By TMA Staff
Like the Panhandle community of Perryton, you, too, can help ensure that kids in your community have helmets as TMA celebrates the 25th birthday of the Hard Hats for Little Heads program in October.
A hit-and-run accident in Perryton earlier this summer sent a 10-year-old bicyclist to the hospital and prompted the community to host a local bike safety workshop. TMA member Rex L. Mann, MD, a Perryton family physician, got busy to make sure the event featured a TMA helmet giveaway, a first for the community. These local family physicians, along with Dr. Mann, helped provide helmets for the event: Manon E. Childers, MD, Blake A. DeWitt, MD; Jennifer T. McGaughy, DO; and Rick A. Siewert, DO.more
By Janet Hurley, MD
There was once a time when I believed that organized medicine would play a major role in creating a sustainable health care product for our nation. Admittedly our organized medicine leaders have a lot of great ideas, many excellent skills, good relationships with lawmakers, and brilliant expertise. However I learned with sadness as time progressed that the dysfunctions in Washington, D.C., and Austin are unlikely to lead to substantive health care changes. While our organized medical societies give wise advice, our lawmakers are not always listening.
I then turned my energies to the private sector and focused my leadership on a large integrated health care system that emphasized and respected high-value primary care. I had hoped that these kinds of systems could leverage their medical homes, medical neighborhoods, and IT systems to more optimally coordinate care and reduce waste. Yet once I entered that world, I became aware of the massive regulatory burden facing our hospitals today. The relentless push to become a Joint Commission-accredited, “high reliability organization” with “zero harm” is commendable, yet requires the hiring of multiple levels of safety officers, nursing leaders, and administrative leaders, and the development of many more “clicks” in the electronic medical record that leads to massive nurse burnout rates in our country.more
Accomplishments and challenges in a busy year
By Rebecca Hart, MD
Greetings colleagues. As I reflect on this year so far, it’s been a whirlwind! We have seen major accomplishments, but huge challenges lie ahead. Let’s recap where we are on several issues.
Accomplishments: The 86th Texas legislative session ended with a few significant wins for family medicine. We retained our funding for the Family Medicine Preceptorship Program and Physician Education Loan Repayment Program. We successfully protected funding levels for existing residency training programs while the Legislature increased graduate medical education expansion funding by $60 million. And once again, we defeated challenges to our scope of practice and turned back efforts by nurse practitioners to practice medicine independently.more
Attend the AAFP’s Emergency and Urgent Care live course from your home or join your peers in San Antonio, Texas, October 9-12.
Know the latest treatment options in emergency and urgent care settings, gain
hands-on skills, and recognize when to treat and when to refer. At the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Prepare treatment plans for patients who present to emergency departments and/or urgent care clinics.
- Evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients with acute health needs affecting any number of body systems, including cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, maternity, psychological, or musculoskeletal conditions.
- Incorporate emergency plans into practice, including written protocols and necessary equipment/tools for treatment.
By Travis Bias, DO, MPH
A culture of patient safety built over the past 20 years is encountering roadblocks. Policies and recent events that defy both research and initiatives geared towards strengthening health care safety, whether intentional or not, must be highlighted to ensure we continue to move the ball in the right direction.
Recently a New York Times story highlighted the “culture of secrecy” that protects hospitals from disclosing their name when an outbreak of a drug-resistant bug occurs within their walls. Defenders of the policy argue this encourages hospitals to promptly report these outbreaks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention without fear of negative publicity.more
Mergers, acquisitions, and the family physician — where do we fit in?
By Rebecca Hart, MD
Recently I have been hearing a lot of angst from colleagues about all the impending mergers of large retail corporations, insurance companies, and pharmacies starting up primary care clinics complete with urgent care, lab, imaging, and other amenities. My colleagues are gnashing their teeth wondering if they’ll be forced out of business by yet another corporate takeover. First the hospitals, now this.
The CVS/Aetna partnership brings us HealthHUBs in CVS stores, a health care “destination” with nurse practitioners at the helm and a “care concierge” to direct the patient to CVS services. They are associated with physicians only as reviewers of the NPs, because this is required by Texas law. They are not even on the payroll, but act as consultants — a very distant role. These physicians are not involved in directing the company or directing the primary care at all.more
With the increase in immigrants seeking asylum along the southern border, physicians and charitable organizations are struggling to provide needed care, supplies, and shelter to migrants in their communities. A recent article in Kaiser Health News describes the situation this way:
“In the absence of a coordinated federal response, nonprofit organizations across the 1,900-mile stretch have stepped in to provide food, shelter and medical care. Border cities like El Paso, San Diego and McAllen, Texas, are used to relying on local charities for some level of migrant care. But not in the massive numbers and sustained duration they’re seeing now. As the months drag on, the work is taking a financial and emotional toll. Nonprofit operators are drawing on donations, financial reserves and the generosity of medical volunteers to meet demand. Some worry this “new normal” is simply not sustainable.”
Many members along the border are working with local charities to provide care and services and we know many more members would like to help. Here are some organizations and opportunities to contact if you are interested. If you are working with other organizations or know of other opportunities, please email Jonathan Nelson, firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2019 CFW Resident and Student Track drew family medicine students and residents from all over the state. Participants received a warm welcome from TAFP President, Rebecca Hart, MD, learned how to break bad news to patients, explored physician employment contracts, got an in-depth look into the 86th Legislative Session from CEO/EVP of TAFP, Tom Banning, and much more.
In addition to lively discussions and presentations, the Section on Resident Physicians and the Section on Medical Students 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 resident and student TAFP members within the Academy. The following are the 2019-2020 resident and student officers.
Section on Resident Physicians
By Jonathan Nelson
Last week two TAFP members testified before the House Higher Education Committee, asking for support for House Bill 2261 by Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, and Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler. The bill would increase the maximum payout of the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program from $160,000 to $180,000 for physicians who agree to practice for four years in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area. The bill has a companion in the Senate, SB 998 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen.
In 2009, the Texas Legislature greatly enhanced the existing Physician Education Loan Repayment Program by changing the way smokeless tobacco is taxed and designating part of the difference to physician loan assistance. That allowed physicians to receive up to $160,000 to pay off their educational debt in return for four years of service, and that’s a deal many physicians have been eager to make. In the past five years, the program has enrolled well over 750 physicians who are now caring for patients in rural communities, urban centers, community health centers, and correctional facilities – all places where Texans suffer a lack of access to care.more
By Jonathan Nelson
TAFP’s new strategic plan focuses on helping members care for patients
Last fall, the TAFP Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan for the Academy designed to strengthen the organization and ensure it works to help members do what they do best: take care of their patients and their communities. The plan is the culmination of a yearlong process led by TAFP’s elected leaders and a select group of other leaders. It will help guide Academy actions and endeavors for the next three to five years.more