislature met to discuss the numbers, which place Texas at the top of the developed world when it comes to women who have died after giving birth. Continue Reading »

Task Force charged with reducing maternal deaths meets →

KVUE-TVSeptember 29, 2017Articles

AUSTIN – The birth of a baby is supposed to be the most joyous time for a family but all too often, in Texas, it leads to death. According to the state, from 2012 to 2015, 382 Texas mothers died either as a direct result of or related to giving birth. That’s more than any other state, or any other developed country. Continue Reading »

Flu shots and miscarriage: Let’s clear up misunderstandings →

Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, M.D.September 27, 2017Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

With flu season in full swing, September is possibly the worst time to release a confusing study about the safety of flu shots for pregnant woman. But that’s what happened, and now doctors across the country are running defense to protect pregnant women and their babies from the flu. Continue Reading »

ACOG President: It is Safe to Receive Flu Shot During Pregnancy →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) September 13, 2017Articles

“ACOG continues to recommend that all women receive the influenza vaccine. This is particularly important during pregnancy. Influenza vaccination is an essential element of prenatal care because pregnant women are at an increased risk of serious illness and mortality due to influenza. In addition, maternal vaccination is the most effective strategy to protect newborns because the vaccine is not approved for use in infants younger than six months. Continue Reading »

Gap between Texas and U.S. in Health Coverage Continues to Widen, Census Shows →

The Center for Public Policy PrioritiesSeptember 13, 2017Articles

Today’s U.S. Census data release confirms that the number of Texans without health insurance continued to decline in 2016, with uninsured Texans dropping by 70,000 from the 2015 number, and by over 1.2 million since 2013. But despite the progress, Texas still has both the largest number (4.5 million) and percentage (16.6 percent) of uninsured residents in the country. Continue Reading »

Hurricane Harvey: Frequently Asked Questions →

Texas Health & Human Services CommissionSeptember 1, 2017Articles

On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast and caused significant damage and flooding in numerous counties forcing many to evacuate to temporary locations. This document will provide Medicaid and CHIP MCOs with the tools and resources needed to ensure the provision of services and supports to needy residents in Texas in the aftermath of this natural disaster. Continue Reading »

Special Statement from ACOG President-Elect Lisa Hollier on Hurricane Harvey →

August 30, 2017Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

“Over the past few days, I’ve seen up close and personal the catastrophic damage Hurricane Harvey has caused Texas and our patients.  In my role with Texas Children’s, I’ve worked with our team to coordinate disaster and recovery operations across our system of hospitals, out-patient clinics and our health plan.  Yesterday, when on-site to evaluate damage at one of our closed clinics, a pregnant mom drove up with her sick daughter, and my co-CMO and I were able to remove the sandbags, access our clinic, and provide urgent care to this frightened family. Continue Reading »

Special Session in Review →

Me & My OBGAugust 16, 2017Articles

On Tuesday, August 15th the Texas Senate and House of Representatives adjourned Sine Die, and the Special Session of the 85th Texas Legislature came to a close.  Continue Reading »

Mothers dying →

Houston ChronicleAugust 5, 2017Articles

Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature are in charge of our state’s pro-opportunity brand, which attracts talent from all over the world. They’re supposed to burnish it, never tarnish it, and leave it shining brighter for future generations. Continue Reading »

How Medicaid expansion could help Texas mothers →

Houston ChronicleAugust 3, 2017Articles

Texas has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. Between 2010 and 2012, the rate doubled. And the rate in Texas between 2012 and 2014 remained high, with approximately 35 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Texas’ rates are about seven times greater than in Canada and European countries. Continue Reading »

What Texas Tells Us About the Latest Threats to Women’s Health Care →

New YorkerAugust 3, 2017Articles

Among the various chances that congressional Republicans have taken in their effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, one of the riskier moves involves the federal defunding of Planned Parenthood. In both the House and the Senate, replacement legislation has included a provision that would cut off all federal Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood for one year. Continue Reading »

Amid increase in pregnancy-related deaths, Texas House votes to save maternal mortality task force →

Dallas Morning NewsAugust 1, 2017Articles

AUSTIN — The House unanimously gave initial approval Monday to four similar bills that would continue the state’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force until 2023. Continue Reading »

Bexar County to look at increase in women dying from pregnancy-related causes →

San Antonio Express NewsJuly 31, 2017Articles

San Antonio health officials have launched a task force that mirrors a state-level initiative to figure out why there’s been a decade-long increase in the number of mothers dying within a year after childbirth.

In Bexar County, the rate of mothers dying from pregnancy-related causes climbed from 6.8 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2005 to 41 in 2016, the second-highest year in the past decade, according to data from the San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department. In 2014, the actual number in Bexar County was 11, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Continue Reading »

If Americans Love Moms, Why Do We Let Them Die? →

New York TimesJuly 29, 2017Articles

HOUSTON — We love mothers, or at least we say we do, and we claim that motherhood is as American as apple pie.

We’re lying. In fact, we’ve structured health care so that motherhood is far more deadly in the United States than in other advanced countries. An American woman is about five times as likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth as a British woman — partly because Britain makes a determined effort to save mothers’ lives, and we don’t. Continue Reading »

Building Strong Patient Relationships Begins in Adolescence →

ACOG President Dr. Haywood L. BrownJuly 28, 2017Articles

While many people are eager to leave their adolescence behind them, as ob-gyns, we know all too well that the development that occurs during these years lays the foundation for the rest of our lives. Not only are bodies and minds maturing, but adolescence is also defined by exposure to new ideas, experiences, and beliefs. Ideally, it is also the age where girls and young women begin to routinely visit the ob-gyn. Continue Reading »

A Patient’s Guide to Reducing Maternal Morbidity & Mortality: Gestational Diabetes →

Dr. Parin Patel for Me & My OBGJuly 23, 2017Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Last month I discussed pre-gestational diabetes, and this month I want to talk about gestational diabetes. You may recall that gestational diabetes is diabetes only in pregnancy. Gestational diabetes accounts for 90% of all diabetes in pregnancy and affects 7% of all pregnancies. As obesity and sedentary lifestyle increase, the incidence of gestational diabetes increases.
Continue Reading »

Special Session of Texas Legislature Begins Tuesday →

Me & My OBGJuly 14, 2017Articles

Texas state lawmakers will convene in Austin on Tuesday, July 18 for a special called session of the 85th Legislature. Gov. Greg Abbott has laid out a 20-item agenda for the Special Session and, as of today, 150 bills have been filed. Legislators may file bills on any issue, even if it is not on the current call. The special session can last up to 30 days. Continue Reading »

Regular Legislative Session Ends; Special Session Begins →

ACOG-TX Chair Tony DunnJuly 13, 2017Articles

The Regular Session of the 85th Legislature ended on May 29, 2017. Just over a week later, Gov. Greg Abbott called for a Special Session to take place this summer. State lawmakers will return to Austin next week, on Tuesday, July 18th, to address the 20 issues included on the Governor’s Special Session call. Continue Reading »

Zika Testing and Clinical Management in Maternal and Infant Populations →

Texas Department of State Health ServicesJuly 13, 2017Articles

Please join us for the free Texas Department of State Health Services Grand Rounds presentation of Zika Testing and Clinical Management in Maternal and Infant Populations on Wednesday, July 19, from 11:00-12:30 p.m. in the M-100 Conference Room, located in Austin, in the Moreton building (see Central Campus-Austin map) and via live webinar. Continue Reading »

A Patient’s Guide to Reducing Maternal Morbidity & Mortality: Pre-gestational Diabetes →

Dr. Parin Patel for Me & My OBGJune 25, 2017Articles

Diabetes in pregnancy can be gestational (only during the pregnancy) or pre-gestational, where patients have diabetes outside of pregnancy. Both require patients and providers to work together to optimize blood glucose control for the best outcomes for the mom and the baby. Continue Reading »

Advocates ‘disappointed’ in governor’s decision to cut women’s health advisory committee →

San Antonio Express-NewsJune 25, 2017Articles

As the state again seeks federal funding — this time, under a Republican president — for its women’s health program after the controversial decision to kick out abortion providers in 2013, the governor is disbanding an advisory committee aimed at helping low-income women get good care. Continue Reading »

State Officials Tout Progress Of Women’s Health Program, But Advocates Aren’t Convinced →

KUTJune 23, 2017Articles

As Healthy Texas Women closes in on a one-year milestone, the state says the program has been steadily increasing access to health care for women. Advocates, however, are skeptical. Continue Reading »

Sen. Kolkhorst And Reps. Burkett, Thierry And Walle’s Intention To File Maternal Mortality Legislation →

Office of Governor Greg AbbottJune 23, 2017Articles

In the upcoming special legislative session, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst Rep. Cindy Burkett, Rep. Shawn Thierry and Rep. Armando Walle will file legislation to extend the maternal mortality task force. This is one of 20 items that Governor Abbott previously announced will be added to the special session agenda. Governor Abbott issued the following statement applauding Sen. Kolkhorst and Reps. Burkett, Thierry and Walle for addressing this important issue in the upcoming special session. Continue Reading »

Governor Greg Abbott Vetoes Women’s Health Committee Despite Ongoing Crises →

Texas ObserverJune 15, 2017Articles

Texas has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy in the United States, the highest uninsured rate in the country and an ongoing Zika outbreak that threatens pregnant women. Yet Governor Greg Abbott unilaterally ended a committee that advises the state on women’s health programs. Continue Reading »

Updates on the Healthy Texas Women 1115 Waiver →

Texas Women's Healthcare CoalitionJune 14, 2017Articles

Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced its intent to apply to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a new waiver under Section 1115 of the Social Security Act for the Healthy Texas Women program. Continue Reading »

Binational forum in El Paso to address Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases →

June 12, 2017Articles

Federal, state and local public health executives and experts from the United States and Mexico will attend the forum convened by the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission. Continue Reading »

The 2017 Texas Legislative Session in Review →

Texas Women's Healthcare CoalitionJune 9, 2017Articles

The regular 85th Texas Legislative Session has come to an end. This was a difficult session, and uncertainties remain about what’s next for the state across a range of issues. However, there were several bright spots for women’s healthcare this session. Stay tuned for a comprehensive recap of the 85th legislative session later this month; below you can find a few highlights. Continue Reading »

Governor Abbott Announces Special Session →

Office of Gov. Greg AbbottJune 6, 2017Articles

Governor Greg Abbott today announced a legislative special session that will begin on July 18th, 2017.  In his announcement, Governor Abbott identified 20 items that will be included on the special session call.    Continue Reading »

In Texas, Abstinence-Only Programs May Contribute To Teen Pregnancies →

NPRJune 5, 2017Articles

To understand why teen pregnancy rates are so high in Texas, meet Jessica Chester. When Chester was in high school in Garland, she decided to attend the University of Texas at Dallas. She wanted to become a doctor. Continue Reading »

Texas lawmakers make few moves to address pregnancy deaths →

APJune 4, 2017Articles

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lawmakers in Texas largely failed to take any significant action to address the state’s skyrocketing rate of pregnancy-related deaths just months after researchers found it to be the highest in not only the U.S., but the developed world. Continue Reading »

Measures To Tackle Maternal Mortality Thwarted This Session By Political Infighting →

KUTMay 31, 2017Articles

Health advocates were hoping lawmakers would seriously tackle the issue of maternal mortality during the legislative session that ended Monday. But legislative efforts fell short.

The rising number of women dying in Texas while pregnant or soon after giving birth was one of the few bipartisan issues before the Legislature this year. Texas has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world, and there were hopes lawmakers would figure out ways to curb that trend. Continue Reading »

Prenatal Care Curbs Maternal Death, Vital in Health Reform →

MedscapeMay 16, 2017Articles

SAN DIEGO — Early numbers suggest that insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act prompted more women to seek hastier first-trimester care, which resulted in better outcomes, according to research presented here at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) 2017 Annual Meeting. Continue Reading »

Texas Seeks Medicaid Money It Gave Up Over Planned Parenthood Ban →

New York TimesMay 15, 2017Articles

Four years after Texas gave up millions of dollars in federal Medicaid funds so it could ban Planned Parenthood from participating in a family planning program for low-income women, the state is asking the Trump administration for the money back. Continue Reading »

Monday, May 15th – Women’s Health Advisory Committee Meeting; 1115 Waiver Application →

Texas Women's Healthcare CoalitionMay 9, 2017Articles

The next Women’s Health Advisory Committee (WHAC) meeting will be held on Monday, May 15th at 1:00 pm. This meeting is open to the public, and no reservations are required for attendance. The agenda for the WHAC meeting can be found here. The agenda will include updates on the progress of Healthy Texas Women (HTW) and the Family Planning Program (FPP), and the state’s efforts on Zika prevention.
Continue Reading »

Updates to Medicaid Mosquito Repellent and Supplies Benefit →

Texas Women's Healthcare CoalitionMay 9, 2017Articles

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has issued a notice of reinstatement of the Texas Medicaid mosquito repellent benefit for certain populations.  Continue Reading »

Bill would spur study of why more black mothers die after childbirth →

Texas TribuneMay 3, 2017Articles

After she delivered her infant son in 2006, Darline Turner relished those early hours in her Austin hospital room, changing diapers and playing with her son’s fingers and toes. Continue Reading »

ACOG-TX Statement to House Public Health Supporting HB 2403 →

ACOG-TXMay 2, 2017Articles

Dear Chairman Price and the Committee on House Public Health,

On behalf of the Texas District of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (TAOG), representing more than 3,700 ob/gyns in the state, thank you for the opportunity to present this written testimony in support of HB 2403 by Representative Thierry. Continue Reading »

Why Texas Is the Most Dangerous U.S. State to Have a Baby →

GoverningMay 1, 2017Articles

A few years ago, after more than two decades as a gynecologist taking care of low-income women in Texas, Lisa Hollier began to see something unexpected and disturbing. The number of maternal deaths — women dying in pregnancy, childbirth or the first few postpartum weeks — was spiking. The numbers were far above those in any other state — in fact, they were not normal for any country in the developed world. Continue Reading »

A Patient’s Guide to Reducing Maternal Morbidity & Mortality: Cancer Screening →

Dr. Parin Patel for Me & My OBG April 30, 2017Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Frequently, women think that they need to start seeing an OB/GYN regularly only after they become pregnant. However, women’s health involves a lot more than pregnancy care. One key purpose of seeing your women’s health provider prior to becoming pregnant is breast and cervical cancer screening – both of which are covered by the Affordable Care Act and Healthy Texas Women. Continue Reading »

Texas-ACOG Supports HB 940 by Representative Howard and HB 1161 by Representative Davis →

ACOG Dist XI - TexasApril 29, 2017Articles

ACOG strongly supports access to effective methods of contraception, including oral contraceptives, as an integral component of women’s health care. ACOG has long advocated for access to contraception based on its tremendous impact on a woman’s overall health and well-being. Continue Reading »

Texas Medicaid Mosquito Repellent Benefit Aims To Protect Texans →

Texas Health and Human Services Commission April 25, 2017Articles

AUSTIN—Starting May 1, Texas will begin providing this year’s statewide Medicaid benefit for mosquito repellent to prevent Zika virus transmission. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is offering the repellent to more Medicaid clients to ensure additional Texans are protected from the virus that can be devastating to unborn babies.   Continue Reading »

ZIKA: Notice to Prescribers | Mosquito Repellent Benefit →

Texas Health and Human ServicesApril 24, 2017Articles

Texas covers select mosquito repellents for the prevention of Zika virus. The following
notice describes how clients may access mosquito repellent through Medicaid and other state programs, and provides essential information for prescribers regarding the mosquito repellent benefit. Continue Reading »

Researchers Say Texas Needs Standards For Maternal Death Investigations →

Houston Public MediaApril 17, 2017Articles

A statewide task force ran into some issues getting good information last year when it was asked to write a report on why so many women in Texas were dying during pregnancy or shortly after. Continue Reading »

Women’s health providers say Trump-backed measure won’t affect Texas — yet →

Texas TribuneApril 13, 2017Articles

Women’s health organizations in Texas say a President Trump-signed measure targeting abortion providers will not have an affect here — yet. Continue Reading »

Texas has the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancy in the country →

Dallas Morning NewsApril 13, 2017Articles

Here’s one statistic you won’t hear anyone bragging about: Texas has the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancies in the country.

Contemplate that for a minute. According to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more young women in Texas become parents for a second or third time in their teenage years than any other state in the nation. Those pregnancies take a physical, financial and psychological toll on the teenagers, and they also come with a high economic cost for Texas taxpayers. Continue Reading »

State Budget Update →

Texas Women's Healthcare CoaltionApril 11, 2017Articles

Last Thursday, the Texas House passed its state budget for 2018/2019. As part of its $218 billion proposal, the House recommends using $2.5 billion from the Economic Stabilization Fund (or Rainy Day Fund). You can find the budget documents for both chambers here, and a full list of House adopted, withdrawn, and tabled amendments here. Please also refer to the Center for Public Policy Priorities’ recent blog post for an overview of the House budget. Continue Reading »

Texas Expands Zika Recommendations Ahead Of 2017 Mosquito Season →

The Huffington PostApril 10, 2017Articles

Texas health officials are expanding testing recommendations for pregnant women in South Texas as the advent of warm weather increases the risk for local transmission of the mosquito-borne virus that has been shown to cause severe birth defects.

Continue Reading »

Postpartum depression bills get hearing before House lawmakers →

Texas TribuneApril 4, 2017Articles

Donna Kreuzer says she never testifies on bills at the Capitol because she doesn’t want her testimony to get lost in her tears.

