• Healthy Vision 2020

    • TMA's Vision for the Future Clears Up

      Healthy Vision 2020, Second Edition, our strategic roadmap for TMA's state and federal advocacy initiatives for the remainder of the decade.

      If you don’t know where you’re going, the old saying goes, you don’t need a map. Any road will take you there. But if you have a crystal clear vision of your destination, you need an equally detailed roadmap.

      Healthy Vision 2020, Second Edition is also available in PDF.

  • Caring for Patients In a Time of Change

    • Top 10 Recommendations
      The fields of engagement — the Texas Legislature, U.S. Congress, courts, state and federal bureaucracies — are many. The issues are all-encompassing. But TMA’s approach, as outlined in the new second edition of our Healthy Vision 2020 document is clear. Read TMA's top 10 recommendations.
    • Progress Made So Far
      Thanks to the collective efforts of Texas’ state and federal legislators, state agency leaders, organized medicine, and public health advocates, we accomplished many of the recommendations in the first edition of TMA’s Healthy Vision 2020. Most of the results stem from actions of the Texas 2013 Legislature, while others are from federal laws and regulations.
    • What Health Care Means to Texas' Fiscal Health
      Physicians play a critical role in our communities — maintaining and improving the health of patients. They are in charge of the care millions of patients receive in medical offices, clinics, hospitals, urgent care centers, emergency departments, and community centers across Texas. Most people recognize this role. What they may not know is the crucial role physicians play in improving the fiscal health of our communities.
    • Section 1: Ensure an Adequate Health Care Workforce
      Texas has a large, diverse, and growing population that is growing less healthy and more ethnically diverse, and needs more and better-coordinated health care services. Unfortunately, Texas — compared to other parts of the country — has significant shortages in most physician specialties and other health care professionals.
    • Section 2: Preserve Physicians' Independent Medical Judgment
      The patient-physician relationship is unique in modern American life. Patients place their lives in their physicians’ hands. Not only must they trust in their doctors’ knowledge, experience, and skill, but they also must trust that their physician is acting in their best interest – neither motivated nor distracted by competing interests.
    • Section 3: Promote High-Quality, Effective, and Efficient Models of Care
      No one worries about the spiraling cost of health care in the United States more than physicians. Our current health care delivery system does too little to coordinate care for patients with expensive-to-manage chronic conditions. Government and other payers are requiring physicians to invest in high-dollar health information technology (HIT) systems without ensuring that the investment translates into better patient care.
    • Section 4: Promote Government Efficiency and Accountability by Reducing Medicaid Red Tape
      Texas physicians strongly support Medicaid. Without it, nearly 4 million poor and low-income Texans would lack health insurance, jeopardizing their health and well-being. Physicians want to take care of these patients, and they do so throughout the state. Unfortunately, red tape and bureaucratic hassles coupled with low pay are forcing many physicians to limit the number of new Medicaid patients they take — or to not take any at all.
    • Section 5: Repeal Harmful and Onerous Federal Regulations
      Administrative costs in the U.S. private and public health care system amount to around $361 billion annually — 14 percent of all health care expenditures. Insurers and government health programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, require physicians and their patients to follow too many complex, nonsensical, and redundant policies, rules, and procedures. In fact, physicians and health care providers employ more billing and posting clerks than any other industry.
    • Section 6: Use Health Information Technology Wisely
      As in nearly every other sphere of modern life, technology has delivered enormous improvements in medicine. Once-unimaginable diagnostic tools and treatments are now commonplace. Health information technology (HIT), properly implemented, has tremendous potential to advance quality of care, prevent certain types of medical errors, and streamline health care delivery. Recognizing this potential, the government and employers are pushing physicians and providers to adopt HIT quickly so they can better measure the “value” they receive for their health care dollar.
    • Section 7: Establish Fair and Transparent Insurance Markets
      From the giant Texas Medical Center to a solo practitioner in a tiny Panhandle crossroads, physicians’ practices fuel the economic engines that grow Texas. The economic benefit of doctors’ offices goes beyond the hundreds of thousands of direct jobs they support, including the quite-quantifiable ripple effect of those jobs and tax dollars through the local economy. It also takes in health care’s obvious, but somewhat less tangible, contribution to Texas’ continued economic development.
    • Section 8: Provide Appropriate Funding for Physician Services
      For decades, physicians have given away their services for free to patients who could not afford to pay. However, today’s health care market makes this very difficult. Medicare and Medicaid, which now cover 36 percent of all health care spending in the United States, often pay physicians less than it costs them to provide their services. Commercial insurance companies’ payment rates, computed largely as a percentage of Medicare, have followed the government-run programs into the basement.
    • Section 9: Promote Good Health; Save Taxpayers' Dollars
      One of the keys to maintaining health lies in physicians helping patients take responsibility for their own health. Competent, compassionate medical care — delivered with professionalism, state-of-the-art clinical knowledge, and patient respect — helps patients assume responsibility. Conversely, patients have a duty to make informed, healthy decisions and share in the consequences of their decisions.
    • Section 10: Protect and Promote a Fair Civil Justice System
      In our generation, Texas has taken no more important step to strengthen our health care delivery system than passing the 2003 medical liability reforms. The 2003 law swiftly ended an epidemic of lawsuit abuse, brought thousands of sorely needed new physicians to Texas, and encouraged the state’s shell-shocked physicians to return to caring for patients with high-risk diseases and injuries.