Highlights from TAFP’s 2019 Annual Session

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Highlights from TAFP’s 2019 Annual Session


Working for your practice and your patients
The Texas Legislature will not be in session again until 2021, but work continues in the interim. The Commission on Legislative and Public Affairs and the Commission on Health Care Services and Managed Care discussed opportunities to propose policy strategies for containing health costs in Texas. Following the meeting, the Select Committee on Statewide Health Care Costs was appointed by outgoing Speaker of the House, Rep. Dennis Bonnen. Members of both commissions will be involved in discussions on strategies to propose to the Select Committee including investment in primary care services and care coordination, direct contracting, insurance benefit design, reinsurance, and more.

The Commission on Health Care Services and Managed Care voted to recommend that TAFP support the creation and utilization of an all-payers claims database in Texas. Other states have databases with public and private payers and they introduce a new level of transparency to discussions and negotiations. The commission also recommended that TAFP submit a resolution to AAFP entitled, “Reduce regulatory burdens required by CMS and Joint Commission inspections.” The intent of the resolution is to suggest that regulatory agencies be required to prove the efficacy of regulations before implementation.

The Board of Directors met with staff and physician leaders from Texas Medical Association and agreed to collaborate on an initiative to combine traditional advocacy with lobbying and communications to increase support for Medicaid expansion and access to health care. TMA is developing a coalition and TAFP has pledged to join the effort.


Member services and workforce development
The Commission on Academic Affairs discussed the ongoing programs and initiatives that TAFP and the TAFP Foundation engage in each year to encourage interest in family medicine among medical students and support residents and faculty in various ways. They recommended that TAFP fund one first- or second-year medical student at each Texas medical school to attend AAFP’s National Conference. The TAFP Foundation already funds students to attend National Conference but does not focus on their year in medical school.

TAFP Member Community groups are overseen by the Commission on Membership and Member Services. Three groups met during Annual Session: early career physicians, international medical graduates, and solo and small group practice physicians.


Public Health and Research
The Commission on Public Health, Clinical Affairs, and Research heard from Claudia Rodas with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids on efforts to prevent youth from using e-cigarettes and discussed the dangers of vaping. The commission recommended that TAFP provide education for physicians on electronic nicotine delivery systems and they created a workgroup to draft a resolution to AAFP. They also discussed corporal punishment and Hepatitis C.

The Section on Research discussed inviting winners of the TAFP research poster competition to present their research during their monthly conference calls. The sessions would be 10-minute presentations with five minutes for questions. Members interested in participating in the monthly conference calls should contact Jean Klewitz at jklewitz@tafp.org.


Organizational Issues
Dr. Rebecca Hart led a robust discussion during the TAFP Member Assembly on Friday, November 8. The voting representatives to the Member Assembly elected these 2019-20 leaders:

President-elect: Amer Shakil, MD, MBA

Treasurer: Mary S. Nguyen, MD

Parliamentarian: Emily D. Briggs, MD, MPH

Delegate to AAFP: Troy Fiesinger, MD

Alternate Delegates to AAFP: Kaparaboyna Ashok Kumar, MD and Tricia C Elliott, MD

New Physician Director: Mary Anne de la Cruz Snyder, DO

At-large Directors: Lindsay K. Botsford, MD, MBA and Brian D. Jones, MD, CPE

Special Constituencies Director: Puja Sehgal, MD

Resident Director: James Paul Moody, MD

Medical Student Director: Emily Tutt

At the annual Business and Awards Lunch, the membership approved bylaws amendments recommended and published in Texas Family Physician last year. These changes update TAFP’s Vision and Mission statements, add the transitional member category, and change the process for appointing members to TAFP’s Nominating Committee.


Member Highlights
Several members completed terms as committee chair and they were thanked for their years of service:

Farron Hunt, MD — Leadership Development Committee

Oscar Garza, MD — Commission on Continuing Professional Development

Anne Marie Ponce de Leon, MD — Commission on Health Care Services and Managed Care

Jorge Duchicela, MD — Commission on Legislative and Public Affairs

Alyssa Molina, MD — Section on Maternity Care and Rural Physicians

Puja Sehgal, MD — Section on Special Constituencies


2019 Award Recipients

Physician of the Year — Sheri J. Talley, MD

Sheri J. Talley, MD, grew up in West Texas and returned after residency to practice full-spectrum family medicine in the medically underserved area of Fort Stockton.


Presidential Award of Merit — Thomas E. Mueller, MD

Thomas E. Mueller, MD, of Columbus, was honored for his leadership and dedication to the specialty of family medicine and his outstanding contributions to health care in Texas.


Presidential Award of Merit — Steven J. Spann, MD

Stephen J. Spann, MD, of Houston, is the founding dean of the University of Houston College of Medicine, a new medical school aimed at transforming the way care is delivered by taking a more cost-effective, patient-centric, and team-based approach to care.


Patient Advocacy Award — Rep. Armando Walle

State Representative Armando Walle of Houston, Texas, represents Texas House District 140, which consists of portions of North Houston and other parts of North Harris County where he grew up.


Public Health Award — Cynthia Brinson, MD

Cynthia Brinson, MD, of Austin, has spent her entire professional career addressing the HIV epidemic through clinical research and evidence-based clinical care including prevention, screening, and treatment. She amplifies her work by providing educational lectures to colleagues and teaching residents and medical students.


Exemplary Teaching Award (Full-Time) — Fozia Ali, MD

Fozia Ali, MD, of San Antonio, is Associate Professor at UT Health San Antonio Family Medicine Residency where she has taught for more than eight years. Her engaging and warm demeanor makes her a natural mentor.


Exemplary Teaching Award (Part-Time) — Tharani Ravi, MD

Tharani Ravi, MD, of San Antonio, is part-time faculty at UT Health San Antonio Family Medicine Residency, where she trained. As a resident, her passion for teaching and scholarly activity were noticed by the faculty and she was asked to join the program.


Special Constituency Leadership Award — Ikemefuna Okwuwa, MD

Ikemefuna “Ike” Okwuwa, MD, of Odessa, is the program director at the Texas Tech Permian Basin Family Medicine Residency Program.


TAFP Foundation Philanthropist of the Year — Adrian Billings, MD, PhD

Adrian Billings, MD, PhD, is a generous donor to the TAFP Foundation, but he also embodies its mission through the work he does on a daily basis. He’s been a full-spectrum family physician providing care in West Texas for more than 10 years.


TAFP Political Action Committee Award — Lane Aiena, MD

Lane Aiena, MD, of Huntsville, Texas, advocates at the Texas Capitol and has been to D.C. to fight for funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers several times.


The committees, commissions, and sections of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians met in The Woodlands and deliberated on many important items. Thanks to all the members who participated. Here are a few of the highlights from the recent meeting.