But Kreuzer, 65, slowly rose from her seat on Tuesday during a House Public Health Committee to tearfully tell legislators about her daughter, Kristi, who was diagnosed with postpartum depression three days after giving birth. Kristi didn’t tell her family for two months after the diagnosis, and despite their efforts to help, she died in 2010. Continue Reading »

Change In Texas Medicaid Payments Helps Cut Number Of Premature Births →

Kaiser Health NewsMarch 17, 2017Articles

Even though the health risks to babies born before they reach full term at 39 weeks have long been recognized, nearly 1 in 10 babies in the United States is born prematurely. Texas decided to try to change that. Continue Reading »

Access to preventive health care can boost Texas women’s economic outlook →

Dallas Morning NewsMarch 13, 2017Articles

As a son, husband, father and physical therapy faculty member at Texas Woman’s University, the nation’s largest public university primarily for women, I read with great interest about the economic issues facing Texas women in the latest study produced by the Dallas Women’s Foundation and supported by TWU. The recently released study sheds light on the economic disparities Texas women face in regards to the four essential building blocks of women’s economic security: health insurance, education, child care and housing. Continue Reading »

Spring Grand Rounds to feature Maternal and Child Health Surveillance →

Texas Department of State Health ServicesMarch 6, 2017Articles

The Texas Department of State Health Services presents the spring lecture series Grand Rounds: Encouraging a Culture of Learning and the Integration of Evidence into Practice. Maternal and Child Health Surveillance in Texas is the featured topic on April 5, 2017.   Continue Reading »

Testimony of Dr. Tony Dunn, MD In Support of HB 279 by Rep. Donna Howard →

Me & My OBGFebruary 28, 2017Articles

Good morning, Chairman Price and committee members. I am C. Tony Dunn, MD, a practicing OB/GYN from Waco testifying today as Chair of and on behalf of the Texas District of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (TX-ACOG) in support of House Bill 279 by Rep. Donna Howard. Continue Reading »

Rise in Texas maternal deaths absent from legislative agenda →

Texas TribuneFebruary 28, 2017Articles

Every Texas legislator should know by now that more mothers are dying less than a year after giving birth. At least that’s what Lisa Hollier believes. Continue Reading »

House Appropriations Hearing on Health Care Set →

Texas Women's Health Care CoalitionFebruary 22, 2017Articles

House Committees have been assigned – you can view them here. The House Committee on Appropriations has begun conducting hearings, and its Subcommittee on Article II will have a public hearing on Thursday, February 23rd to discuss Health and Human Services programs, including women’s healthcare programs. You can review the House budget proposals, along with other related documents here. TWHC Chair, Dr. Janet Realini will provide testimony during this hearing. Continue Reading »

A Patient’s Guide to Reducing Maternal Morbidity & Mortality: Preconception Care →

Dr. Parin Patel for Me & My OBGFebruary 21, 2017Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Patients always want to know how they can optimize pregnancy outcomes, both for their baby and themselves. Ideally, prenatal care begins before conception. A few primary goals of preconception care include weight management, taking daily vitamins, getting necessary vaccinations, and screening and treating certain medical conditions and cancers. Continue Reading »

Medical Home Cuts Utilization, Costs in Pregnancy →

MedPage TodayJanuary 30, 2017Articles

Medicaid patients who received care in a “pregnancy medical home” in Texas seemed to have a significant decrease in hospital utilization, for both emergency department (ED) visits and inpatient hospital stays, researchers said here. Continue Reading »

ACOG Releases “Facts are Important,” Highlighting the Importance of Contraception →

ACOGJanuary 27, 2017Articles

ACOG has released its “Facts are Important” document highlighting the need for all policy makers and influencers to stick to facts, science, and clinical evidence when deciding upon health care policy.  This document responds to the President’s naming  of Katy Talento as his top health care advisor.  Talento has published that contraceptives are dangerous, and lead to miscarriages and infertilityContinue Reading »

Committee membership in the Texas Senate is announced →

Office of Lt. Gov. Dan PatrickJanuary 18, 2017Articles

AUSTIN – Lt. Governor Dan Patrick issued the following statement today upon announcing Senate Committee assignments for the 2017 Legislative Session: Continue Reading »

New Year, New Leadership, New Session →

Me & My OBGJanuary 18, 2017Articles

2017 has arrived with a bang. While many of us made new year resolutions and committed to some change in our personal lives, dramatic change is happening in government, both in Washington, D.C. and Austin, where state lawmakers have gathered for the Texas Legislative Session. Change has occurred at our organization as well. I’m honored to be serving as the new chair of ACOG XI (Texas) and the Me & My OBG campaign. Continue Reading »

Trump, women’s health, child welfare top Texas news in 2016 →

Texas TribuneDecember 21, 2016Articles

The election of Donald Trump, fights over Medicaid funding, Republican-led efforts to restrict abortion and a slow-burning crisis in the state’s child welfare system spelled a chaotic year for Texas health and human services policy in 2016. Here’s a look at this year’s top stories. Continue Reading »

Texas officially kicking Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid →

Texas TribuneDecember 21, 2016Articles

After more than a year of delays, Texas is officially kicking Planned Parenthood out of the state’s Medicaid program.

In a move that could affect thousands of low-income women, state health officials on Tuesday delivered a final legal notice to defund the organization from the Medicaid program through which it provides family planning and women’s health services to the poor. Planned Parenthood had previously received $3.1 million in Medicaid funding, but those dollars will be nixed in 30 days, according to the notice which was obtained by The Texas Tribune. Continue Reading »

In Texas, Students Help Provide Health Care For Refugees →

NPRDecember 21, 2016Articles

Each Wednesday at St. Francis Episcopal Church on the north side of San Antonio, dozens of refugees from all over the world come for free care at the Refugee Health Clinic. Continue Reading »

Fewer overdoses, more chlamydia: Where Texas excelled and fell short on annual health ranking →

Dallas Morning NewsDecember 16, 2016Articles

While efforts to improve the health of Texans are gaining ground, the state continues to struggle with obesity, lack of health insurance coverage and poor access to care, finds an annual study released Thursday. Continue Reading »

CDC issues Zika travel guidance for Texas border city →

Washington PostDecember 14, 2016Articles

Federal health officials on Wednesday urged pregnant women to consider postponing travel to Brownsville, Tex., because of five local cases of Zika virus infection that have been reported. Continue Reading »

Texas officials confirm 4 more locally transmitted Zika cases →

Texas TribuneDecember 9, 2016Articles

The Texas Department of State Health Services and the Cameron County Health Department announced Friday they’ve identified four more locally-transmitted cases of Zika in Cameron County. Continue Reading »

Texas lawmakers push bipartisan effort for tax-free tampons →

Texas TribuneDecember 6, 2016Articles

Following the political lead of several northern states, six Texas lawmakers have filed bills to eliminate sales tax on feminine health products used for menstrual period hygiene, including tampons, sanitary napkins and menstrual cups. Continue Reading »

Texas sees first locally transmitted case of the Zika virus →

Texas TribuneNovember 29, 2016Articles

The first locally transmitted case of the Zika virus in Texas has been identified in the Rio Grande Valley, the Texas Department of State Health Services and Cameron County Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday.  Continue Reading »

Texas Medicaid Brings Back Mosquito Repellent Benefit →

November 28, 2016Articles

AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission announced today that it is reinstating the Medicaid benefit for mosquito repellent due to the first reported case of Zika virus disease likely transmitted by a mosquito in Texas. Continue Reading »

Dr. Lisa Hollier named ACOG President-Elect →

Me & My OBGNovember 22, 2016Articles

The Committee on Nominations for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists met November 19 and selected Lisa M. Hollier, MD, MPH as the President Elect nominee for May 2017-May 2018. The slate of national officers will be voted on at the Annual Business Meeting in San Diego, CA, in May 2017. Continue Reading »

Freezing Time Amid Zika →

San Antonio MagazineNovember 8, 2016Articles

Westyn Hinchey has always had a plan. She worked hard to get into Boston College, carved out her niche as a public relations professional in the health care industry and focused her job searches on cities where she wanted to live—Boston, Philadelphia, San Antonio. But there was one dream—motherhood—for which Hinchey had no plan. “Everything in my life I’ve been able to choose,” she says. “But when it came to my fertility, I always knew I wanted to be a mom but it was really out of my control.” Continue Reading »

Dr. Kimberly Carter: It’s time to start a real conversation about sexual assault. →

Me & My OBGOctober 19, 2016Articles

One of my patients was riding her bicycle to school and in broad daylight a man grabbed her off the bike, kidnapped her, and sexually assaulted her.  She was brave and remained clear headed enough to jump out of a moving car to escape, to live, and to eventually see the criminals (oh yes, he had a friend) brought to justice.  Continue Reading »

Texas changing Medicaid policy to reimburse for postpartum LARC →

womenshealthpolicyreport.orgOctober 19, 2016Articles

Texas, along with several other states, is revising its Medicaid reimbursement policy to cover the provision of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) immediately after delivery, Kaiser Health News/Texas Tribune reports (Luthra, Texas Tribune/Kaiser Health News, 10/18).

Medicaid LARC coverage

LARC, including intrauterine devices (IUD) and hormonal implants, are seen as ways to reduce the country’s rate of unintended pregnancies and associated costs. LARC devices are more effective than other forms of contraception and can last between three and 10 years after insertion. Continue Reading »

To curb unintended pregnancy, Texas turns to IUDs in the delivery room →

Texas TribuneOctober 18, 2016Articles

Peggy Wall, a family nurse practitioner at an Austin community health center, treats many women in their 40s, who already have a family and find themselves confronting an accidental pregnancy.

Many, she says, wish they had taken preventive steps after their last child was born and could be good candidates for getting an intrauterine device in the delivery room immediately after giving birth. Until recently, that sort of IUD access has been difficult to come by. Continue Reading »

Dunn: Important new initiatives for Texas women’s health →

El Paso TimesOctober 10, 2016Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

A recent article out of San Antonio highlights one of the biggest wins we’ve seen in Texas in quite some time.

I’m referring to a new state initiative in women’s health care that has the potential to make a real difference for the women of Texas. That initiative is designed to improve the availability and use of long-acting reversible contraception, or LARC, methods, such as contraceptive subdermal implants and intrauterine devices. Continue Reading »

Is it more dangerous to be pregnant in Texas than any other state? →

Dallas Morning NewsOctober 6, 2016Articles

Yes. More pregnant women die in Texas than in any other state.

While pregnancy is becoming safer across the world, it’s becoming more dangerous in the United States. Maternal mortality dropped in 157 countries between 2000 and 2013 but went up 27 percent in the U.S. over a similar time period. The U.S. ranks lower than Kazakhstan, Kuwait and Libya when it comes to keeping pregnant women alive. Continue Reading »

Texas needs to release data to find out why pregnant women are dying after childbirth →

Dallas Morning NewsOctober 6, 2016Articles

It was alarming enough to learn that the rate of Texas women dying of pregnancy-related causes nearly doubled in the last four years.

Now comes the troubling news that the Department of State Health Services won’t release critical case-level  data on these deaths that could lead to finding out why. Continue Reading »

ACOG TX Chair on Maternal Deaths in Texas →

Moss Hampton, MDSeptember 13, 2016Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Over the last several years, many states have begun to look at their maternal morbidity and mortality rates and have had similar findings. In 2013, the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force was created and began analyzing maternal deaths in Texas. What the task force’s second report indicates is what other states also see: Continue Reading »

Texas’ maternal death rates top most industrialized countries →

USA TodaySeptember 10, 2016Articles

Pregnant women visiting the Center for Children and Women get more than ultrasounds and vitamins. They get blood pressure checks, mental health screenings, diabetes tests and lab work – all under one roof. Continue Reading »

Dr. Teng: Elections Affect Women’s Health →

September 7, 2016Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Election Day is approaching. Our local, state, and national elected representatives make decisions and laws that directly affect our lives. Women’s health issues are no exception.   It is important to allow your opinions to be counted through your vote. Voters must register prior to becoming eligible to cast votes. Continue Reading »

Texas Health and Human Services Agencies Begin Major Transformation →

Texas Health and Human Services CommissionAugust 31, 2016Articles

At the direction of the Texas Legislature, the state’s health agencies have begun a massive restructuring to make the system more efficient, effective and responsive for all Texans. Continue Reading »

ACOG issues new guidance on maternal morbidity screening →

HealioAugust 29, 2016Articles

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, with the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, has released new guidance on the screening and review of maternal morbidity, recommending a two-step process to identify severe cases. Continue Reading »

A Spike in Rates of Pregnancy-related Deaths in Texas Spurs Soul-searching →

Pro PublicaAugust 24, 2016Articles

Last week, researchers studying maternal mortality in the U.S. reported an ominous trend: The rate of pregnancy-related deaths in Texas seemed to have doubled since 2010, making the Lone Star State one of the most dangerous places in the developed world to have a baby. Reproductive health advocates were quick to blame the legislature for slashing funding in 2011–12 to family-planning clinics that serve low-income women, calling the numbers a “tragedy” and “a national embarrassment.” Continue Reading »

Texas Becomes First State to Issue Standing Order for Mosquito Repellent to Fight Zika →

Texas Health and Human Services CommissionAugust 15, 2016Articles

AUSTIN – Eligible Texas women on Medicaid can go straight to their pharmacist to pick up mosquito repellent, Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith announced today. Texas Medicaid has issued a standing order for mosquito repellent prescriptions for women who are between the ages of 10 and 45 or pregnant. Continue Reading »

Texas’ Maternal Mortality Rate Doubled In Two Years. Researchers Don’t Know Why. →

KUTAugust 11, 2016Articles

Within a two-year period between 2010 and 2012, the rate of pregnant women dying in Texas doubled – and it’s not entirely clear why. Continue Reading »

Texas on Alert for Local Zika, Urges Precautions →

HHSCAugust 3, 2016Articles

With local Zika cases detected in Florida and increased travel to Brazil for the Summer Olympics, Texas is on high alert for local Zika transmission by mosquito bites and is urging everyone to strictly follow precautions. Continue Reading »

To Fight Zika, Texas Medicaid Will Pay for Mosquito Repellent →

Texas TribuneAugust 3, 2016Articles

With federal funding to fight Zika stuck in Congress, and amid news that mosquito-to-human transmission of the virus has reached the continental U.S., Texas officials announced on Wednesday they would allow Medicaid to pay for mosquito repellent for women, in the hopes of preventing the disease. Continue Reading »

Medicaid Will Pay for Mosquito Repellent to Fight Zika →

Texas Health and Human Services CommissionAugust 3, 2016Articles

AUSTIN – Texas Medicaid will cover the cost of mosquito repellent for women who are between the ages of 10 and 45 or pregnant, HHS Executive Commissioner Charles Smith announced today. Continue Reading »

New Healthy Texas Women Program Offers Expanded Healthcare Coverage and Services →

Texas Health & Human Services CommissionJuly 25, 2016Articles

Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith joined state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today to announce an extensive outreach campaign to focus awareness on the state’s new Healthy Texas Women program which will deliver more care to more Texas women statewide. Continue Reading »

Bexar infant mortality rate alarming →

San Antonio Express NewsJuly 14, 2016Articles

The statistics on the youngest members of our population are grim.

The number of babies in Bexar County who do not celebrate their first birthday is higher than the national average. A recommitment by local health officials to address the root problems could improve survival rates. Continue Reading »

Summer of Zika – Prevention and Preparedness →

Me & My OBGJuly 10, 2016Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Summer is here and so is our favorite blood-sucking friend – the MOSQUITO!! Mosquitos are a normal summertime nuisance, but this summer they come with increased concern. Continue Reading »

Preventive health care for women key to Zika defense →

Texas TribuneJuly 6, 2016Articles

With the threat of Zika looming in Texas, preventive health care for women has never been more important.

The impacts of Zika have been devastating. Carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and improper brain development. Zika has also been linked to other problems in infants, including eye defects, hearing loss and impaired growth. Continue Reading »

Zika updates from Texas HHSC, CDC, ACOG, DSHS, MoD →

Me & My OBGJuly 4, 2016Articles

In the last couple weeks, there have been several important updates related to Zika published by national and state organizations.   Continue Reading »

New women’s health programs roll out July 1st →

Me & My OBGJuly 1, 2016Articles

On July 1, 2016, Texas Health and Human Services Commission will launch two new women’s health programs: Healthy Texas Women and a new Family Planning program. The Texas Women’s Health Program and the Expanded Primary Health Care Program will be consolidated into Healthy Texas Women, and the new Family Planning Program will be a modified version of the state’s current Family Planning program. Participation is needed from physicians, hospitals, federally qualified health centers, and specialized family planning clinics. Continue Reading »

ACOG-TX Chair Releases Statement on HB 2 →

Dr. Moss HamptonJune 29, 2016Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

ACOG-District XI (Texas) Chair Moss Hampton, MD released today a statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Texas House Bill 2 (2013). The bill that required all Texas facilities performing abortions to meet hospital-like standards. Continue Reading »

Veasey: Why Birth Control Should Be a Men’s Issue →

GlamourJune 17, 2016Articles

My mother graduated from high school in 1969, and on January 3, 1971, she gave birth to me. She was married later that year, but by the time I was 10, she was a divorced single mother of two young boys. To make ends meet, we moved in with my grandparents, who were also housing two of my mother’s siblings and their kids. My family and I moved at least six times before I graduated high school. I was fortunate to have a large family network that combined their resources to help me accomplish my goals—but not everyone may be as lucky. Continue Reading »

Medical leaders at San Antonio symposium say the Zika virus could be transmitted in Texas as early as this summer →

San Antonio Express NewsJune 15, 2016Articles

Tropical medicine experts say the Zika virus could be transmitted within Texas as early as this summer, if the virus follows the traditional course of similar diseases. Continue Reading »

After Texas Booted Planned Parenthood from HIV Program, County Replacement Hasn’t Performed a Single Test →

Texas ObserverJune 8, 2016Articles

When Texas abruptly ended its $600,000 HIV prevention contract with Planned Parenthood’s Houston affiliate in late December, state health officials promisedthat there would be no interruption in services. The Department of State Health Services parceled the money out to three county health departments in the Houston area and insisted at the time that the counties would have the capacity to pick up where Planned Parenthood left off. Continue Reading »

HBO host John Oliver’s stunt wipes out nearly $15 million in medical bills for thousands of Texans →

Dallas Morning NewsJune 7, 2016Articles

Thousands of Texans stuck with delinquent medical bills from hospitals had their debts forgiven courtesy of HBO host John Oliver. Continue Reading »

Why Texas’ Reproductive Health Policies Could Complicate the State’s Response to Zika →

KUTJune 2, 2016Articles

Texas is gearing up for Zika. Last week, state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, asked state health officials to come up with “a clear and concise plan” for dealing with a possible outbreak. Continue Reading »

State urges long-term contraception for women on Medicaid →

Houston ChronicleMay 20, 2016Articles

AUSTIN — Texas officials want to sell women on Medicaid on the use of long-term contraception that can help them avoid unwanted pregnancies, especially those struggling with significant health problems that are more likely to lead to premature or low birth-weight babies. Continue Reading »

Birth Outcomes Hearing Highlights Preventive Care, Effective Contraception →

Texas Women's Healthcare CoalitionMay 20, 2016Articles

Hopefully you were able to listen in on the May 19th House Public Health Committee hearing on birth outcomes – you can find the archived hearing here. Invited Speakers included Evelyn Delgado, Assistant Commissioner with the Department of State Health Services: Lesley French, Associate Commissioner of Women’s Health Services with HHSC; Dr. David Lakey, Associate Vice Chancellor for Population Health at The University of Texas System; Dr. Lisa Hollier, Medical Director, Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Center for Children and Women; and Dr. Charleta Guillory, Volunteer Leader at March of Dimes.

