By Jonathan Nelson
Direct primary care practices are cropping up across the country as physicians grow more frustrated by administrative burdens inherent in a fee-for-service third-party insurance market. But some regulatory obstacles block many people from joining DPC practices. The Direct Primary Care Coalition — of which TAFP is a steering committee member — has called on physicians to ask their representatives in Washington D.C. to sign on to federal legislation that would remove those obstacles.
In DPC practices, physicians charge patients a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee — like a retainer or membership fee — that covers a broad set of primary care services and patients typically enjoy greatly enhanced access to their physician. IRS rules interpret these DPC payments to be like paying premiums for health insurance rather than just a different way to purchase a set of services. Even though Texas and 17 other states have passed laws defining DPC arrangements to be outside of state insurance regulation, the IRS interpretation bars individuals with health savings accounts paired with high-deductible health plans from using their HSA funds to pay DPC fees.more
By Perdita Henry
Congratulations go to the family medicine interest groups at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine for winning the first annual Texas FMIG Program of Excellence Award. Last year TAFP’s Commission on Academic Affairs voted to create the award to celebrate and support FMIGs for their work to inspire medical students to consider the specialty of family medicine.
FMIGs are student-run organizations with faculty and departmental support. They provide a forum in medical schools for students interested in family medicine. FMIG programs across Texas applied for the new award and a subcommittee of the Commission on Academic Affairs reviewed the applications and selected the winning programs. Award winners receive cash prizes to help cover student travel costs to AAFP’s National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Students.more
By Jonathan Nelson
Amid the daily deluge of news about efforts to repeal Obamacare and the possible passage of the next iteration of health reform winding its way through Congress, it’s easy to forget the looming deadlines associated with Medicare’s Quality Payment Program. But don’t do it! We’re halfway through the year, which means you have only 6 months left to report at least one quality measure or activity in 2017 to avoid being penalized in 2019.
Your Academy has put together a wealth of resources to help you avoid that penalty and prepare for what’s to come. Bookmark this link in your browser and visit it frequently, as modules are being updated and developed as regulations are modified: http://www.aafp.org/practice-management/payment/macraready.html.more
By David Sabgir, MD
It was 11 years invested into medical training wasted. After doing my best for 11 years after college, I found myself totally ineffective at changing my patients’ behavior.
We’d had wonderful heart-to-heart talks. These conversations were real, full of great intention, and essentially worthless. As my patients came back for their six- and 12-month follow-ups, I realized I had not done my job. Their heart disease, which I knew to be 82 percent preventable, was not interrupted. It was a runaway locomotive. They were still sedentary and they hadn’t lost a pound. As a matter of fact, they were up 3 pounds. The weather had been too hot. The weather had been too cold. They knew they had to “get out.” This frustration didn’t repeat itself with one patient or a dozen patients, this was hundreds becoming thousands of patients. I was ineffective despite long, emotional conversations. One day, that was it. I refused to play this charade for what I hope to be a 30-plus-year career of trying to help others.more
By Perdita Henry
In a 2016 study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers found that from 2011 to 2015, 537 Texas women died while pregnant or within 42 days of delivery, compared to 296 from 2007 to 2010. This doubling of maternal deaths made Texas the most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world. Maternal mortality was on the agenda for the 85th Legislature but many of the bills that would help us understand and identify the dangers facing new and expectant mothers were left to languish. Now with the Texas Legislature set to return on July 18 for a 30-day special session, they have a chance to do the right thing for Texas mothers.
The issue of maternal mortality is a concern all over the country but Texas unfortunately has the distinction of being the worst. In fact, Janet Realini, MD, MPH, president of Healthy Futures of Texas and chair of Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition, spoke about her concerns during her Member of the Month interview. “Texas women have the highest maternal mortality rate of any state — higher than many third-world countries,” she said. “Preventive care and contraception are incredibly important in addressing this issue in two ways: preventing unplanned pregnancies that can stress women with health issues and serving as an entry to health care for women with health risks.”more
By Lane J. Aiena, MD
As physicians we are tasked with the monumental privilege of helping people as our craft. We train for four years in our undergraduate education, four years in medical school, and an additional three years minimum in residency to be given this trust by our patients. From this education, we gain the ability to help the patient in front of us, but all too often we lose sight of our ability to help the community as a whole. As physicians we have the ability to treat not just the patient in front of us but the thousands of patients beyond our door that are affected every day by policy.
Recently I was able to do a rotation with TAFP in Austin. This rotation was set up after several advocacy trips to Washington D.C. piqued my interest in policy. I was fortunate to match to a residency, Conroe Family Medicine Residency, that is very active both in its community and at the national level. The main takeaway from my first trip was this: everyone in politics has an ask, but stories are what stick. Simply talking about what we do on a daily basis can be a huge vehicle for change. I wanted a way to learn how to more effectively “get my story out there,” and this rotation was the perfect way to do just that.more
Learning to lead
By Tricia Elliott, MD
Greetings Colleagues. I recently had the pleasure of attending AAFP’s National Conference of Constituency Leaders and the Annual Chapter Leader Forum in Kansas City, Missouri, two conferences packed with leadership training and opportunities. As I was returning home, I couldn’t help but reflect on how lucky we are to be part of such an active and engaged community of family doctors. To witness the energy and enthusiasm for learning and networking, to take part in lively debates, and to watch colleagues collaborate to craft policy ideas — the weekend was truly a joy.
Our Texas chapter was well represented throughout both conferences. We had 17 members attending, seven of whom were first-time attendees to NCCL and ACLF. Again this year, Texas sent a full delegation to NCCL, which means we had an official representative for each of the convening member constituencies: new physicians; women physicians; international medical graduates; minority physicians; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender physicians.more
By Perdita Henry
The Texas Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Students, held in conjunction with the C. Frank Webber Lectureship and Interim Session, drew a total of 24 residents and 54 med students. Participants received a warm welcome from TAFP President, Tricia Elliott, MD, learned more about challenges facing those living on the border of Texas from Adrian Billings, MD, and received a legislative update from our very own CEO, Tom Banning.
In addition to timely discussions and presentations, the Section on Residents and the Section on Medical Students met and held elections for various officer positions. Officer candidates had the chance to talk to their colleagues about their professional passions and how they would represent the resident and student TAFP members within the Academy.more
Thank you for registering for the 2017 Texas Family Medicine Symposium in San Antonio. We are looking forward to seeing you at this event. Here are some helpful tips to make your TexFamMed experience even better.
If you arrive on Thursday, June 1, you can check in at registration from 5-7 p.m. in the San Lorenzo Room on the lobby level.
Registration will open as scheduled on Friday, June 2, at 6:30 a.m., in the foyer of the San Antonio Ballroom. The conference begins Friday morning at 7 a.m. with our CME breakfast lecture.more
This year’s AAFP Family Medicine Experience will be held in San Antonio, September 12-16. If you’ve never attended, take the opportunity to experience FMX in your own backyard.
Choosing family medicine means you’re already strong. And that’s why FMX was created — to empower you to make yourself, your patients, and your specialty even stronger.
FMX exists to offer you:more