It's Academic

November 2014 


Agency Asks Legislature for $82M Increase in GME Funds

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) recommends an 88-percent increase in funding for Texas graduate medical education (GME) programs in the 2016-17 state budget. Included is a nearly quadruple increase in funding for the newly created GME expansion grant programs. THECB’s recommendations to the Legislative Budget Board seek additional monies for the GME expansion grant programs, funded at $14.25 million provided for 2014-15, by raising it to $54.25 million for 2016-17. THECB also recommended doubling funds for the state’s Family Practice Residency grant program, for a total of $28.8 million.

THECB recommended a 38.9-percent boost (an increase of $20.9 million for public institutions) in 2016-17 state GME formula funding, to be provided directly to academic health centers to help offset a portion of resident teaching costs. The same level of increase for Baylor College of Medicine would result in $4.6 million in additional GME funding for the school. All of these recommendations will be considered during the budget development process for the 2015 Texas legislative session, which begins Jan. 13, 2015.   

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  More State Grants for Growing GME in Texas

THECB continues its work in implementing the four new programs the legislature developed to promote GME growth. 

Grant awards are pending for three of the four GME expansion programs listed here.  

First Award Cycle for New and Expanded GME Grant Program
Grants will be awarded to support the expansion of first-year residency positions at existing or new GME programs. Funds should be used to support direct resident costs, including stipends and benefits, at $65,000 per resident, per year. The application deadline was Sept. 8, and grant awards are expected to be made in the next few weeks. Awarded positions must be filled by July 1, 2015, and funds must be expended by Aug. 31, 2016. 

Second Award Cycle for Hospital GME Planning Grant Program
The second request for applications for the Hospital GME Planning grant program closed Sept. 8. State law authorizes grants of up to $150,000 for eligible hospitals that are not currently under Medicare GME funding caps. Hospitals received a total of nine grant awards in 2014, and the legislature provided funding for 12. Grant awards for the second award cycle have been determined and will be announced in early November.  

Second Award Cycle for Unfilled GME Position Program
The Texas Legislature authorized a program to provide funding for GME positions that are accredited but unfunded and unfilled. In the first grant cycle, THECB provided $65,000 per position, per year for 25 positions for 2014 and 2015 to cover the first and second years of training for the residents in these positions. The second request for applications cycle for this program closed Sept. 8. The agency has funding for 25 additional entry-level GME positions, and decisions about grant awards will be made in the next few weeks. Awarded positions must be filled by July 1, 2015, and funds must be expended by Aug. 31, 2016.  

Resident Physician Expansion Grant Program
Grant awards will be issued through the Resident Physician Expansion grant program on a competitive basis to encourage the creation of new GME positions through community collaboration and innovative funding. The legislature appropriated $5 million for the program.  

The objective is to create new GME positions in the state with an emphasis on increasing residency positions in medically underserved areas and for medical specialties with shortages in the state. These initiatives also should maximize local and federal matching funds.   

If you'd like to apply for this program, a Notice of Intent to Apply form must be submitted to THECB by 5 pm (CT), Dec. 1, 2014, and the application deadline is 5 pm (CT), Dec. 15, 2014. Details are available on the Texas Resident Physician Expansion Program webpage.  

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Primary Care Medical Education Pipeline Grant Program

In addition to the GME expansion grant programs, the Texas Legislature authorized and funded the Primary Care Innovation Grant Program to incentivize innovation among Texas medical schools in designing programs for increasing the supply of primary care physicians in the state. A $2.1 million appropriation is available for distribution during the current fiscal year, which began Sept. 1. The coordinating board completed the first request for proposals cycle for this program on Oct. 15. Grant awards will be provided on a competitive basis, and decisions about grant awards will be made in the next few weeks. 

Updates on grant awards for these programs will be published in future editions of It’s Academic

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Dr. Varma Appointed to Texas Medical Board

Gov. Rick Perry appointed Surendra Varma, MD, to the Texas Medical Board for a term to expire in 2019. Dr. Varma is executive associate dean of graduate medical education and resident affairs at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). He is the Ted Hartman Endowed Chair in Medical Education and vice chair of pediatrics at the TTUHSC School of Medicine.