Continue Reading »

Healthy Texas Women and the Family Planning Program Changing to an Open Enrollment Process →

Texas Women's Healthcare CoalitionMay 20, 2016Articles

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has announced that it has cancelled the Healthy Texas Women’ (HTW) Request for Proposals (RFP) and will not be posting an RFP for the Family Planning Program (FPP). Instead, HHSC will be using an open enrollment process for both programs (rather than a competitive RFP process). Continue Reading »

Teng: Major Barriers to Postpartum Therapy Still Exist →

Me & My OBGMay 2, 2016Articles

I recently had the privilege of testifying about postpartum depression before the Texas House Select Committee on Mental Health as a representative of the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists-Texas Chapter. Continue Reading »

Texas, Feds Agree to Renew Short-Term Medicaid Funds →

Texas TribuneMay 2, 2016Articles

The Obama administration has agreed to temporarily keep some federal Medicaid money flowing into Texas to help hospitals treat uninsured patients, a relief to health care providers that feared losing the funds over state leaders’ refusal to provide health insurance to low-income adults. Continue Reading »

DeFrancesco: Take Charge of Health Care →

April 24, 2016Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

We all know too well that outside influences – including politicians, insurance companies, and “expert” patient groups – are interfering with our ability to do our jobs. By winning hardship relief for ob-gyns still working to achieve EHR Meaningful use, stopping legislation that would add medically unnecessary requirements and criminalize the practice of medicine, and delaying the controversial breast cancer screening coverage guidelines that conflict with current best-practices, ACOG is standing up for you and your patients, to stop this interference in the practice of medicine. Continue Reading »

Hampton: Let’s protect ourselves and our most vulnerable Texans →

Me & My OBGApril 21, 2016Articles

This week is National Infant Immunization Week and an excellent time to remind everyone about the importance of immunizations in general and Tdap in specific. It is important to remember that vaccines are safe, effective, and prevent serious diseases such as measles, polio, and tetanus to name a few. The Tdap vaccination protects against pertussis, tetanus, and diphtheria. While these infections are rare in our world today, Pertussis or “whooping cough” is making a comeback, especially in Texas. Continue Reading »

Texas Expands Access to Family Planning and Preventive Health Services →

Texas Medical AssociationApril 6, 2016Articles

For advocates of women’s health funding in Texas, the climb back from the depths of 2011 continues.

That year, the Texas Legislature sliced about two-thirds of the state’s family planning budget, and the impact reverberated across the state. Obstetrician-gynecologist Janet Realini, MD, saw the effect of the cuts emerge in San Antonio. Continue Reading »

Learn About LARC Access at TexMed →

Texas Medical AssociationApril 6, 2016Articles

Through a continuing medical education (CME) course available at TexMed 2016, physicians can learn the importance of and keys to improving patient access to intrauterine devices (IUDs) and birth control implants, collectively known as long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). Continue Reading »

Healthy Texas Women and Family Planning Program Reminders →

Texas Women's Healthcare CoaltionApril 4, 2016Articles

The Healthy Texas Women and Family Planning Program rules have been released and you can review them hereContinue Reading »

Dr. Lynch Goes to Washington →

Me & My OBGMarch 23, 2016Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Last week over 25 OB/Gyn’s from Texas descended on Washington, DC to advocate for our patients. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists annually hosts a leadership conference in early March for doctors from all over the country. Continue Reading »

ACOG Statement on Zubik v. Burwell →

ACOGMarch 23, 2016Articles

Washington, DC — Mark S. DeFrancesco, MD, MBA, President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), released the following statement regarding today’s oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell: Continue Reading »

Match Madness 2016 →

Me & My OBGMarch 13, 2016Articles

“So that’s how it all works. In a few weeks I’ll know if I successfully matched into a residency, and then later that week I’ll get to find out where.”

My grandmother sat silently. Her eyes appeared glazed over and I got the distinct impression that she was staring at some distant object behind me rather than at my face. Continue Reading »

The Latest on Women’s Health Program Rules and RFPs →

Texas Women's Healthcare CoalitionMarch 8, 2016Articles

The Women’s Health Advisory Committee (WHAC) met on February 29th to discuss the development of the state’s women’s health programs and the new proposed rules for Family Planning and Healthy Texas Women. The proposed rules will be posted in the Texas Register on April 1st, and a 30-day public comment period will follow. The adopted rules will take effect on July 1st.

Continue Reading »

ACOG Reinvents the Pregnancy Wheel →

ACOGMarch 7, 2016Articles

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) launched a new Estimated Due Date Calculator (EDD Calculator), the first app strictly based on joint recommendations from ACOG, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) for determining pregnancy due dates. Continue Reading »

March Means Match Day for Med Students →

Me & My OBGMarch 4, 2016Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

March is a special month for medical students across the United States – it’s when the National Resident Match, or “the Match” takes place. It is one of the most pivotal moments in a medical student’s life. It is the culmination of a lengthy process that fourth year medical students must go through to obtain a spot in a coveted residency training program. Continue Reading »

Howard: Inconvenient truths in Texas women’s health care →

Austin American StatesmanMarch 3, 2016Articles

As lawmakers and appropriators, it is our responsibility at the Texas Legislature to ensure that your tax dollars are being spent in the most efficient manner possible. Continue Reading »

This International Women’s Day Take the Pledge for Equality →

ACOGMarch 1, 2016Articles

March 8, 2016 marks International Women’s Day and as obstetrician-gynecologist we are dedicated to quality care of women throughout their lives. We know that gender-equality is a great issue for women here in the U.S. and around the world. Continue Reading »

In Texas, Uneven Expansion Of Obamacare Sows Frustration →

NPRFebruary 29, 2016Articles

People in Texas are significantly more likely than adults nationwide to report that it has gotten harder to see a doctor in the past two years.

The finding comes from polling done by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Continue Reading »

Young Adults Deserve Privacy When Using Health Services →

MedPageToday.comFebruary 23, 2016Articles

Healthcare providers, insurance companies, and state and federal governments should work together to ensure the confidentiality of adolescents and young adults who access sensitive health services, according to a joint position paper endorsed by several professionals groups. Continue Reading »

Next Women’s Health Advisory Committee Meeting Scheduled →

Texas Health and Human Services Commission February 18, 2016Articles

The next Texas Health and Human Services Commission Women’s Health Advisory Committee meeting will be held February 29, 2016. The event will be webcast. Continue Reading »

TMA and the TX Association of OBGYNs announce information on Zika virus and pregnant patients. →

TMA & TAOGFebruary 10, 2016Articles

The Texas Medical Association and the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have prepared the following information on Zika virus and pregnant patients.

Serious birth defects including congenital microcephaly have been reported in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. Information on these outcomes related to Zika is evolving, but until more is known, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women who are trying to become pregnant. Continue Reading »

Zika Virus – What You Should Know →

Dr. Carrie KaufmanFebruary 1, 2016Articles

I’m sure most of you have seen reports of Zika Virus in the news.

Here’s what we know so far: this virus is spread by mosquitos and causes symptoms ranging from fever, rash, and joint pain to red, irritated eyes. There is no vaccination against this virus at the moment, and no treatment aside from supportive care. In areas with a high number of Zika Virus infections, there has been an increase in babies born with small heads (microcephaly) as well as an increase in miscarriage. In many of these affected women, the Zika Virus has been detected. Continue Reading »

Obstacles keep thousands of pregnant women from prenatal care in Bexar County →

San Antonio Express NewsJanuary 10, 2016Articles

Jessica Sepulveda was worried when she started bleeding during her fourth month of pregnancy.

Although she had applied for Medicaid to cover her prenatal care appointments, she still was waiting for the state to determine her eligibility and hadn’t found a doctor who would see her without the insurance. Continue Reading »

Many doctors don’t urge HPV shots for preteens, study says →

Washington PostJanuary 4, 2016Articles

Many pediatricians and family doctors are not strongly recommending the cancer-preventing HPV vaccine to preteens and their parents, contributing to low vaccination rates, a survey of nearly 600 doctors suggests. Continue Reading »

ACOG-Endorsed Breast Cancer Screening Bill Passes Congress →

ACOGDecember 22, 2015Articles

Women’s access to mammograms is safe under a two-year moratorium on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendations for breast cancer screening included in the Omnibus Spending Bill. Continue Reading »

Hear from Our Doctors: Contraceptive Access for Military Women →

Dr. Wilma Larsen December 8, 2015Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

President Obama recently signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 into law. Included in the law is a mandate for comprehensive contraceptive counseling and services for women service members. As a retired Army Colonel and Ob/Gyn physician I couldn’t be more pleased. Continue Reading »

Alcohol consumption in pregnancy →

Dr. Moss HamptonDecember 7, 2015Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

As hard as it is to believe, alcohol consumption during pregnancy is a growing problem. I thought that everyone knew that pregnancy was a time when alcohol was to be avoided by the pregnant mother. Recent studies from the Center for Disease Control now reveal that 1 in 10 pregnant women drink during their pregnancy and that one third of those that drink report binge drinking! Continue Reading »

Texas premature birth rates are down. Thank Medicaid →

Houston ChronicleDecember 1, 2015Articles

Last month brought good news: The premature birth rate in Texas has declined significantly, down from more than 13 percent of births a few years ago, to just over 10 percent. Although Texas still has one of the highest premature birth rates in the country, we are making progress. Continue Reading »

Get Some Exercise, Doctors Tell Pregnant Women →

NBCNovember 24, 2015Articles

Women worried that pregnancy is a time to sit still and be careful don’t need to worry, specialist doctors said Monday. In fact, they said, pregnant women need to get up and exercise. Continue Reading »

ACOG Urges Physicians To Ask Adolescent Girls About Menstrual Cycle →

OBGYN NewsNovember 23, 2015Articles

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wants physicians who treat adolescent girls to consider a new vital sign: menstruation. Continue Reading »

Texas Hopes to Lower Infant Mortality Among African-Americans →

KUTNovember 23, 2015Articles

The rate of infant mortality in Texas is almost six per 1,000 births, but the infant mortality rate for the black population statewide and in Travis County is twice as high, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Continue Reading »

How to avoid the risks and costs of unneeded C-sections →

LA TimesNovember 13, 2015Articles

On Danica McCluer’s last appointment before the due date of her first child, her doctor said measurements showed her baby was likely to be big. Instead of her having a natural birth, as McCluer had hoped, her doctor insisted that she undergo surgery and deliver the baby by caesarean section. Continue Reading »

6 Simple Tips on How to Be Prepared for a Health Emergency →

EmpowHEROctober 29, 2015Articles

It has happened to all of us. We have a sudden health care problem, and need to seek help right away. We are nervous but have to make quick decisions. It would be so helpful if we had anticipated what things we would need before anything happened. Continue Reading »

ACOG Leads Effort to Unify Mammography Screening Recommendations →

American Congress of Obstetricians and GynecologistsOctober 27, 2015Articles

Your patients, and you, may be understandably confused by the ever-changing variations in mammography screening guidelines.  Just this week, the American Cancer Society added another set of recommendations to the mix. Continue Reading »

Midwives Advisory Board Members Announced →

Texas Commission of Licensing and RegulationOctober 14, 2015Articles

On October 14, 2015, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation voted unanimously to appoint nine members to the Midwives Advisory Board.

Advisory Board members will provide crucial guidance to TDLR’s Midwives program. Their knowledge and technical expertise in this field is essential in helping the Commissioners make informed choices and decisions. Continue Reading »

Doc of the Month: Martin Hechanova →

Me & My OBGOctober 8, 2015Articles

Twelve baby deliveries in one 12-hour shift? Dr. Martin Hechanova remembers his record-setting night fondly. He was the “Board Doctor” while interning at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. “I enjoyed the rush of hopping from one delivery to another,” Dr. Hechanova said. Continue Reading »

More U.S. women are using LARC methods →

The Guttmacher Institute October 8, 2015Articles

U.S. women are increasingly turning to highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods—particularly IUDs. According to “Changes in Use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Methods Among United States Women, 2009–2012,” by Guttmacher Institute researchers Megan L. Kavanaugh and colleagues, use of the IUD and the contraceptive implant by 15–44-year-old female contraceptive users increased from about 9% in 2009 to nearly 12% in 2012. Continue Reading »

Dr. Parker: You’re well women →

Me and My OBGSeptember 28, 2015Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

As a male, it’s difficult for me to relate to having a well woman exam. I will never have to visit a gynecologist, even though I am one. Perhaps for me the only comparison to a well woman appointment is going to the dentist. Given that, I can understand why patients may be curious about why they should commit to an annual healthcare maintenance exam with their OB/Gyn. Continue Reading »

State to offer free birth control to low-income teenagers →

Dallas Morning NewsSeptember 24, 2015Articles

Large numbers of poor teenagers will be able for the first time to get free birth control from the state as officials aim to reduce Texas’ high teen pregnancy rate, state health agencies announced Wednesday. Continue Reading »

2 State Women’s Health Programs to Consolidate in July →

Texas TribuneSeptember 23, 2015Articles

Four years after they first reconfigured state-subsidized health services for low-income women, Texas health officials are at it again as they consider how to consolidate two of the state’s main women’s health programs. Continue Reading »

ACOG Opinion on Pregnancy in Women With Genetic Conditions →

MedscapeSeptember 23, 2015Articles

A committee opinion from the Committee on Genetics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), advises obstetrician-gynecologists treating women who have single-gene conditions to consult with subspecialists before and during pregnancy and during the neonatal period. The opinion is published in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Continue Reading »

ACOG Strengthens Opinion on IUDs and Implants →

MedscapeSeptember 23, 2015Articles

An updated committee opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists urges healthcare providers to increase access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) for all appropriate patients. Healthcare professionals should encourage patients to consider implants and intrauterine devices, educate patients on LARC options, and advocate for insurance coverage and appropriate payment and reimbursement for every type of contraceptive method, according to the committee opinion published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. Continue Reading »

Changes aim to improve women’s health programs →

Texas Health & Human Services CommissionSeptember 19, 2015Articles

Through the Sunset review process and legislation that set up the reorganization of the Texas health and human services system, Texas lawmakers made clear their goal for improving coordination within the system, its efficiency, and the way services are delivered. A key part of that broader effort is health care services for women. Continue Reading »

10 Ways STDs Impact Women Differently from Men →

Centers for Disease ControlSeptember 10, 2015Articles

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the U.S., especially among women, who disproportionately bear the long-term consequences of STDs. Continue Reading »

Doc of the Month: Marian “Dani” Steininger →

Me & My OBGAugust 18, 2015Articles

Long term patient relationships, surgical procedures, preventative medicine, and of course women’s health issues. “The specialty of Ob/Gyn has it all,” says Dr. Dani Steininger, our Doctor of the Month. Continue Reading »

Pregnant? Get vaccinated. →

Centers for Disease ControlAugust 12, 2015Articles

Vaccines are an important part of planning and having a healthy pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, check with your doctor to make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccines. If you are currently pregnant, doctors and midwives recommend you receive 2 vaccines during your pregnancy:

  • Tdap to help protect against whooping cough, and
  • The flu shot to help protect against influenza. Continue Reading »

President’s Blog: Adults Need Vaccines, Too! →

American Congress of Obstetricians and GynecologistsAugust 10, 2015Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Every year, thousands of adults in the United States suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination. To celebrate the importance of immunizations throughout life – and to help remind adults that they need vaccines, too – ACOG is recognizing August as National Immunization Awareness Month. This is the perfect opportunity to make sure adults are protected against diseases like whooping cough, tetanus, shingles and pneumococcal disease. Let’s not forget the flu either, as flu season is right around the corner! Continue Reading »

Supplements – What is right for me? →

Me & My OBGAugust 10, 2015Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

“What medications are you taking? Nothing? What about any vitamins or supplements?” Because most vitamins and supplements are available over the counter, many women do not necessarily think to include them when discussing their medications with their physician. Continue Reading »

Initiative aims to ease prenatal testing fears →

USA TodayJuly 24, 2015Articles

Pregnant women can experience a roller coaster of emotions: bliss, moodiness, excitement – and sometimes anxiety over what types of prenatal testing you should have and what the results really mean. Continue Reading »

With Pap Tests Less Common, Women May Miss Out On STD Tests →

NPRJuly 21, 2015Articles

Changes in how women are screened for cervical cancer mean they’re getting Pap tests less often. But that may also mean young women are not getting tested for chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted disease. Continue Reading »

Death from childbirth is unusually common in America →

The EconomistJuly 18, 2015Articles

FOR most of human history, pregnancy has come with a significant risk of death. Up until the early 1930s in America, nearly one woman died of related complications for every 100 live births. Thanks to advances in obstetric medicine and widened access to better care, the maternal-mortality rate declined by almost 99% over subsequent decades—one of the great public-health achievements of the 20th century. By 1987, fewer than eight women died for every 100,000 live births. Over the past quarter of a century, however, America’s maternal-mortality rate has been creeping back up. Continue Reading »

Pregnant Women Get More Ultrasounds, Without Clear Medical Need →

Wall St. JournalJuly 17, 2015Articles

During her pregnancy, Milena Mrosovsky estimates she underwent a dozen fetal ultrasounds. “I was just happy to get my pictures,” she says of the scan images, “and keep them in my little album.”

Her experience isn’t uncommon. American women have been getting fetal ultrasound scans at sharply higher rates than before, and parents have turned the images of their unborn into fixtures of social media. Continue Reading »

After Health Care Act, Sharp Drop in Spending on Birth Control →

New York TimesJuly 7, 2015Articles

Out-of-pocket spending on most major birth control methods fell sharply in the months after the Affordable Care Act began requiring insurance plans to cover contraception at no cost to women, a new study has found. Spending on the pill, the most popular form of prescription birth control, dropped by about half in the first six months of 2013, compared with the same period in 2012, before the mandate took effect. Continue Reading »

Half of U.S. women are overweight during pregnancy →

ReutersJuly 1, 2015Articles

Roughly half of first-time mothers in the U.S. gain too much weight during pregnancy, about the same proportion who are overweight at the start, a study finds. Continue Reading »

Supreme Court Places A Stay On Abortion Law In Texas →

NPRJune 29, 2015Articles

The Supreme Court has placed a stay on a lower court’s ruling that upheld new abortion standards in Texas, to give opponents of a controversial 2013 law time to take their case to the nation’s highest court. Continue Reading »

How Long Is Too Long to Take the Pill? →

New York MagazineJune 25, 2015Articles

You might not give your particular method of hormonal birth control a second thought, but maybe you’ve heard terrifying stories about women having strokes or blood clots, or freaked out after reading the prescribing information, or have vaguely worried about the long-term consequences of taking hormones like estrogen and progestin. Yes, tragic things have happened to women on the pill (and IUD, shot, ring, implant, and patch), but these methods are well-studied and their use is widespread. Continue Reading »

Percentage of uninsured women, Hispanics in Texas falls →

Houston ChronicleJune 24, 2015Articles

As the overall number of Texans without health insurance continues to fall, a new report shows that the state’s women and Hispanics have been the biggest beneficiaries.

