Archives / 2008
  • America’s health care price tag: An inflationary tale

    Tags: health care costs, fee-for-service, health insurance, payment, reform

    By Roland A. Goertz, M.D., M.B.A.

    What is it that makes American health care so expensive compared to every other developed country? I am often asked that question, and giving an accurate or simple answer is difficult. Instead of a long list of items that underlie the problem, I will describe four well-intended processes that I believe have created an inherently inflationary model of care. We have all benefited from the creation of the four processes, but we now pay a huge price for maintaining them.

    Health Insurance

  • Rewards and challenges of family medicine

    Tags: value, primary care, graduate medical education, payment, reform, president's letter, youens

    From the inaugural address of TAFP’s new president

    By Robert Youens, M.D.
    TAFP President, 2008-2009

    I’m a board-certified, residency-trained family physician starting my 30th year of practice in Weimar, Texas. My grandfather started practicing in my community 100 years ago and my father started 60 years ago. Sometimes I feel that I am simply a continuation of that one spirit. I love what I do. I love what our specialty does and I embrace its uniqueness. The longer I am at this business the more I realize how our particular brand of medicine is what’s best for all patients. Our holistic approach to the treatment of our patients continues to make us the best specialty on which to found a health care system. As the president of TAFP, I will continue our efforts to reinforce the truths that have been known to us and proven by repeated studies that family medicine delivers better outcomes at lower cost. We will continue to actively participate in any arena that will allow us to promote and support our proper place in the health care of our nation.

    We need to be properly paid for what we do and TAFP will be there for any effort, including defining a medical home, that will get this done.

  • Looking back on two years of TransforMed

    Tags: perspective, transformed, gerdes, future of family medicine

    By Melissa Gerdes, M.D.

    When I first read the Future of Family Medicine report in 2004, I was overwhelmed by the degree of change being asked of family medicine. Now, four years later, I am living in the midst of it.

    When we were selected to be one of 36 practices from across the country to participate in TransforMed, my partners and I were not sure we could live up to the promises and hopes imbedded in the project. We also were concerned about dedicating the kind of time needed to implement some of the changes.

  • Let’s celebrate six decades of family medicine

    Tags: siy, president's letter, tafp foundation, anniversary

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

    Sixty years! 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, and to mark the occasion, our TAFP Foun­dation is promoting a “$60 for Sixty” campaign. You can become a “60” donor this year and join us in celebrating our Academy’s anniversary.

    The TAFP Foundation was started a few years later in 1960 under the moniker of Education and Research Institute of General Medicine, then becoming the Family Medicine Foundation in 1974. Eventually it was renamed the Texas Academy of Family Physicians Foundation in 1986. Its role has been to support research, students, residents and education of family physicians.

  • Feeling the health insurance squeeze

    Tags: siy, health insurance, health care costs, perspective

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

    We are inundated almost daily with tales of escalating health care costs, exploding health insurance premiums and horror stories from small businesses that have been forced to drop health insurance and families who have lost coverage.

    Health care costs have long outpaced the rest of the economy. In 2008, health insurance premiums are projected to increase at more than twice the rate of inflation. Yet most employers simply accept this as a cost of doing business. But what are we getting in return for these exorbitant health insurance premiums?

  • Interim Session features healthy debate on the medical home

    Tags: interim session, report, president's letter

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

    Happy spring! Our 2008 Interim Session has concluded, and the weekend was a success. The C. Frank Webber Lectureship boasted record attendance this year, and the lectures were of excellent quality. The committees and commissions all met over the course of two days, and the Board of Directors meeting was held Saturday evening, March 15, with much being accomplished. The annual Student and Resident Conference is held in conjunction with Interim Session, and had 26 students and 68 residents from 17 programs attend. A lively residency and procedures fair highlighted their conference, with the opportunity to interact with other active TAFP members.

    Our award-winning communications department unveiled a new advocacy video called “Doctor’s Orders,” which focuses on the importance of advocacy and getting involved with your professional organization. It can be downloaded and shown at your local chapter meetings, residency programs, student interest groups and other occasions where the encouragement to become more active and involved with family medicine’s cause is needed. I encourage you to watch the video, which can be seen through our TAFP Web site, and show it to someone else or present it to a group in your community. The more people on board, the stronger we are, and we are going to need our strength in numbers for the next legislative session in 2009!

  • New opportunities abound in the new year

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

    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.

  • Charting the course: 2007 Year in Review

    Tags: year in review, tafp, communications, advocacy, education, leadership, membership

    The winds of change blow TAFP toward prosperous shores in a year to remember. Take a look back at 2007.

    By Kate McCann

    When TAFP embarked on a new year in January 2007, staff didn’t expect to deviate much from its normal, steady course. But with a stranger-than-usual legislative session and the coming retirement of the Academy’s longtime Executive Director, Jim White, it soon became clear that 2007 would be anything but normal—the year would be about charting change. The Academy rose to the challenge and carried out the normal duties and more, embracing new developments that made 2007 a year of substantial progress.