Archives / 2020
  • TAFP calls for all physicians, residents, and medical students be prioritized to receive COVID-19 vaccine

    Tags: COVID-19, vaccination, priority

    The Texas Academy of Family Physicians echoes the Texas Medical Association and Texas Hospital Association’s call for all physicians, medical students, and residents to be included in the priority group for COVID-19 vaccines.

    Our independent, community-based family medicine physicians constitute the foundation of our health care system. These physicians put themselves at risk every day and we depend on them to serve on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 — screening, testing, and managing the vast majority of patients outside of the hospital. These independent practices and their staff cannot afford to contract COVID-19 and close up shop. People will continue to get sick. Patients with chronic disease still need ongoing care, and many more will seek mental health counseling than ever before as a result of isolation, job loss, and financial insecurities. We cannot afford to lose our primary care workforce.

    As more COVID-19 vaccines become available, we must redouble our efforts to ensure that all physicians — including those physicians who are not employed by or affiliated with a hospital or health system — are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination.

  • President's Letter

    Tags: president's letter; amer shakil, december 2020, TAFP president, covid-19, new governance structure, UT southwestern

    Blessings, hopes, and new beginnings in difficult times
    Inaugural address of the newly installed TAFP President

    By Amer Shakil, MD
    TAFP President

    I feel incredibly blessed and honored to be elected as president of Texas Academy of Family Physicians. I recall my first TAFP meeting in the winter of 1998 after I had moved to Dallas and joined the St. Paul Residency Faculty. The following year, I joined the Commission on Academic Affairs and since then, I have hardly missed any TAFP meetings. A year later I also joined the Dallas Chapter of TAFP, where I still serve on the board.

    The reason I have been so regular in my attendance to these meetings is none other than the welcoming, supporting, and nurturing environment of TAFP, exemplified by its visionary leadership and staff year after year and meeting after meeting. I was lucky to find great mentors like Linda Siy and Doug Curran, colleagues like Jake Margo and Ashok Kumar, and of course all of our TAFP staff members.

  • TAFP 2.0 — Introducing a new organizational structure to enhance member engagement

    Tags: new governance structure, get involved, member engagement

    By Jonathan Nelson and Kathy McCarthy

    For many years, a core group of dedicated family physicians have congregated twice each year at TAFP’s annual and interim meetings to sit on committees and conduct the business of the Academy. A frequent topic of discussion has always been how to attract more members to volunteer to serve in this capacity.

    As it turns out, there are a finite number of family doctors you can fit around a table in a hotel conference room for a three-hour committee meeting. And there are only so many physicians who can make a three-year commitment to break away from their practices for a few days two times a year to attend those meetings.

  • Finding joy in stressful times

    Tags: anticipate joy, partnership, counseling, support, covid-19, benefit

    By Anticipate Joy

    2020 began with such hope. Many entered the year with an expectation for new vision and focus. We never could have predicted that this year would be marked by a health crisis that would tax our medical personnel and resources to unfathomable proportions. 

    We are not fully aware of the effects of this pandemic on the wellbeing of the physicians and other medical providers who have sacrificed their own health for that of others. In times such as these, fatigue, depression, stress, and burnout are words commonly used to describe the experiences of our medical heroes. Nevertheless, some doctors manage to find joy and hope in their daily experiences. Why is this important?

  • Telehealth visits with elderly patients

    Tags: telehealth, elderly patients, Tasaduq Hussain Mir

    By Tasaduq Hussain Mir, MD, FAAFP

    The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a paradigm shift in how we see patients. Many physicians have now switched to telemedicine. Prior to the pandemic, only about 11% of physician visits were done via telehealth and now almost 46% of visits are completed via telehealth, according to the American Medical Association.

    Although telehealth visits have many benefits and are a preferred mode for a lot of patients to see their physician, they have their limitations, too. Many patients prefer telehealth because they do not have to spend hours in a doctor’s office, contend with heavy traffic, or struggle to find a parking spot to park their car. Having said that, many of the patients we schedule for telehealth visits are elderly, and problems like hearing loss, poor vision, and dementia are common in this age group.