Between September 2013 and March 2015, the percentage of Hispanics without health insurance fell from 39.1 percent to 24.3 percent, meaning that more Hispanics have health insurance now. It is the largest improvement of any ethnic group, a study by the Episcopal Health Foundation and Rice University‘s Baker Institute for Public Policy found. Continue Reading »

Researchers across the country are putting organs on chips →

Washington PostJune 18, 2015Articles

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health announced Thursday that they have developed a device that puts a “mini-placenta” on a chip to better understand the organ’s role in pregnancy, highlighting new technology that’s showing up in labs across the country and may reduce the amount of animal testing over time. Continue Reading »

How to choose a good health app →

M.D. AndersonJune 15, 2015Articles

From helping you wake up rested to getting couch potatoes ready for a 5K, there really is an app for everything.

But when it comes to health apps, proceed with caution. That’s true of apps for smartphones, tablets, computers and even TVs. Continue Reading »

84th Texas Legislative Session Ends: New Funding for Women’s Preventive Healthcare →

Texas Women's Healthcare CoalitionJune 8, 2015Articles

The Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition is immensely grateful that Texas legislators recognize women’s preventive health care — including check-ups, high blood pressure screenings, and contraception — means healthier babies, healthier mothers and lower costs for taxpayers. The 2016-2017 budget includes $50 million in new funding for women’s preventive healthcare. Combined with the funding restoration in the 2013 legislative session, this funding has the potential to reverse much of the devastating effect of the 2011 budget cuts and subsequent upheavals to women’s health programs. Continue Reading »

Health Commissioner to Step Down as Deputy Takes Helm →

Texas TribuneJune 5, 2015Articles

Kyle Janek, the head of the state’s embattled Health and Human Services Commission, will step down July 1 and be replaced by his deputy, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday.

Abbott announced that Chris Traylor, who had been poised to retire from the health agency, will take over for Janek. Traylor is a former commissioner of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. Continue Reading »

Important Federal Guidance on Birth Control Coverage →

Healthy Futures of TexasMay 26, 2015Articles

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that private insurance companies cover women’s preventive health care, including all FDA approved contraceptive methods and services, without out-of-pocket patient cost. However, as demonstrated by the recently released reports by the Kaiser Family Foundation and National Women’s Law Center, many insurance companies are not providing coverage of some contraceptive methods; some are illegally required co-payments: and some are providing no coverage at all. Continue Reading »

Managing Nausea During Pregnancy →

Me & My OBGMay 17, 2015Articles

I’m an Ob/Gyn. I’m pregnant. I am nauseous.

I am now experiencing exactly what I have been telling my patients is normal for years. It’s karma. I am also thinking of this as a kind of blessing because I’m thinking about the advice I’ve been giving in a whole new way. The biggest insight I’ve had is there are so many simple lifestyle changes that help. I have been lucky and have not required much medication to make this tolerable and found that the following things really improved my ability to get through the day without being completely miserable. Continue Reading »

Post-Partum Care: What You Should Know →

Me & My OBGMay 7, 2015Articles

The arrival of a baby is a life-changing experience for the new mother. It also represents a unique window of opportunity for obstetricians and other primary care physicians to provide education and implement interventions that will affect the outcome of current and future pregnancies. Continue Reading »

ACOG Statement on Maternal Mortality →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)May 4, 2015Articles

Washington, DC — Hal C. Lawrence, MD, Executive Vice President and CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), released the following statement regarding the Save the Children report, “State of the World’s Mothers 2015: The Urban Disadvantage” Continue Reading »

ACOG: Our Strength Is in Our Members →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)April 28, 2015Articles

Serving as ACOG President is indeed an honor. It is also a significant responsibility involving accountability to the 58,000 members who pay dues to our organization. We are the premier organization advocating for obstetrics and gynecology and women’s health care. As ACOG members, we are above all things dedicated to striving for and preserving our reputation of excellence, our credibility and our integrity in the pursuit of the best in women’s health care delivery. Continue Reading »

Increase women’s health funding →

Ft. Worth Star-TelegramApril 27, 2015Articles

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Benjamin Franklin’s adage still holds true, especially when it comes to Texas women’s health care.

You don’t have to be an expert to appreciate that women’s preventive health care — including check-ups, cancer screenings, and contraception — means healthier babies, healthier mothers and lower costs for taxpayers. In fact, every dollar spent on contraceptive care saves more than seven dollars in prevented medical and social service costs. Continue Reading »

EmpowHER Friday: Are You In An Abusive Relationship? 8 Warning Signs →

EmpowHER.comApril 24, 2015Articles

Domestic violence is a type of abuse between partners that is often unrecognized by the person being abused. Domestic violence can take many different forms including intimidation, physical or sexual assault.

Domestic violence sometimes causes physical injury. But it can also cause emotional or psychological pain with no physical signs. Continue Reading »

ACOG’s Guide to Managing Miscarriage: Follow Patient Preference →

Me & My OBGApril 23, 2015Articles

In most cases of early pregnancy loss, expectant management, medical management, and surgical management provide similarly safe and effective treatment options; however, of the three options, surgical management had the highest rates of guaranteed success and fastest recovery times, according to Sarah Prager, MD, of the University of Washington, and colleagues from the Committee on Practice Bulletins at theAmerican Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Continue Reading »

House Approves Protections for Breast-Feeding Moms →

Texas TribuneApril 23, 2015Articles

The Texas House on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a measure that would require public employers to provide accommodations for mothers who need to pump breast milk while at work. Continue Reading »

Health Agency Bill Pulled Amid Heated Abortion Debate →

Texas TribuneApril 23, 2015Articles

Debate on legislation to re-evaluate a state health agency morphed into a fight over abortion in the Texas House on Thursday, and the bill was pulled down after a pair of anti-abortion amendments were added to the bill over the author’s objections. Continue Reading »

EmpowHER Friday: What Happens to Your Body When You Go Off the Pill? →

EmpowHER.comApril 17, 2015Articles

When deciding what kind of birth control pill is better suited to your needs, considering the side effects of each method may be the top factor guiding your decision. However, what happens once you decide to go off of it? There may be various reasons for wanting to go off the pill—wanting to conceive, needing to switch methods or simply not needing it any longer. Continue Reading »

Continuing to Help Low-Income Women Access Primary Care →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)April 13, 2015Articles

Medicaid is an integral part of our health care system and a crucial source of coverage for many of our patients. More than one out of every ten adult women in the US (13%) are insured by Medicaid. However, the promise of timely access to care through the program is limited by low reimbursement rates across most of the country. Continue Reading »

EmpowerHER Friday: How to be the Healthiest Version of Yourself →

EmpowHER.comApril 10, 2015Articles

Our old patterns, beliefs and thinking can keep us stuck in rut where we are constantly playing the blame game. Whether it’s the situation, our genetics, our environment or whatever, rather than looking deeper…how we are thinking. Our thoughts are powerful. We can choose to be the healthiest and happiest version of ourselves by taking some simple steps.  Continue Reading »

Hollier Testimony to Texas House Public Health Committee in favor of postpartum depression care →

Me & My OBGApril 7, 2015Articles

Good morning/afternoon Chairwoman Crownover and committee members. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on House Bill 3115. I am Lisa Hollier, MD, a practicing maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Houston testifying today on behalf of the Texas Medical Association, Texas Pediatric Society, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists-Texas Chapter, Federation of Texas Psychiatry, March of Dimes and Texans Care for Children. Our organizations strongly support this legislation, which if enacted will vastly improve postpartum screening and treatment for low-income women. We are grateful to Governor Abbott and Representative Coleman for championing this issue. 

Continue Reading »

Guan: My Experience at the Texas Legislature →

Me & My OBGApril 1, 2015Articles

As for many medical students, the legislative process seemed to me an arcane affair governed by esoteric rules of which I had no grasp. Yet so many of the conversations happening in our state capitols and in Washington, DC could directly affect aspects of my future practice. It wasn’t until recently that I saw ways in which students can influence the decision-making process. Continue Reading »

EmpowHER Friday: 5 Tips for Work-Life Balance →

Me & My OBGMarch 27, 2015Articles

Americans spend a lot of time at work. They come early and leave late and don’t take lunch hours. Some continue to be tethered to the job by cellphone and email long after they have supposedly clocked out. Others try to play catch-up on the weekends or late at night. Continue Reading »

Report: Thousands fewer served through women’s health program since state takeover →

Dallas Morning NewsMarch 25, 2015Articles

Thousands fewer women are getting health services through the now state-run Women’s Health Program after Planned Parenthood was barred from being a provider. Continue Reading »

Women’s Health Caucus Executive Committee Chosen →

Me & My OBGMarch 23, 2015Articles

The Texas Women’s Health Caucus (TWHC) last week convened to choose Executive Committee members for the 84th Legislative Session. Rep. Jessica Farrar will continue serving on the Committee as Caucus Chair alongside Rep. Donna Howard, re-elected as Vice-Chair. Continue Reading »

Legislative battles over abortion put doctors in the middle →

Ob.Gyn. NewsMarch 21, 2015Articles

Legislative battles over abortion could intensify this year, with both state and federal lawmakers eyeing additional restrictions on access to the procedure.

And ob.gyns. are finding themselves in the middle once again, with some opposing legislative interference in the physician-patient relationship and others supporting increased regulation of abortion providers. Continue Reading »

EmpowerHER Friday: 5 Important Health Checkups →

Me & My OBGMarch 20, 2015Articles

It’s time to stop procrastinating and make your health a priority. There are 5 important health checkups that are extremely important to your health as a woman no matter what age you are. You may not need all of these checkups right now, but make sure you know about them and talk to your doctor about when you should make your appointment. Continue Reading »

Dose of the Texas Legislature: Our 2015 Priorities →

Me & My OBGMarch 19, 2015Articles

As with each legislative session, the ACOG-TX and the Me & My OBG Campaign has selected priority issues for 2015 that are important to protecting women’s health in Texas. Continue Reading »

Improving Postpartum Health for Texas Women →

Texas CHIP CoalitionMarch 16, 2015Articles

Over the last several years, Texas has made great strides towards improving the health of its mothers and babies, investing dollars and resources to promote early prenatal care, help women better plan and space their pregnancies, and reduce the state’s rates of low-birth weight babies, preterm births and infant mortality. Continue Reading »

EmpowHER Friday: The Importance of Blood Tests →

Me & My OBGMarch 13, 2015Articles

By having regular blood tests, you can learn a lot about your health. The more you know, the better you are able to take care of your body.

Your blood can tell you something is wrong even before you know there is something wrong. It is important to establish your personal baseline to measure against for the future.  Continue Reading »

Terwilliger & Thoppil: Weight Gain in Pregnancy →

Me & My OBGMarch 9, 2015Articles

We have all heard the old saying that “you are eating for two.”  This is not true!!  You certainly should not be eating double the calories.  Instead, your eating habits should focus on the fact that what you eat will affect both you and your baby’s health, now and in the future. Continue Reading »

EmpowHER Friday: Make Your Health Declaration →

Me & My OBGMarch 6, 2015Articles

In order to obtain your health goals, declare them! Whether it’s to eat less, drink more water, or get more exercise, you have both big and small ideas on how you can improve your health. Here’s how to start declaring your goals so you can start accomplishing them. Continue Reading »

Dose of the Texas Legislature: Bill Deadline →

Me & My OBGMarch 5, 2015Articles

One particular day looms large during the Texas Legislative Session – bill filing deadline. This pivotal moment occurs, by rule, on the 60th day of each session. This year, that date falls on Friday, March 13, 2015. State lawmakers have just about one week from today to put the final touches on their legislative packages and formally submit them for consideration. Continue Reading »

Jennings: Emergency Care Can Be Too Urgently Needed for Home Births →

New York TimesFebruary 24, 2015Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

When women decide where to give birth, they should understand the potential risks involved with their options, especially if they have underlying factors that increase risk of complications. A hospital or birthing center continues to be the safest place for labor and delivery; evidence shows that although the overall risk of serious childbirth complications remains low, there is still a twofold to threefold increased risk of neonatal death associated with home birth. Continue Reading »

A Dose of the Texas Legislature: Health & the House of Representatives →

Me & My OBGFebruary 23, 2015Articles

When Texas state representatives propose legislation that relates to women’s healthcare, their bills most often are referred to the House Committee on Public Health House Committee on Public Health. The Committee is chaired by Representative Myra Crownover (Republican, Denton). Representative Elliott Naishtat (Democrat, Austin) is the Committee’s vice-chair. Continue Reading »

EmpowHER Friday: Be Your Own Best Health Care Provider →

Me & My OBGFebruary 19, 2015Articles

If you don’t take charge of your own health and wellness no one will. Change begins with you. It’s time. Here are 5 tips for dealing more effectively with your own health care. Continue Reading »

A Dose of the Texas Legislature: Senate Health & Human Services →

Me & My OBGFebruary 19, 2015Articles

The majority of women’s health-related legislation is referred to the Texas Senate Committee on Health & Human Services. In committee, members carefully examine filed bills that, if passed into law, would affect access to and quality of healthcare delivery in Texas. Continue Reading »

Doc of the Month: Jamie Morgan →

Me & My OBGFebruary 11, 2015Articles

Training as a specialist in high-risk obstetrics can be fraught with disappointment and sadness, but fortunately there are physicians like Dr. Jamie Morgan for whom counseling patients and families and working together with them to achieve the best possible outcomes for mothers and babies is fulfilling and one of the most rewarding aspects of the work. We salute Dr. Morgan as our ‘Doc of the Month.’ Continue Reading »

JENNINGS: Reducing Maternal Mortality with Obstetric Care Designations →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)February 10, 2015Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Maternal deaths related to childbirth in the United States have been rising in the past decade. According to a 2014 report published in The Lancet, the maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is now more than double the rate in Saudi Arabia and Canada, and more than triple the rate in the United Kingdom. Continue Reading »

SESSION CLIP: Committee Appointments Set →

Me & My OBGFebruary 6, 2015Articles

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus have announced committees and chairs for the 2015 Legislature. In the Texas Senate, five committees are of particular interest to the Me & My OBG Campaign given their impact Texas women’s health: Continue Reading »

Cole Named Interim DSHS Commissioner →

Department of State Health ServicesJanuary 30, 2015Articles

Kirk Cole, associate commissioner of the Department of State Health Services, will serve as interim commissioner of the agency starting Feb. 1 as the state searches for a successor to Dr. David Lakey, who announced his resignation in early January. Continue Reading »

The Text4baby Prenatal Care Challenge is On! →

Department of State Health ServicesJanuary 27, 2015Articles

On January 26, 2015 the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) launched the Text4baby Prenatal Care Challenge. The Challenge is an effort by DSHS to promote early entry into prenatal care in 35 Texas counties with the lowest prenatal care rates.

Continue Reading »

The Texas Legislature Begins! →

Me & My OBGJanuary 20, 2015Articles

The 84th Texas Legislature convened last Tuesday for the opening of the 140-day legislative session. Today, January 20th, the new Governor and Lieutenant Governor take the oath of office. State lawmakers made progress last session when some women’s health funding and services were restored, but we have a lot more work to do. Continue Reading »

Preventing Birth Defects Begins Before Conception →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)January 15, 2015Articles

This January, National Birth Defects Prevention Month, let’s dedicate ourselves to educating our patients about the importance of preconception planning – and lifelong health. Continue Reading »

Texas Companies Sign On for Healthier Births →

Department of State Health ServicesJanuary 13, 2015Articles

A group of Texas insurance companies has signed on with the state to work together to improve pregnancies and birth outcomes in Texas. Continue Reading »

Things to Think About When Picking a Health Plan on Your State’s Marketplace →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)January 13, 2015Articles

All health plans offered in the state marketplace cover the same essential health benefits. These include doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medicine, pregnancy care, and more. Continue Reading »

Doc of the Month: Helen A Dunnington →

Me & My OBGJanuary 11, 2015Articles

For Dr. Helen Dunnington, it is the small things that make her busy medical schedule worthwhile. “My favorite days are seeing a happy, satisfied patient: from delivering my patient’s baby, seeing a post-operative patient who is now pain free, or seeing a woman come in proudly stating she has lost weight and looking great.” Continue Reading »

King and Kacal found KK125 Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, donate $50,000 to MD Anderson →

Quorum ReportJanuary 8, 2015Articles

In the midst of much pre-session manufactured drama, a glimmer of truly important news crossed our desk before the Christmas holidays.  We decided to hold on to it until our Capital community was back from the holidays and beginning to focus on the tasks ahead. Continue Reading »

Lakey Leaving DSHS, But Not Public Health →

Texas TribuneJanuary 7, 2015Articles

It’s official: Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner David Lakey is leaving his job as the state’s public health chief next month to take a new gig with the University of Texas System and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. Continue Reading »

The Future of the Ob-Gyn Workforce →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)December 29, 2014Articles

Workforce issues in women’s healthcare continue to be a primary concern for ACOG.

A recent survey of 20,088 physicians conducted by the Physicians Foundation, a non-profit research organization, found that increasing workloads, regulatory requirements, and other changes in the healthcare system are prompting physicians to make career changes. Continue Reading »

Increase in LARCs Means Less Unplanned Pregnancy →

Healthy Futures of TexasDecember 23, 2014Articles

Use of long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), the most effective methods, is on the rise. According to new data from the CDC, approximately 62% of women aged 15-44 were using some type of contraceptive method. The most commonly used methods were the pill (16.0%), female sterilization (15.5%), condoms (9.4%), and long-acting reversible contraceptives (7.2%). Continue Reading »

Being Thin Doesn’t Spare Asian-Americans From Diabetes Risk →

NPRDecember 23, 2014Articles

We know that you can be fat while still fit, but how about skinny and unhealthy? This may be the case for many Asian-Americans who look slim, but actually face a higher risk of diabetes than people belonging to other ethnic groups. Continue Reading »

Detailed information can make it easier for a doctor to diagnose your health problems →

Washington PostDecember 22, 2014Articles

Physical complaints can be difficult to articulate, especially when they are vague or intermittent. Like a car’s problems that vanish when you take it to the mechanic, symptoms often elude us when we’re at the doctor’s office. But when you can’t explain your symptoms, you increase the chances of unnecessary tests, needless trial-and-error treatments and even misdiagnosis. Continue Reading »

Doc of the Month: G. Sealy Massingill →

Me & My OBGDecember 12, 2014Articles

Few doctors are as dedicated to the Me & My OBG campaign and to District XI ACOG (Texas) than Dr. G. Sealy Massingill, our ‘Doc of the Month.’ Dr. Massingill’s participation has not only helped his fellow doctors, but also helped educate Texas women so that they may make more informed decisions about their health care. Continue Reading »

Sunset Commission Backs Bid to Consolidate State Health Agencies →

Texas TribuneDecember 11, 2014Articles

With the next legislative session a month away, lawmakers are preparing to move forward with a planned consolidation of the state’s five health agencies into a single commission.

