It's Academic

July 2015 

Medical Education a Big Winner This Legislative Session

Building on TMA’s 2013 successes and the legislature’s recognition of physician workforce shortages, the Texas Legislature gave another significant boost to undergraduate and graduate medical education (GME) funding in 2015, including:    

  • $53 million for GME expansion grant programs, almost $40 million above 2014-15 funding levels; 
  • $7 million more for primary care physician pipeline programs: $4 million — or 31 percent — above current funding for the existing family medicine residency program, and $3 million to restart the Statewide Primary Care Preceptorship Program;
  • A $20 million, or 22-percent, increase in biennial per-resident, or “formula,” GME funding;
  • Steady funding for the primary care physician workforce innovations grant program; 
  • An additional $50 million, or 3-percent, biennial increase in medical student formula funding (excluding small class supplements);
  • Maintained funding for the State Physician Education Loan Repayment Program; 
  • A new loan repayment program for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals; and
  • Additional money ($8 million) for mental health workforce training programs in underserved areas.  

TMA wants to ensure the successful use of these state dollars for GME expansions and will be working with medical education partners to identify appropriate activities for accomplishing that in the coming months. 

Find out what happened in other priority legislative areas, such as Medicaid funding, the regulation of e-cigarettes, and more in Political Prognosis.  

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Apply for AMA Leadership Opportunities by July 20

Are you an American Medical Association member? If so, check out the available committee nominations on the AMA’s Leadership Opportunities webpage. Deadline to apply is July 20. 

AMA is currently seeking nomination applicants for these Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education review committees:  

  • Institutional Review Committee
  • Review Committee for Anesthesiology
  • Review Committee for Pathology
  • Review Committee for Pediatrics
  • Review Committee for Psychiatry (two positions)
  • Review Committee for General Surgery (vascular surgery required)
  • Review Committee for Thoracic Surgery  

You can also apply for nomination to The American Board of Surgery. 

For more information, contact Mary O’Leary at AMA

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 Medical Licensure Compact Is a Go, But Not in Texas

The American Medical Association’s May 28 Advocacy Update reported the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact gained sufficient support for implementation by securing approval from more than the requisite seven states. The compact will be implemented according to guidelines established by the Federation of State Medical Boards, including formation of an interstate commission to oversee the compact. The inaugural participating states include Alabama, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.   

“The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact model legislation creates a streamlined process for medical licensure for physicians interested in practicing medicine in multiple states,” AMA says. 

In Texas, the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact legislation to make it easier for qualified physicians to obtain licensure across state lines came up short. House Bill 661 by Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Richmond), would have created an expedited pathway for licensure without altering state requirements.  

TMA lobbyist Dan Finch called the bill’s failure “a lost opportunity” to boost access to care, including telemedicine. However, Texas retains the option to join the compact in the future.  

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UT Southwestern’s Dr. Seldin receives Distinguished Service Award

Donald W. Seldin, MD, received the TMA Distinguished Service Award from the TMA House of Delegates at TexMed 2015 in Austin.  

“I’m happy to be receiving this award before the TMA House of Delegates. TMA constitutes a shield for medicine,” Dr. Seldin said.  

Dr. Seldin has been a TMA member for 62 years and has made significant contributions to medicine throughout his illustrious career. In 1951, he accepted an associate professor position in the Department of Medicine at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Within a year, he was professor and chair of the department, serving in that position until 1987. 

When Dr. Seldin stepped down from UT-Southwestern’s Department of Medicine in 1987, the medical faculty was 125 times larger than when he started. He built it into one of the strongest departments of medicine in the world.  

“This Distinguished Service Award represents recognition of my students and house staff who have accomplished so much,” he said. 

Robert W. Haley, MD, professor of internal medicine and director of the Division of Epidemiology in the Internal Medicine Department at UT-Southwestern, presented the award to Dr. Seldin, calling him “one of the most impactful figures in modern medicine.” 

In testimony to the long reach of Dr. Seldin’s 60-year teaching career, more than half of the members of the TMA House of Delegates stood to indicate that Dr. Seldin had been an influence in their medical education. 

Dr. Seldin has served as president of seven learned societies: Central Society for Clinical Research, Southern Society of Clinical Investigation, American Society for Clinical Investigation, American Society of Nephrology, Association of Professors of Medicine, Association of American Physicians, and International Society of Nephrology.  

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UTHealth’s Dr. Weltge Tagged TMA’s “Young at Heart”

Houston emergency physician Arlo F. Weltge, MD, received the Young at Heart Award from members of TMA’s Young Physician Section during TexMed 2015 in May. 

The Young Physician Section chose Dr. Weltge for his commitment and willingness to help young physicians become tomorrow’s leaders in the association. 

“This is a wonderful, kind, and very much appreciated recognition from the young physicians of TMA,” Dr. Weltge said. “There are days I worry about the future of our profession, but I know I need only look as far as our medical students and young physicians to feel confident. The talent, enthusiasm, and energy that is present in our emerging leaders will ensure our profession for the future.” 

A board-certified emergency physician for more than 30 years, Dr. Weltge practices at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, which is a Level I trauma center, and the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital. He is a clinical professor and faculty member in the Emergency Medicine Residency program at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston (UTHealth Medical School) and serves as medical director for the Emergency Medical Services program at Houston Community College. 

Dr. Weltge has been active in organized medicine for many years. He is a long-time member of the TMA House of Delegates and a consultant to TMA’s Council on Legislation. Dr. Weltge was elected vice-speaker of the TMA House of Delegates at TexMed 2015.  

Dr. Weltge received his medical degree from UTHealth Medical School, and in 2013, received its Distinguished Alumnus Award. He completed his residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and received his master’s in public health from The University of Texas School of Public Health.  

