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Monday, June 30, 2014

VA REGISTRY: "I WOULD PASSIONATELY APPEAL TO MY PHYSICIAN FRIENDS. WE NEED TO JOIN."

More than 250 TMA-member physicians have signed up for our registry of private-sector doctors willing to see patients from the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) in the ongoing crisis. Baytown surgeon Monira Hamid-Kundi, MD, is one of them. In this TMA video, Dr. Hamid-Kundi shares her frustration with caring for veterans in the emergency department. She and TMA President Austin King, MD, appeal to Texas physicians to enlist in the registry, despite VA’s long history of slow payment and low payment. “You have to pay back some people who have dedicated themselves to, at times, risking their very life for the lifestyles we have today,” Dr. King said. Neither TMA nor the American Medical Association has heard back yet from President Obama on our request that he “take immediate action” to provide timely access to care for veterans through the health care sector outside the VA system.

 

HELP TEXPAC GROW FOR 2014 ELECTION IMPACT

Guided by Board Chair Jerry Hunsaker, MD, and Executive Director Clayton Stewart, TEXPAC is determined to continue to make a big difference in this year’s elections. We do that with grassroots support for medicine-friendly candidates and, of course, political donations. Those contributions come only from TEXPAC members’ dues, so membership is critical. You can join at the Basic, 300 Club, or Capitol Club levels — or be a charter member of our new Patron Club. As TMA Alliance President Angie Donahue writes to her colleagues, “You have the power to advocate for change. You have the ability to be a hero for medicine and a hero for the patients who are unable to garner the strength to speak with one united voice. You have this ability because you have access to the political voice of the Texas Medical Association: TEXPAC.” Please join today.

TMA MEMBERS TESTIFY ON HEALTH AGENCY SUNSET REVIEW

TMA Board of Trustees member Gary Floyd, MD; former Council on Public Health Chair Chip Riggins, MD; and Houston neurologist Kim Monday, MD, took the witness stand as the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission ramped up its review of state health agencies. Under Texas law, every state agency must be reestablished by the legislature every 12 years, or it goes out of existence. As part of this sunset review, each agency undergoes extensive evaluation by the sunset commission to make sure it is effectively and efficiently meeting Texans’ needs. The commission is composed of five senators, five state representatives, and two public members — one of whom is TMA Council on Legislation Chair Dawn Buckingham, MD. Sen. Charles Schwertner, MD (R-Georgetown), is one of the senators on the panel. This cycle, the commission is examining the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Department of State Health Services, and all of the associated state health agencies. TMA is heavily involved, offering recommendations and testimony on how to improve these programs. We’re also on the lookout for recommendations that could weaken them. For details on last week’s testimony, see tomorrow’s issue of Action.

CONNECT WITH TMA SOCIAL MEDIA

Ever since those 35 Texas physicians gathered at Austin’s First Methodist Church in 1853 to organize TMA, the association has served to bring Texas doctors closer together. In the 21st century, that means not just TMA and county society in-person meetings. Stay in touch with your colleagues on TMA’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts. Dr. King recently launched the TMA president’s Twitter feed. Our Young Physician Section, Resident and Fellow Section, and Medical Student Section are all active on Facebook. The TMA Foundation has robust Facebook and Twitter accounts, and the TMA Alliance and TMA Payment Advocacy Department are both on Facebook. New to any or all of these tools? Check out TMA's Social Media Resource Center.

TMAIT SEEKS ADVICE FOR NEW RESIDENTS

And speaking of Twitter, the TMA Insurance Trust is using its Twitter account to solicit some sage advice for the class of incoming residents who start their new posts this week. The first two:
  • From Waco otolaryngologist Brad Holland, MD: “Your profession is what you make of it. Learn, absorb, give care, practice developing a true trusting relationship w/patients.”
  •  From Austin interventional cardiologist Osvaldo Gigliotti, MD: “Never forget what a privilege it is to be a physician. Work hard, learn, and always try to do what is best for your patient.”

EVPGRAM TAKES SUMMER BREAK

It’s that time of year again, time for EVPGram to take some time off for the summer. We’ll be back in your in-box right after Labor Day. But don’t worry, yours truly, the editor, and all the TMA staff will be here working for you and your practice. Stay in touch via Texas Medicine, Action, and the TMA website. And we’ll bring you special editions of the ‘Gram when the need arises.

Friday, June 27, 2014

TMA TO VA: TEXAS PHYSICIANS ARE HERE TO HELP

TMA President Austin King, MD, announced the registry of private physicians willing to see patients in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system in a letter to the director of every VA hospital, clinic, and veterans center in the state. “As the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system works to overcome the recently documented access-to-care problems, I am writing to tell you that the physicians of Texas are here to help you and the veterans you serve,” Dr. King wrote. Already, more than 200 TMA-member physicians have signed up for our registry. The action came after the American Medical Association House of Delegates, at the urging of Texas physicians, voted overwhelmingly to ask President Barack Obama to provide timely access to entitled care for eligible veterans through the health care sector outside the VA system until VA can provide care in a timely fashion. AMA immediately fired off a letter calling on the president to “take immediate action” to clear the way for private-sector physicians to help reduce the VA backlog. If you haven’t signed up for the registry yet, please go to the TMA website and check the I am willing to serve veterans box.