RFS Connection

Fall 2015

News from the  TMA Resident and Fellow Section   


Submit an Abstract for the 2016 Quality Poster Session

The TMA Council on Health Care Quality and TMF Health Quality Institute announce the fourth annual TMA Quality Poster Session to be held April 30 during TexMed 2016 at the Hilton Anatole Dallas. 

The TMA Quality Poster Session is a platform for physicians and medical students to share their breakthroughs and best practices for better patient care, especially in one or more of the six aims of quality care: that it be safe, timely, effective, equitable, efficient, and patient-centered. 

The TMA Quality Poster Session offers you a chance to gain exposure, network with other Texas physicians, and have your work published. Here are just a few of the many reasons to participate:    

  • You’ll present your poster to physicians from across Texas during a continuing medical education event at TexMed 2016.
  • Your abstract will appear on the Texas Medical Association website, which draws more than 75,000 visitors each month.
  • The top three winners in each category receive a cash award.   

Abstract submissions are due no later than March 25, 2016. All accepted poster exhibitors will receive a travel stipend.  

Please tell colleagues about this event so they can take advantage of this enriching opportunity. For more information, poster parameters, and submission categories, or to see last year’s abstracts, visit the TMA website

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Loan Repayment Available to Physicians; Apply by Nov. 30

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is accepting applications from primary care physicians and psychiatrists for the state’s Physician Education Loan Repayment Program. The program will cover up to $160,000 in loan repayment for physicians who commit to practice in an underserved community for four years. More information is available on the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program website. Applications for this award cycle are due to the board’s offices by Nov. 30, 2015.  

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TMA Fall Conference Wrap-Up from the RFS Chair

 I would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend the TMA Fall Conference. It was a productive meeting, and I am appreciative of everyone who could make it. We are pleased to announce graduate medical education (GME) has officially been added to TMA's legislative priorities for the next session. The eight priorities are: 

  • Scope of practice
  • Corporate practice of medicine
  • Telemedicine
  • Medicaid payments and expansion
  • Medicaid red tape and HMO reform
  • Transparency and balance billing
  • Advance directives/end-of-life issues
  • Graduate medical education 

I have outlined below some goals for our section to meet in the upcoming year. If you have any comments, please let me know. The goals aren't set in stone. 

I have divided our goals into three categories: 

  1. Increasing membership: This is always and will always be one of our top priorities. Soon I will draft an email inviting residents to join TMA. I want everyone who is a TMA member, or at the very least our Governing Council, committees, and council members, to distribute this email to their GME offices for further distribution among their institutional residents. Please send me an email, makhtari@gmail.com, and copy Habeeb Salameh, habeeb.salameh@yahoo.com, so we can keep track of the institutions that receive the message. I will also draft a similar email encouraging our existing members and future members to join TEXPAC.

  2. Better organization for our upcoming conferences: For the upcoming winter conference, I am hoping to organize a social or some kind of joint caucus with the TMA Young Physician Section. Additionally, to increase participation in the 2016 TMA Winter Conference and all upcoming conferences, I suggest implementing a system that allows residents and fellows who hold leadership spots to RSVP up to a month before the meeting. We will keep track of which committee and council members plan on attending. If they RSVP no, we will find a replacement for their position for that meeting. This will allow us to increase the attendance of RFS section members at TMA meetings and greatly improve our participation and voice as residents. This will also allow us to schedule our RFS meeting during a time that doesn't interfere with other committee and council meetings. If you RSVP no but decide at the last minute that you can attend, you’re welcome to attend, but your specific position might not be available. I will be helping our Chair-Elect Jessica Best with organizing this task.

  3. Policy creation: I want to take on multiple resolutions for the next American Medical Association meeting and TexMed 2016 to address issues important to us. This will involve starting to work on topics of importance now. If anyone is passionate about a topic, please let the whole group know. We will use the many years of guidance that we have among our amazing and experienced members to come up with resolutions that can address issues of legitimate concern to us as residents and fellows. Email the whole group with your ideas, and we will take it from there. 

Mani Akhtari
TMA-RFS Chair 2015-16 

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TMB Sets Penalty Maximums for Standard Disciplinary Sanctions

At the Texas Medical Board’s (TMB's) August meeting, the board generally agreed with TMA’s comments regarding the board’s proposal to revise the standard disciplinary sanctions that apply to violations of the Medical Practice Act. The board placed a $5,000 maximum “high-sanction” penalty for a standard-of-care violation and kept the “low-sanction” maximum at $3,000.  

In an Aug. 17 letter to TMB, TMA outlined its concerns with the board’s proposal to revise the standard disciplinary sanctions that apply to violations of the Medical Practice Act. Of particular concern to TMA was the board’s proposal to increase the high-sanction penalty for a standard-of-care violation and more than one prior standard-of-care or care-related violation from $3,000 per violation to $7,000 per violation.  

