Winning greater investment in graduate medical education (GME) programs is a priority of almost every one of the state specialty societies that presented its plans at the 2014 TMA Advocacy Retreat last weekend. Primary care and specialties — from family practice to ophthalmology — listed GME expansion on their legislative priority lists. Scope of practice, Medicare parity for Medicaid payments, network adequacy, and new hassles with prescribing hydrocodone combination products also were mentioned prominently. In other highlights from the retreat:
- TMA President Austin King, MD, led a wide-ranging and energetic discussion among leaders from more than a dozen county medical societies. The issues ranged from membership recruitment and retention to better engagement with employed physicians.
- A panel of the TMA and TMA Alliance members in the Texas Legislature previewed the hot-button issues in the session that will begin on Jan. 13. State Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton), offered some real hope for GME expansion when he said lawmakers will find more funds for GME if Texas physicians demand it loudly enough.
- Physicians, students, and alliance members received some hands-on training in media relations, social media advocacy, and how to lobby lawmakers. Mark your calendar for the 2015 First Tuesdays at the Capitol: Feb. 3, March 3, April 7, and May 5.