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Volume 16, No 35

Oct. 27, 2014

 
 

TMA TO TASK FORCE: EBOLA OUTBREAK HIGHLIGHTS NEEDS IN COMMUNICATION AND TRAINING: With the good news of no new Ebola virus cases in Dallas and the apparent recovery of the two nurses who were infected, the nation turned its concern to the New York City physician who contracted the disease while working with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea. Here at home: 

  • More than 1,000 physicians and nurses tuned in to ask questions of Ebola experts in a Tele-Town Hall meeting convened by TMA and the Texas Nurses Association (listen to the recording). 
  • TMA released a video, Why You're Not At All Very Likely to “Catch” Ebola, featuring Robert Haley, MD, director of the Division of Epidemiology in the Internal Medicine Department at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
  • Chip Riggins, MD, the local health authority and executive director for the Williamson County and Cities Health District, testified on behalf of TMA before Gov. Rick Perry’s Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease, Preparedness, and Response. Dr. Riggins called for improvements in communications between practicing physicians and public health agencies; more graduate medical education slots in public health, prevention medicine, and epidemiology; and more attention paid to the needs of private practice physicians during an infectious disease outbreak.  

EARLY VOTING ENDS FRIDAY: This is the final week of early voting for the Nov. 4 elections. During early voting, which ends at 7 pm Friday, you may cast a ballot at any election site in your county. Data from last week showed early voting surges in some areas of the state, including Tarrant County, where TEXPAC is backing Libby Willis in a State Senate race against a blatantly antiphysician, antipatient candidate. TEXPAC recommends these outstanding candidates on your ballot. One way to remember to vote is to envision now a detailed plan of exactly where and when you will go to the ballot box. Make sure that plan includes encouraging your family, friends, staff, and patients to vote as well.

DR. KING CRISSCROSSING THE STATE FOR TMA: TMA President Austin King, MD, is keeping up his exhaustive travel schedule on behalf of Texas medicine. Between last week and this, Dr. King will have made public appearances in Houston, Lubbock, and Fort Worth, as well as numerous private meetings in between. Some highlights: 

  • Tonight in Fort Worth, Dr. King is on the bill along with Congressman Michael Burgess, MD (R-Lewisville) and Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek, MD, at a health care town hall meeting hosted by State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth).
  • In Houston last week, he shared TMA’s Healthy Vision 2020 plans with the Executives Association of Houston and the Houston Chronicle editorial board.
  • Coming up in Lubbock, Dr. King has sessions planned with leaders, faculty, and students of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center; an editorial board meeting at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal; and a lead role at the 2014 Health Care Symposium put on by the Texas Dispute Resolution System. 

MY LATEST IN FORBES.COM EXAMINES LOOMING PHYSICIAN SHORTAGE: The nation faces “drastic shortages” of physicians in many specialties — especially internal medicine and psychiatry — but our government doesn’t seem to be doing much about it. “Affordable Care Act Fails to Address Physician Shortages — Here’s How We Can Better Deal with This Challenge,” looks at a new tool, The FutureDocs Forecasting Tool, underwritten by The Physicians Foundation, that can help us figure out where to focus. “Unlike previous estimates of supply and demand, FutureDocs projects shortage and surplus by how well physician supply matches use of physician services; which in turn can be used to understand what type of care patients will need in the future and which geographies are experiencing greater imbalances in supply and distribution of physicians,” Physicians Foundation CEO Tim Norbeck and I wrote. “For example, while Rochester, Minnesota, the home of the Mayo Clinic, may be projected to have a surplus of specialists, Slidell, Louisiana is projected to have a significant shortage. What’s needed now is a scientific assessment of the supply and demand for health care services upon which to build the necessary health care infrastructure to ensure the health of the U.S. population.”

DON'T LET YOUR MEMBERSHIP LAPSE. RENEW TODAY! Intrusion after intrusion is threatening your practice and the care of your patients as you know it. Fortunately, you can trust TMA and your county medical society to stand by you to address them. Your association advocates relentlessly in Austin and Washington to eliminate red tape and bureaucracy. But even as we work to deliver these legislative fixes, TMA provides first-class solutions to your practice headaches. The 2015 congressional and state legislative sessions are right around the corner. Renew today. The TMA Knowledge Center can answer your renewal questions at (800) 880-7955 or by email at knowledge@texmed.org.

REGISTER TODAY FOR TMA'S 2014 ADVOCACY RETREAT: Join TMA and state specialty societies in Austin Dec. 5-6 as we plan for the 2015 sessions of Congress and the Texas Legislature. Registration for the 2014 TMA Advocacy Retreat is open now.

 


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