Texas Student Doctor Newsletter: Summer 2013

Summer 2013

 News from the TMA Medical Student Section

 Legislature Adds $30 Million for GME

After hearing from the Texas Medical Association and Texas medical schools that medical school enrollments are growing more rapidly in Texas than entry-level graduate medical education (GME) positions, the Texas Legislature appropriated more than $30 million in additional state support for GME in the state's next two-year budget.

The 2014-15 state budget reverses some of the GME funding lost in the 2011 legislative session and establishes new grant programs to stimulate GME growth. Overall GME funding was pieced together in the budget and through additional legislation. The total amount of state dollars dedicated to GME increased from $67 million in 2012-13 to $97 million for 2014-15, an increase of 45 percent. The historic peak in GME support was $106 million in 2010-11.  

GME formula funding, which took a 31-percent hit in 2011, was partially restored, with a 15.5-percent, or $8.8 million, increase over the 2012-13 biennium, increasing from $57 million in 2012-13 to $66 million for 2014-15. The per-capita amount increased by 9 percent, or $880 over the biennium, from $9,364 to $10,244. House Bill 1025, a supplemental appropriations bill, authorizes $9.25 million for GME expansions, and House Bill 2550 is the spending vehicle for $5 million more for growing GME placed in Senate Bill 1, for a combined $14.25 million in new monies to fund three new programs in 2014-15:

  • Hospital GME planning grants to fund one-time grants of $150,000 to hospitals not currently offering GME and not under Medicare GME funding caps;
  • Funding for accredited, unfilled, and unfunded GME positions, estimated to be about 100; and
  • Funding for newly developed GME positions, including the potential for development of new GME programs. 

This session was the first in a several years in which lawmakers took a hard look at GME in Texas and its impact on ensuring an adequate physician workforce, said Michelle Romero, associate director for advocacy for TMA. There were two major differences this session:

  1. An interest by the Texas Legislature in offsetting a higher amount of the total costs for training a resident, allowing for $65,000 to be paid per resident a year in the new grant programs, and
  2. New grant money to stimulate GME growth. 

In comparison, the state GME formula dollars provide $5,122 per resident per year for the teaching side of GME costs and no monies for the hospital portion. Further, these formula dollars are allocated across the board for all eligible resident positions. The new programs for incentivizing GME growth will allocate funds through a competitive grant process. Residency programs in family medicine will receive a higher level of state support, due to a doubling of the appropriation for this program at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Funding increased from $5.6 million in 2012-13 to $12.78 million in 2014-15, an increase of 128 percent, or $7.2 million. This increase, however, falls short of the historic funding peak, which was $21.2 million in 2010-11.

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 Medical Education Funding

Medical education will get a 7-percent boost in medical student formula funding from $42,180 per student per year to $45,282 in 2014-15. TMA and its partners helped stop off-shore medical schools from potentially buying up core clinical clerkship spots in Texas hospitals, and repealed a 2011 law that forced international medical graduates (IMGs) who are not U.S. citizens or are not holders of “green cards” or employment visas to spend three years working only in medically underserved areas. It was strongly anticipated this law would have had a chilling effect on new IMGs selecting Texas for a practice location.

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 New Primary Care Physician Pipeline Innovations 
HB 2550 establishes a new grant program to promote innovations at medical schools in developing more primary care physicians for the state. A total of $2.1 million was appropriated for this program for 2014-15 to encourage medical schools to establish new programs with similar goals as the Family Medicine Accelerated Tract program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, which produces new family physicians in six rather than seven years. These grant dollars are to encourage similar types of innovations at Texas medical schools to produce more primary care physicians.

Funding cuts were restored for the Joint Admission Medical Program, for a gain of $3.2 million or 46 percent, from $7 million in 2012-13 to $10.2 million in 2014-15. This program is a physician pipeline program intended to promote greater diversity in the Texas physician workforce. It provides a variety of support programs to help educate and train more physicians from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. 

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 TMA House Acts on Medical Student Resolutions

The TMA House of Delegates considered several resolutions from the Medical Student Section at TexMed 2013 in May.


  • Referred to the TMA Board of Trustees, for a report back at TexMed 2014, Resolution 103 to increase public knowledge of advance directives;
  • Amended and adopted Resolution 104 on physicians’ autonomous clinical decisionmaking authority; 
  • Amended and adopted Resolution 204 on access to research literature;
  • Referred to the Board of Trustees a resolution on umbilical cord blood education;
  • Amended and adopted Resolution 302 on sugar-sweetened drinks in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; and
  • Amended and adopted Resolution 409 on long-term care funding and quality improvement.