Members of the Sunset Advisory Commission, a panel that includes lawmakers and makes periodic reviews of  state agencies and programs, unanimously approved on Wednesday a recommendation to combine the massive Health and Human Services Commission and the four smaller agencies it oversees. Continue Reading »

Adult Immunization Standards, Schedules, & Recommendations →

Me & My OBGDecember 10, 2014Articles

There is a significant amount of adults in Texas who are not immunized for recommended vaccinations, meaning that they are at an increased risk of developing vaccine-preventable diseases.  The Department of State Health Services provides an Adult Immunization Schedule based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and/or the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC). Continue Reading »

SA Teen Births Decline →

Healthy Futures of TexasDecember 9, 2014Articles

On December 3, San Antonio Metro Health released its 2013 Teen Pregnancy Report and Fact Sheet for Bexar County. There were 2,558 births to females ages 15 to 19 – a decline of nearly 700 births since 2010. The 2013 teen birth ratedropped to 40.1 per 1,000 – a 42 percent decline since 2000. Continue Reading »

How to Counsel Patients about Immunizations →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)December 9, 2014Articles

In recent years, we’ve made great strides in encouraging vaccination in pregnant women. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, influenza vaccination rates in pregnant women increased from 15% to around 47%. Since then, rates have been sustained around 50%, increasing to 53% in the 2013-14 flu season. However, there are still patients who choose not to be vaccinated, possibly due to misinformation about vaccines. Continue Reading »

What’s Next for the State Women’s Health Programs? →

San Antonio CurrentDecember 3, 2014Articles

Texas’ women’s health and family planning programs have been mired in politics and uncertainty in recent years, and they could be in for another big change as a review panel of legislators and policy experts considers a major overhaul of state health departments. Continue Reading »

State of the Art →

Valley Morning StarDecember 3, 2014Articles

HARLINGEN — Dr. Susan Hunter, Gynecologic Surgeon, has performed the Valley’s first robotic-assisted hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) surgery through a single small incision in a patient’s navel (belly button), using a new type of surgical instrumentation. Continue Reading »

Aren’t hormones bad for you? →

Me & My OBGNovember 24, 2014Articles

How many flashes should I have?  Doesn’t getting old mean sex will be painful?  Will I break my hip like Aunt Mary?   I don’t want to die from breast cancer like Sue!  My cardiologist told me NEVER to take hormones. Continue Reading »

‘Doc of the Month’: Jason A. Parker, M.D. →

Me & My OBGNovember 19, 2014Articles

When asked to identify the most pressing issues facing women’s health in Texas today, Dr. Jason Parker doesn’t hesitate: education and access to health care. He suggests that, as physicians and as a state, we all need to understand the importance of educating women about their own health care. What’s more, that we need to provide women meaningful health care tools that empower them to live healthy lifestyles and this begins with access to care. Continue Reading »

Well-Woman: Screening for Women Ages 19-39 Years →

Me & My OBGNovember 13, 2014Articles

Annual assessments provide an excellent opportunity to counsel patients about preventive care and to provide or refer for recommended services. These assessments should include screening, evaluation and counseling, and immunizations based on age and risk factors. Continue Reading »

Elections Over, Bill Filing Begins →

Dr. Moss Hampton, Me & My OBGNovember 12, 2014Articles

On November 4th, the Texas electorate spoke and the next group of Texas legislators was chosen. Some of our Womens Health Champions will be returning to the state House and Senate, while many new members will be ushered in.  Continue Reading »

DSHS Grand Rounds – Preventing the First Cesarean Delivery: Practical Application of the Evidence →

Department of State Health ServicesNovember 10, 2014Articles

Please join us for the last Texas Department of State Health Services Grand Rounds presentation of the fall semester, Preventing the First Cesarean Delivery: Practical Application of the Evidence, on Wednesday, November 12, from 11:00-12:30 p.m. in the K-100 Lecture Hall in Austin by the Lobby (see Central Campus-Austin map) and via live webinar. Continue Reading »

Collaborating with Nurse Practitioners →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)November 10, 2014Articles

November 9-15 is National Nurse Practitioner Week, an event designed to recognize the contributions that nurse practitioners (NPs) make to our health care system. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), there are more than 192,000 NPs practicing in the US today, approximately 8% of whom focus on women’s health. Continue Reading »

HIV in Pregnancy Doesn’t Relate to Me, Does it? →

Me & My OBGNovember 7, 2014Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

One young woman was 21, married a year and, along with her husband, was thrilled to be pregnant. Another was a 33 year old mother of two who had remarried and was now pregnant with what would be her husband’s first child. The third woman was a high school student who had not planned to get pregnant, but thankfully had family support and planned to keep her baby and finish her studies. Continue Reading »

No Blood, just Sweat and Tears →

Me & My OBGNovember 5, 2014Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

“No Blood, just Sweat and Tears” is the title of a talk I give on menopause to women’s groups. Most women who hear this chuckle, so if you do not understand the play on words, then you are too young to be reading this blog post! Seriously, though, as a fellow woman who is also in this era of her life, I’ve got a few thoughts on this topic. Continue Reading »

Menopause Explained →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)November 4, 2014Articles

Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when she stops having menstrual periods. The years leading up to this point are called perimenopause, or “around menopause.” Menopause marks the end of the reproductive years that began in puberty. Continue Reading »

Domestic Violence: A Provider Perspective →

WomensHealth.govOctober 27, 2014Articles

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month — an important time to increase awareness of this public health issue. Domestic violence or interpersonal violence (IPV) can have a profound impact on the health, safety, and well-being of women and men, children, and other family members. Continue Reading »

Shining Light on Violence Against Women →

WomensHealth.govOctober 23, 2014Articles

Domestic violence has been in the news a lot lately. Intimate partner violence (also known as IPV or domestic violence) is not new, but it is widespread. New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows how staggering the problem is: over 38 million women in the United States experience violence at the hand of a husband, boyfriend, or other partner during their lifetime. Continue Reading »

‘Doc of the Month’: Carrie Kaufman →

Me & My OBGOctober 21, 2014Articles

Carrie Kaufman was looking for a career that would combine her passion for feminism with her passion for science. ‘I’m a very hands-on person. I like fixing things. I was thinking about going to school to be a midwife until I realized how much I enjoy surgery. I decided on traditional medical school and the OB-GYN path and made a commitment to myself to include both science and feminism in my practice.’ Continue Reading »

Having breast cancer means being ‘aware’ every day, not just in October →

Washington PostOctober 20, 2014Articles

There is a catchword for October among women who have been treated for or are living with breast cancer: Pinktober. The reason is on full display on television one Sunday afternoon as my boyfriend cheers on his NFL team: pink cleats, pink towels, pink goalposts, coaches with pink ribbons and a male announcer promoting the NFL’s “A Crucial Catch” campaign. Continue Reading »

Supreme Court Allows Texas Abortion Clinics to Stay Open →

New York TimesOctober 14, 2014Articles

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed more than a dozen Texas abortion clinics to reopen, blocking a state law that had imposed strict requirements on abortion providers. Had the law been allowed to stand, it would have caused all but eight of the state’s abortion clinics to close and would have required many women to travel more than 150 miles to the nearest abortion provider. Continue Reading »

How family planning programs save taxpayers billions of dollars each year →

Washington PostOctober 14, 2014Articles

Publicly-funded family planning services help low-income Americans avoid serious health conditions while saving billions of dollars each year, according to a new analysis — benefits that go beyond providing contraception that can prevent unintended pregnancies. Continue Reading »

Well-Woman: Screening for Women Ages 13-18 Years →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)October 13, 2014Articles

Annual assessments provide an excellent opportunity to counsel patients about preventive care and to provide or refer for recommended services. These assessments should include screening, evaluation and counseling, and immunizations based on age and risk factors. The interval for individual services varies. Continue Reading »

ACOG and the American College of Nurse-Midwives Issue Statement on Practice Relations →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)October 7, 2014Articles

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) affirm our shared goal of safe women’s health care in the United States through the promotion of evidence-based models provided by obstetricians-gynecologists (ob-gyns), certified nurse-midwives (CNMs), and certified midwives (CMs). Continue Reading »

Dr. Swaim: A fully informed surgical patient is the best surgical patient →

Me & My OBGOctober 3, 2014Articles

No one wants to worry about complications from surgery, but risks do exist and they’re one reason that surgery should be performed only when indicated and when the patient is informed of both the benefits and the risks involved. Continue Reading »

Give teens free birth control and watch pregnancy and abortion rates plummet →

SalonOctober 2, 2014Articles

Contraception prevents pregnancy. It follows, then, that widespread access to contraception among certain populations can reduce pregnancy rates in those populations. Right? Well that’s exactly what an important new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found with regard to teenagers. Continue Reading »

Dr. Jennings: Protecting the Patient-Physician Relationship: Why Ob-Gyns Need to Talk With Patients About Gun Safety →

ACOG President Dr. John JenningsSeptember 25, 2014Articles

In order to deliver the best health care, ob-gyns must develop strong relationships with our patients. We need to discuss sensitive issues in the exam room, including sexual health, family planning, mental health, and domestic violence concerns. Keeping the line of communication unhindered allows physicians to provide the needed information to keep patients healthy. Continue Reading »

More Women Skip Prenatal Tests After Learning About Risks →

NPRSeptember 23, 2014Articles

For decades, OB-GYNs have offered prenatal tests to expectant moms to uncover potential issues, including Down syndrome, before they give birth. However, some tests, such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, carry health risks, including miscarriage. For some women, the risks can be greater than the potential benefits from information they would gain. Continue Reading »

It’s On Us →

WomensHealth.govSeptember 19, 2014Articles

Today, I took a pledge to help end sexual assault on college campuses. As a woman, mother, and the Director of the Office on Women’s Health, this is a deeply personal issue for me. Before I ask you to join me in taking this pledge, here are the facts. Continue Reading »

After Obamacare, two-third of insured women now get their birth control pills free →

VoxSeptember 18, 2014Articles

The number of privately-insured women getting no-cost birth control pills has more than quadrupled under Obamacare, new data from the Guttmacher Institute shows. Continue Reading »

Dr. Kaufman answers, ‘What is an ectopic pregnancy?’ →

Me & My OBGSeptember 15, 2014Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Ectopic pregnancy is any fertilized egg that is growing and developing outside of the uterus, or womb. The most common location for ectopic pregnancies to be found is in the fallopian tube, which carries the egg to the uterus after ovulation. Ectopic pregnancies can also be found on the ovary, in the cervix, or elsewhere in the abdominal cavity. Continue Reading »

‘Doc of the Month’: Jennifer Bump →

Me & My OBGSeptember 8, 2014Articles

The Me & My OBG ‘Doc of the Month’ is Jennifer Bump, M.D., M.B.A., Obstetrics and Gynecology, Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Bump provides extraordinary care for women by first fostering an environment of trust. Continue Reading »

Passion for the Pill →

New York TimesSeptember 5, 2014Articles

Republican candidates are falling madly in love with contraception.

Who knew? Continue Reading »

Sharing Risk Can Help Tame The Cost Of Infertility Treatment →

NPRSeptember 2, 2014Articles

Infertility treatment is a numbers game in some respects: How many treatments will it take to conceive a child? And how much can you afford? Continue Reading »

Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas Abortion Regulation →

Texas TribuneAugust 29, 2014Articles

A federal judge on Friday struck down new requirements for Texas abortion facilities — a decision that could have shuttered all but a few abortion clinics in the state. The standards were set to go into effect Monday. Continue Reading »

Addressing Infertility →

Me & My OBGAugust 28, 2014Articles

The first step in overcoming infertility is to undergo an infertility evaluation. During the evaluation, questions will be asked and tests conducted to give your physician clues to the cause of infertility and ultimately lead to the development of an effective treatment plan.  Continue Reading »

Tips on Building Doctor/Patient Relations →

American Academy of Family PhysiciansAugust 27, 2014Articles

The American Academy of Family Physicians Division of Medical Education reminds doctors about how important it is that they are able to effectively communicate with patients to best help them. Essential to communication is being able to quickly establish rapport with patients. Continue Reading »

New Birth Control Rules Appear To Track Supreme Court Suggestion →

Kaiser Health NewsAugust 25, 2014Articles

Those who favor women being guaranteed no-cost birth control coverage under their health insurance say the new rules for nonprofit religious organizations issued by the Obama administration simply put into force what the Supreme Court suggested last month. Continue Reading »

Apps Give Patients Means to Help Manage Own Healthcare →

Me & My OBGAugust 22, 2014Articles

Smartphone apps are changing the landscape of healthcare. Thanks to the proliferation of fitness devices and mobile health monitoring and maintenance applications, never before have so many patients been equipped to manage their health conditions. Continue Reading »

Protecting Women’s Access to Birth Control →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)August 19, 2014Articles

Ob-gyns know the critical role contraception plays in preventive care for women. When patients need a prescription for contraception, we expect that they will be able to fill it without hassle. Unfortunately for many women, that isn’t the case. Continue Reading »

Are you a doctor? There’s an app for that →

Me & My OBGAugust 13, 2014Articles

Paper charts are gradually becoming a thing of the past at many doctors’ offices. Tablet computing has revolutionized the medical field. Creative displays and interactive content are making doctor visits a more collaborative process. Continue Reading »

‘Doc of the Month:’ Dr. Judy Levison →

Me & My OBGAugust 11, 2014Articles

The Me & My OBG doctor of the month is Judy Levison, MD, MPH. of  Houston, Texas. Dr. Levison is an Associate Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, at the Baylor College of Medicine and is Physician Coordinator of OB/GYN care for HIV-positive women in the Harris Health System. Continue Reading »

Abortion law ruling a win for women →

CNNAugust 4, 2014Articles

On Monday, a federal court struck down Alabama’s medically unnecessary law that singles out doctors who provide abortions and requires them to secure admitting privileges at a local hospital. The court called the justification for the law “exceedingly weak.” Continue Reading »

Breast-Feeding Is Still Difficult For Many Moms →

NPRAugust 1, 2014Articles

When Elizabeth O’Connell was expecting her first child, she knew she wanted to breast-feed. And, she says, she sort of expected it to just happen, naturally. Continue Reading »

Rule Changes Address Contraceptive Devices →

Texas TribuneJuly 31, 2014Articles

Texas women who receive state-financed health services may be able to more easily access contraceptive products like intrauterine devices and hormonal implants beginning Friday, when rule changes to the state’s Medicaid program and the Texas Women’s Health Programtake effect. Continue Reading »

Your First Well Woman Exam: What to Expect →

Me & My OBGJuly 30, 2014Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

One of the most nerve-racking doctor’s visits of my life was my first visit to my gynecologist when I was just 17 years old.  I was headed off to college in a few months, and my mother thought it was the right time for me to develop a relationship with a women’s health care provider.  I played it cool and acted like I was completely unfazed.  Truth of the matter is I was terrified, mainly because I had no idea what to expect. Continue Reading »

In response to court ruling, administration works to ensure contraceptive coverage →

Washington PostJuly 22, 2014Articles

The Obama administration said Tuesday that it is coming up with a work-around to ensure that employees of certain charities, hospitals and colleges whose leaders have religious objections to contraceptives can still get birth control through their employee health insurance plans. Continue Reading »

Lawmakers Push to Consolidate Women’s Health Programs →

Texas TribuneJuly 20, 2014Articles

Texas lawmakers are looking for ways to fill the gaps in access to health care for the state’s poorest women, three years after making sharp cuts to the state’s family planning budget and rejecting a federally financed women’s health program in favor of their own. Continue Reading »

Schwertner to Lead Health and Human Services Committee →

Texas TribuneJuly 17, 2014Articles

After appointing Republican state Sen.Jane Nelson to chair the Senate Finance Committee, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has picked state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, to replace her as the head the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Continue Reading »

Me & My OBG ‘Doc of the Month’: Karen Swenson →

Me & My OBGJuly 15, 2014Articles

The Me & My OBG doctor of the month is Karen G. Swenson, M.D. of  Austin, Texas. Dr. Swenson earned a B.S. in Nutrition Science with highest honors from the University of California, Davis and received her medical training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Continue Reading »

Fertility Clinics Scan for the Strongest Embryo →

New York TimesJuly 11, 2014Articles

Annika Levitt initially resisted the fertility clinic’s suggestion that only one embryo — rather than the usual two or more — be transferred to her uterus because she was too small to risk carrying more than one baby. Continue Reading »

ACOG Statement In Support of the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)July 10, 2014Articles

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) President John C. Jennings, MD, today released the following statement regarding introduction of the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act:

“Contraception plays an essential role in women’s preventive care, and contraception decisions should be made by a woman and her physician, based on her unique needs and preferences – not by anyone else. A woman’s boss has no role to play in her personal health care decisions. Continue Reading »

HOBBY LOBBY: Murray, Udall to Introduce Legislative Fix to Protect Women’s Health in Aftermath of Supreme Court Decision →

U.S. Senator Patty MurrayJuly 9, 2014Articles

Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) will introduce the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and protect coverage of other health services from employers who want to impose their beliefs on their employees by denying benefits. Continue Reading »

Birth control saves money. Lots of it. →

VoxJuly 9, 2014Articles

Put aside the political and religious fights for a moment. There’s a simple fact about contraception that gets lost in much of the coverage: it saves money. Lots of money. Continue Reading »

In Texas, Less Progress on Reducing Teen Pregnancy →

Texas TribuneJuly 6, 2014Articles

DALLAS — Charmaine Carbs thought that she would be the only senior at her high school to walk across the stage pregnant at graduation. She was wrong.

“It was a whole gang,” said Carbs, who got pregnant at 17 while attending North Garland High School and is now the 21-year-old mother of Klarissa, 2, and Khloe, 2 months. Continue Reading »

Well-Woman Visits Have Become, Well, Confusing! →

Texas Children's BlogJuly 3, 2014Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

If you’re confused about the need for annual gynecologic well-woman visits, or what they should include, you’re not alone.

