Texas Student Doctor: December 2010

News from the TMA Medical Student Section 

Texas Medical School Enrollment Continues Setting Records  

The combined enrollment of 6,368 students reported by the state's medical schools for the current academic year set a record. These statistics were part of the certified enrollment data released by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to TMA on Dec. 2.  

Current enrollments reflect an increase of 3.7 percent over the past year and 23 percent from a decade ago. The size of the entering class for 2010-11 also set a record at 1,647, up 3 percent from the past year and almost 30 percent from 10 years ago.  

About 1,400 graduates received MD/DO degrees in 2009-10 in Texas, up 5.4 percent from the 1,307 in the previous year, and 14.5 percent from 10 years ago. These increases reflect efforts by Texas medical schools to increase enrollments in response to the ongoing physician shortage.

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State GME Funding Needs $80 Million in 2012-13 Budget   

To continue state support for eligible graduate medical education (GME) positions, $40.2 million will be needed per year in the 2012-13 state budget, according to the Texas Medical Association Council on Medical Education.  

The 11 health-related institutions in the state reported 6,045 eligible residency positions for each year of the upcoming state budget cycle. If the current formula funding rate is maintained through the next budget, the state would need to provide $6,654 per resident, for a total of $40.2 million per year.  

GME funding remains a high priority for TMA and the Council on Medical Education, especially in light of the need to grow GME programs to better accommodate recent medical school enrollment growth in the state. Lawmakers will consider proposals for the next biennial budget when the legislative session opens Jan. 11.  

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Deficit Commission Recommends GME Cuts 

President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommended cutting graduate medical education (GME) funding by $60 billion over the next 10 years, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reports. The recommendation was part of the commission's proposals to reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion by 2020.  

Although the 18-member commission failed to garner the required 14 votes to send the report to Congress for action, it nevertheless reflects the potential threat to graduate medical education as Congress seeks to cut government spending. 

The commission recommended:   

  • "Fixing" the Medicare physician payment system by freezing or slightly reducing reimbursement levels from 2012 to 2020 and implementing in 2015 a revised Sustainable Growth Rate-based payment system that rewards quality and care coordination. The cost of the fix (which could reach as high as $267 billion) must be fully offset.  
  • Cutting GME funding by $6 billion a year for 10 years to help offset the physician payment fix. Specifically, the Commission recommends "bringing these payments in line with the costs of medical education" by: 
  • Limiting direct GME payments to 120 percent of the national average in 2010, with an annual inflationary update; and 
  • Reducing the indirect GME adjustment from 5.5 percent to 2.2 percent, "which the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has estimated would more accurately reflect indirect costs."   

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Barekman Scholarship Available 

  Jan. 31 is the deadline to  apply for the Louise Barekman Memorial Scholarship (PDF).   

Applicants must:   

  • Be a member of a Protestant church and have record of regular attendance from said church;  
  • Exhibit genuine financial need;  
  • Be in good standing in medical school;  
  • Be attending first, second, or third year of study in medical school; and 
  • Be a resident of Texas.  

  The medical school determines recipients and notifies TMA. Funding is available through a trust established by private sources.  

  The Barekman scholarship is among several loan funds and scholarships that TMA makes available to medical students in Texas. Funds are limited to specific medical schools annually. Contact your financial aid office directly to see if you qualify.  

Loans 

  • Dr. May Owen Irrevocable Trust Loan Fund  
  • Dr. S.E. Thompson Scholarship Loan Fund  
  • TMA Alliance Medical Student Loan Fund  
  • TMA Special Funds Foundation Durham Student Loan Fund  
  • TMA Special Funds Foundation Medical Student Loan Fund  

Scholarships
TMA offers five scholarship programs for qualified Texas medical students.
 

Elections for Alternate Delegate and MSS Member of TMA Board of Trustees  

The TMA Medical Student Section (TMA-MSS) is allotted a representative on the Texas Delegation to the American Medical Association and on the TMA Board of Trustees. Those two officers are elected at the TMA Winter Conference, and their terms run from the close of TexMed through the close of TexMed the following year.  

To apply, the applicant must submit a letter of intent, a current CV, and a letter of support from his or her program director to MSSInfo@texmed.org by Jan. 15, 2011. 

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2011 Medical Student Section Awards 

You have the opportunity to submit nominations for three awards the TMA-MSS gives each year at TexMed. 

The Outstanding Student of the Year Award recognizes a student member who serves the section and excels in furthering TMA-MSS goals and policies for a better Texas. Any medical student (except current TMA-MSS Executive Council members) is eligible to receive this award. 

The Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award recognizes the TMA-MSS chapter that serves the section and excels in furthering TMA-MSS goals and policies for a better Texas. 

The C. Frank Webber, MD, Award honors a TMA member physician who has provided outstanding service and mentoring to the section or to an individual member.  

Submit nominations for the 2011 awards via the online forms on the TMA MSS page on the TMA website by Jan. 15. 

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Sign Up New Members! 

In an effort to reach our 2010 membership goal of 45,000 medical student and physician members, the TMA-MSS is making a final recruitment push!  

To reward your efforts, a free hotel room for either the TMA Winter Conference or the First Tuesdays at the Capitol program will be awarded to the following category winners: 

  • Highest membership percentage of the first-year class, and 
  • Highest overall membership percentage for a school. 

The winner will be determined by online or paper application received on or before Dec. 31. Good luck!  

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TMA on Facebook and Twitter 

For more inside news about TMA events and issues, become a fan of the Medical Student Section on Facebook.    

You also can stay up-to-date about Texas medicine by subscribing via RSS to Blogged Arteries, which provides breaking news you need to know, and by following @texmed on Twitter.  

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