Texas Student Doctor: June 2011

News from the TMA Medical Student Section

Medical Education Funding Suffers in New State Budget 

Medical education funding, particularly graduate medical education (GME) funding, took a major hit in the $80.6 billion state budget the Texas Legislature approved during the 2011 regular session.   

Despite TMA's efforts, lawmakers cut funding for the Family Practice Residency Program operated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) by nearly 75 percent and zeroed out funding for the statewide primary care preceptorship, the Primary Care Residency Program, and other GME programs administered by THECB. Lawmakers also cut state GME formula funding by 31 percent, eliminated one of two physician education loan repayment programs, and cut the other loan repayment program by 76 percent. Medical student formula funding was reduced by $12,833, or 24 percent a year, from an annual $54,103 per student this biennium to an annual $40,063 per student for 2012-13. The Joint Admission Medical Program was funded at the $7.1 million for the biennium, compared with its current $10.6 million.     

TMA and other health care advocates opposed the cuts. They argued the state should have at least maintained current funding for those residency programs because they are vital to maintaining the physician-training pipeline. 

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Higher Education Funding in 2011 Legislative Session   

Here's a look at the funding of education approved by the legislature. TMA backed the Senate funding proposals because they were better than those of the House version.   

  2010-2011  2012-2013  % change  Senate Plan  House Plan 
           
Family Practice Residency Program $21,214,310 $5,600,000 -73.6% $16,500,000 $0
           
Primary Care Residency Program $4,990,440 $0 -100% $0 $0
           
Graduate Medical Education Program $600,000 $0 -100% $570,000 $0
           
Total Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board GME Funds $26,804,750 $5,600,000 -79.11% $17,100,000 $0
           
State GME Formula Funding $79,093,878 $54,000,000 -31.6% $56,916,440 $53,920,840
           
Preceptorship Program $904,289 $0 -100% $644,306 $0
           
Physician Education Loan Repayment Programs $25,396,094 $5,600,000 -77.9% $17,491,432 $0
           
FREW Children's Medicaid (Physician & Dentist) Loan Repayment Program $32,920,694 $0 -100% $0 $0

Other bills passed during the session include: 

HB 2908
Directs the THECB to include in its five-year plan an assessment of adequacy of first-year GME positions to accommodate Texas medical school graduates to achieve a ratio of 1.1 to 1. 

SB 822
Fixes an unintended omission from the last legislative session to allow physicians joining faculty practice plans to qualify for expedited credentialing by managed care plans.     

HB 1380/SB 1022
To facilitate the board-certification process for family physicians, these bills reduce the minimum GME requirements for international medical graduates (IMGs) from three to two years. Currently, the three-year GME requirement delays family physicians in taking the national board exam. As a result, anecdotal information indicates many seek licensure in other states and leave Texas after completing their training.   

SB 189
Imposes a three-year service obligation in underserved areas on physicians applying for Texas licensure who are not U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents. It does not apply to physicians who join the faculty at GME programs. The intent is to place comparable practice requirements on IMG physicians with H1-B visas as on those with J-1 visa waivers. 

HB 2090/SB 1020
Direct the THECB to study the addition of a dental school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso. 

Several bills that would have required physicians to provide proof of citizenship when applying or renewing their Texas medical license did not pass.  

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Meet the New Leaders 

Members of the Medical Student Section Executive Board are: 

  Chair
Gavin Roddy
Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine 

Vice Chair
Janine Crantz
Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM)

Reporter
David Savage
The University of Texas at Houston Medical School (UT Houston)
 

TMA Delegate Co-Leaders
Joanna Gibbons
TCOM
 

Sam Yi
TCOM

AMA Delegate Co-Leaders
Zane Martindale
UT Houston
 

William Metcalf-Doetsch
UT Houston
 

Alternate Delegate, Texas Delegation to the AMA
Maryam Shambayati
TCOM
 

Special Appointee to the TMA Board of Trustees
Neil Parikh
Baylor College of Medicine
 

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Texas A&M College of Medicine Receives AAFP Award 

The Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine was among 10 allopathic medical schools the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) honored for contributing most to the pipeline of family physicians. The awards recognize schools that, during a three-year period, graduate the greatest percentage of students who choose first-year family medicine residency positions. 

At a time when the United States faces a shortage of primary care physicians, filling the pipeline is vital to the health of America, said AAFP President Roland Goertz, MD, of Waco. 

"Family physicians are the bedrock of primary care, and primary care is the foundation of a health care system that provides high-quality, effective, and efficient care to patients," he said. "It all begins with the medical schools and their faculty's commitment to family medicine. Increasingly, medical schools are working toward building the primary care physician workforce, and we applaud their efforts. The Top 10 Awards recognize schools' consistent effort made over time." 

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TMA on Facebook and Twitter

For more inside news about TMA events and issues, become a fan of the Medical Student Section on Facebook.  

You also can stay up-to-date about Texas medicine by subscribing via RSS to Blogged Arteries, which provides breaking news you need to know, and by following @texmed on Twitter.  

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