Earlier this week, the American College of Physicians (ACP), a national organization of internists,announced new guidelines that recommend against yearly pelvic exams for low-risk women. Continue Reading »

In Wake Of Hobby Lobby Ruling, NWLC to Help Women Get Access to Contraception →

National Women's Law CenterJuly 3, 2014Articles

Today, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) announced the launch of its CoverHer hotline to help women who are having trouble getting access to women’s preventive health services – especially contraception – at no cost to them.    Continue Reading »

ACOG Statement on the Supreme Court Decision on Hobby Lobby v Burwell →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)July 1, 2014Articles

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists President John C. Jennings released the following statements regarding today’s decision by the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell: Continue Reading »

Why is the most effective form of birth control—the IUD—also the one no one is using? →

Time MagazineJune 30, 2014Articles

Up against bad PR and a lack of awareness, reproductive health groups are leading the charge to make the IUD a first line of defense against unplanned pregnancy. It won’t be easy. Continue Reading »

Healthy women do not need routine pelvic exams, influential physicians group says →

Washington PostJune 30, 2014Articles

The nation’s second-largest physicians’ organization said Monday that healthy women who are not pregnant do not need routine pelvic exams, a controversial recommendation based on its analysis that, on balance, the manual screening does more harm than good. Continue Reading »

Some Companies Can Refuse To Cover Contraception, Supreme Court Says →

NPRJune 30, 2014Articles

The Supreme Court has ruled that family owned and other closely held companies can opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions for no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance if they have religious objections. Continue Reading »

Older Moms Take Heart: You May Be More Likely To Live Longer →

NPRJune 28, 2014Articles

Americans are waiting longer to become parents. Whatever the pros and cons of that trend, here’s some potentially good news for those older moms: They may be more likely to live longer. Continue Reading »

Dr. Beasley on Home Birth: Consider the risks →

Me & My OBGJune 26, 2014Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

Out of hospital births are still relatively rare in the United States, accounting for less than 1.5% of all births, and approximately a quarter of these are unplanned or unattended.  While the number of planned home births is low, the rate has consistently increased over the past several years. Continue Reading »

How Can We Have Healthier Moms and Babies? →

WomensHealth.govJune 25, 2014Articles

Did you know that half of pregnancies in the U.S. are not planned? And did you know that planned pregnancies are better for mothers’ and infants’ health? That’s why the U.S. Office of Population Affairs and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released formal recommendations on family planning services. Continue Reading »

HHS launches solutions for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace →

WomensHealth.govJune 24, 2014Articles

An online resource can assist businesses in supporting breastfeeding women at work, Nancy C. Lee, M.D., director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) said today at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) annual conference and exposition. The resource, Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: Employer Solutions, can be found atwww.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding-at-work. It proposes ways in which employers can comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to have accommodations for employees who are breastfeeding. Continue Reading »

A guide to the Supreme Court’s upcoming birth control decision →

Washington PostJune 23, 2014Articles

Two Junes ago, we were waiting on a major Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. It’s funny how history repeats itself. Continue Reading »

After Baby, an Unraveling →

New York TimesJune 16, 2014Articles

Cindy Wachenheim was someone people didn’t think they had to worry about. She was a levelheaded lawyer working for the State Supreme Court, a favorite aunt who got down on the floor to play with her nieces and nephews, and, finally, in her 40s, the mother she had long dreamed of becoming. Continue Reading »

The State of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights In the State of Texas: A Cautionary Tale →

Guttmacher Policy ReviewJune 13, 2014Articles

Texas is the second largest state in the country, and has the second largest population. Indeed, everything is bigger there—including the need for affordable health coverage, and for accessible sexual and reproductive health services and information. More than six million Texans have no health insurance of any kind, including 2.4 million adult women. (1,2)  And more Texas women are in need of subsidized family planning services than anywhere else in the country, except California. (3) Continue Reading »

Me & My OBG ‘Doc of the Month’: John Thoppil →

Me & My OBGJune 11, 2014Articles

The Me & My OBG doctor of the month is John Thoppil, MD, FACOG of Austin, TX. Dr. Thoppil is a dedicated advocate for Texas women and the doctors that serve them.  He offered his expertise during the 2013 Legislative Session at a hearing of the House Committee on Public Health. He also contributes blog posts to the Me and My OBG Campaign, most recently reminding women to ‘Get the Flu Shot.’ 

Continue Reading »

Dr. Raine: Before Surgery, Ask the Important Questions →

Me & My OBGJune 11, 2014Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

For the past few years, you have suffered from heavy menstrual cycles.  At your annual examination a few months ago, your gynecologist recommended you consider a hysterectomy since all other attempts to control your symptoms conservatively have failed.  Since that appointment, you have thought a great deal about her suggestion, researched the topic of hysterectomy extensively, and you think you are ready to move forward with the surgery.  Continue Reading »

Celebrating 30 Years of Progress in Women’s Health →

WomensHealth.govJune 4, 2014Articles

Your health isn’t just important to you — it’s important to us, too. For the past 30 years, the HHS Coordinating Committee on Women’s Health (CCWH)has been leading the charge to help women and girls achieve the best possible health. I’m happy to say we’ve come a long way. Continue Reading »

Antidepressant May Ease Hot Flashes of Menopause →

New York TimesMay 28, 2014Articles

The hormone estrogen is the recommended treatment for menopausal night sweats and hot flashes, but some women are unable or unwilling to use it. Now a clinical trial suggests that the antidepressant venlafaxine, often used as an alternative, is equally effective. Continue Reading »

Protecting Your Sexual and Reproductive Health →

WomensHealth.govMay 23, 2014Articles

What’s my advice on how you can take care of your sexual and reproductive health? Honor yourself, foster healthy relationships, take care of your body, and get the preventive care and screenings you need. Continue Reading »

These Are The Birth Control Methods Family Planning Doctors Use →

Huffington PostMay 19, 2014Articles

Female doctors and nurses whose specialty is family planning are seven times more likely than women in the general population to use intrauterine devices (IUDs) for their own contraception, a new study suggests. Continue Reading »

Newborn Screening Advisory Committee Announcement →

Texas Department of Health ServicesMay 19, 2014Articles

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is soliciting applications to fill three positions on the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee.  One position is for a physician licensed to practice medicine in the State of Texas; the second position is for a hospital representative; and the third position is for a healthcare provider who is involved in the delivery of newborn screening services, follow-up, or treatment in this state. Continue Reading »

How to Grow a Breastfeeding Initiative Local to Statewide →

nichq.orgMay 18, 2014Articles

Texas has almost 400,000 births a year, accounting for a whopping 10 percent of all births in the country. Because breastfeeding—specifically, exclusive breastfeeding for six months or more—has a host of health benefits, hospitals and birth centers around the country have begun to change their policies and procedures to better support mothers who want to breastfeed and reverse current low rates of breastfeeding. Continue Reading »

Dr. Massingill: C-Sections – What Consumer Reports didn’t tell you. →

Me & My OBGMay 15, 2014Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

A recent Consumer Reports investigation looked at 1,500 hospitals in 22 states, ranking the hospitals based on c-section rates. Those with low c-section rates were ranked better than those with higher c-section rates. Consumer Reports is consulted by many consumers when buying kitchen appliances, cars, and electronics, but I caution consumers that are using this list to choose where to have their baby or a practice to care for their reproductive health. Continue Reading »

ACOG President’s Blog: Our Patients Deserve Our Patience →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)May 14, 2014Articles

Recent reports of rising cesarean delivery rates in the United States are a significant concern, both to the public and to those of us who are practicing obstetrics. Cesarean delivery rates vary dramatically across geographic areas of the country but also from one neighboring hospital to the next. Continue Reading »

Pertussis Shot During Pregnancy Could Save Vulnerable Newborns After Birth →

Houston Public MediaMay 5, 2014Articles

The recent death from pertussis of a baby in the Austin area has focused attention once again on the resurgence of this disease, also known as whooping cough. Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine have completed a study on the effectiveness of vaccinating pregnant women before they give birth. Continue Reading »

6 Questions About Exercise During Pregnancy – Answered →

U.S. News & World ReportApril 24, 2014Articles

Pregnancy is a nine-month marathon. Or maybe an extreme obstacle course – demanding mere mortal women to (literally) stretch themselves as they haul loads of increasingly heavy human life, share their bodies and nutrients with it, and then push the child out with superhuman strength. It’s a marathon women have been running since forever, and yet it still amazes us and raises questions – questions like, “Should you really exercise during pregnancy?” Continue Reading »

Young Women See Sexual Assault As Normal, Report Finds →

Huffington PostApril 15, 2014Articles

How does a crime committed against nearly 238,000 women a year go unreported 60 percent of the time? According to a new report, many victims of sexual assault may not actually see themselves as victims. Continue Reading »

Ahead of November, Parties Hone Women’s Health Messages →

Texas TribuneApril 15, 2014Articles

As opponents of strict abortion regulations protested at the Texas Capitol last summer, many vowed that voters would remember come November which side of the issue lawmakers fell on. Continue Reading »

Water Births: Are They Good for Mother and Baby? →

Wall Street JournalApril 14, 2014Articles

The Claim: Laboring in a tub of water helps relax expectant mothers, significantly relieving the pain of childbirth. Continue Reading »

How MTV’s ’16 and Pregnant’ led to declining teen birth rates →

Washington PostApril 9, 2014Articles

Since they premiered, MTV reality shows “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” have raised whoa-so-many eyebrows. A very vocal contingent of dismayed adults feared the shows glamorized teen pregnancy. That the young moms on the show often graced the covers of magazines such as Us Weekly only further proved that point: teenagers watching the show, the thinking went, would be jealous of the teen moms’ lives and celebrity. Bring on the pregnancy pacts! Unprotected sex for everyone, everywhere! Continue Reading »

Real reform can curb exposure to toxic chemicals →

The HillApril 8, 2014Articles

Exposure to toxic environmental chemicals occurs every day, to everyone, everywhere across America. Due to deficiencies in the current regulatory regime, toxic chemicals are in the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the products in our homes. As obstetricians, we know that preconception and prenatal exposure to toxic chemicals is antithetical to healthy pregnancies, healthy children and healthy future generations. Continue Reading »

Drug Shows Promising Results In Treating Advanced Breast Cancer →

Huffington PostApril 7, 2014Articles

An experimental drug has shown encouraging results in treating advanced breast cancer in an early clinical trial, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer reported Sunday. Continue Reading »

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Statement on National Minority Health Month →

U.S. Department of Health & Human ServicesApril 4, 2014Articles

In April, we commemorate National Minority Health Month, a time to raise awareness about health disparities that persist among racial and ethnic minorities. This year’s theme – “Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity” – embodies the ambitious goal put forward by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to achieve “a nation free of disparities in health and health care.” Continue Reading »

Ob-Gyns: We Are Natural Leaders →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)April 4, 2014Articles

Our Fellows and Junior Fellows are the backbone of ACOG. They are the workhorses, the change artists, the ones who challenge us to do so much more. We rely on their vision, insight, and their ability to lead. Continue Reading »

Ask Well: Weight Gain at Menopause →

New York TimesMarch 28, 2014Articles

Q: Is weight gain at menopause inevitable?
At menopause, I experienced a sudden and dramatic weight gain. I was healthy and exercised moderately five times a week for 30-plus years; I have always been careful about my diet, eating only healthy fresh food that I prepare myself. I am not sleep deprived. After trying various diets, I cannot get rid of this extra 15 pounds, and I’ve moved into the officially “overweight” category. What happened? Am I doomed to eat only lettuce in the future? Continue Reading »

5th Circuit Upholds Texas Abortion Regulations →

Texas TribuneMarch 27, 2014Articles

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld the new abortion regulations that were passed in July by the Republican-led Texas Legislature. Continue Reading »

Unplanned Pregnancy Increasing →

Healthy Futures of TexasMarch 26, 2014Articles

For most sexually active men and women, preventing unplanned pregnancy is a priority, and the rate of unplanned pregnancy is a key indicator of a population’s reproductive health. Unfortunately, both the rate of unplanned pregnancy and the percentage of pregnancies that are unplanned are increasing, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health.  Continue Reading »

Dr. Nguyen: Helping Women Control their Fertility →

Me & My OBGMarch 25, 2014Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

During Women’s History Month, I’ve reflected on contraception. The development of the birth control pill over fifty years ago was a turning point for women, allowing them to pursue opportunities outside the home. As a family medicine physician, I enjoy helping women control their fertility and plan their pregnancies. Continue Reading »

Everything You Need To Know About The Supreme Court Taking On Birth Control →

Talking Points MemoMarch 20, 2014Articles

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear two landmark cases about the validity of a rule under Obamacare that employer health plans must cover emergency contraceptives for female employees without co-pays. Continue Reading »

Religious challenge to health care law hits high court →

USA TodayMarch 20, 2014Articles

President Obama’s health care law gets a return engagement at the Supreme Court next week in a case full of hot-button issues: religious freedom, corporate rights, federal regulation, abortion and contraception. Continue Reading »

Poll: Majority Opposes Employers Opting Out of Contraception Mandate →

NBC NewsMarch 19, 2014Articles

Ahead of next week’s oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, a majority of Americans oppose allowing employers to opt out from the health-care law’s contraception requirement, according to the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Continue Reading »

Isn’t that pill dangerous? →

Dr. G. Sealy Massingill, Me & My OBGMarch 17, 2014Articles

If you watch any daytime TV at all, you’ve probably seen the ads asking you if you’ve ever taken a variety of medications, followed by a list of bad things that have happened to some people who HAVE taken them, followed by a lawyer’s phone number. In my office, the most common offenders are the birth control pill and the birth control patch. Continue Reading »

The Obesity Pregnancy Dilemma →

Time MagazineMarch 14, 2014Articles

Doctors’ groups are urging ob-gyns to have those difficult conversations with women: lose weight or put your pregnancy at risk Continue Reading »

U.S. top court case highlights unsettled science in contraception →

ReutersMarch 11, 2014Articles

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a religious dispute over the Obamacare contraception mandate, advocates on both sides are trying to set the court straight on the science. Continue Reading »

5 Reasons for Doctors to be Active on Social Media →

MedivisorMarch 10, 2014Articles

Matthew Katz, MD is Medical Director, Radiation Oncology at Lowell General Hospital in the Greater Boston Area.  But those on Twitter and in the blogosphere know him as “subatomicdoc”:  a ‘handle’ he’s been using for a number of years on the Internet. Continue Reading »

The 5 hottest health-tech startups at SXSW →

Venture BeatMarch 10, 2014Articles

Health technology startups shone this year at South by Southwest Interactive. Continue Reading »

What Role Should Men Play in Women’s Health? →

Huffington PostMarch 8, 2014Articles

This year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Equality for women is progress for all,” spilled over into an impassioned conversation or all-out fight about male roles in feminism and women’s health. As an organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS work with South Asian communities in Toronto our perspectives about how men and boys engage with women’s health have been primarily shaped by experiences on the frontlines. But our views are sometimes divergent. Continue Reading »

‘Promotoras’ Help Texas Border’s Poorest Seniors Make Healthy Choices →

KUTMarch 6, 2014Articles

Some of the poorest seniors in Texas live in Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley.

Many only speak Spanish and don’t have access to the basics, like food or medical care. But a Texas A&M professor and his team of community health workers – or “promotoras de salud” – are trying to find ways to help seniors along the border improve those conditions.  Continue Reading »

Endometriosis awareness month →

Digital JournalMarch 6, 2014Articles

Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease that affects over 176 million women worldwide and is one of the main causes of infertility.
For some women, severe pain during a monthly cycle may actually be caused by a painful, chronic disease called endometriosis. Endometriosis, for which there is no known cause or cure, can affect fertility, bowel function, gynecological health and most importantly, quality of life. Continue Reading »

The Breast Cancer Racial Gap →

New York TimesMarch 3, 2014Articles

A troubling racial divide in breast cancer mortality continues to widen in most major cities around the country, suggesting that advances in diagnosis and treatment continue to bypass African-American women, according to new research. Continue Reading »

We’re Energized, Let’s Speak Up →

Dr. Moss Hampton, Me & My OBGFebruary 27, 2014Articles

After spending last Thursday listening to the Senate hearing on the Women’s Health Programs, it’s obvious that Texas women and the doctors who serve them are energized about women’s health issues.

Many present at the Texas State Capital event expressed a sense of urgency. State Senators were demanding results from state programs, citizens were pleading for health care access, and physicians were looking for clarity on the mechanics of the new requirements. Our state appears to be at an important turning point when it comes to health care delivery for Texas women. And you and I, as members of the Me & My OBGcampaign, must make sure that we stay part of the conversation and that we do all we can to affect the decisions made in Austin. We must emphasize our primary objectives:

  • To keep Legislators out of the physician/patient relationship.
  • To keep and expand programs that provide contraception and preventive care services for Texas women.
  • To ensure all women in Texas receive the care they deserve by providing accurate information and sound advice.

Now is the time to talk with your elected public officials about your concerns surrounding women’s health care in Texas. Let them know how you feel about women’s health issues and what is important to you. Be sure to vote and encourage your friends and family to vote as well. Together we can make a difference!

Dr. Moss Hampton

A letter on Women Rule →

PoliticoFebruary 26, 2014Articles

We are thrilled to invite you to continue an amazing conversation about the impact women are having on politics, policy, the economy — and each other. Continue Reading »

Trying to Help Thousands in Colonias Obtain Health Coverage →

Texas TribuneFebruary 22, 2014Articles

EDINBURG — Sitting at an old picnic table in front of a dilapidated house, María Díaz, a hotel housekeeper, tells stories of the rejection that comes with living in impoverished Texas colonias. Continue Reading »

Senators Discuss Progress of Women’s Health Programs →

Texas TribuneFebruary 20, 2014Articles

With abortion rights advocates gathered nearby, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee met in the Capitol on Thursday to discuss Texas’ efforts to expand access to women’s health services across the state. Continue Reading »

Doctors Urge Patience, And Longer Labor, To Reduce C-Sections →

Me & My OBGFebruary 20, 2014Articles

Women with low-risk pregnancies should be allowed to spend more time in labor, to reduce the risk of having an unnecessary C-section, the nation’s obstetricians say. Continue Reading »

Parents And Teens Aren’t Up To Speed On HPV Risks, Doctors Say →

NPRFebruary 19, 2014Articles

You would think that a vaccine that could prevent cancer would be an easy sell, but that’s hasn’t proven to be true so far with the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

Just 33 percent of girls and less than 7 percent of boys in the U.S. have gotten all three recommended doses of the vaccine to protect against the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical and other cancers. Continue Reading »

Senate Hearing Will Assess Progress on Women’s Health →

Texas TribuneFebruary 19, 2014Articles

The state Senate Health and Human Services Committee will hold a hearing Thursday to assess Texas’ efforts to expand access to women’s health services across the state. But abortion rights advocates say an essential issue has been left off the agenda — the impact of strict abortion regulations that the Legislature passed last year. Continue Reading »

Dr Raine: The Debate Over Breast Cancer Screening →

Me & My OBGFebruary 18, 2014Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

One of the hardest things a physician must do is provide accurate, balanced counseling to their patients, particularly regarding controversial subjects. We are inundated everyday with new research and recommendations. On top of this, the imperative to practice evidence-based-medicine grows everyday. Continue Reading »

Ob-Gyns Continue to Recommend Annual Mammograms for Women Beginning at Age 40 →

American Congress of Obstetricians and GynecologistsFebruary 14, 2014Articles

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) regarding mammography screening has prompted renewed discussion about the value of mammograms in reducing deaths from breast cancer among women. Based on a number of concerns with the BMJ study, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists maintains its recommendation that mammography screening be offered annually to women beginning at age 40. Continue Reading »

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus Releases Interim Charges →

Me & My OBGFebruary 13, 2014Articles

Speaker Straus has issued interim charges to every standing committee of the Texas House of Representatives. The assigned charges highlight issues that the House will study in preparation for the next legislative session that begins in January 2015. The committee charges are based upon requests and suggestion made by House Members as well as legislative priorities of Speaker Straus. Continue Reading »

NIH study finds regular aspirin use may reduce ovarian cancer risk →

National Cancer InstituteFebruary 6, 2014Articles

Women who take aspirin daily may reduce their risk of ovarian cancer by 20 percent, according to a study by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. However, further research is needed before clinical recommendations can be made. The study was published Feb. 6, 2014, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  Continue Reading »

Are We Paying $8 Billion Too Much For Mammograms? →

NPRFebruary 4, 2014Articles

The question of how often women should get mammograms remains contested, with advisory panels and medical societies disagreeing on how early and how often they should be used to find breast cancer. Continue Reading »

Can I Get My Insurance To Pay For An IUD Removal? →

Kaiser Health NewsJanuary 31, 2014Articles

Q. I have health insurance through my husband’s union. I need to have my IUD removed and replaced and it is not covered by insurance. The self-pay price is over $1,000. Is there anything I can do about this?