  • Multiple sclerosis and the National MS Society: A physician-turned-patient’s perspective

    Tags: Lisa Doggett, multiple sclerosis, MS

    By Lisa Doggett, MD, MPH

    I woke up dizzy on a Monday morning in November, 11 years ago. I didn’t think much of it, and I went to work, as usual, at my small community clinic in Central Austin. But as the week wore on and my symptoms persisted, without any explanation, I began to worry. When I started to have mild diplopia and taste changes, I needed to seek care. A neurologist examined me and told me I was probably okay, but my dizziness continued. A few days later, after noting subtle nystagmus during my otherwise normal exam, a savvy ENT doctor ordered the MRI, revealing my diagnosis: multiple sclerosis.

    I was lucky. Most people with MS wait months or even years before they are properly diagnosed. My diagnosis took eight days because, as a physician, I understood something was wrong, I knew the ENT doctor who fit me into his busy schedule, and I had the support and resources to get help fast. I worry when I think of others who can’t access the care they need. But as family physicians, we can help.

  • An exciting new partnership for your mental wellness

    Tags: anticipate joy, partnership, counseling, support, covid-19, benefit

    By Anticipate Joy

    Anticipate Joy is an innovative mental health treatment and wellness company that supports healing and personal growth through a HIPAA-compliant online professional counseling platform. Anticipate Joy creates an introduction between the client and the therapist, along with the technology that enables the client to have therapy sessions with a licensed mental health provider within the convenience of your own home.

    Your benefits

  • Direct primary care: A light in the darkness

    By Kissi Blackwell, MD

    Recent events have shed light on the existing difficulties facing family physicians and have revealed the fragility of the current healthcare system. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has devastated our health care delivery process, and many family physicians are facing the difficult decision to close their doors or contend with salary reductions due to sharply decreased face-to-face visits. Now, more than ever, patients are valuing visits that can take place outside of the exam room, and, unfortunately, reimbursement has been severely lacking for virtual visits for traditional fee-for-service practices.

    In the midst of all this uncertainty, there has been an inherent need to shift the way we approach primary care delivery and payment. In a time where we stand to lose thousands of primary care physicians to financial difficulties or retirement forced upon them by the current situation, we owe it to our profession to find a better way.

  • Family physicians’ role in lung cancer care

    Tags: lucatraining

    By the LuCa National Training Network

    Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Texas — more than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined. The good news is that annual lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography, or LCS with LDCT, allows for lung cancer to be diagnosed at earlier stages than in the past. Most importantly, up to 80% of people with screen-detected lung cancer can be cured. Despite United States Preventive Services Task Force recommendations for LCS with LDCT in high-risk individuals and CMS coverage since 2015, Texas ranks below average for LCS among high risk individuals, with only 1.7% of those eligible receiving screening with LDCT, according to the American Lung Association.

    Provider discussion and referral can have a tremendous impact on screening participation. “In one study, 82% of patients reported that they would undergo LDCT lung screening if recommended by their physician. Another study found that approximately 85% of LCS-adherent patients reported ‘trust in their provider’ as a reason for undergoing screening,” according to a 2019 study in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

  • President's Letter

    The resilient nature of family physicians

    By Javier “Jake” Margo Jr., MD
    TAFP President

    Greetings colleagues! Even though it is pretty much a cliché at this point, I just have to say: Wow, what a crazy year. As the summer has both flown by and simultaneously seemed to last an eternity, I have found myself thinking a lot about resilience. Even in the constant tumult of 2020, our members across the state and all over the country have adapted, learned new technologies, and implemented new processes to try to keep their clinics open for their patients.

    Certainly for some, that proved impossible, and it may be months before we know the true damage done to our primary care infrastructure by COVID-19. Yet we know so many family physicians are finding ways to make it through and to continue to take care of their communities. We have circled the wagons and battened down the proverbial hatches. We are cautiously exploring what actions and activities are safe in our schools and our communities. We are moving forward with hope and optimism.

