New opportunities abound in the new year

Tags: president's letter, strategic plan, tafp, membership, communications, tafppac

By Linda Siy, M.D.
TAFP President, 2007-2008

Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe that 2007 has come to an end, and 2008 lies ahead. Our TAFP stands ready to serve you in the new year and beyond, with a fresh set of initiatives and goals developed for the future.

Last September, we convened a strategic planning group in Austin, consisting of a broad cross section of our membership. We studied the results of the recent member survey, heard your comments and know your priorities for your TAFP. We developed a concise set of goals and expectations for our Academy to move forward over the next three to five years. With the help of TAFP staff, we focused on five different areas: operations, membership, communications, education and advocacy. It is my hope and expectation that these strategic plans will help sharpen our focus on our Academy’s mission. With new Chief Executive Officer Tom Banning and new Chief Operating Officer Kathy McCarthy at the helm, our staff is motivated and ready for action. We have already begun many of the initiatives set out during strategic planning. I’ll highlight a few of these.

TAFP has partnered with a practice management consultant, Bradley Reiner, to provide our staff and membership the resources needed when it comes to practice management issues. Mr. Reiner is an experienced consultant who previously worked at TMA and is currently the owner of Reiner Consulting and Associates. He has agreed to serve as a resource for our staff, review and make recommendations on legislation, and provide discounted services to TAFP members. His services include billing and coding reviews, compliance and documentation audits, practice evaluations and assessments, managed care contract negotiation, staff recruiting and human resources management, and other general practice management issues. We welcome Mr. Reiner and sincerely hope that our members will find him a valuable resource in their practices.

TAFP has now joined other state chapters in a supporting partnership with Atlantic Health Partners, a physician vaccine purchasing program designed to lower the costs of vaccines and improve purchasing terms for practices. Atlantic works directly with Sanofi Pasteur and Merck and obtains favorable pricing for a wide scope of vaccines. There is no cost to enroll in the program, and your practice has the opportunity to save on its vaccine orders through our partnership with Atlantic. For more information on how your practice can benefit from participation, contact Jeff Winokur at (800) 741-2044 or jwinokur@atlantichealthpartners.com.

TAFP is now a proud co-owner and managing partner of the National Procedures Institute. After a nearly nine-month gestational period of negotiations between AAFP, STFM, TAFP, and John Pfenninger, M.D., owner and founder of NPI, this baby has been born! We are excited to launch the 2008 NPI programs under the management of TAFP. We consider procedures training integral to family medicine and have a strong desire to continue the high-quality procedures training well known to NPI for the benefit of all primary care physicians across the United States. For a schedule of NPI courses, and to receive a member discount, go to www.npinstitute.com.

Also on the education front, we are planning to strengthen the quality of our PrimeCME events by ensuring that at least 10 percent of their programs in 2008 are evidence-based. We hope to produce at least three four-hour PrimeCME programs in 2008, and 100 regular PrimeCME programs. Look for a PrimeCME program coming soon to your area. Go online to www.tafp.org/primeCME to view a schedule of events.

Online evaluations and outcome measurement tools will hopefully be available soon as AAFP upgrades its database software. Following the success of the Hypertension SAM workshop held in Houston last October during the TAFP Primary Care Summit, more SAM workshops will be planned to further assist our members with the ABFM Maintenance of Certification process.

Retention of new physicians is a priority for us, as this seems to be the group that “disappears” after completion of residency training. A New Physician Toolkit is in development, with information on contracts, licensure, board certification and malpractice insurance, and more. Discounted registration fees for new physicians will also be available for targeted TAFP events.

Our communications department is now our “award-winning” communications department, after winning the AAFP Leadership in State Government Advocacy award! Their hard work and dedication paid off, and if you haven’t already viewed at least one of their Webcasts during the last legislative session, you don’t know what you’re missing! These were so successful that Jonathan Nelson and Kate McCann have been working non-stop to produce similar Webcasts for other state academies to broadcast, each one tailored to that state chapter. Improvements in our TAFP Web site have led to its use by outside media to tap into the information contained there, and we have been cited in several news stories.

Operationally, our Academy remains on solid financial footing. We continue to maintain a conservative approach to our investments and expenditures, and have managed to remain well within our budget this past fiscal year.

Finally, our public affairs department is gearing up for the next legislative session through strategic planning sessions of its own with the TMA leadership, the Primary Care Coalition and key contacts within the TMA’s Council on Legislation. We are starting now to plan our strategies for the next session in 2009, and we already know there will be some tough battles to fight over scope-of-practice issues and malpractice reforms, among other things.

Now is the time to join the fight by becoming a member of our TAFPPAC. By contributing to the PAC, you enable our organization a “place at the table” with legislators who need to hear our side of the story. I urge you to become a PAC member this year, either as a monthly donor or through a one-time donation. Both are important to help sustain our momentum in Austin. You have told us that legislative advocacy is your No. 1 priority, and we have listened. Now it’s time for you to demonstrate that priority by becoming a PAC member. We are prohibited by law from using dues income for the PAC, so all PAC dollars are strictly donations. Let’s get that 5 percent of contributing members up to at least 50 percent. We are your voice in Austin; help us to be heard!

I look forward to 2008 as we launch these initiatives and am confident that each of these items will serve our membership well and provide the value we all need from the TAFP. I hope you will join me in participating in our specialty organization, and help continue to build upon the success we have had thus far. Good health to you in 2008!

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