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TMA Leads the Charge in Providing Ebola Resources

TMA has been busy providing Ebola virus information and resources to Texas physicians. The TMA Committee on Infectious Diseases urges physicians to study the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for personal protective equipment and environmental infection control measures in ambulatory settings. Physicians also can contact their local health department or regional health office and the Department of State Health Services infectious disease unit at (800) 252-8239 for further instructions. 

For additional information on the virus, including patient handouts and office flyers, visit the TMA Ebola Virus Resource Center

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 Apply by Dec. 8 for 2015 TMA Award for Excellence in Academic Medicine

TMA is now accepting applications for the 2015 TMA Award for Excellence in Academic Medicine. This multi-level program recognizes academic physicians for achievements in teaching, serving as role models, mentoring, professional development, leadership, and service. Does this describe your career in academic medicine? If so, TMA encourages you to apply for this award program created for doctors like you. 

The program is in its third award cycle. “TMA wants to recognize our physician members who are exceptional teachers, mentors, and medical professionals,” said Rodney B. Young, MD, chair of the TMA Council on Medical Education. “Their contributions directly align with TMA’s vision to improve the health of all Texans, and this award program underscores their value in preparing the future physician workforce to be leaders within TMA and their communities.”

The program has four recognition levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. We encourage you to review the eligibility criteria on the program’s website to decide which level is the best fit for you. 

By submitting your application, not only will you give TMA the opportunity to recognize you for excellence in academic medicine, but also the award may make a fine addition to your professional portfolio and help you advance in your career. All recipients receive a printed certificate and recognition at the TMA House of Delegates’ 2015 meeting in Austin. The Platinum-level award winner receives a $5,000 cash award and trophy, generously provided through a grant from the TMA Foundation. All recipients receive recognition in Texas Medicine, It’s Academic, and in the Handbook for Delegates at TexMed 2015. 

If you have questions, contact Jennifer McHaney at TMA at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1451, or (512) 370-1451, or

The Deadline for submission to TMA is Dec. 8 at 5 pm (CT). Apply today, and get the credit you’re due! 

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Choosing Wisely: Earn Free CME Credits

Listen to Texas physicians leading the charge to reduce the use of potentially unnecessary tests and procedures, and earn free continuing medical education (CME) credit. Learn about the Choosing Wisely® campaign and how it can help you by watching the Choosing Wisely CME webinars, and earn 3.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ and 3.75 ethics credits. For a limited time, the Choosing Wisely CME bundle is available free at

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TMA: A Physician's Strongest Advocate

The 2015 congressional and state legislative sessions are right around the corner. TMA’s Healthy Vision 2020, Second Edition, articulates in detail what we are asking of the Texas Legislature, the U.S. Congress, and state and federal regulators. 

TMA has been a longtime advocate for academic faculty and medical schools, monitoring legislation, determining the potential impact to patients, and actively lobbying for your interests. Only with grassroots support can we make sure Texas remains a premier state in the education of future physicians, in research, and in quality patient care. 

Join or renew today, pay 2015 membership dues, and receive membership for the remainder of 2014 free of charge. That’s 13 months for the price of 12. Within your department or academic institution, funds may be available to cover the cost of your membership. Please check with your department administrator or chair. 

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Have You Recruited a Physician From out of State?

TMA’s Welcome to Texas webpage can help new or returning Texansphysicians. The page provides links doctors need to obtain a Texas license, plus contact information for relevant state and federal agencies, and links to resources such as employee salary data.

You can also contact the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 for fast answers to questions about membership, TMA member benefits and services, and help navigating the complex laws and regulations unique to Texas medicine, and more. 

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This Month in Texas Medicine

The November issue of Texas Medicine features a cover story on the patient-centered medical home. It examines investments being made in the model by policymakers, payers, and physician practices. In the latest issue, you'll also find tips to prevent employee theft in your practice, details about a virtual kidnapping scheme targeting Texas physicians, efforts by allergists in the state to allow EpiPens on school campuses, and ways that using registries can help take the sting out of quality reporting.

Check out our digital edition.

Also, 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 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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