  • Why EHR integration can no longer be your only marketing investment

    By Sandra Scott

    The implementation of electronic medical records and electronic health records ushered in a new era of digital communication between physician and patient. Although we can reflect upon the merits as well as the disadvantages of these systems, the fact remains that the most recent data from the CDC shows that almost 86% of office-based physicians use them. Given the adaptation of this technology, how can it best serve your practice goals, and should it be your only investment in marketing your practice?

    Do more with your integrated system

  • Erica Swegler's address to AAFP Congress of Delegates during the election for AAFP President-elect

    Tags: AAFP President-elect, Swegler

    By Erica Swegler, MD

    Hello friends and colleagues spread across the country, I bring you greetings from Austin, Texas. I'd like to begin by expressing my profound gratitude for the opportunity to serve these past three years on your board of directors. It has been a distinct pleasure to work alongside such a dedicated group of physicians, furthering our agenda of health care for all, fighting for more comprehensive payment for the care we provide, and prioritizing diversity and a more equitable health care system.

    But I must admit, as I stand here looking into this lens, I really wish we were all together right now! Of all the things I love about the Academy, one of my favorites is being at these meetings surrounded by our colleagues, all those smiling faces, the handshakes and the hugs, engaging in civil discourse and disagreements, but leaving as friends. We will be together again, and when we are, it will be wonderful.

  • TAFP report outlines five-point plan to transform health care in Texas

    Tags: Marshall Plan, prospective payment, 87th Texas Legislature

    By Jonathan Nelson

    Texas’ fragmented health care system has long been plagued by ever-rising costs, inconsistent access to care, poor health outcomes, and a shrinking primary care workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed those critical weaknesses and laid bare the undeniable socioeconomic inequity endemic to our health care system.

    In response to the ongoing pandemic, TAFP commissioned a report from FTI Consulting, an independent global business advisory firm, to study the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Texas’ health care system. The report, “The Primary Care Marshall Plan: A Five-Point Plan to Transform Health Care in Texas” lays out specific actions that policymakers should take to reimagine and transform how primary care is funded and delivered to improve the health and economic productivity of Texans, reduce overall health care spending, and prepare us for future public health emergencies.

  • Change is on the horizon

    Tags: sokunbi, race, racism, equity

    By Yetunde Sokunbi, MD

    “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” — James Baldwin

  • Review proposed TAFP Bylaws amendments

    Tags: proposed bylaws amendments

    At this year's virtual Annual Business Meeting and Member Assembly on October 24, 2020, members will have the chance to vote on two amendments to the TAFP Bylaws. The proposed amendments are in accordance with the TAFP Bylaws, Chapter XVII, Amendment of Bylaws. An affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the members present and voting at the annual business meeting shall constitute adoption. For a complete copy of the TAFP Bylaws, contact Kathy McCarthy at (512) 329-8666, ext. 114. The Bylaws Committee and the Board of Directors recommend adoption of these amendments.

    Chapter XII. Board of Directors, Subchapter I. Policy and Procedure, Section 7

    Each member of the Board of Directors shall have one vote. Action taken by a mail or electronic ballot in which a majority of Board members indicate their agreement in writing or during a virtual meeting shall constitute a valid action of the Board if reported at the next regular meeting or via meeting minutes or ballot summary.

  • DSHS offers COVID-19 communications tools for businesses

    By Jonathan Nelson

    Recently, the Texas Department of State Health Services created COVID-19 communication tools to help you operate your business safely. Tools include videos, social media graphics and animations, plus printable posters. You also have access to minimum recommended health protocols for safe operation. Materials are available in English and Spanish.

    The materials promote health safety practices. You can display posters in high-traffic areas such as entrances, lobbies, restrooms, and break rooms. You can post social media content on your channels. You can also feature these messages in employee communication. And you can share these resources with others to use.

  • Direct primary care: A light in the darkness

    Tags: DPC, direct primary care

    By Kissi Blackwell, MD

    Recent events have shed light on the existing difficulties facing family physicians and have revealed the fragility of the current healthcare system. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has devastated our health care delivery process, and many family physicians are facing the difficult decision to close their doors or contend with salary reductions due to sharply decreased face-to-face visits. Now, more than ever, patients are valuing visits that can take place outside of the exam room, and, unfortunately, reimbursement has been severely lacking for virtual visits for traditional fee-for-service practices.

