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Monday, August 24, 2009

HOUSE CALLS BUILD PATIENT-PHYSICIAN POLITICAL RELATIONSHIP

In courthouses, clinics, hospitals, and schools across Texas, TMA and county medical societies are conducting “passionate but calm” discussions among physicians and patients about health system reform. TMA’s “House Calls” give physicians the opportunity to hear their patients’ hopes, fears, and concerns about the health care overhaul legislation that’s brewing in Washington, D.C. The main themes we’ve heard so far: Patients love their physicians and the life-saving treatments they provide, both patients and physicians oppose more intrusion into health care decisions by either the government or private insurance companies, and patients and physicians both fear the unknown consequences of the massive health care reform bills. We’ve seen scattered support for HR 3200, the only legislation actually on paper, mostly from the event here in Austin and from some primary care physicians. Join us this week for House Calls in Houston, Beaumont, and San Antonio on Tuesday; Houston and Corpus Christi on Wednesday; and Lubbock on Thursday. Next week we’ll make House Calls in Fort Worth and Wichita Falls. If you can’t attend, we’re streaming live video from most of the House Calls on ustream.tv.

ME AND MY DOCTOR CAMPAIGN TELLS CONGRESS TO GET HEALTH CARE REFORM RIGHT

Materials to help you get your patients involved in the health system reform debate will be in the mail to your office this week. TMA’s Me and My Doctor campaign materials include posters, lapel stickers, and preaddressed postcards for your patients to send to President Obama and members of Congress. They call on Congress not to rush reform legislation, and to fix what’s wrong with our current system but keep what’s good. The program directs patients to the Me and My Doctor Web site, where they can find up-to-the-minute news about the health care debate, easy ways to send electronic messages to Congress, and forms for them to share their thoughts and concerns with us or write a letter to the editor. (Don’t like the grammar in the title of the campaign? Just think of the old song, “Me and My Shadow.” We think it’s an effective way to put the patient first.)

HEATH SYSTEM REFORM TOPS THE AGENDA FOR 2009 TMA Fall CONFERENCE

Because our annual fall conference falls on Labor Day weekend this year, we’re keeping it short. But that doesn’t mean we’re shortchanging the programming. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and American Medical Association President Jim Rohack, MD, top the bill Sept. 5 for an after-breakfast discussion of the national health system reform debate. We’re working to bring a Democratic member of Congress, too. Plus, David Lakey, MD, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, will share the Texas Plan for preparing for a pandemic influenza. Boards, councils, and committees will meet on Friday, Sept. 4, and after the general session on Saturday. I hope to see you there.

WELCOME BACK

As you can see, your TMA leaders and staff have been hard at work since the EVPGram took its summer vacation at the end of June. Remember, you can always follow TMA on Twitter or join our Facebook page for ongoing coverage.