May 2, 2015
AUSTIN - The Texas Medical Association (TMA) today installed A. Tomas Garcia III, MD, as its 150th president.
“This is an exciting and challenging time for the medical profession,” said the Houston cardiologist. “With the many challenges facing us, it is important to maintain focus on our vision: ‘To improve the health of all Texans.’ ”
Dr. Garcia said his priorities during his one-year term in office will include the successful early implementation of the new TMA PracticeEdge physician services organization; oversight of Medicare funding in the wake of the repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate formula for paying physicians; preserving Texas’ medical liability reform, passed in 2003; and handling whatever unexpected issues arise. He is ever-mindful of the potential of the unknown after experiencing the landfall and aftermath of Hurricane Ike in Houston during his Harris County Medical Society (HCMS) presidency.
“I am confident in our leadership, our staff, and all our members of the TMA that given any challenge, we will respond accordingly and be successful,” said Dr. Garcia.
Dr. Garcia stressed that organized medicine must support its vision — to protect the patient-physician relationship and improve Texans’ health care — which TMA has worked so hard to achieve throughout the years. “By standing together … each of us will succeed individually if we work collectively as a cohesive body of professionals to the benefit of our patients,” he said.
The Houston cardiologist loves caring for his patients. “I can’t think of a more stately, worthy cause than to care for another human being — and that is the patient-doctor relationship,” he said.
“Serving my patients and saving their lives is something I dreamed about when I was a kid,” he recalled. “And that’s what we’re about; TMA is all about protecting that doctor-patient relationship.”
Dr. Garcia has dedicated more than 30 years to leadership in organized medicine. He has been chair of the TMA Board of Trustees; chair of TMA’s Committee on Cardiovascular Diseases; and president of the TMA Foundation, the association’s philanthropic arm. In addition, he has been a member of TMA’s House of Delegates since 1995 and a district chair of TEXPAC, TMA’s political action committee.
Dr. Garcia also has served on TMA’s Council on Legislation and Border Health Caucus. Over the years, he has advocated for improving Texans’ health by testifying before the Texas Legislature and meeting with lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
In Houston, in addition to serving as HCMS president in 2008, Dr. Garcia served in numerous HCMS leadership positions, including chair of its delegation to TMA from 1999 to 2001. He serves on the boards of the Texas Medical Center and the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.
On the national level, Dr. Garcia has served as a TMA delegate to the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates since 1998. He also served on the AMA Special Advisory Group Extraordinaire in 2002.
Dr. Garcia is a native of Alice, Texas, and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor of science degree in pharmacy. He received his medical degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara School of Medicine in Jalisco, Mexico. He has practiced cardiology in Houston since 1981. He is an Eagle Scout and an active member of the Boy Scouts of America, Sam Houston Council.
Dr. Garcia and his wife, Alma, have been married for 44 years and have four adult children and two grandchildren. He and his wife are long-time parishioners of the St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Houston.
TMA’s House of Delegates, the association’s policymaking body, installed Dr. Garcia today during TexMed, the association’s annual conference, in Austin. TMA’s House of Delegates elects a physician president-elect who serves in that role for one year before assuming the TMA presidency.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 48,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
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Contact: Steve Levine (512) 370-1380; Cell: (512) 750-0971; e-mail: steve.levine[at]texmed[dot]org
Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; Cell: (512) 656-7320; e-mail: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org
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