A House of Delegates summary of actions on these and other issues is on the TMA website. 

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 MSS Has New Leaders

Congratulations to the 2013-14 Medical Student Section Executive Council. These students were elected at TexMed 2013 in San Antonio in May.

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 MSS Award Winners at TexMed

The MSS presented three awards at TexMed 2013. The winners are:

• C. Frank Webber, MD, Award — Steven Berk, MD, Lubbock;
• MSS Chapter of the Year —University of North Texas Health Science Center-Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine; and
• Medical Student of the Year — Justin Berk, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, Lubbock.

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 Thank You to UT San Antonio!

Thanks to student colleagues at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) for coordinating an amazing mixer during TexMed 2013 for students and residents.

Medical students are thrilled to have the opportunity to meet other students and residents from across the state in a fun environment. The MSS depends on local leaders like Stuart Solomon, UTHSCSA chapter president, and Jacob Oppenheimer, UTHSCSA TMA delegate, to coordinate such events during TMA meetings.

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 Texans on AMA MSS Regional Board

Three Texas medical students were elected to the American Medical Association Medical Student Section Region 3 board at the AMA meeting in Chicago in June.

They’re all second-year students.

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 UT Defends Admissions Policy

The University of Texas at Austin (UT) “will continue to defend the University’s admission policy,” President William C. Powers said in a statement after the U.S. Supreme Court sent a lawsuit challenging the school’s admission policy  back to a lower court for further proceedings. He said he was “encouraged” by the court’s decision because it keeps the affirmative action policies established in previous cases.

Abigail Fisher filed suit in 2008 to overturn UT’s consideration of race in its admission policy after the university denied her application for enrollment.

“Once the university has established that its goal of diversity is consistent with strict scrutiny, however, there must still be a further judicial determination that the admissions process meets strict scrutiny in its implementation,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy, author of the 7-1 opinion. “The university must prove that the means chosen by the university to attain diversity are narrowly tailored to that goal.”

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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 is retiring.

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 the MUSC vice president for academic affairs and provost.

After receiving his undergraduate training from the University of North Carolina (UNC), Dr. Greenberg earned a medical degree from Duke University, a master of public health degree from Harvard University, and a doctorate in epidemiology from UNC. He also holds honorary degrees from the College of Charleston, Simpson College, and The Citadel.

Following his training, Greenberg served for 12 years at Emory University, where he held several leadership positions, including chair of the medical school’s department of epidemiology and biostatistics, deputy director of the Winship Cancer Center, and founding dean of the Rollins School of Public Health.

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 Save the Dates  

TMA Fall Conference will be Oct. 18-19 at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin.

The AMA Medical Student Section Interim Meeting will be Nov. 14-16 in National Harbor, Md.

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 Want to Be an AMA Leader?  

Oct. 4 is the deadline to apply for an American Medical Association leadership position.

The AMA-MSS Assembly will elect students to serve in the following Governing Council positions for 2013-14: vice chair, delegate, alternate delegate, at-large officer, speaker, and vice speaker.

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 Nominate a Journalist for Health Reporting

Have you read, heard, or seen a great health news story this year? If so, take a moment now to nominate it for a TMA Anson Jones, MD, Award.

This is the first time members of the TMA family can nominate journalists for the Anson Jones awards, which recognize excellence in health journalism in Texas. Nominating one or two of your local journalists is a great way to enhance your relationship with the media and encourage continued health news coverage.

The Anson Jones competition recognizes print, broadcast (television and radio), and online media, and includes a Texas Health Journalist of the Year award. Physician-reporters also are recognized with the Physician Excellence in Reporting category.

It’s easy to nominate your local journalist

The entry deadline is Jan. 15.

If you have questions, call Tammy Wishard, TMA outreach coordinator, at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1470, or (512) 370-1470, or email ansonjones[at]texmed[dot]org.

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 Resources for You and Your Chapter  

Looking for help planning chapter events? Want clarification on parliamentary procedure? Not sure who the contact is for your council or committee? 

Visit the MSS Leadership Manual for resources on a range of topics from resolution writing to funding to leadership opportunities and more.

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Last Updated On

May 13, 2016