Archives / 2013 / January
  • Have you ever attended ALF or NCSC? Why not this year?

    Tags: ncsc, alf, gabler, echols, leadership, aafp, tafp, training, network

    Earlier this month, TAFP put out a call for TAFP members to apply for travel funding to attend two national conferences in April: AAFP’s Annual Leadership Forum and National Conference of Special Constituencies. If you’ve never attended one of these conferences yet, I highly encourage you to consider it this year. Nine funded delegate spots or scholarships are available from TAFP and anyone else interested can simply register to attend.

    But why should you take time away from your practice and family to go to Kansas City, Mo.? These conferences bring together a diverse group of family physicians from around the country and provide leadership training specifically tailored to family physicians. In addition, NCSC delegates identify concerns related to them and propose policy to take to AAFP.

    ALF and NCSC are relevant to members of all ages and all practice types and both provide the opportunity to network, brainstorm with others, and learn best practices. Most of all, you’ll come away feeling energized and fired up for family medicine.

  • Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt

    Tags: fiesinger, evaluation, patients, family physician

    By Troy Fiesinger, M.D.
    TAFP President, 2012-2013

    We received our monthly physician quality report cards recently. Software mines our electronic health record and generates reports to tell us if we are meeting our goals. These quality measures are defined by Medicare, our clinically integrated physicians group, and commercial payers like Blue Cross Blue Shield. While some are based on solid medical evidence, others seem arbitrary and not relevant to the day-to-day reality of seeing family medicine patients.

    I prefer creating and using our own data instead of relying on the often incomplete and inaccurate claims data from insurance. Despite our efforts to be good sports, often we feel bombarded by the endless number of things we should do to show we are good doctors.

  • Overwhelmingly, stakeholders support family medicine residencies

    Tags: perspective, hawkins, public health, tobacco, graduate medical education, loan repayment

    By Clare Hawkins, M.D.
    TAFP President-elect

    With another legislative session underway, our Academy is poised to make great gains for family medicine and recoup budget losses from 2011. We’re building on a decade of work educating legislators and the public about the value of family medicine, but it’s evident that our work particularly since the last session has led to a deeper understanding of the current and coming crisis in the primary care workforce.

    This summer TAFP held a legislative training seminar in Austin and attendees of that conference formed the core of a new Key Contacts program. These leaders actively share resources provided by the Academy with their state representative and senator, which include not only our own policy briefs and legislative magazine features, but editorials and news stories from the major daily newspapers. People are “getting it.”

  • Tar Wars celebrates 25 years

    Tags: tar wars, hart, public health, tobacco

    Join this public health effort and help decrease
    youth tobacco use

    By Rebecca Hart, M.D.

    Happy anniversary, Tar Wars! Did you know that Tar Wars, AAFP’s tobacco-free education program, celebrated 25 years in 2012? To mark this milestone, the National Tar Wars Advisory Group wants to re-energize the program.

    Remember Tar Wars? Most of you may have been involved in medical school or residency, giving talks to fifth-grade students at local schools. You went into the classroom with about 30 kids and had a fun interactive session talking about smoking, questioning them about what they knew, educating them, and inviting them to do their own creative thinking about how to stay smoke free. You then invited them to make a smoke-free poster and enter the national poster contest. Kids love the interactive presentation, and really enjoy the contest. It was fun for you and was a great community service.

  • Congress averts fiscal cliff, staves off Medicare physician pay cut

    Tags: sgr, aafp, american medical association, american hospital association, statement, medicare, payment, congress

    Once again waiting until the last minute, Congress passed a bill on New Year’s Day that averts the fiscal cliff, delays sequestration provisions for two months, and staves off the 26.5 percent cut in Medicare physician pay for another year.

    The fiscal cliff agreement increases revenue largely by targeting married couples earning more than $450,000 a year and single people earning more than $400,000 a year by raising rates for wages and investment profits, but shields those earning less than $250,000 a year from income tax increases, the Washington Post reports.

    As TAFP reported in the weeks leading up to this agreement, Congress had to find roughly $30 billion to pay for a one-year patch to the sustainable growth rate formula and considered reversing the Medicaid primary care bonus to offset the cost. Modern Healthcare reports (free registration required) that cuts will come from other Medicare programs, most of which affect hospitals, pharmacies, and dialysis clinics. The primary care bonus appears to be intact.