Health care reform in the United States
By Kim D. Slocum
President, KDS Consulting, LLC
Three years ago, I was interviewed for an article in Texas Family Physician entitled “Payment reform—The next step toward an efficient high-quality health care system.” At that time, I said that the United States would see one of three futures for health care: one based on rapidly escalating consumer cost shifting, one making significant use of price controls, or one focused on measuring and rewarding “value.” So, where do we stand in early 2015 and what can we expect next?
At the moment, the concept of shifting costs to consumers is in high gear. The passage of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 created an opportunity for employers to move to high deductible health plans, which it was presumed would turn consumers into “happy economists” who would diligently study cost and quality ratings for various medical services, come to medical encounters fully prepared to argue the merits of each recommendation with their physicians, and only receive care that would optimize their clinical outcome.more
April 30 – May 2, 2015 | Kansas City, Missouri
By Christina Kelly, MD
The American Academy of Family Physicians National Conference of Constituency Leaders will be held April 30 - May 2, 2015 (with a preconference on April 29) in Kansas City, Missouri. This is the AAFP’s premier leadership and policy development event for underrepresented constituencies, which includes new physicians (physicians in their first seven years of practice), women, international medical graduates, GLBT, and minority constituencies.
At this leadership meeting, we gather every year for a purpose. We gather to: learn about how we can make a difference for our patients and our specialty, inspire each other to advocate, lead the way to action, and challenge our colleagues to join us in our efforts. A variety of issues are discussed at this meeting, such as patient barriers to quality health care that you want the AAFP to address, challenges within a variety of practice settings that you want fixed, or changes that need to occur to continually improve family medicine.more
By Travis Bias, DO, DTM&H
In middle school, I aspired to become a DJ. Because this required me to take the least amount of math. Despite this original goal, I started my time at Southwestern University as a pre-med student and headed to UNTHSC Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine to begin my medical education. A career as a physician stood perfectly at the intersection between intellectual challenge and service to others.
I was drawn into medicine to make a difference. The calling of a medical career can be heard as young as 18. It requires determination, a selfless heart, and compassion no matter the situation. Between the ages of 22 and 26, however, a young physician-in-training must decide which specialty he or she would like to be practicing from age 30 until retirement. This decision shapes career options and powerfully influences the future lifestyle, and thus capacity for relationships, growing a family, and personal balance and well-being. This choice in path, like in other careers, also affects potential lifetime income. Thus, specialty choice is not to be taken lightly, especially given the growing burden of educational debt that young medical graduates face.more
By Dale Ragle, MD
TAFP President, 2014-2015
Welcome colleagues to a new year, a new Congress, and a new Texas Legislature. On all fronts, health care is evolving. These changes present family physicians tremendous opportunities to shape our future health care system. It’s up to all of us as family physicians to advocate for our specialty in the halls where decisions are made that affect our patients and our practices.
In Washington, D.C., the 114th Congress is well under way and is busy on a number of health care issues. AAFP’s advocacy work is focused on fixing Medicare’s broken payment model, changing Meaningful Use requirements, delaying ICD-10, and reforming graduate medical education funding. Another area in which AAFP is concentrating efforts is in making payment for direct primary care services a qualified health benefit under IRS rules. This would enable patients to pay for direct primary care with pre-tax HSA and FLEX account dollars, a move that would aid the expansion of this emerging and promising model of practice.more
Thank you for registering for TAFP’s 2015 C. Frank Webber Lectureship. We look forward to seeing you later this week at the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark. Below is some information about the conference. If you have any questions or concerns, please call (512) 329-8666 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, March 5 | 12:30 - 7 p.m.
Friday, March 6 | 6 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 | 6:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.