TMA’s letter listed three reasons the association opposed the proposed high- sanction administrative penalties increase:    

  1. The proposed increase to $7,000 is greater than the administrative penalty amount authorized by the Texas Legislature. “Specifically, the Medical Practice Act provides that an administrative penalty imposed on a person licensed or regulated under Title 3, Subtitle B, Occupations Code, who violates that subtitle, or a rule or order adopted under that subtitle, may not exceed $5,000 for each violation,” TMA stated. TMA contends the proposed increase exceeds the board’s statutory authority. 
  2. The proposed per-violation increase in the high-sanction penalty is inconsistent with the board’s own rules. TMA says the proposed amendment conflicts with a TMB rule that states, “The amount of an administrative penalty may not exceed $5,000 for each violation.”
  3. The preamble to the rule proposal fails to set forth the specific reason for the proposed increase.     

“For all of the foregoing reasons, TMA strongly recommends that the Board not adopt the proposed amendment to increase the ‘High Sanction’ for … standard-of-care violations to $7,000,” TMA wrote. 

The letter also noted TMA's opposition to TMB’s proposal “to raise the corresponding ‘Low Sanction’ administrative penalty for the aforementioned standard-of-care violations from the current $3,000 per violation to $5,000 per violation.”  

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Wanted: Physicians Who Pursue Awesome Hobbies, Passions Outside the Office

Do you have an interesting (even unique) hobby or passion you enjoy when you’re not in the office? Do you know a TMA member physician colleague who cuts loose on the weekends and lets the creative juices flow, who takes time to serve others in need, or who has a remarkable talent? If you do, TMA’s Texas Medicine magazine would like to hear from you.  

The magazine periodically publishes a column called “Back Talk” that features a portrait of a physician enjoying his or her favorite outside-the-office pursuit. (For an example, see page 64 of the September issue.) If you would like to nominate yourself or a physician colleague for possible inclusion in “Back Talk,” please email Texas Medicine Editor Crystal Zuzek with “Back Talk” in the subject line. Include the physician’s name and contact information, along with a brief description of the hobby or pastime.   

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Fight the Flu With Tools From TMA

Flu season is just around the corner, and TMA’s Be Wise — ImmunizeSM has tools you can use to protect yourself, your staff, and your patients:   

  • Provide flu facts at a glance with TMA’s new flu infographic (in English and Spanish). Post a copy in your waiting room, download it to your website or Facebook page, or hand out copies. 
  • Share more in-depth information about the importance of an annual flu vaccination with TMA’s flu fact sheet (in English and Spanish).
  • Remind your employees about the importance of getting their flu vaccination with this poster to hang in your break room or other areas where your staff gather. 
  • Use TMA’s educational and giveaway items at your Be Wise — Immunize flu shot clinic in October. Oct. 1 is Influenza Awareness Day in Texas, so TMA urges physicians to host a shot clinic sometime that month to improve vaccination coverage statewide.
  • Download and print the Fist-Bump Your Doctor materials, developed by Jason Marchetti, MD, of Denton, a graduate of the TMA Leadership College.  

To order flu materials or to learn about hosting a shot clinic, contact Tammy Wishard, TMA’s outreach coordinator, at tammy.wishard@texmed.org or (512) 370-1470. 

TMA launched Be Wise — Immunize in 2004 to increase Texas’ immunization rates. Since then, the program has provided more than 280,000 shots to Texas children, adolescents, and adults.  

Be Wise — Immunize is a joint initiative led by TMA physicians and the TMA Alliance. Funding for Be Wise — Immunize is provided by the TMA Foundation thanks to generous support from H-E-B, TMF Health Quality Institute, Permian Basin Youth Chavarim, and gifts from physicians and their families.  

Be Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.  

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Attend the AMA-RFS Interim Meeting

The American Medical Association Resident and Fellow Section Interim Meeting will be Nov. 12-14 in Atlanta at the Hilton Atlanta. Delegate positions are open for Texas residents or fellows interested in attending. Funds are available to help offset travel costs. Contact your section coordinator at rfsinfo@texmed.org for more information.  

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Save the Date for 2016 TMA Winter Conference

Don’t miss 2016 TMA Winter Conference, Jan. 29-30 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin. Hotel and meeting details are coming soon at www.texmed.org/events.  

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Video Educates Doctors on Moonlighting and Medical Liability Insurance

The TMA Resident Video Library  offers convenient, on-demand access to information you need to survive residency as well as the business-of-medicine knowledge you want to transition successfully into active practice. In the video Moonlighting and Medical Liability Insurance, Marshall Wyatt, underwriting manager at Texas Medical Liability Trust, describes moonlighting work and its benefits, as well as medical liability insurance.  

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Stay Up to Date on Drug Info With PDR Alerts

Make sure you’re receiving U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-mandated and product-related patient safety alerts the minute they are issued by registering for Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) Drug Alerts. This free service also provides information on drug recalls and approvals.  

Once registered to receive PDR Drug Alerts, you’ll have access to a 12-month alert history master file, and you can appoint a member of your health care team to manage practice alerts. And if no one has reviewed an alert within 72 hours, PDR sends a reminder letter.  

The PDR Network also offers mobilePDR, available free of charge to TMA members. MobilePDR includes:   

  • FDA-approved full drug labeling,
  • Concise point-of-care information, and
  • Weekly drug updates.   

Log on to download it. It is available for all major mobile platforms, including iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Palm, Palm Pre, Symbian, and Windows Mobile. 

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 Stay Connected

Keep up with important news and connect with colleagues across the state through the RFS Facebook page

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