    In the midst of all this uncertainty, there has been an inherent need to shift the way we approach primary care delivery and payment. In a time where we stand to lose thousands of primary care physicians to financial difficulties or retirement forced upon them by the current situation, we owe it to our profession to find a better way.

  • Is it anxiety or does Kevin have COVID-19?

    Tags: Texas Children Mental Health Care Consortium, laurel williams, CPAN

    By Laurel L. Williams, DO
    Medical Director, Centralized Operational Support Hub
    Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium

    Clinical vignette: It’s 3 p.m. on a busy Thursday. Kevin and his mother zoom into your office for the third time in six weeks. Today’s chief complaint is stomach pain and mild diarrhea. Kevin is 9 years old and has had some stomach issues in the past. Mom has been reading up on COVID-19 and heard that children more often present with stomach versus respiratory symptoms. The history does not really fit COVID-19 and you are starting to wonder about anxiety. But how to talk with mom without looking like you are brushing off the COVID concern? You wish you had a child psychiatrist on speed dial.

    What’s faster than a pizza delivery and better for your physical and emotional well-being? The new state-funded Child Psychiatry Access Network at (888) 901-2726.

  • TAFP resident and student members elect their 2020-2021 officers

    The 2020 CFW Resident and Student Track was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Section on Resident Physicians and Section on Medical Students still held virtual elections for various officer positions. The following are the 2020-2021 resident and student officers.

    Section on Resident Physicians


  • Attend webinar on early detection of cognitive impairment by the Alzheimer’s Association, UNTHSC, and TAFP, and earn free CME

    By Scott Finley
    Manager of Media Engagement, Texas Alzheimer's Association

    The Alzheimer’s Association in partnership with the TAFP and the University of North Texas Health Science Center is presenting a live CME event on Wednesday, June 17 from 6 to 7 p.m. The event is titled “Family Physicians and Early Detection of Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease.”

    Dr. Mary Quiceno will be our speaker in the webinar. Dr. Quiceno is a board-certified neurologist affiliated with William P. Clements University Hospital and University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, where she is the Director of the Memory Disorders Clinic. She has held steering committee positions on national consortia, and she has served as investigator for the Alzheimer’s Neuroimaging Research Initiative/ADNI and the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortia/TARCC. She is appointed to the Texas Council on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. At the Alzheimer’s Association, she is vice chair of the Medical and Scientific Research Committee for the Dallas and Northeast Texas Chapter.

  • TAFP urges Congress to make visas available for IMGs to help with physician shortage

    Tags: Healthcare workforce resilience act, IMG, J-1, visas

    By Jean Klewitz

    TAFP sent letters to Texas congressional lawmakers in support of legislation introduced to the House and Senate that has the potential to add 15,000 physicians to the pandemic-strained physician workforce. The letters were signed by TAFP President Javier Margo Jr., MD.

    Earlier this month, AAFP put out the call for state chapters to join in the academy’s efforts to advocate for this legislation. The letters from TAFP went to Texas congressional lawmakers in the House and Senate regarding the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, H.R. 6788 and S. 3599. “This legislation is a good, incremental, step to address an immediate need presented by the COVID-19 pandemic," the letter said.

  • Alzheimer’s Association is partnering with TAFP to provide resources

    Tags: Alzheimer's Association, partnership, resources, Laura McEntire, Elise Passy, Dementia

    By Scott Finley
    Manager of Media Engagement, Texas Alzheimer's Association

    Right now, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. In Texas, this amounts to over 400,000 Texans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias with an expected growth of more than 20% by 2050.

    The Alzheimer’s Association is partnering with TAFP to provide a variety of resources to support family physicians throughout the disease continuum, including early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, management of these conditions, and care planning and support services following a diagnosis.  

