Archives / 2013 / August
  • As kids head back to school, it’s time to immunize

    Tags: kadir, immunization, vaccination, vaccine, school

    By Lamia Kadir, M.D.
    Brushy Creek Family Physicians

    As summer vacation draws to an end, lunches, school buses, and homework will soon replace swimsuits, road trips, and television. For those family physicians who see pediatric patients, sports physicals and well child checks are aplenty. It is our responsibility to remind our patients and their parents of the importance of routine immunizations. As we all know, prevention of disease is essential for both patient health and control of medical costs.

    The national vaccine immunization program is one of the most successful examples of effective preventive care in the U.S. Want some powerful examples? How about the marked decrease in cases of invasive haemophilus influenzae type b infection since the introduction of HIB conjugate vaccines in December 1987? The number of cases in children younger than five years of age declined by more than 99 percent by 2000. Here’s another: In 1979, the global eradication of smallpox was announced, one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine, made possible by the advent of the smallpox vaccine.

  • What is a good doctor?

    Tags: fiesinger, president's letter, family physician, quality

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

    Although I missed the blockbuster 2011 Brad Pitt movie Moneyball, I recently read the book by Michael Lewis. Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, a promising high school prospect out of California, was drafted by the New York Mets the same year as Darryl Strawberry and Lenny Dykstra. Despite looking like a top prospect to the scouts, Beane’s major league career ended early while Strawberry and Dykstra won the 1986 World Series with the Mets. As the general manager of the Athletics, Beane struggled to define more accurately what makes a baseball player good. This got me thinking: How do I know I’m a good doctor?

    I can point to the diplomas on my wall and tell you I went to good schools, but the U.S. News and World Report rankings are little more than opinion surveys with minimal hard data to back up their lists. I can show you a copy of my Texas medical license, but that just means I haven’t broken any laws nor received any complaints to the Texas Medical Board. You could look at my American Board of Family Medicine diploma, know that I have passed a national exam and do annual online education modules, and consequently assume I know something. You do not know, however, if I am better than the doctors across the street.

  • Legislature restores women’s preventive care funding

    Tags: realini, legislature, texas women's healthcare coalition, women's health, department of state health services

    By Janet Realini, M.D., M.P.H.
    Chair, Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition

    In a bipartisan effort, the 83rd Texas Legislature increased funding for preventive care for low-income women, making an important first step toward restored access for over 140,000 low-income women. Senate Bill 1, now signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry, invests in family planning in three key funding streams.

    • It adds $32.1 million in state funding to the Department of State Health Services Family Planning Program, replacing federal dollars awarded to the private Women’s Health and Family Planning Association of Texas network through Title X;
    • It adds $100 million for a DSHS Primary Health Care Expansion for women’s health care, 60 percent of which will provide contraceptive care; and
    • It adds $71.3 million in state funding to maintain the Texas Women’s Health Program, which lost its federal funding due to the “Affiliate Ban Rule” that excluded Planned Parenthood from the program.

  • TAFP Update

    Tags: foundation, tafp foundation, mccarthy, family medicine, legislature, curran, foxhall, klawitter, annual session

    By Kathy McCarthy, TAFP COO

    Looking back at the past few years, TAFP has much to be proud of. Family medicine had a successful legislative session this year – increases in graduate medical education funding, restoration of the loan repayment program, and passage of legislation that will reduce hassle by standardizing prior authorization forms. Some other areas to highlight include the tremendous leadership we have at TAFP and the ways that branches out. The election of Dr. Lloyd Van Winkle to the AAFP Board last year makes sure that the voice of the small practice physician is heard at the national level. There are currently three TAFP members serving on the TMA Board of Trustees – Dr. Art Klawitter, Dr. Lewis Foxhall, and Dr. Doug Curran. It’s so important to have those family docs at the table sharing their concerns and perspectives within the house of medicine.

    TAFP’s membership is strong and continues to grow. At a time when membership organizations are struggling to retain members, TAFP has seen almost 6.5 percent growth in active membership in the last five years.