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 Resident Physicians Recognize UTHSC-San Antonio’s Dr. Jimenez

San Antonio neurosurgeon David F. Jimenez, MD, received the J.T. “Lamar” McNew, MD, Award for his service to medical residents. The Texas Medical Association Resident and Fellow Section (TMA-RFS) recognized Dr. Jimenez during TexMed 2015 in Austin. The award honors a TMA physician who has provided outstanding mentoring and service to residents and fellows. 

“It is an honor to be selected for this prestigious award by the Resident and Fellow Section,” Dr. Jimenez said. ”As a lifelong educator who closely interacts with residents and fellows on a daily basis, I truly appreciate the value and meaning of this award.” 

Dr. Jimenez, board certified in neurosurgery and pediatric neurosurgery, is professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). The author, researcher, and lecturer also directs the Neurosurgery Residency Training Program at UTHSCSA. 

“I have dedicated my career in neurosurgery to the training of those who will follow me in this noble field,” Dr. Jimenez said. “I have never regretted the decision to work with those who will care for future generations of patients. Academic medicine is a great responsibility but also a great privilege.” 

Colin Son, MD, a resident physician at UTHSCSA who nominated Dr. Jimenez for the award, said Dr. Jimenez has brought his interest in health care policy and the socioeconomics of medicine to the classroom. 

“Dr. Jimenez has encouraged resident physician involvement in organized medicine,” said Dr. Son. “My involvement with TMA’s Resident and Fellow Section would not be possible without his support.” 

The award is named for Dr. McNew, a retired Bryan physician who served in the Brazos Valley region for many years and who was a primary provider of obstetrical services to area women covered by Medicaid. He also taught at Texas A&M Health Science Center for 20 years.    

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 Texas Medical Students Honor UTHealth’s Dr. Kridel

The TMA Medical Student Section presented Russell W.H. Kridel, MD, the 2015 C. Frank Webber, MD, Award during TexMed 2015 for his commitment to mentoring medical students.  

“It is a great honor and privilege to receive this recognition from the TMA Medical Student Section,” Dr. Kridel said. “All I have ever done with medical students is recognize their incredible energy, enthusiasm, caring spirits, and brilliant minds, and try to give them the opportunities they so well deserve.” 

Dr. Kridel is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in private practice. He also is a clinical professor and director of the Division of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston (UTHealth Medical School). 

Dr. Kridel is “clearly student-focused, especially for students involved in organized medicine,” said nominating medical student David Savage, from UTHealth Medical School. “I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. Kridel over the past three years, and I have heard many stories from other students in Houston about how he has helped their careers or promoted their aspirations in community service.” 

Dr. Kridel is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and completed residencies in surgery and otolaryngology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He also completed a fellowship in facial plastic surgery.  

Created in 1987, the C. Frank Webber, MD, Award is named after the late Texas family physician and educator C. Frank Webber, MD, former dean of The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Dr. Webber’s efforts prompted the development of the strong student organization within TMA. 

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 UTHealth Medical School Student Named TMA Student of the Year

Kayla Riggs, a second-year medical student at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston (UTHealth Medical School), received the TMA Medical Student Section (TMA-MSS) Student of the Year Award at TexMed 2015 in May. 

“I am so honored to receive this award,” Ms. Riggs said. “I believe it’s important for medical students to be involved in organizations, like TMA, that help shape the practice of medicine and prepare us for our careers as physicians.” 

Since 1998, TMA-MSS has recognized an outstanding student member who excels in furthering the section’s goals and policies to improve Texas’ health care system. The chapter aims to engage students in organized medicine by encouraging their involvement in local county medical societies, TMA, and the American Medical Association.  

Ms. Riggs joined TMA prior to entering medical school and became president of the school’s TMA chapter during her first year at UTHealth. As chapter president, Ms. Riggs added 90 students to the chapter’s membership.  

Under her leadership, the chapter hosted more community service events, including two health fairs at a church in Southwest Houston. The students also developed a relationship with TroubleShooters, Harris Health System’s childhood immunization program.  

Her efforts helped UTHealth earn recognition as this year’s TMA-MSS Chapter of the Year, also presented during TexMed. The annual Chapter of the Year Award, which began in 1998, recognizes the TMA-MSS Chapter that excels in furthering TMA-MSS goals and policies for a better Texas. The award recognizes leadership, dedication, and service to TMA and the American Medical Association.  

Ms. Riggs, an Austin native, graduated in 2013 from The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor in business administration degree. She is a member of the UTHealth Class of 2017.   

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This Month in Texas Medicine

The July issue of Texas Medicine features a cover story on Medicare mistakes the Texas Medical Association uncovered and helped to resolve, with key input from member physicians. In the issue you’ll also find information on new medical records rules adopted by the Texas Medical Board, growing numbers of subspecialists and the concern over adequate access to general care, failed legislation that would have required student athletes to have an EKG prior to their first and third years of participation in school athletics, TMA Practice Consulting’s practice setup services, and Medicare’s Quality and Resource Use Reports. Check out our digital edition.

You can subscribe to RSS feeds for TMA Practice E-Tips, TMA news releases, Blogged Arteries, and Texas Medicine. More

It's Academic is for physicians in academic settings. For more information about TMA’s efforts on behalf of medical education and academic physicians, visit the TMA Council on Medical Education’s Subcommittee for Academic Physicians page and Advocacy page on the TMA website.

Please share with your colleagues who are not TMA members and ask them to join.

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    The State legislature is unable to support the existing medical schools adequately. Another institution, no matter where it is located, would put more unnecessary strain on already stretched finances. Find the money to treat the ones you have better before straining draining resources.
    William E. Powell, M.D.

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