• Reducing the chance of stroke, pneumonia, diabetes and more, in one shot

    Tags: flu shots, erica swegler, be wise immunize, immunizations, vaccines, influenza

    By Erica Swegler, MD
    Member, TMA “Be Wise – Immunize” Advisory Panel

    Imagine the headlines: “If you’re over age 65, you’re half as likely to die in the next year if you take (product XYZ)!”

    “What?” you ask, “We have such a thing?” The answer is YES. If you are over age 65, you can decrease your risk of dying of any cause by about 50 percent in the coming year if you get an immunization of the high-dose flu vaccine (HD flu vaccine).

  • Represent Texas at AAFP’s NCCL and ACLF in 2017

    Tags: nccl, aclf, New Physicians, LGBT, IMG, women physicians, minority physicians, leadership

    Funded delegate spots and scholarships available for NCCL and ACLF

    Each year, AAFP holds the National Conference of Constituency Leaders and Annual Chapter Leader Forum together in Kansas City, Missouri. NCCL representatives and ACLF attendees from across the nation gather to discuss various issues, suggest policies and programs to AAFP, and receive leadership training. In 2017, the conferences will be held April 27-29 and TAFP is looking for members to serve on the delegation or apply for scholarships to attend.

    TAFP opportunities for NCCL

  • MACRA and managing change

    Tags: gupta, president's letter, MACRA, practice transformation

    By Ajay Gupta, MD
    TAFP President, 2015-2016

    As many of you are acutely aware, our health care delivery system is undergoing dramatic changes. For those of you who have been around as long as I have, this has been a similar theme for several years. One common phrase I have heard over the years is the idea of “change.” Many of us have been frustrated by the changes in the past. These changes have been unfavorable for family medicine. One thing is clear: the current system is broken and unsustainable.

    Every day patients ask my opinion on these changes. Will it help family medicine? Will private practice survive? What’s going to happen to you and your colleagues? I respond by telling them I feel our current system is indeed broken.

  • Med students: Want to step out of the classroom and into the exam room?

    Tags: medical student, medical school, family medicine residency program, resident, rosenbaum, preceptorship, Texas Family Medicine Preceptorship Program

    By Herbert Rosenbaum

    By the end of my first year of medical school and destined for my “last summer ever,” I left my rigorous preclinical curriculum with an unsettling combination of exhaustion and frustration. I came to medical school to help the sick, not sit in some stuffy lecture hall, spend innumerable hours meticulously studying complicated biomolecular pathways, or learn about the zebras among zebra diagnoses. Despite my excitement at the beginning of medical school, the sobering realization of the academic and impersonal nature of preclinical years disturbed me immensely. I felt my zeal slowly seeping away. And, despite the strong push for students to pursue research activities during that precious summer, I knew neither pipetting for hours nor endless analysis of chart-reviewed data could ever recharge me.

    In short, I needed a doctor – a mentor who could help me reinvigorate my passion for medicine.

  • Dedication and hard work of our preceptors keep the preceptorship program strong

    Tags: Texas Family Medicine Preceptorship Program, preceptor, preceptorship

    By Perdita Henry

    When the Legislature reinstated funding for the Texas Family Medicine Preceptorship Program last year, you might have heard a whoop of joy from the TAFP headquarters in North Austin. The program — in which mostly first and second-year medical students spend two to four weeks seeing patients with a family doctor — presents an excellent chance to showcase the best aspects of a career in family medicine.

    While state support returning to the program was welcomed news, what makes the Preceptorship Program great is the dedication of our fantastic preceptors. Those medical students who go through the program and go on to become family physicians carry the memory of their preceptor as their own image of a real family doctor, and many count their preceptor among their most revered mentors.

  • Falling leaves, falling temperatures, and the beginning of flu season

    Tags: flu, DSHS resources, October

    By Perdita Henry

    It’s October and fall has officially arrived. As we anticipate cooling temperatures and autumn leaves, our friends in the Immunization Unit at the Texas Department of State Health Services have once again named October 1 as Texas Influenza Awareness Day.

    I know, right? Break out the decorative safety face masks and the Tamiflu — it’s a party!

  • 2017 and MACRA are on the way, but now you can pick your pace

    Tags: MACRA, CMS, medicare, Quality Payment Program

    By Perdita Henry

    The march from volume-to-value by way of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 has been steady, and as we prepare to meet 2017, anxiety about the new Quality Payment Program has left many wondering what hurdles they will have to face.

    CMS recently announced the Pick Your Pace Program, specifically designed to assist medical providers at different readiness levels as they prepare for MACRA. The announcement was a welcomed development by AAFP Board Chair Robert Wergin, MD, who took it as a sign that CMS not only took into account AAFP’s comment letter in reference to MACRA but also realized physician success in implementing the new payment program benefits everyone in the health care community.

  • National Immunization Awareness Month, week four: Making the most of adolescence

    By Perdita Henry

    The Texas Department of State Health Services is wrapping up the final week of National Immunization Awareness Month by focusing on pre-teens and teens. Once your young patients reach the age of 11, it’s recommended that they receive Tdap, HPV, meningococcal vaccines and catch up on any immunizations they may have missed. ImmTrac is a convenient tool that allows parents to keep track of vaccination schedules as their children age. Also many of your pre-teen and teen patients may be eligible to participate in the Texas Vaccines for Children Program, which provides low-cost vaccines for children from birth through age 18.

    If you are looking for additional support in the vaccination conversation with caretakers, visit ImmunizeTexasOrderForm.com. There you will find the Love Them & Protect Them ImmTrac brochure, the childhood immunization schedule, the Halt HPV brochure, and much more.

  • National Immunization Awareness Month, week three: Keeping little ones safe

    Tags: NIAM, immunizations, DSHS

    By Perdita Henry

    Texas Department of State Health Services is kicking off week three of National Immunization Awareness Month by focusing on infants and children through age six. Did you know that there’s a website that can assist the busy parents of your littlest patients keep track of immunization schedules? ImmTrac is an online portal that allows parents to register and keep track of their child’s vaccination schedule. Safe and secure, ImmTrac is a convenient tool that can help new parents make sure they are keeping their little ones safe.

    DSHS also notes that many of your tiny patients may be eligible for Texas Vaccines for Children Program which aims to ensure that all families have the tools to protect their children from vaccine-preventable diseases.

  • National Immunization Awareness Month, week two: Keep mama and baby safe during pregnancy

    Tags: NIAM, immunizations, DSHS

    By Perdita Henry

    August is National Immunization Awareness Month and this week’s focus is on immunizations that keep pregnant women and babies healthy across the state. The Texas Department of State Health Services offers resources to help you educate your patients on the importance of vaccines during pregnancy. The Pertussis Cocooning brochure, Protect Two from the Flu brochure, and the ImmTrac newborn consent are just a few of the documents currently available for download at ImmunizeTexasOrderForm.com.

    If you are planning an NIAM activity or event and would like to have it featured on the Regional Events and Activities map, fill out the NIAM activity form and email it to Linc Allen, Coalitions and Partnerships Coordinator at linc.allen@dshs.state.tx.us.