  • What’s being heard: Methods for establishing strong patient rapport

    Tags: Antonio Barksdale, patient rapport

    By Antonio Barksdale, MD

    As providers, particularly primary care providers, it is becoming more and more vital to establish a positive and strong rapport with every patient. This rapport fosters trust, openness, and ultimately yields better compliance along with improved outcomes. How is this rapport established? How do we get patients to trust us? How do we get patients to listen? How do we improve compliance? And how do we improve patient satisfaction scores?

    There is a slew of research on these topics and we have an entire team in our organization to address the last question. The one thing I’d like to highlight in this article is being mindful of how we are communicating and what messages we are sending beyond the surface of our words. We’re communicating all day. We greet, we ask, we explain, we plan, we disclose, we lecture, we theorize, we talk about numerous things with our patients. Patients however only hear a portion of what is being said. To some providers, this can be disconcerting and frustrating. After all, we’ve invested our time, expertise, energy in order to tell the patient something beneficial, so they should readily scoop it all up ... right? Research shows that patients only grasp 20-60% of the information spouted at them, depending on the type and complexity of the information.

  • President's Letter

    Tags: president's letter, jake margo, dr. margo, best laid plans

    The best laid plans of mice and men

    By Javier “Jake” Margo Jr., MD
    TAFP President

    I don’t know about y’all, but man, I have really been looking forward to this summer because there’s been something special on my calendar — something I have always wanted to do since I attended summer Scout camp back when I was a kid. For the first time since I became a Scout, I have plans to attend Boy Scout summer camp for an entire week, this time as a counselor! It happens to be at the longest continuously operating Boy Scout camp in Texas, the same camp my grandfather and my father went to, and the same one my son attended as a Cub Scout.

    And I also have on my calendar a plan to take my family for a half week of amazing fun at the Boy Scouts of America Family Adventure Camp at the world famous Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. That’s right. I have a plan to introduce my family to one of the BSA’s four high adventure bases. Attending this camp is widely regarded as a pinnacle experience in scouting, particularly by those of us who were fortunate enough to have attended as Scouts.

  • Attention residents and students: Attend AAFP’s National Conference virtually

    Funding opportunity applications due June 26

    Once a year, family medicine residents and medical students come together to engage in real talk about family medicine with family medicine leaders, educators, and recruiters at the National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students. This year, National Conference is going virtual. From July 30 to August 1, you can attend 11 hours of education with workshops and main stage speakers. All sessions will be recorded, and registrants will have online access to the recordings for 30 days. The popular Expo Hall will be broken into “floors” so you can find the residency programs and exhibitors you are most interested in. You can schedule one-on-one appointments with residency programs, recruiters, and other exhibitors. You can also network with fellow attendees.

    With the move to virtual for this year, the price tag to attend is much lower and there are more opportunities for financial assistance if you act fast.

  • Three-part practice management CME webinar series

    Tags: CME Webinar Series, practice management, aafp

    Practical solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s family physicians

    Fourteen chapters of the AAFP have joined forces to develop a three-part webinar series to recognize that in the midst of chaos, family physicians have a unique opportunity to harness and forge their own financially successful practice management path.

    The primary goal of the series is to provide family physicians and their practice teams high-value education on critical practice management issues during this time of unparalleled crisis in American health care. By learning to be nimble and adapting to change, practices are capitalizing on innovation like never before — hear how a few family medicine practices are thriving.

  • Physician practices on the brink: A warning for Congress

    Tags: COVID-19, practice viability, SBA loans, Congress

    By Tom Banning

    There is no question that  the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented financial pain throughout our health care system. Primary care physicians have seen a drop in patient visits of more than 50%, specialty physicians have seen patient volume evaporate, and hospitals are burning through cash as patients avoid going to the emergency room and non-urgent surgeries and other elective procedures  that make up the bulk of hospital revenue have been canceled.

    In a Stateline article this week, The Pew Charitable Trusts warns of the “possibility that the non-hospital health system will be decimated, and many of the surviving providers will be ill-prepared to deal with the pent-up demand that emerges from this crisis.” They predict a near future rife with acquisitions and mergers for independent physicians unable to survive months with no revenue.

