By Melissa Gerdes, M.D.
TAFP President, 2010-2011
I devote this column to our Academy members and friends. The Texas Academy of Family Physicians is, after all, only as good as our membership.
As you will recall, TAFP held a strategic planning retreat in August 2010. We began with the anticipation that we would design a three-year plan, but it soon became a one-year plan. The group identified so many items needing urgent attention that the timeframe necessarily shortened. A physician champion paired with a TAFP staff person to design and implement each action item. Now, seven months later at Interim Session, we are well on our way to accomplishing our goals. The entire strategic plan can be viewed on www.tafp.org.more
By Roland Goertz, M.D., M.B.A.
AAFP President, 2010-2011
Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—commonly known as the Affordable Care Act, or simply PPACA—was an important step toward establishing primary care as the foundation of America’s health care system. The law will have a far-reaching impact on family medicine as the nation begins to rebalance our health care system with more appropriate emphasis on primary care. Once fully implemented, it will focus more on health care and place a greater emphasis on prevention, primary care, and improved health outcomes instead of a predominately sickness care model which has focused on paying for procedures and volume.
The final vote and the signing of the PPACA was a first step. Now the task is implementation. And this is where the real work—and the real debate—begin Since its passage, the AAFP has focused on filling in the holes in the Affordable Care Act, preserving its primary care-friendly provisions, and ensuring support for primary care education that will help increase the number of future family physicians.more
Several miles into a long run last week, I started to feel a pang of pain with which I had grown familiar. I knew I would need to stop to “shake it out,” then slow my pace substantially until I could regain my stride and run through it. Because I’d had the same pang around the same mile for the past two weeks, I started thinking that I should talk to my family doctor about it. My first thought wasn’t to call her office – it was early on a Saturday morning, after all – it was to tweet it.
In addition to my personal Twitter account, I am one of the administrators for TAFP’s account and I know several of our family physician members who follow our feed. My tweet (from my personal account) would have gone like this: “Need advice: Sharp pain in the outside of my left knee near my kneecap around mile 7. Is this serious? Should I wear a brace?” With the remaining 15 characters, I would have tagged a few physician friends, none of whom is my personal family doctor.
As I kept plodding through the miles, I decided it would be unprofessional for me to use TAFP members — even those I consider to be friends — to give me a free diagnosis. However, I wondered if it would even be possible or ethical for a physician to give a diagnosis in 140 characters.more
By Monica Kortsha
As a pre-medical student and journalism/biology double major at UT, I was extremely excited when I saw TAFP’s internship posting. I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about what issues concern family physicians—a career I’m interested in—while applying and improving my journalistic skills. During my time at TAFP I’ve learned a lot about the issues family physicians face and that there is plenty a physician must care about outside of the exam room.
Last week I wrote a short article summarizing the results of the 2011 Main Residency Match and how family medicine fared. I was glad to see that family medicine is on the increase, but seeing that only about half the residency spots were filled by U.S. graduates while other specialties were almost exclusively filled with these students put into perspective that family medicine isn’t an alluring future for many U.S. medical students.more