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Monday, January 31, 2011

WINTER CONFERENCE BRINGS TMA LEADERS TOGETHER IN A TIME OF CHANGE

The head-spinning pace of change in American medicine gave physicians at 2011 TMA Winter Conference plenty to talk about. Our boards, councils, and committees moved forward on action plans to prepare Texas physicians for accountable care organizations and health information exchanges and to help us win scope-of-practice, Medicaid, and tort reform battles. Speakers forecast both stormy weather and rainbows. “TMA is a nimble and a powerful organization,” said TMA President Sue Bailey, MD. “Take this message back home to your colleagues: If you want to keep up, stick with us. There’s no better place to be.” Among the conference highlights:
  • Leading blogger Kevin Pho, MD, explored the promises and mine fields of social media for physicians. Connecting with patients online “is a physician imperative for the 21st century,” Dr. Pho said in his keynote address. Among his other tips: Don’t “friend” your patients on Facebook, and Google your own name weekly to protect your online reputation. We broadcast Dr. Pho’s speech live on the Internet and saved the video for you to watch today.
  • Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said today will be a big day for the future of health system reform. He tipped us off that U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson in Florida will issue his initial ruling in the 26 states’ — including Texas’ — lawsuit challenging the new law’s constitutionality. General Abbott said the suit is not intended to stop needed reforms of our country’s health care systems, but rather it’s to stop Congress from “trampling the Constitution.” Watch the video.
  • American Medical Association President Cecil Wilson, MD, explained what AMA likes and hates about the health reform law and praised Texas physicians for our leadership in tort reform.
Leaders of state agencies whose budgets and programs would be slashed as lawmakers try to balance the budget described the impact of the budget cuts and how they hope to handle them.

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