  • Despite rocky start, SBA loans expected to provide financial assistance to practices

    Tags: SBA loans, PPP, Paycheck Protection Program, loan, EIDL, COVID-19

    By Brian Justice

    UPDATE: As of April 16, 2020, the Small Business Administration reports the funds for the PPP loans and EIDL advances have run out. Congress is considering appropriating another $2.5 billion so for now, the program is suspended. We will let you know as soon as we know more.

    The devastating economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is being felt by medical practices across the country, but help is supposed to be available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) for small businesses. The Small Business Administration will oversee the distribution of millions of dollars in grants and loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grants to help small businesses, like your practice.

  • We need a “Marshall Plan” to save primary care, public health infrastructure

    Tags: Marshall Plan, primary care, COVID-19, coronavirus, public health

    By Christopher Crow, MD, MBA, President of Catalyst Health network and Tom Banning, CEO of Texas Academy of Family Physicians

    Following the devastation of World War II, the United States enacted the Marshall Plan to rebuild a heavily damaged Europe. Our war against this novel coronavirus is far from over, but it is already wreaking havoc on the nation’s primary care workforce. Our frontline health care providers are putting themselves at risk every day without proper personal protective equipment while community-based primary care clinics are facing economic disaster.

    We need a Marshall Plan for our primary care and public health infrastructure.

  • Webinar: 120-day financial plan for business continuity during COVID-19

    Tags: COVID-19, Catalyst Health Network, financial planning, webinar

    By Tom Banning, TAFP CEO

    Hello to all, from TAFP headquarters in Austin. I want to share with you a resource that I hope you find helpful.

    TAFP hosted an interactive webinar on business continuity during COVID-19 on March 31, 2020. We leaned on accounting and practice management experts at Catalyst Health Network who have designed a customizable, multivariable dynamic financial model that allows physicians to run scenario analysis on their practice’s financial health.

  • We're all in this together

    Tags: COVID-19, coronavirus, Kathy McCarthy

    By Kathy McCarthy, TAFP COO

    When TAFP was formed, the membership was largely homogenous. Not just in demographics, but in practice setting. Over the years, that has changed and while many members still own small practices, they are no longer the majority. The day-to-day practice of a family physician member of TAFP is varied, with some in larger groups with no ownership stake, some working in ERs and urgent care, some at FQHCs and public health clinics, some working as hospitalists, some focusing on providing palliative care, and, of course, some educating the next generation of family physicians. With that variety amongst our members, we know that the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on our membership is also varied.

    There are some common threads that likely resonate with you. As scientists you are working to understand the virus and reading all you can. As physicians you are concerned about your patients and working on strategies to continue caring for them, often with limited PPE. As mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, you worry about your family – especially those who are more vulnerable. As leaders in whatever setting you practice, you worry about your health care team. You watch with alarm the percentage of the coronavirus positive cases who are health care providers, here and in other countries. If you are a parent of school-age children, you are scrambling to figure out how to keep them engaged and learning at a time when schools are closed with many are not reopening this term. You feel the loss of not being able to gather at churches and other community events.

  • Texas Family Doc Talk episode 2: The big telemedicine show

    Tags: Texas Family Doc Talk, podcast, telemedicine

    By Jonathan Nelson

    The second episode of our brand-new podcast, Texas Family Doc Talk, is out and it’s all about telemedicine. As family physicians across the country see their number of patient visits plummet, many are turning to telemedicine in hopes of providing consistent, comprehensive care to their patients while maintaining enough cash flow to keep the doors open.

    In the podcast, TAFP CEO Tom Banning and I speak with three experts from Catalyst Health Network in Dallas. Jeff Bullard, MD, chief medical officer for Catalyst, describes the experience of transitioning to virtual care. Trevor Clifton, senior financial analyst for StratiFi Health, discusses financial models for moving most of your visits to telemedicine. And Stephenie Tollett, director of revenue cycle for StratiFi Health, talks with us about third-party contract and claims payment issues for telemedicine.

