Volume 16, No 8
March 3, 2014
DOCTORS' ORDERS NO. 1: VOTE TOMORROW: If you didn’t vote early in Tuesday’s party primary elections, be sure to vote tomorrow. Texas medicine’s strength flows from the grassroots involvement of our 47,000-plus physician and medical student members: policy development, legislative testimony, media interviews, calling Congress, and — most grassroots of all — voting. TEXPAC, your political action committee, has endorsed an exceptional slate of candidates who have strong physician support, who understand our issues, and who have a good chance of winning. By helping to elect these candidates, you’re helping TEXPAC protect your patients and your profession from the intruders who want to tell you how to practice medicine. Whether you’ve already voted or you’re headed to the polls on Tuesday, share the experience. Remind your spouse, your colleagues, your staff, your patients, your friends, and your family to vote, too. The Party of Medicine needs your support.
DOCTORS' ORDERS NO. 2: CALL CONGRESS TO REPEAL THE SGR: TMA Board of Trustees Chair Carlos Cardenas, MD, leads a high-powered Texas physician delegation to Washington this week. In conjunction with the Coalition of State Medical Societies and the American Medical Association National Advocacy Conference, we’ll be lobbying Congress to pass the bill to repeal the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. To support our team on the ground, we’re calling on all Texas physicians to flood Capitol Hill on Wednesday with SGR-repeal phone calls. Call AMA’s toll-free hotline, (800) 833-6354, Wednesday to tell Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and your representative that you want an SGR repeal, not another a short-term patch for the 17th time. Or, you can send an email through the TMA Grassroots Action Center. Joining Dr. Cardenas and TMA staff on the trip will be AMA House of Delegates Vice Speaker Sue Bailey, MD; AMA Trustee Joe Annis, MD; Texas Delegation to the AMA Chair David Henkes, MD; AMA Council on Science and Public Health Chair Russ Kridel, MD; and Texas Delegation members Drs. Asa Lockhart, Les Secrest, Michelle Berger, and Dawn Buckingham.
TRAIL LAWYERS INFILTRATE REPUBLICAN SUPREME COURT RACES: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em seems to be the trial bar’s latest tactic. Long the sugar daddies of Texas Democrats, the trial lawyers realize that no Democrat has won a statewide race here in two decades. An excellent Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) details how Houston plaintiffs’ attorney John Eddie Williams and his friends are bankrolling candidates challenging Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, and Justices Phil Johnson and Jeff Brown. For physicians who’ve worked hard to pass and defend health care lawsuit reform, this is a scary development. Check out this analysis from Austin lawyer Mike Hull — and read it before you vote.
TMA BUILDS GRASSROOTS CONNECTIONS WITH LUBBOCK LEADERS, TMLT STAFF: Demonstrating the value of two different types of strategic partnerships, TMA provided in-depth orientations to the leaders of the Lubbock-Crosby-Garza County Medical Society (LCGCMS) and nine new sales representatives from the Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT). We reviewed our advocacy and policy development work, as well as TMA products and services, for the TMLT team and LCGCMS President Naidu Chekuru, MD; President-Elect Joe Cordero, MD; and Executive Director Juanema Christensen. TMLT is the only medical professional liability insurance provider created and exclusively endorsed by TMA.
FALCON TO BE NAMED TO HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES COUNCIL: We’ve received word that Gov. Rick Perry is appointing Tony Falcon, MD, the always-involved family physician from Rio Grande City, to the Texas Health and Human Services Council. The council assists Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek, MD, in developing rules and policies for the commission. A TEXPAC-stalwart, Dr. Falcon has previously served on the Governor's Committee on Medicaid and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
NAME CHANGE: IT'S NOW BIG COUNTRY COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY: The Taylor-Jones-Haskell-Callahan County Medical Society is no more. The Abilene-based society is now the Big Country County Medical Society. It still serves 300-plus West Texas physicians. Its executive vice president is still the incomparable Pat Evans. The new name better expresses Big Country’s broad service area — without all the hyphens.