RFS Connection

Winter 2015

News from the  TMA Resident and Fellow Section 


2015 TMA Winter Conference: Leading the Way Through Crisis and Change

2015 TMA Winter Conference takes place Jan. 30-31 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Austin. Registration is open.

Physicians will have the opportunity to conduct TMA business, obtain continuing medical education credit, and network with peers. Join your colleagues and participate in discussions on crisis management, the current legislative session, and changes in the health care landscape. 

The Resident and Fellow Section (RFS) Business Meeting is Saturday from noon to 1:30 pm in the Hill Country A/B, Level 1, and will feature a presentation by Jeff Steiner, DO, author of The Physician's Guide to Personal Finance. Conference attendance is free for all TMA members.

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Serve on a TMA Board, Council, or Committee

If you are looking to get involved, meet new physicians from across the state, build your CV, and gain leadership experience, consider serving in the resident slot on a TMA board, council, or committee. Terms are for one year. Apply by April 15 for the 2015-16 term; appointments will be made at the RFS meeting during TexMed.

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Sign Up Now for TMA Legislative News Hotline

Want to stay fully informed of the latest happenings of the 2015 Texas Legislature? Subscribe today to TMA Legislative News Hotline.

Hotline is a daily electronic newsletter for TMA members that reports the legislature’s latest actions on bills affecting Texas medicine. The hotline is delivered each legislative day before noon beginning Jan. 1. A weekly recap, delivered each Sunday, is also available. Subscribe today.

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TexMed 2015 Registration Is Now Open, and It's Free

Register today for TMA’s free annual conference and join thousands of fellow Texas physicians as TexMed 2015 descends on Austin May 1-2 for a weekend of advocacy, education, and collaboration. TexMed is TMA’s largest event of the year.

Join other residents at the RFS Business Meeting on set for Friday, May 1, from 2-3:30 pm.

Conference highlights include:

Thursday, April 30
2-4 pm
Arrive early on Thursday, April 30, and bring your white coat with you for TexMed at the Capitol. Head to the Capitol and visit with legislators and key staff. You will have the opportunity to meet with elected officials face-to-face to voice the priorities for medicine this legislative session. Join other physicians and alliance members to make a big impression. Please note: TMA will provide a shuttle from the Hilton to the Capitol for your convenience.

Friday, May 1
3:30-5 pm
During TexMed’s Opening General Session, Ira Byock, MD, will address the issue of palliative care and dying in America. Dr. Byock, author and one of the foremost palliative care physicians in the country, argues that to ensure the best end-of-life care possible we must not only remake our health care system but also move past our cultural aversion to talking about dying. 

Saturday, May 2
1:30-2:30 pm
Patricia A. Shands, MD, will share her unique journey through health care during TexMed’s Closing General Session. An orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Shands lives and works in Anchorage, Ala., and for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. She’ll share her motivational recount of her work with Native/Inuit tribes. She provides an extraordinary look at the path medicine has taken her. 

 GME Expansion a Top Priority for Texas Specialty Societies

Winning greater investment in graduate medical education (GME) programs is a 2015 legislative priority for most of the Texas family of medicine.

Standing up before their peers at the 2015 TMA Advocacy Retreat, seven state specialty societies joined TMA and the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association in calling on state lawmakers to expand the number of residency slots Texas training institutions can support. They spoke not only of the need to grow Texas’ physician workforce but also of Texas’ inability to further train the growing number of graduates from the state’s medical schools.

Most organizations at the retreat endorsed greater GME funding; those with specific suggestions included:  

  • Texas Academy of Family Physicians,
  • Texas Chapter of the American College of Physicians,
  • Texas Ophthalmological Association,
  • Texas Pediatric Society,
  • Texas Society of Anesthesiologists, 
  • Texas Society for Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, and 
  • Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians.  

GME expansion is a key component of TMA’s Healthy Vision 2020, Second Edition, the association’s advocacy plan for the remainder of the decade: “To meet future physician demands, Texas needs a stable, high-quality medical education system to produce homegrown physicians. We must provide a reasonable opportunity for Texas medical school graduates to obtain their residency training in the state without being forced to leave home. Multiple studies confirm physicians who complete medical school and residency training in the state are three times more likely to practice here.” Read all of Healthy Vision online.

Speaking at the Advocacy Retreat’s closing luncheon, State Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton), who has been a key figure in drafting the past several state budgets, said physicians realistically could expect lawmakers to continue the GME expansion trend they began in the 2013 legislative session. They will find more money for GME, Representative Zerwas said, if physicians speak out about it loudly enough. 

Twitter conversations during the Advocacy Retreat verified his prediction, as lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum weighed in for more GME spending. State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) called it “a priority for many of us in the Texas Legislature.” That brought an “Agree!” tweet from State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano), who then added. “It's a problem that so many Texas-educated docs are doing residencies and practicing medicine outside of Texas. Let’s fix it.”

Among other legislative priorities were:  

  • Stopping inappropriate expansion of the scope of practice of nonphysician practitioners;
  • Increasing state Medicaid payments and extending Medicare parity for Medicaid payments for primary care services;
  • Stopping the spread of health insurance narrow networks and protecting out-of-network physicians;
  • Regaining state funding support for several primary care preceptorship programs for medical students; and
  • Protecting Texas’ 2003 medical liability reforms.  

Several other specialty societies expressed their frustration with new federal regulations reclassifying drugs that contain hydrocodone combinations from Schedule III to Schedule II. They asked Texas lawmakers to investigate what steps the state can take to ease the paperwork requirements associated with the reclassification.

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Nominate a Worthy Physician for the J.T. "Lamar" McNew, MD, Award
Do you know a physician who has provided outstanding mentoring and service to residents and fellows? If so, nominate  him or her for the J.T. “Lamar” McNew, MD, Award. The nomination deadline is Jan. 31, 2015. The TMA-RFS will recognize the winning physician during TexMed 2015 in Austin, May 1-2. 
The award is named for Dr. McNew, a retired Bryan physician who served in the Brazos Valley region for many years and was a primary provider of obstetrical services to women on Medicaid in the area. He also taught at the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center for 20 years. 
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Save the Date

First Tuesdays at the Capitol returns next month, and the Family of Medicine needs you to be there.

The “White Coat Invasion” has been the key to physicians’ successes in the Texas Legislature since the inception of First Tuesdays at the Capitol in 2003. Our senators and representatives listen when their hometown doctors appear in their offices. Our influence is so much greater when physicians and alliance members arrive en masse in the House and Senate galleries. It’s time again to bring out Texas medicine’s strongest weapon.

The 2015 First Tuesdays at the Capitol are set for Feb. 3, March 3, April 7, and May 5. The First Tuesdays event on March 3 is dedicated to young and newly licensed physicians. 

Receive talking points and grassroots training, then march to the Capitol and make a difference for your future. Register today.

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Check Out the Latest Installment in TMA's Resident Video Library

The Resident Video Library MembersOnlyRed offers convenient, on-demand access to to information you need to survive residency as well as the business of medicine knowledge to help you transition into active practice successfully. Check out the DocbookMD videos to learn how the HIPAA-compliant application for smartphone and tablet devices can help you provide better patient care and enable you and your care team to send secure messages and images from a mobile device anytime, anywhere.  

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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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