A. You can appeal the coverage denial to your health plan. Under the health law, patients generally don’t have to pay anything out of pocket for medical care that’s considered preventive, and contraceptives are included in that definitionContinue Reading »

for Young Texas Women: Can we talk? →

Me & My OBGJanuary 30, 2014Articles

A young woman’s first visit to the gynecologist may be intimidating. Yet parents and physicians can play a big role in helping put her at ease. The more information provided to a patient in advance of her appointment is likely to make the experience less worrisome.  Continue Reading »

Three Things to Know About Cervical Cancer →

NCLRJanuary 22, 2014Articles

The New Year is here and everyone is trying to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions.  I have had countless conversations with friends about their decisions  to eat healthier and go to the gym more often.  In fact, many New Year’s resolutions revolve around getting healthier. However, it is important that we not forget about preventive health in our quest to eat more veggies and to hit the gym.  This month is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.  It is particularly important to us here at NCLR because of the impact it has on the Latina community.   Continue Reading »

The Cruelest Pregnancy →

New York TimesJanuary 18, 2014Articles

WHAT would Marlise Munoz have made of all of this?

We’ll never know. She can no longer form words. Can no longer formthoughts. It’s arguable that we shouldn’t even be referring to a “she,” to a “her,” because if she’s brain-dead, as her family has consistently said, then she meets the legal criteria for death in all 50 states, and what’s been tethered to machines in a hospital in Fort Worth for the last seven weeks isn’t exactly a mother. Continue Reading »

COMMENTARY: Saving Latinas’ lives – January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month →

McAllen MonitorJanuary 16, 2014Articles

Ida, a resident of Donna, is living with the human papillomavirus (HPV), an infection that can lead to cervical cancer. She has had cervical cysts removed in the past and doctors have told her she needs a Pap test every six months. Sadly, Ida isn’t able to get the test because it’s simply too expensive. “Either I pay $60 or I buy food for my children. … It’s one or the other, but not both,” she said. “Being unable to see a doctor has me worried sick. I’m so afraid of the virus coming back.” Continue Reading »

Dr. Raine on Training the Next Generation →

Me & My OBGJanuary 14, 2014Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

There you are, present and as ready as you will ever be for this year’s round of “I just need to survive my annual well woman exam,” and as you shiver in the thin gown and drape on the end of the examination table, a nurse comes in and says, “I forgot to mention that the doctor has a medical student with her today.  Is that okay?”  So there you are.  Stuck.  You have to give her an answer.  In the few seconds before you do, you think to yourself that the last thing you want is for anyone else to see you bare all and become privy to your most private of medical issues.  Continue Reading »

MTV’s ‘16 and Pregnant,’ Derided by Some, May Resonate as a Cautionary Tale →

New York TimesJanuary 13, 2014Articles

WASHINGTON — Kailyn Lowry, at age 17, decided to let MTV film her pregnancy and the birth of her first child in the hope of persuading other young men and women to wait to start a family. Continue Reading »

Providers Face Obstacles in New Women’s Health Program →

Texas TribuneJanuary 9, 2014Articles

Since ousting Planned Parenthood clinics from the Women’s Health Program, which provides cancer screening, well-woman exams and contraception for low-income women, state leaders have made a concerted effort to recruit physician groups to fill the void.  Continue Reading »

CrossFit During Pregnancy: Is It Safe? →

Texas Children's BlogJanuary 7, 2014Articles

After an expectant mom in California posted photos of herself lifting weights during a CrossFit workout at eight months pregnant, there was a lot of controversy in the media about the safety of this fitness regimen during pregnancy. I recently learned about some of the comments that voiced concern and outrage, some comparing this mother’s workout to drinking or smoking. Continue Reading »

ACOG and AMA File Amicus Brief in Planned Parenthood v Abbott →

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)December 20, 2013Articles

Washington, DC — The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) filed a joint amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in support of Planned Parenthood’s challenge to Texas House Bill (HB) 2. ACOG and the AMA oppose HB 2 because it imposes government regulation on abortion care that jeopardizes the health of women in Texas and denies them access to the safest and most effective evidence-based protocols for medical abortions. Continue Reading »

Claims Drop Under State-Run Women’s Health Program in Texas →

New York TimesDecember 13, 2013Articles

To stop Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving public financing, Texas’ Republican leaders gambled that the state could operate a contraception and cancer-screening program for low-income women without tens of millions of federal dollars. Continue Reading »

The Report is IN! Bexar Teen Births Decrease Again →

Healthy Futures of TexasDecember 12, 2013Articles

The teen birth rate in Bexar County has dropped by a whopping 15% in the last 2 years. On December 10, teens from Metro Health’s Project WORTH unveiled the 2012 Teen Pregnancy Report, showing San Antonio’s tremendous progress in teen pregnancy prevention, achieving an important SA2020 goal in only two years. Still, we have a long way to go: our teen birth rate is still 46% higher than the national rate among females ages 15 to 19. Continue Reading »

Dr. Morgan: Vaccinations during pregnancy →

Me & My OBGDecember 11, 2013Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

I received the Tdap (combined tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccination in the past 10 years. Why do I need to get another one while I’m pregnant? Continue Reading »

Nelson Pushes to Further Expand Women’s Health Services →

Texas TribuneDecember 10, 2013Articles

As Texas continues to rebuild its network of family planning providers, state Sen. Jane Nelson believes there’s even greater capacity for the state to expand women’s health services. Continue Reading »

Dr. Lager: Exercise during pregnancy benefits you and your baby →

Me & My OBGDecember 2, 2013Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

“I heard that exercise during pregnancy can help boost my baby’s brain development—is that true?”

A recent study suggests that yes, it can, but there are many reasons to be active during pregnancy. Continue Reading »

Perinatal Advisory Council Members Announced →

Texas Health and Human Services Commission November 26, 2013Articles

The Perinatal Advisory Council, created by House Bill 15 of the 83rd Texas Legislature (Regular Session), develops and recommends criteria for designating levels of neonatal and maternal care, including specifying the minimum requirements to qualify for each level designation and a process for the assignment of levels of care to a hospital, makes recommendations for dividing the state into neonatal and maternal care regions, examines utilization trends in neonatal and maternal care, and recommends ways to improve neonatal and maternal outcomes. Continue Reading »

Supreme Court won’t block Texas abortion restrictions →

Dallas Morning NewsNovember 20, 2013Articles

WASHINGTON — A divided U.S. Supreme Court refused Tuesday to block new Texas restrictions on abortion clinics.

Planned Parenthood and other groups turned to the high court two weeks ago after losing at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Continue Reading »

Texas Family Planning (Still) Costs More, Serves Fewer Women →

Austin ChronicleNovember 19, 2013Articles

n fiscal year 2013 – for the second year in a row – the number of women served by the state’s family planning budget dropped dramatically, while costing the state significantly more money per patient. Continue Reading »

Dr. Raine: The Affordable Care Act, an OB/Gyn Perspective →

Me & My OBGNovember 13, 2013Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

There has been quite a bit of discussion over the past several weeks about the issues and troubles with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Last week, as the President apologized for difficulties in ACA implementation, many Americans took to the web voicing their displeasure.  For 12 hours after the President’s address, my Twitter feed was the political equivalent of “he said, she said,” and unfortunately, from time-to-time, things got ugly.  Continue Reading »

$1.34 Billion: Texas’ Cost of Unplanned Pregnancy →

Healthy Futures of TexasNovember 6, 2013Articles

A new analysis finds that the tax costs of Texas births resulting from unplanned pregnancies totaled over $1.34 billion in 2008.  This is the second highest total of any state (behind California).  The study found that, nationwide, government expenditures on births resulting from unplanned pregnancies totaled $12.5 billion in 2008 (the latest year for which data are available). Continue Reading »

Dr. Thoppil: ‘Get the Flu Shot’ →

Me & My OBGNovember 1, 2013Articles, Hear from Our Doctors

“Hey Doc, should I get a flu shot? I never get sick.” Continue Reading »

Judge blocks key parts of Texas abortion law →

Austin American StatesmanOctober 28, 2013Articles

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel’s opinion found that a provision requiring abortion doctors to gain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital “does not bear a rational relationship to the legitimate right of the state in preserving and promoting fetal life or a woman’s health.”  Yeakel also blocked Texas from enforcing a provision regulating the dispensing of abortion-inducing drugs. Continue Reading »

New Definitions of Full-Term Pregnancy: Why They Matter →

Reality CheckOctober 28, 2013Articles

A pregnancy is not full term until 39 weeks, according to a new set of definitions endorsed by the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. This represents an important change from the old understanding under which pregnancy was considered full term from 37 weeks to 42 weeks. Continue Reading »

Medical Schools See Record Numbers Of Enrollees →

Kaiser Health News October 25, 2013Articles

In the face of projected doctor shortages and debate about the future of medicine, a record number of students applied to, and started, medical school this year. Continue Reading »

How Health Law Affects Fertility Treatment, Health Savings Accounts →

NPROctober 22, 2013Articles

The health insurance marketplaces are finally open, though technical problems have hindered sign-ups.

With the deadlines for , people want details about the available plans and access to health savings accounts. Some also want to know about penalties if they don’t buy insurance. Here are some recent questions and answers. Continue Reading »

Docs get more precise about full-term pregnancy →

Associated PressOctober 22, 2013Articles

Mom-to-be closing in on her due date? The nation’s obstetricians are getting more precise about exactly how close makes for a full-term pregnancy.

On average, a pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, counting from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period. That’s how a due date is estimated. Continue Reading »

New law on abortions goes to court today →

San Antonio Express-NewsOctober 21, 2013Articles

The battle over Texas’ controversial new abortion law will hit the courtroom Monday as part of a legal challenge seeking to squash elements of the Republican-led mandate that sparked mass protests at the Legislature over the summer. Continue Reading »

Legislators must stop practicing medicine →

Milwaukee Journal SentinelOctober 21, 2013Articles

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposes laws that jeopardize women’s health care and interfere with the patient-physician relationship. Continue Reading »

Affordable Care Act Benefits Women: Here’s How →

Women's eNewsOctober 15, 2013Articles

-It is a sad reality that women, over half of the population of the United States, are regularly denied health insurance because of pregnancy or preexisting conditions such as breast cancer.

On top of that, women have historically been subject to higher health insurance premiums than men simply because of their gender. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act aims to fix these problems and more for women.

The Affordable Care Act requires all health insurance plans to include coverage for medical services in 10 categories of so-called essential health benefits. These categories include everything from emergency coverage to prescription drugs. Of particular interest to women among the essential benefits are coverage for maternity care, newborn care and pediatric care.

Preventive medical care is also an essential benefit category that helps women in particular. In addition to annual physicals, every plan must cover such female-specific services as annual well-woman visits and routine mammograms with zero out-of-pocket costs at the doctor’s office.

What you have to know about the essential health benefits categories is that they are just that: categories, meaning that the specific medical services in each section are not written in stone.

The federal government left it to each state to figure out what exact medical services will be covered as essential benefits within its borders, rather than impose a national standard. For example, things that might be considered part of maternity coverage in one state may not be such in another, and vice versa.

Each state determined its essential health benefits by choosing an existing health insurance plan that then became the benchmark for essential benefits. Every plan sold under the Affordable Care Act has to match the medical services established by the state’s benchmark plan. To find out what your state’s benchmark plan looks like check out the Kaiser Family Foundation’s list here.

Historically women in America would often be charged higher premiums than men because of a number of factors, not the least of which is a potential pregnancy. Under the Affordable Care Act women cannot be charged higher premiums than men when buying insurance as an individual. This is sure to provide a welcome relief to many freelance and self-employed women looking for health insurance.

The fact that people can’t be denied health insurance because of a preexisting condition is great news for everyone and for some women in particular. Women with breast cancer, or a history of it, can rest easy knowing they won’t be denied an insurance plan because of their condition.

Insurers have in the past also been quite fond of denying coverage to pregnant women because of their pregnancy. While you might not think “preexisting condition” is the best term for pregnancy, its classification as such by the Affordable Care Act means that pregnant women don’t have to worry about being rejected from getting insurance.

Whatever your overall opinion of the Affordable Care Act, there is no denying that it is going to help women receive fairer treatment from health insurance companies.

Premiums will be more affordable and a number of costly services will be easier to pay for. We can hope that as the years go on, the health care situation for women will only continue to improve.

Michael Cahill is editor of the Vista Health Solutions Blog. He writes about the health care system, health insurance industry and the Affordable Care Act. Follow him on Twitter at @VistaHealthMike.

Gulf Coast collaborative providing ACA assistance to residents of 13 counties →

Office of Mayor Annise ParkerOctober 1, 2013Articles

The Gulf Coast Health Insurance Marketplace Collaborative will help residents in Harris and 12 surrounding counties explore affordable health insurance options through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Continue Reading »

Back Up Your Birth Control with EC →

Katherine Powers Calaway and Stephanie RicoSeptember 30, 2013Articles

In the US, 50% of all pregnancies are unintended. Emergency contraception (EC) provides women with a last chance to prevent pregnancy. A woman may find EC useful if she recently engaged in unprotected sex and is not taking birth control, or is uncertain if her birth control is effective. EC is not intended to be used as the primary method of birth control, but rather as a back up. It also does not protect against STDs. Continue Reading »

Tribfest This Weekend →

Me & My OBGSeptember 24, 2013Articles

The Texas Tribune Festival will take place this weekend, September 27-29, 2013 on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. The Festival is an event ‘for people who are passionate about the issues that affect all Texans.’ The weekend of debate and dialogue features the biggest names in Texas politics and public policy, including more than 150 speakers and 45 interactive events. On Saturday, September 28, a great deal of time will be devoted to health care, including a 4:25 PM panel that will focus on women’s health. Continue Reading »

Clinic Closures Spark Debate Over Access to Health Care →

Texas TribuneSeptember 16, 2013Articles

Athena Mason’s first doctor’s visit as a student at Texas A&M University was a bit awkward. She had gone in for a basic checkup, but the physician noticed something else. Continue Reading »

Report: Unintended pregnancy rate balloons among low-income women →

SalonSeptember 10, 2013Articles

According to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, unintended pregnancies in the United States are increasingly concentrated among low-income women. In fact, between 1994 – 2006, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with incomes that fall below the national poverty level rose to five times the rate of women at the highest income levels. Continue Reading »

Pertussis Prompts Texas Health Alert →

Texas Department of State Health Services September 3, 2013Articles

The Texas Department of State Health Services is urging people to make sure they’re vaccinated against pertussis after projections show the number of people sick with the deadly disease this year is on track to reach the highest level in more than 50 years. Continue Reading »

September 1, 2013, Part 2 →

Me & My OBGAugust 30, 2013Articles

As we mentioned last week, on September 1, 2013 almost 700 bills passed during the regular session of the 83rd Legislature will take effect. Here we spotlight other new laws that will have a direct impact on Texas women and their health: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Continue Reading »

Texas Prepares to Enact Strict Abortion Regulations →

Texas TribuneAugust 29, 2013Articles

As the state health department prepares to implement strict abortion facility regulations approved by lawmakers in July, abortion rights advocates continue to voice concerns that the rules will endanger women by limiting access to safe, legal abortion. Continue Reading »

September 1, 2013 →

Me & My OBGAugust 26, 2013Articles

September 1, 2013 marks a significant time for our state – it’s on that day that almost 700 bills passed during the regular session of the 83rd Legislature will take effect. Over the next two weeks, we’ll spotlight what new laws will have a direct impact on T exas women and their health: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Continue Reading »

New Abortion Limits, but More Money for Women’s Health →

Texas TribuneAugust 9, 2013Articles

HOUSTON — When Anastasia Tolmasoff went to a Planned Parenthood clinic in March to receive her quarterly injection of Depo-Provera, she discovered she could no longer afford to receive birth control there. Continue Reading »

Report: TX Counties Stand to Gain From Health Reform →

Texas TribuneAugust 1, 2013Articles

Twenty-two Texas counties are among the nation’s 30 worst for health insurance coverage, according to a report released Thursday by the left-leaning Center For American Progress. Continue Reading »

Women’s Health Coalition Worries State Plan Falls Short →

Texas TribuneJuly 31, 2013Articles

The Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition has raised concerns that a bipartisan effort to restore access to family planning services by expanding a state-run primary care program isn’t shaping up as planned.  Continue Reading »

Texas Women’s Health Program Claims Decline →

Texas TribuneJuly 30, 2013Articles

The number of claims filed for medical and family planning services in the new state-run Texas Women’s Health Program has dropped since the state ousted Planned Parenthood from it and set up its own program without federal financing, according to figures from the Health and Human Services Commission. Continue Reading »

Plan B To Hit Shelves, Protected From Generics →

NPRJuly 24, 2013Articles

The Plan B One-Step morning-after pill will now be available to women as young as 15 without a prescription, and will have another three years of protection from generic competition. Continue Reading »

Privacy Needed, Even if a Royal Birth →

Me & My OBGJuly 23, 2013Articles

Imagine what it must be like to have information regarding one of the arguably most personal and intimate lifetime events, broadcast throughout the world in dramatic detail. How many weeks was she? When was the baby due? Did she use pain medication? Did she deliver by cesarean? How long will she stay in the hospital? Will she breastfeed or bottle-feed? Family, friend and societal opinion and expectations regarding pregnancy, labor, delivery and childcare can be stress inducing even for those without the eyes of the world cast upon them. Continue Reading »

We’re In It For the Long Run →

Me & My OBGJuly 17, 2013Articles

Friday night, House Bill 2, the omnibus bill restricting women’s healthcare choices, was passed by the Texas Senate and is now on its way to the Governor to be signed into law.

