It's Academic: August 2013

 Coordinating Board Says GME Expansion an Emergency 

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) completed the first phase of implementing new state graduate medical education (GME) expansion grant programs and distributing funding through the Family Medicine Residency Program for 2014-15 at its July meeting.

The board adopted emergency rules (click on VIII-T [7], VIII-T [8], and VIII-T [9]) implementing three new GME expansion grant programs. The Texas Legislature authorized the expansion by passing House Bill 2550 earlier this year. The deadline for disbursing money for the new hospital GME planning grants is Dec. 15. The board must award grants for new GME positions as well as the funding for existing unfilled and unfunded GME positions by Jan. 1. The usual rulemaking timeline would not have enabled the agency to meet these deadlines. 
House Bill 1025, a supplemental appropriations bill for the 2014-15 state budget, authorizes $9.25 million for GME expansion. Together, HBs 2550 and 1025 and the main budget bill provide $14.25 million in new money to fund three new programs in 2014-15:

  • One-time GME planning grants of $150,000 to facilities not currently offering GME and not under Medicare GME funding caps;
  • Funding for accredited unfilled and unfunded GME positions; and
  • Funding for newly developed GME positions, including the potential for developing new GME programs. 

Watch future issues of It's Academic for more information about opportunities for public comment on the proposed rules. 

Family Medicine Residency Funding
The coordinating board also approved funding for 716 family medicine residents at $8,760 each per year for 2014-15. In addition, the state will set aside $236,000 to pay for 56 optional rural rotations for family medicine residents. Officials will reserve an additional $6,000 to fund three public health rotations, which would restore the public health rotations that had been cut in the current state budget. Both rotations expose family medicine residents to medicine in rural or public health settings — two areas that need additional physicians. 

The legislature this year more than doubled the appropriation for the Family Medicine Residency Program for 2014-15, providing $12.78 million, compared with the $5.6 million in the current biennial budget.  

Top of page  

 Forum to Promote GME in Nonteaching Hospitals 

TMA will join the Texas Hospital Association and THECB in hosting a forum on Aug. 28 about the need for more hospitals in the state to train future physicians.

Medical schools have increased medical school enrollments by more than 30 percent over the past decade, but the number of entry-level GME training positions has not kept pace, resulting in a physician training bottleneck. The forum at the TMA building in Austin will target hospitals that do not offer GME and are not under Medicare GME funding caps.

The idea for the forum originated with TMA’s ad hoc Council of Medical School Deans and the TMA Council on Medical Education. The forum not only will focus on the need for more GME hospital training programs but also will inform hospitals about Medicare GME funding, GME accreditation, and new state grant opportunities. Particular emphasis will be placed on the planning grants for new GME programs THECB will administer in 2014-15. These one-time $150,000 grants will help develop and establish new first-year GME positions. Eligibility is limited to hospitals and other health care entities that do not currently operate a GME program and do not have a cap on the number of residents applicable to Medicare GME funding. Up to 12 grants may be awarded for 2014-15, and a request for applications is anticipated in September. Applications must be submitted to THECB by Nov. 15, and awards will be announced by Dec. 15. 

Future editions of It's Academic will bring you additional information about the grant application process. 

Top of page  

 UT System Gets New Health Chancellor 

Raymond S. Greenberg, MD, becomes the new executive vice chancellor for health affairs for The University of Texas System in September. He will succeed Kenneth Shine, MD, who announced his retirement last year.

Dr. Greenberg has been president of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) for the past 13 years. Prior to that, he served for five years as vice president for academic affairs and provost of MUSC, which is composed of six colleges and multiple hospital facilities.

After receiving his undergraduate training from the University of North Carolina, Dr. Greenberg earned a medical degree from Duke University, a master of public health degree from Harvard University, and a doctorate in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina.  

 Top of page 

 Dr. Ogden Named A&M Medical School Dean 

Paul Ogden, MD, is the new interim dean of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. Dr. Ogden previously was the college’s vice dean of academic affairs and regional chair of internal medicine for the medical school’s Bryan-College Station campus.

He succeeds outgoing dean T. Samuel Shomaker, MD, who will remain on staff as a special assistant to the interim president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center.  

Top of page  

 Join or Renew TMA Today: We Could Use Your Help! 

TMA has been a longtime advocate for academic faculty and medical schools — monitoring legislation, determining the potential impact on patients, and lobbying for your interests.

The results of the 2013 legislative session were outstanding for academic medicine. Our efforts in this legislative session, including public testimony provided by TMA leadership at every applicable legislative committee hearing and through personal visits with legislative members and staff, paid off. For example, lawmakers restored GME formula funding, which took a 31-percent hit in 2011, with a 15-percent, or $9.5 million, increase over 2012-13. Lawmakers also restored the Family Medicine Residency and State Physician Education Loan Repayment programs, which were almost eliminated in the last budget cycle. Medical education also received a boost of 7 percent in medical student funding in the new state budget. TMA  helped stop off-shore medical schools from buying up clerkship spots in Texas hospitals and repealed a 2011 law that forced international medical graduates to spend three years working in only medically underserved areas.
TMA is extremely successful in Texas — for one reason only. TMA speaks with one strong, firm, and consistent voice, the voice of its members. Only with grassroots support … only with your support … can we continue to be successful.  

Join or renew today at and see what a difference TMA membership can make. Within your department and/or academic institution, funds may be available to cover the cost of your membership. Please check with your department administrator or chair to see if applicable. 

Top of page 

New-to-Texas Physicians Can Start Here 

Are you a physician who is new to Texas? Have you recruited a physician for your school, your practice, or your community from out of state?

 TMA's New to Texas webpage can help new or returning Texans get their practices up and running. The page provides links that doctors need to obtain a Texas license, plus contact information for relevant state and federal agencies, and links to resources such as practice consulting for set-ups, health insurance plan contacts, and employee salary data.

TMA members can email the TMA Knowledge Center or call (800) 880-7955 for fast answers to questions about membership, TMA member benefits and services, practice management or legal information, and more.

Top of page  

This Month in Texas Medicine 

The August issue of  Texas Medicine details TMA’s numerous accomplishments in the 2013 session of the Texas Legislature, from increased medical education funding, to regulating “silent PPOs,” to reducing red tape in your practices, to adding due process to state Medicaid fraud protections, to preserving tort reform. You also can read about federal preparations for health insurance exchanges, and how auditors can make sure insurers are paying you properly. 

It's Academic is for physicians in academic settings. For more information about TMA’s efforts on behalf of medical education and academic physicians, visit the TMA Council on Medical Education’s Subcommittee for Academic Physicians page on the TMA website.

Please share with your colleagues who are not TMA members and ask them to join.

Top of page 

Back Issues of It's Academic  

Return to Publications Main Page