By Jean Klewitz
Health care costs are back on the docket as lawmakers finish the third full week of the 85th Texas Legislature. Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, has convened a workgroup to come up with ways to control rising health care costs for state programs and that group met for the first time on Friday, Feb. 3, hearing testimony from state agencies and a variety of stakeholders for more than six hours.
Orthopedic surgeon and chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD, R-Georgetown, presided over the seven-member panel. “Health care costs in all these programs and across all our state agencies continue to skyrocket and crowd out other priorities like education, transportation, and public safety,” he said as he opened the hearing.more
By Tammy Wishard
TMA has a way to help you boost local vaccination rates: Be Wise — Immunize Local Impact Grant. TMA is accepting applications until March 1 for grants of up to $2,500 to support local vaccination events. TMA member-physician practices/clinics, county medical societies, TMA Alliance chapters, and medical student chapters can apply.
The funds can be used for shot clinics to vaccinate children, adolescents, and/or adults. Applicants should apply for a grant at least four months before their event, and grantees have up to 12 months to use the funds. TMA will accept applications again on July 1 and Nov. 1 for shot clinics in late 2017 and early 2018.more
By Perdita Henry
Have you worked alongside someone who blew you away with their leadership skills? Are you a special constituency member who wants to make sure minorities, women, new physicians, LGBT+, and IMG physicians have a seat at the table? You’re in luck. Many of the inspirational and dedicated members of TAFP have made AAFP’s National Conference of Constituency Leaders and Annual Chapter Leader Forum a part of their journey to build the careers they always wanted.
Taking place April 27-29, in Kansas City, Missouri, AAFP members from across the nation will gather to discuss various issues, suggest policies and programs to AAFP, and receive leadership training.more
By Perdita Henry
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and our friends at the Texas Department of State Health Services Immunization Unit have gathered a plethora of resources to shepherd you through this month of patient empowerment.
Each year nearly 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, an almost completely preventable form of cancer. The number of affected women by the disease remains high despite the availability of the vaccination and regular appropriate screenings, such as pap and HPV testing.more
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).more
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 NCCLmore
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.more
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.more
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.more
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!more