  • A welcome reminder a long way from home

    Tags: Lesca Hadley, long way from home, Guatemala

    By Lesca Hadley, MD

    On the second day of a spring break medical trip in the mountains of Guatemala, an 87-year-old patient led carefully by her great grandson’s wife entered the schoolroom where I was seeing patients with a UNTHSC medical student, a nursing student, and our Spanish translator. She couldn’t have had another wrinkle on her wizened face. She lived alone on the edge of her village near fields of corn. Everyday she walked her route, selling milk she got from her neighbor to the families in town.

    She had delivered milk the previous day, but on this day, she was too weak to stand without help. She had a temperature of 99.5, and she felt hot. Her productive cough was audible. She trembled as our small interprofessional team began to examine her, gently raising her clothing. This was her first time to see a doctor.

  • C. Frank Webber Lectureship and Interim Session is canceled

    Tags: cfw, canceled, COVID-19, C. Frank Webber Lectureship

    After careful consideration, TAFP leadership has decided to cancel the C. Frank Webber Lectureship and Interim Session along with all associated meetings. The health of our members, your patients, and your communities are our top priorities, and keeping you healthy and available to care for others is paramount.

    TAFP will issue full refunds to all registrants over the next one to two weeks. If you made a hotel reservation to attend the conference, please contact the hotel at (512) 343-2626 to cancel.

    At this time, we expect to host the Texas Family Medicine Symposium in San Antonio as planned, June 5-7, 2020. We will continue to monitor this evolving situation and we will quickly inform you of any changes.

  • President's Letter

    Tags: Javier “Jake” Margo Jr., MD, tafp president, presidents letter, will you come play with me

    A celebration of family medicine: How Disney literally saved my life

    By Javier “Jake” Margo Jr., MD
    TAFP President

    A couple of summers ago, on a rare day off, I was working on a detailed email advocating to keep the electricity on for our not-for-profit community center, when my son James, who was 7 at the time, walked into my office — or as my Harry-Potter-centric friends have dubbed it, the “Room of Requirement,” because anything you need can be found there.

    He and I were the only two people in the house since my daughter, Ella, was at Girl Scout Camp and my wife, Lisa, was at work. He had given up trying to teach the cats play catch when he walked in, stopped just short of my elbow, stared silently with his big brown eyes, and asked, “Daddy, will you play with me?” 

  • Houston family practice encounters COVID-19

    Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, Clive Fields, VillageMD, Village Medical, patient self-assessment tool

    Lessons learned: A conversation with Clive Fields, MD, of VillageMD

    By Jonathan Nelson

    In late February, a patient came in to Village Medical in Houston for her annual exam. She had just returned from Egypt. She presented with mild respiratory symptoms and received appropriate treatment. Three days later, she was notified that some of her travel companions had tested positive for COVID-19. Village Medical referred her to the health department, which in turn referred her to the emergency room where she was hospitalized. Four days later, the CDC confirmed the patient had the new coronavirus. The family physician and nurse who cared for her are now quarantined at home for 14 days and others who came in brief contact with her are being monitored for symptoms, including persistent fever.

    The experience has caused Clive Fields, MD, chief medical officer and co-founder of VillageMD, to think a lot about how the country’s frontline physicians should be prepared to handle this potential pandemic.

  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) resources

    Tags: coronavirus, TAFP, Texas academy of family physicians, public health, COVID-19

    As more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed, family physicians should focus on preparation and prevention. Patients will likely have questions and concerns, and you may experience an increase in patients with respiratory symptoms. Now is the time to prepare yourself and your practice for the possibility that the virus will spread. TAFP will share resources as this situation evolves.

    The Texas Department of State Health Services COVID-19 resource page for health professionals includes criteria to guide testing for persons under investigation, a health care professional preparedness checklist, and information about personal protective equipment.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established a site to house information about the virus as it is discovered.

  • Attend NCCL or ACLF with a scholarship

    Want to go to the AAFP Leadership Conference this year? We are seeking applicants for our scholarships to attend AAFP’s National Conference of Constituency Leaders and Annual Chapter Leader Forum, April 23-25, in Kansas City, Missouri.

    TAFP offers scholarships for one third-year resident and one minority physician to attend NCCL, as well as two future leader scholarships for members to attend ACLF. Applications are due February 7, so act soon!

    Download the NCCL third-year resident scholarship application