Fighting for family medicine in Texas
Physician of the Day
As a service to the Texas Legislature, the Texas Academy of Family Physicians provides a physician in the Capitol for legislative sessions. This tradition started in 1971 and TAFP has provided a physician in the Capitol for every legislative session including special sessions since. This program is organized by TAFP and supported by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Medical Association. The Physician of the Day is introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives each day and his or her name becomes a permanent part of the official legislative record.
Frequently asked questions
Am I eligible to participate as Physician of the Day?
Only family physicians with a valid unrestricted Texas medical license and who are members in good standing in TAFP or TOMA may participate in the Physician of the Day program. The physician must not have ever had his or her license suspended or revoked, voluntarily surrendered his or her license, or been convicted of a felony or violation of any state or federal narcotics act. TAFP reserves the right to remove a physician who is scheduled to serve as Physician of the Day if there are any changes made to his or her membership status or to his or her medical license. All volunteer Physicians of the Day must fill out a disclosure form, either on the main online form or the disclosure form only.
Residents with a valid license are welcome to sign up for the program; residents without a license must have an attending physician accompany them.
How do I sign up?
Sign up for the Physician of the Day program by completing the online form or contacting Paige Newman at (512) 329-8666 ext. 136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A TAFP staff member will email a Physician of the Day information packet containing an introductory letter, maps, and policies to the email you provided at least three weeks in advance of your date to serve.
Legislators: If you would like to request a specific date or if you would like to ask a family physician in your district to serve as a Physician of the Day, first contact Paige Newman at TAFP. She will hold the date on our calendar and, if a physician is suggested, first ensure he or she is a TAFP member family physician. Once confirmed, you can either ask the physician to fill out the online form or call Paige at (512) 329-8666 ext. 136 to give her the physician’s contact information.
What is the time commitment for the program?
Physicians should plan to spend a full day at the Capitol, arriving at the Capitol Health Clinic at 9 a.m. and leaving around 5 p.m. Physicians serve alongside the Capitol's family nurse practitioner in the Capitol Health Clinic.
Where do I go?
Physicians park in the designated Capitol garage parking spot and walk to the Capitol Extension (E1.214) where the clinic is located. If you have any questions about the location of the Capitol Health Services Clinic, Katherine Lindley, APRN, FNP-BC, can be reached at (512) 463-0313.
Do I need malpractice insurance for the Capitol Health Clinic?
No. A stipulation of the program covers volunteer physicians since they receive no compensation for their services.
What should I bring?
Physicians should wear their white coat; gentlemen should wear a coat and tie and women should wear business attire. There is a generic Capitol prescription pad available if needed. Samples of medications are not needed.
How many patients will I see in a day?
Patient visits vary depending on several factors, but physicians can expect to see between 25 and 40 patients in a normal day.
Can I meet my legislators that day?
Physicians can set up private meetings with their legislators, but are not allowed to testify or lobby on the day of service.
Do I have to let my legislators know what day I’ll serve?
No. A TAFP staff member will use your home address to determine your district and will contact your representative and senator to ensure you’re introduced on the House and Senate floor. You can also find who represents you by visiting “Who Represents Me?”
Can my family join me?
Guests are welcome to join the Physician of the Day but, due to space limitations in the clinic, should make other arrangements for entertainment for the duration of the day. Family members may watch the House and Senate introductions from the gallery. It is always a good idea to let TAFP know how many guests will join you when signing up for the program.
Physicians are encouraged to bring a medical student or family medicine resident to the clinic to participate in the Physician of the Day program; this is an important way to promote family medicine to the future workforce. When signing up, please let TAFP staff know that a resident or medical student will join you and staff will coordinate the day to include him or her. Note: Because students and residents cannot serve without a qualified physician with them, a cancellation by the physician would cancel their service as well.