Twenty amendments were offered to try to improve the bill, like an exception for victims of rape/incest, an exception to protect the mental health of the woman, and provisions to help clinics in rural areas. None were accepted. Continue Reading »

Open Letter to Texas Legislators: Get Out of Our Exam Rooms →

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)July 9, 2013Articles

All eyes are on Texas again this week as the fate of a far-reaching measure to restrict abortions and close many abortion facilities faces its last days of debate. Unlike almost any other issue, abortion generates strong feelings on all sides. This is true within our own organization, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and we respect that our 58,000 members have deeply held personal beliefs on this topic. Continue Reading »

Ob-Gyns Denounce Texas Abortion Legislation SB 1 and HB 2, Set Dangerous Precedent →

American College of Obstetricians and GynecologistsJuly 2, 2013Articles

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly opposes Senate Bill 1 (formerly Senate Bill 5 in the previous session) and House Bill 2 under consideration in the Texas legislature. Both bills are plainly intended to restrict the reproductive rights of women in Texas through a series of requirements that improperly regulate medical practice and interfere with the patient-physician relationship.  Continue Reading »

Texas-ACOG STATEMENT OPPOSING SB 5 (Hegar)/ HB 60 (Laubenberg) →

Texas District American Congress of Obstetricians and GynecologistsJuly 1, 2013Articles

Texas-ACOG opposes SB 5 by Senator Hegar and HB 60 by Representative Laubenberg. SB 5/HB 60 is an accumulation of all the measures we opposed during the 83rd Regular session and remain opposed to in this special session. Continue Reading »

American Way of Birth, Costliest in the World →

The New York TimesJune 30, 2013Articles

Seven months pregnant, at a time when most expectant couples are stockpiling diapers and choosing car seats, Renée Martin was struggling with bigger purchases.

At a prenatal class in March, she was told about epidural anesthesia and was given the option of using a birthing tub during labor. To each offer, she had one gnawing question: “How much is that going to cost?” Continue Reading »

Contraceptives Stay Covered in Health Law →

The New York TimesJune 28, 2013Articles

Despite strong resistance from religious organizations, the Obama administration said Friday that it was moving ahead with a rule requiring most employers to provide free insurance coverage of contraceptives for women, a decision that has touched off a legal and political battle likely to rage for another year. Continue Reading »

ACOG Letter to the Texas House of Representatives →

ACOGJune 23, 2013Articles

June 23, 2013
Members of the Texas House of Representatives
1101 Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78701

Dear Representative,
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), is an organization with more than 58,000 OB/GYNs and partners in women’s health across the U.S. The Texas District of ACOG has a membership of 3,600 OB/GYNs and partners in health. Continue Reading »

Texas-ACOG STATEMENT OPPOSING HB 60 (Laubenberg) →

ACOGJune 20, 2013Articles

The Texas District of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Texas-ACOG) opposes HB 60 by Representative Laubenberg. HB 60 is an accumulation of all the measures we opposed during the 83rd Regular session and remain opposed to in this special session.  Continue Reading »

Legislative Interference with Patient Care, Medical Decisions, and the Patient-Physician Relationship →

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)June 18, 2013Articles

Government serves a valuable role in the protection of public health and safety and the provision of essential health services. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) support this proper role of government. Laws that veer from these functions and unduly interfere with patient-physician relationships are not appropriate. Continue Reading »

Ob-Gyns Issue Policy Opposing Legislative Interference →

ACOGJune 7, 2013Articles

Washington, DC — Government should not interfere with the patient-physician relationship without a substantial public health justification, according to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). In a new Statement of Policy approved by its Executive Board, ACOG states its objections to laws forcing physicians to give or withhold specific information when counseling patients or that mandate specific treatments, tests, and procedures. Continue Reading »

Celebrate National Women’s Health Week →

Me & My OBGMay 14, 2013Articles

It’s National Women’s Health Week! One of the best ways to celebrate the occasion is to honor those working to ensure that Texas women can access the medical care they need to stay healthy. We encourage you to reach out to the Texas Legislators below to thank them for fighting for women’s health care delivery based upon medicine, not politics. Tell them you join Me & My OBG in recognition of their efforts during National Women’s Health Week. Encourage them to continue the good fight!

 

Texas Legislators Set to Restore Women’s Health Budgets →

May 6, 2013Articles

The political fireworks and high-octane drama that accompanied lawmakers’ 2011 fight over women’s health care and abortion have been absent this legislative session. They have been replaced with some semblance of concession, as legislators on both sides of the aisle work quietly to restore financing for women’s health services. Continue Reading »

FDA OKs Prescription-Free Plan B Pill For Women 15 And Up →

NPRApril 30, 2013Articles

In an effort to find a compromise for a politically fraught issue, the Food and Drug Administration has to make the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B more available to some younger teens without a prescription and to older women by moving the medication out from behind the pharmacy counter. Continue Reading »

ACOG to legislators: Partnership, not interference →

ACOG - Lucia DiVenere, MAApril 23, 2013Articles

Who’s in charge here? It’s a legitimate question being asked by more physicians in all areas of the country as they struggle to provide good quality care. Yes, physicians face long-standing payment and coverage issues, regulations, and the insurance bureaucracy. But more and more often, physicians are struggling to care for their patients in the face of legislative interference that reaches right into their exam rooms. Continue Reading »

What About My Pap Smear? →

Me & My OBGApril 23, 2013Articles

If you’ve been to your women’s health provider recently, you may have been surprised when she did not recommend or perform your annual Pap smear. What’s up?

For more than 50 years, women have heard about the importance of an annual Pap test, the test that screens for problems that may lead to pre-cancer or cancer of the cervix, (the opening to the uterus). But, research in the last 20 years has led to the conclusion that the previous methods for screening and treating may be too aggressive and may cause more problems than they prevent. By studying large numbers of women, and the human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes cervical dysplasia, we have come to understand that although large numbers of women may be exposed to the virus, only a small number will develop problems that require treatment. Most women with a healthy immune system will be able to clear the virus, and reverse its effects on their own without needing treatment. Continue Reading »

Medicaid expansion could lower infant mortality rate, report says →

Lansing State JournalApril 21, 2013Articles

A proposed statewide expansion of Medicaid could bolster recent efforts to lower infant mortality rates in Ingham County, a new report concludes. Continue Reading »

Spreading Ignorance →

Austin ChronicleApril 18, 2013Articles

The Legislature first passed an “informed-consent-to-abortion” law in 2003. It included publication of the “Woman’s Right to Know” pamphlet – supposedly to inform women about fetal development and the hazards of abortion. Among the asserted hazards is that induced abortion may lead to increased risk of breast cancer. “While there are studies that have found an increased risk of developing breast cancer after an induced abortion, some studies have found no overall risk,” reads the state-produced pamphlet. “There is agreement that this issue needs further study.” Continue Reading »

A case for funding women’s health care →

Editorial - Houston ChronicleApril 16, 2013Articles

If you learned that by taking one single action you could improve the health and well-being of Texas children and families, significantly decrease school and work absenteeism, save Texas businesses money, save Texas cities and counties money, and raise the economic level of all Texas families, would you do it? Continue Reading »

Detente on abortion amendments could speed House budget debate →

Austin American-StatesmanApril 4, 2013Articles

A brokered agreement will remove about a dozen family planning and abortion-related amendments from the state budget debate under way Thursday in the Texas House. Removing the volatile amendments from consideration, agreed to by Democrats and Republicans, will protect an additional $100 million set aside for primary care for low-income women, including contraceptives. Continue Reading »

Women’s Coalition Wins Fed Family Planning Funding →

Austin ChronicleMarch 25, 2013Articles

The federal government has pulled from the state of Texas millions in family planning funding, granting the money instead to a coalition led by the Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas, which says it can serve a greater number of women with the available funds. Continue Reading »

Garcia-Ditta: Politics creates unecessary crisis in women’s health care →

Austin American StatesmanMarch 17, 2013Articles

For Texas women, access to family planning and basic health care isn’t a women’s issue or political issue; it’s a family issue. If the Legislature truly wants to invest in the future of our state and make life better for all families, lawmakers must adequately fund basic women’s health care and contraceptive services, and they must make sure Texas has enough providers to deliver those services. Continue Reading »

Morning-after pill puts snag in budget talks →

San Antonio Express-NewsMarch 17, 2013Articles

Just when it looked like family planning funding was snugly tucked into the next two-year budget, the House Appropriations Committee started fighting over the morning-after pill. Continue Reading »

Great Day in the Texas Legislature—Doctors Promoting Healthy Moms and Babies →

Me & My OBGMarch 14, 2013Articles

In Wednesday’s meeting of the House Committee on Public Health, some of our wonderful OB/GYNs came to testify on HB 15, authored by Committee Chair Lois Kolkhorst.  HB 15 would create levels of care designations for hospitals that provide neonatal and maternal services. Continue Reading »

Hundreds Rally to Let Banned Providers Back in WHP →

Texas TribuneMarch 7, 2013Articles

Hundreds of people rallied at the Capitol on Thursday, demanding that Planned Parenthood clinics be allowed back into the Women’s Health Program. Continue Reading »

Religious Leaders Urge Funding for Family Planning, Birth Control →

Austin American-StatesmanMarch 4, 2013Articles

Dozens of clergy members took to the Capitol on Monday to ask the Legislature to restore family planning funding and to counter assertions that all religious leaders support those cuts. Continue Reading »

RU-486 Restrictions Bill Gets Senate Hearing →

KUT.orgFebruary 27, 2013Articles

A bill in the Texas Senate could restrict the prescription of and distribution of the abortion drug RU-486. Continue Reading »

Senate Panel Hears Testimony on Abortion Bill →

Texas TribuneFebruary 26, 2013Articles

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday on legislation that would tighten abortion restrictions. Continue Reading »

Medicaid Rules Block Mom’s Treatment →

Houston ChronicleFebruary 17, 2013Articles

When Shontae Minor and boyfriend Khristian Rohena learned she was pregnant with quadruplets, they followed their San Antonio doctor’s advice and sought a selective fetal reduction. Continue Reading »

Action Alert: Maternal Mortality Legislation →

February 15, 2013Articles

Senate Bill (SB) 495 by Senator Joan Huffman, relating to the creation of a task force to study maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity, will be heard in the Senate Health and Human Services committee Tuesday, February 19th at 9 a.m. Continue Reading »

Understanding the Texas Legislature Committees that Impact Women’s Health →

February 13, 2013Articles

In the 2011 Texas Legislature we saw dramatic cuts made to access for women to healthcare—not just funding cuts but shifts in how we talk about family planning and healthcare for women. As we move into the 83rd Texas Legislature understanding who will impact the decisions of made at the Lege is important. Continue Reading »

Coalition Pushes Legislature to Restore Cuts to Women’s Health Services →

Austin American-StatesmanFebruary 13, 2013Articles

A coalition of 32 medical groups and nonprofits is asking state lawmakers to restore cuts to women’s health care services that, while aimed at Planned Parenthood, have hit other providers of care to poor women, especially in rural areas. Continue Reading »

Editorial A New Push on Domestic Violence →

New York TimesJanuary 28, 2013Articles

Turning to a critical piece of unfinished business, Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined last week with a Republican colleague, Michael Crapo of Idaho, to reintroduce legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, the 1994 law central to the nation’s efforts to fight domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Continue Reading »

OB-GYNs Told to Look For ‘Reproductive Coercion’ →

NPRJanuary 23, 2013Articles

Womens’ doctors should be on the lookout for patients whose partners are unduly pressuring them to become pregnant — or even sabotaging their efforts to use contraception. Continue Reading »

Howard and Davis on the Women’s Health Program →

Texas TribuneJanuary 22, 2013Articles

At Tuesday morning’s TribLive conversation, state Reps. Sarah Davis, R-West University Place, and Donna Howard, D-Austin, talked about whether the new state-run Texas Women’s Health Program will have enough providers without Planned Parenthood. Continue Reading »

Democrats Raise Questions About Texas WHP Provider List →

Texas TribuneJanuary 17, 2013Articles

Democratic legislators are questioning whether the Texas Women’s Health Program has an adequate network of health care providers — as the Texas Health and Human Service Commission says it does — in light of the agency’s decision to pull the list of providers from a state website. Continue Reading »

Interactive: Weighing Medicaid Expansion →

Texas TribuneJanuary 10, 2013Articles

Whether to expand Medicaid is the major health care question facing Texas legislators this session. Although Gov. Rick Perry has compared adding impoverished adults to the rolls of the state program to adding more people to the Titanic, Democrats and even some fiscal conservatives argue that expanding the program under the federal Affordable Care Act is a wise budgetary decision. Continue Reading »

Dear Texas OBGs: A Letter from the Chair →

Dr. Lisa HollierJanuary 8, 2013Articles

You can make a big difference with a small investment of your time.  Just click www.meandmyobg.com/action to find out how you can help maintain your ability to use your judgment in caring for your patients. Working together, we can be strong advocates—for ACOG members and for women. Continue Reading »

Waco court to decide on injunction in women’s health program case →

Dallas Morning NewsDecember 20, 2012Articles

A federal district court will hear on Friday the state’s case for an injunction against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The state last month filed for a preliminary injunction asking the a Waco district court to allow federal dollars to continue to flow to the state-run women’s health program when it launches Jan. 1. Continue Reading »

Editorial: Physician group’s compelling case for over-the-counter birth control →

Seattle TimesDecember 3, 2012Articles

Women’s health groups long have advocated for making oral contraceptives available over the counter. Their argument received a significant boost this month from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, whose physicians issued an opinion affirming the benefits of providing pills without a prescription outweighed the risks. Continue Reading »

Gag Clause lifted for Doctors in Women’s Health Program →

The Texas TribuneOctober 25, 2012Articles

Our voices are being heard! The Texas Health and Human Services Commission released final rules for the new state-run Women’s Health Program, which will allow for allow for one-on-one, neutral counseling between a physician and her patient.   Continue Reading »

Legislative Interference with the Patient–Physician Relationship →

New England Journal of MedicineOctober 18, 2012Articles

In an editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, national professional organizations stand up for trust in the physician-patient relationship.

Laws that specifically dictate or limit what physicians discuss during health care encounters also undermine the patient–physician relationship. Physicians must have the ability and freedom to speak to their patients freely and confidentially, to provide patients with factual information relevant to their health, to fully answer their patients’ questions, and to advise them on the course of best care without the fear of penalty.

Read the entire article here.

Free birth control project cuts teen births →

USA TodayOctober 5, 2012Articles

USA Today reports on results of a recent research study which found that the provision of contraception at no cost to a large cohort of participants reduced unintended pregnancy and decreased teen birth rates in a major metropolitan area. Counseling for women included information about various methods of birth control and women were allowed to choose the type they wanted. Seventy-five percent of the participants chose long acting reversible contraception. Continue Reading »

“Cutting Family Planning in Texas” →

New England Journal of MedicineSeptember 28, 2012Articles

The New England Journal of Medicine features a paper this week reporting the results of a comprehensive 3-year evaluation of the legislative cuts to family planning funding in Texas. Continue Reading »

Dr. Kimberly Carter, Panelist at Texas Tribune Festival →

September 25, 2012Articles

Dr. Kimberly Carter joined panelists Texas State Representative Donna Howard, Texas State Representative Bryan Hughes and Joe Pojman to discuss women’s health care in Texas during Texas Tribune Festival’s “Family Planning: The Great Debate” in Austin. Continue Reading »

Doctors Fear ‘Gag Rule’ Under New State Program For Women’s Health →

KUHF-FMSeptember 3, 2012Articles

Texas officials are putting together a new health program for low-income women to get reproductive services, one that will exclude Planned Parenthood. But as the politically-charged program takes shape, doctor’s groups say the new rules interfere with their first amendment rights. KUHF reports.

Court: Texas Can Ban Planned Parenthood From WHP →

The Texas TribuneAugust 21, 2012Articles

The Texas Tribune writes:

A federal appeals court on Tuesday lifted a temporary injunction and ruled that Texas can remove Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program…

Planned Parenthood has been the largest beneficiary of the Women’s Health Program since it began as a Medicaid waiver program in 2006. It provides cancer screenings and contraceptives, but not abortions, to about half of the 130,000 low-income women enrolled in the program every year.

State-Run Women’s Health Program Faces Questions →

The Texas TribuneAugust 16, 2012Articles

The Texas Tribune writes:

Earlier this month, the state’s largest physician groups entered the fray by voicing vehement opposition to a proposed rule that would prohibit Women’s Health Program providers from discussing abortion with their patients. The Texas Medical Association characterized the rule, which must be considered at a public hearing before it’s approved, as a “gag order,” and said it endangered physicians’ relationships with their patients.

Following a letter from several medical groups to Perry and state budget writers, state Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston and a breast cancer survivor, joined the chorus. “I believe in the sacred nature of the doctor-patient relationship, so I cannot and will not sit back if I think there are rules that are going to jeopardize that relationship,” she said on Wednesday.

Don’t Gag Doctors, Says TMA President →

Texas Medical AssociationAugust 6, 2012Articles

Don’t gag doctors. That’s the heart of a letter from the Texas Medical Association (TMA) to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). TMA President Michael E. Speer, MD, points out DSHS’s proposed rules would impose a “gag order” on physicians who participate in the Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP), barring them from discussing elective abortion with their patients even if the patient asked about it or if the standard of care indicated it should be discussed as an option.

“If the state indeed wants doctors to participate in the program, this is a step in the opposite direction,” added Dr. Speer. Many Texas physicians may leave the program because these rules, if enacted, would force them to choose between practicing medicine in accordance with the standard of care and medical ethics, or in accordance with a rule created to serve a political ideology.

Co-signing the letter with TMA were the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists/Texas District, Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Texas Academy of Family Physicians, and Texas Pediatric Society.

AMA keeps its focus on the doctor-patient relationship →

November 14, 2011Articles

A message to all physicians from Robert M. Wah, MD, chair of the AMA Board of Trustees.

If you talk to anyone –– physicians or patients –– about health system reform, it becomes apparent that the real core issue is the physician-patient relationship. Continue Reading »

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