TAFP takes advocacy to a new level with webcasts
By Kate McCann
Building on the innovation and popularity of the Capitol Report news webcast, which brought news from the 80th Legislative Session straight to TAFP members and other audiences, TAFP unveiled two new web video projects—a new advocacy series in November, Academy in Action, and a set of candidate endorsement videos in January.
Academy in Action takes advocacy to the national level. TAFP Director of Communication Jonathan Nelson reports for six states: Texas, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Georgia. The four webcasts bring lawmakers and Texas family physicians in front of the camera to air their concerns on Medicare, physician supply, medical home and advocacy.
In “A Crisis in Medicare,” the first in the series, Rio Grande City family physician Antonio Falcon, M.D., gives viewers the family physician’s point of view. He tells viewers how cuts to physician reimbursement in Medicare scheduled to take place in 2008 and 2009 would hurt rural areas. “We need to go to the policymakers and say, ‘Look, we’ve got a problem. We can’t continue to survive in certain areas if we don’t have appropriate reimbursement.’ But as physicians, we can’t forget that we’re there for our patients first and we’ve got to take care of them.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Burgess, M.D., R-Lewisville, has the distinction of being both a congressman and physician. “There are decisions made every day within the halls of Congress where I sit, decisions that are going to affect the lives of your patients, affect your professional life, and they are made by people who have not got a clue what you do every day for a living,” he said.
Along with the Academy in Action series, each video page contains a list of related links to direct audiences to other Academy advocacy tools such as AAFP’s Speak Out, articles in TEXAS FAMILY PHYSICIAN, TAFP letters to lawmakers, talking points and AAFP policy documents. To view the complete Academy in Action series and other new advocacy tools, go to www.tafp.org/advocacy.
The 2008 endorsement videos bring together the two largest physician political action committees in Texas, TAFPPAC and the Texas Medical Association’s TEXPAC. Through the Internet videos, these candidates receive more than campaign cash, they receive the community prestige of support from a group of trusted professionals and the strong grassroots support physicians provide.
“Now, perhaps more than ever before, Texas needs experienced leaders in the Texas Legislature who have a proven record of fighting for our patients,” said Lloyd Van Winkle, M.D., Chair, TAFPPAC. “We’re committed to providing our endorsed candidates the tools to reach the voters of Texas directly.”
TAFPPAC and TEXPAC have so far produced and distributed Internet endorsement videos for State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo; and State Reps. Vicki Truitt, R-Keller; Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin; Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth; and Betty Brown, R-Terrell. More endorsement videos are in the works. To view the videos, go to www.tafp.org.