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Wednesday, February 14th 2007

TMA Refuses Blank Check To Governor Perry…

…even after his support of Proposition 12!

That title makes this seem like a positive critique of the Texas Medical Association’s decision. It isn’t so much. I think I’m vetted, through the thousands of words written on this blog, for my Libertarian ideals. But I broke with those a bit and found myself applauding Texas becoming the first state to require the HPV vaccine.

Well, the TMA doesn’t feel the same (H/TGruntDoc).

Of course their complaints are largely physician centered, and reasonable but I don’t think they meet a threshold where we shouldn’t support this public health measure,

The Hepatitis B vaccine and other required school immunizations are reimbursed by health insurance companies. The problems associated with HPV vaccine outreach, its expense, and inadequate funding could make for insurmountable impediments needing resolution. Legislators must require insurance companies to pay a fair margin to the physician.

The $360 to $450 cost of the vaccine is much more expensive than any vaccine series now required. It does not account for the added expenses of overhead, storage, insurance, occasional lost and expired doses, non-payment and labor being put on the backs of primary care physicians throughout the state. The time until payment is received in the physician’s office can be 30 to 45 days under the best of circumstances, which along with the need to carry inventory, puts physician’s offices at significant financial risk.

Translation: the cost to the physician is too high. That may sound self-centered but for anyone who understands the current financial situation of primary care practices there should be some empathy. This will put the squeeze on family physicians.

The student on the Council on Public Health, which developed this stance, is from UT – Southwestern. I don’t know that I know her, but I would imagine a good portion of the Medical Student Section have feelings on the HPV issue not quite in line with the TMA’s actual stance.