TMA and physicians have become political targets in Texas, and it’s time to fight back. That’s one of many key messages delivered at 2014 TMA Fall Conference. Dr. King used a multimedia display to illustrate the degree and intensity of the attacks. We need to grow TEXPAC’s treasury and membership so we can have the resources we need to counter what he called Orwellian doublespeak being used against us. Among the other conference speakers:
- State Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), the newly appointed (and first women to hold that post) chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said the huge turnover in the Texas Legislature over the past three years creates a challenge for medicine to educate the newcomers on the nuances of our complex issues. But looking back to her first election to the Senate in 1992, she told the crowd, “I wouldn’t be here today without TEXPAC.”
- TMA Council on Legislation Chair Dawn Buckingham, MD, of Austin walked through TMA’s Healthy Vision priorities for the 2015 Texas Legislature and urged the audience members to build relationships now with their state representatives and senators.
- Dallas nephrologist Donald Wesson, MD, past chair of the ABIM Foundation, explained how physicians can gain the upper hand in the quality-of-care debate by embracing the Choosing Wisely® program. “Texas can be, and should be, a vanguard state,” he said.
- Despite some strong candidates running good campaigns, 2014 won’t be the year a Democrat wins a statewide elected office in Texas, predicted Evan Smith, CEO and president of The Texas Tribune. “An asteroid could fall on all the Republican candidates this cycle, and they would all win,” he said, pointing to the GOP’s strong advantage among Texans who actually vote.
- Pat Evans, retiring after 48 great years as executive director of the Big Country County Medical Society in Abilene, told the physicians, “God put you here to heal people. Remember, no government or hospital administrator or big insurance company can take that away from you.”