TAFP has an Olympic year in ‘08
By Kate McCann
At record pace, 2008 went by in a blur for TAFP. Using the goals set at the September 2007 strategic planning meeting, staff began working on a three-year plan, roaring into the new year with fresh ideas for advocacy and communications, new and improved member services to help practices remain financially viable, and valuable CME programs to allow members to stay ahead of the curve.
For TAFP’s Legislative Affairs division, the year was marked by much preparation for the November general elections and the 81st Legislative Session. At the beginning of the year, TAFP produced and launched the “Academy in Action” series of Webcasts to draw attention to the value of family medicine in the medical home, Medicare crisis and physician workforce shortage. TAFP Communications Director Jonathan Nelson anchored the Webcasts for Texas and worked with other state chapters to produce similar videos for use across the nation.
In August, many TAFP members attended the 2008 Leadership & Legislative Conference, which trained them on how to be effective advocates for the specialty when interacting with lawmakers, the press and the public at large. Attendees heard informative lectures and participated in a mock hearing at the Capitol.
The TAFP Political Action Committee and our physician leadership base continued voicing family medicine’s interests. TAFPPAC was engaged in a number of decisive races during the general elections, helping elect new Texas House and Senate leaders who will be integral in the upcoming Legislative Session to support health care reform. Of the 152 candidates endorsed by TAFPPAC, all but four won their races. The success of these elections was due in no small part to the financial and personal time commitments by family physicians.
TAFP with its partners in the Primary Care Coalition published a new report, “The Primary Solution: Mending Texas’ Fractured Health Care System” in October, in time for attention during the November elections. The report issued a bipartisan call to improve Texas’ health care delivery system, strengthen the future primary care physician workforce, and provide all Texans with a medical home where they can receive comprehensive and affordable preventative care.
Health care issues likely to appear on the legislative agenda in early 2009 include the high numbers of uninsured Texans, health information technology, reimbursement to physicians, managed care reform and strengthening graduate medical education. TAFP is ready with our plan to mend the Texas health care system.
Representing the voice of family physicians, the communications team continued to expand its capabilities to reach members. Quarterly magazine TEXAS FAMILY PHYSICIAN allowed the Academy to delve into relevant issues facing family medicine, including cover stories on the medical home, managed care reform and physician workforce, which served as a starting point for TAFP communications to research the issues addressed in the Primary Care Coalition report, “The Primary Solution.”
TAFP continues to upgrade its Web site, www.tafp.org, to host member resources and frequently updated practice tools relevant to physicians’ practices. The Academy has also used QuickInfo, TAFP’s e-newsletter, as a springboard into these virtual tools. TAFP’s communications department will continue to expand in 2009, establishing a greater Web and media presence for family medicine.
TAFP presented its four annual symposia around the state in 2008, reaching just over 900 family physicians and other health professionals. These included TAFP’s 2008 Doctors in Motion in Steamboat Springs, Colo., the C. Frank Webber Lectureship and Interim Session in Austin, and TAFP’s 59th Annual Session and Scientific Assembly and Primary Care Summit in Houston. Symposia attendees had the opportunity to garner more than 80 CME credits at these conferences, including nearly 29 Evidence-based CME credits. The Education Department coordinated diverse CME programs at the symposia, exploring topics in wound care, practice management, polypharmacy in the elderly and a range of cancer topics. Overall, attendees ranked the education at symposia an average of 4.54 on a five-point scale.
In addition, TAFP offered its second Self-Assessment Module Group Study Workshop to aid ABFM diplomates in achieving certification and recertification requirements as well as a hands-on NPI aesthetics workshop during Annual Session. TAFP’s PrimeCME delivered 56 educational events to almost 1,000 attendees around the state, including two three-city Saturday programs titled “A Day in the Life Cycle” that featured topics in pediatrics, adolescent health, adult health and geriatrics.
