Academic medical centers and the academic physicians they employ have long been committed to quality patient care, research, community service and education of future physicians. They serve as a very important piece of the medical profession, and TMA relies on their knowledge and experience to ensure that Texas remains a premier state for medical training, research, and establishing practices.
Leadership and Policy Development
- The Council on Medical Education coordinates the association's medical education activities, with a focus on developing policy on medical education-related issues and concerns. Three times a year, the council meets with medical school leadership for dialogue and informational exchange on current issues and areas of mutual interest.
- Subcommittee for Academic Physicians comprises representatives from all 10 health-related institutions. They address faculty-specific issues and communicate with their peers, TMA leaders, and the membership on these topics.
- TMA's Committee on Physician Distribution and Health Care Access conducts analysis on changing trends in the physician workforce including the pipelines feeding into the profession.
- Committee for Continuing Education evaluates continuing medical education needs and promotes high-quality CME programs for Texas physicians.
- International Medical Graduate (IMG) Section. TMA is one of only 11 state medical societies with a representational group devoted to the unique issues and concerns of all IMG physicians.
- Medical Student Section. Serves as forum for medical students to participate in development of TMA and AMA policy. Encourages development of student leaders and programs in medical student chapters at each medical school. Helps satisfy students’ strong altruistic interests through a variety of ongoing public health programs.
- Resident Physician Section. Advocates for physicians and patients through resident physician involvement in creation of TMA and AMA policies. Provides a communication resource and structure to address residents’ unique needs and issues.
- Young Physician Section. Physicians under the age of 40 or in their first eight years of practice participate in activities and programs relevant to the physician just entering practice.
Health and Science Initiatives
- Be Wise - Immunize A program to improve immunization rates in Texas through immunizations and health screenings for underserved populations, in cooperation with public and private partners.
- Hard Hats for Little Heads A matching bicycle helmet donation program created to help Texas physicians prevent head injuries in their communities.
- Physician Oncology Education Program serves as a cancer education project dedicated to reducing cancer morbidity and mortality through collaboration among the public, private, and volunteer sectors of the state.
- Public health alerts on diseases and position papers on cancer, tobacco usage, stroke, and obesity.
- Public health advocacy on border health, obesity/diabetes, children’s mental health, and infectious disease control.
- Disaster preparedness and response. Coordination with academic institutions, Texas Department of State Health Services, county medical societies, and others, e.g., for hurricanes, evacuations (Eldorado).
- Educational initiatives to prepare for, recognize, and treat a bioterrorism attack.
Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.
Scholarships and Awards
Practice Management Solutions
- New practice set-up services;
- Operations assessment;
- Management and office staff recruitment;
- Coding and documentation review
- Billing and collections training;
- Compliance and risk management;
- Health information technology education (seminars, CME opportunities, and publications);
- Electronic medical record implementation guide and toll-free technology help line;
- Hassle Factor Program to monitor health plan payment trends, and document and investigate payer problems;
- Private insurance initiatives to address specific claim issues at meetings between leading payers and TMA leadership/staff;
- Personal consults with TMA staff experts on Medicare, Medicaid, health care payment plans, and payment hassles;
- A forum to facilitate interinstitutional collaboration in the development and sharing of online curricular content for educating medical students;
- Programs and services tailored to academic physicians’ needs including training and curriculum development for staff.
- And, the Practice Consulting team can tailor programs and services to your needs, including training and curriculum development for staff.
Education and CME Opportunities
- TMA provides hundreds of free CME credits at each of its three annual conferences.
- The Texas Medical Association Web site offers online and home study CME , options, including ethics;
- Practice management seminars on topics like health care payment plans, health information technology, billing and coding, prompt pay, risk management, Medicare, and more;
- Learn @ Lunch audio seminar series for a quick and easy way to stay up to date on important issues; and
- Resources for quality-of-care and patient-physician education.
TMA’s Value to Academic Medicine
TMA is a legislative advocate for academic faculty and medical schools. We monitor legislation to determine its potential impact, and fight to ensure that Texas remains a premier state in the education of future physicians, research, and quality patient care.
During the last legislative session, Texas legislators took a firm stand in support of producing and recruiting more physicians for Texas. The need to increase state funding for both medical students and residents, as well as make improvements to the state’s physician education loan repayment program, were among TMA’s legislative priorities. These priorities were identified in the Medical Education Consensus Statement, which was developed with Texas medical schools and state teaching hospital associations to educate legislators about the state’s physician workforce needs.
TMA fought for and won the following:
- Allocated $26.8 million for primary care GME programs in the next biennium. This includes an addition of $3.75 million or 21.5-percent more funding for the Family Medicine Residency Program.
- Increased GME formula funding 18.1 percent, or $15.7 million. Texas medical schools now receive $6,653 per resident per year.
- The total state funding for GME programs in 2010-11 is approximately $120.9 million, including state GME formula funding ($78.5 million), primary care GME funding ($26.8 million), and specific allocations to some medical schools ($15.6 million).
- Increased the base rate used to calculate formula funding for medical students by 2.7 percent, from $51,527 to $52,896 per student — a 10-percent state gain totaling $62 million — as a result of an expanded base rate and recent expansions in medical school enrollments.
- Assigned new and improved funding for Texas’ Physician Education Loan Repayment Program —program now pays up to $160,000 over four years, almost four times more than the previous program.
- Added another loan repayment option through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which repays up to $140,000 over four years and is not restricted to underserved communities for physicians providing care for a certain level of Medicaid patients.
- Increased Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding to cover caseload growth.
- Maintained 2007 Medicaid payment rate increase.
- Doubled mental health care funding.
- Funded community-based obesity prevention program expansions.
- Implemented a pilot program to help reduce childhood obesity among Medicaid and CHIP enrollees.
- Created a lifelong immunization registry in Texas.
- Enabled Texas to share immunization data with other states during an emergency or disaster.
- Protected funding to enhance cancer prevention and research programs in Texas.
- Preserved Texas’ landmark 2003 medical liability reforms.
Other Recent Accomplishments
- $4.8 million in cash payments made to academic medicine from the HMO lawsuit settlements — money Texas physicians would not have received were it not for TMA’s legal successes.
- Support for “Code Red” recommendations relating to medical education, including state policy goals for medical school enrollment increases, physician education loan repayment programs targeted to better serve Medicaid and indigent populations, and GME.
- Patient safety curriculum developed through unprecedented interinstitutional participation for clinical faculty, residents, and students to enhance quality of health care for patients while reducing clinical errors.
- Federal legislative, regulatory, and payment advocacy, including: letter of endorsement for centralized Medicare credentialing program and Title VII primary care GME funding; letter of support for adequate Medicaid funding for physicians in teaching positions, letter of support to congress on federal funding for preventive medicine GME; and memo to Texas congressional delegation regarding Medicaid, CHIP, and Medicaid GME funding.
- Ongoing collaboration with the American Medical Association on Medicare provider fee schedule increases.
- More than $100 million for medical school expansions at Texas A&M and Texas Tech universities.
- Potential expansion of the existing two-year clinical program for medical students at the Lower Rio Grande Valley Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) based in Harlingen to a four-year medical school as part of the UT Regents’ option to establish The University of Texas Health Science Center-South Texas. Should it be built, it would become the 10th medical school in the state.
- Nearly $65,000 was raised to aid medical students whose lives were upended when Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston. The help was made possible by hundreds of donors who contributed to the foundation’s campaign for TMA’s University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Medical Student Recovery Program. The effort was spearheaded by TMA’s Medical Student Section and the medical student representative on the TMA Board of Trustees who responded quickly to reports from students who had exhausted personal savings to rebuild their lives.