TAFP kicked off the year with the acquisition of the National Procedures Institute on Jan. 1, 2008. This joint investment by AAFP, TAFP and the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine provides members valuable practice enhancement techniques while also providing the Academy non-dues revenue. In 2008, NPI delivered 95 procedural workshops to 1,475 medical professionals around the country, including a series of courses in San Antonio in May. For the past 20 years, NPI has helped more than 45,000 primary care physicians provide quality, cost-effective patient care while broadening the range of services they offer and enhancing their practice revenue. View the 2009 event schedule and register for upcoming CME conferences—including a stop in Dallas—on the NPI Web site, www.NPInstitute.com.
Members and Leaders
TAFP’s new officers were inducted at this year’s Annual Session. The inductees were: Robert Youens, M.D., president; K. Ashok Kumar, M.D., president-elect; I. L. Balkcom, IV, M.D., vice president; Melissa Gerdes, M.D., treasurer; and Troy Fiesinger, M.D., parliamentarian.
Also during the 59th Annual Session Business and Awards Lunch, the Academy recognized some of its revered members. John P. Ramsay, M.D., of Fredericksburg received the Family Physician of the Year Award; Robert Echols, M.D., of Kilgore and John Green, Jr., M.D., of Ballinger were recognized as the 2008 Physicians Emeriti; F. David Schneider, M.D., formerly of San Antonio, was awarded the Sam Nixon, M.D., Leadership Award; Alex J. Blanco, M.D., of Laredo received the Presidential Award of Merit; Clare Hawkins, M.D., of Baytown received the TAFP Foundation Philanthropist of the Year Award; Juan M. Campos, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., of McAllen won the Public Health Award; and Tricia C. Elliott, M.D., F.A.A.F.P., of Houston was awarded the Exemplary Teaching Award.
Texas was well represented at AAFP’s 2008 conferences. During AAFP’s 2008 Scientific Assembly in San Diego, Calif., Leah Raye Mabry, M.D., of San Antonio was elected speaker of the AAFP Congress of Delegates. Roland Goertz, M.D., announced his candidacy for AAFP president-elect, with the election to be held during AAFP’s 2009 Scientific Assembly in Boston. Finally, Janet Realini, M.D., M.P.H., received the 2008 AAFP Public Health Award. She was the 2007 recipient of TAFP’s Public Health Award.
As of December 2008, membership in TAFP had increased to 5,981 total members. TAFP maintains strong student and resident enrollment at 1,436. At TAFP’s 18th Annual Student and Resident Conference in March, TAFP leaders spoke on the business of medicine. The conference included the fourth TAFP Residency and Procedures Fair with residency programs demonstrating various procedures to students such as joint injections, ultrasounds, perineal repairs and others.
To better serve members, TAFP formed two strategic partnerships to aid physicians in the business side of medicine. Bradley Reiner, owner of Reiner Consulting and Associates, shares his practice management experience with staff and members for issues such as billing and coding, managed care contract negotiation, staffing and more. Vaccine purchasing program Atlantic Health Partners gives family physicians the opportunity to save money on certain vaccines and provides them an advocate among manufacturers and payers. For more information on accessing these member benefits, go to www.tafp.org/resources.
The generosity of members to the TAFP Foundation has greatly benefited the Foundation’s work. It currently has 60 monthly donors whose contributions go toward research, scholarships and travel funding for medical students and residents. Through the TAFP Foundation’s annual charity project Physicians with Heart, TAFP members donated $1,600 for the San José Clinic in Houston, which provides health care, dental care, social services and health education to individuals and families who struggle to access affordable, quality health care.
Back at the Office
At TAFP headquarters, the staff saw a few personnel changes, including the addition of association veteran Mary Guerrero to the Education Department. Tom Banning completed his first full year as TAFP CEO, successfully carrying the torch passed from longtime TAFP Executive Director Jim White, and sees an even brighter future for TAFP in 2009.
“This is just the beginning,” he says. “2009 holds a lot of exciting opportunities and challenges for the Academy. Health care reform is on the national and state agenda, the medical home delivery model continues to gain support, we are expanding our partnerships with other organizations to provide practice management and other business services to improve family physicians’ bottom lines, and we are focusing on providing more evidence-based CME.
“Your Academy staff remains well prepared to navigate through opportunities and challenges to come, ensuring your Academy continues to provide the resources you’ve come to expect.”