Physicians Graduate From Accountable Care Leadership Course

Nov. 09, 2015    

Note: News media, check the list below to see if a TMA physician from your area graduated from the TMA Accountable Care Leadership Program. Please let us know if you’d like an interview.

Some doctors are going back to school — to learn how to be better leaders, and navigate the complex world of accountable care.

The first capstone event of the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Accountable Care Leadership Development program concluded Saturday, during which 14 physicians from across Texas fully completed and graduated from the course. TMA presents the program under the oversight of The University of Texas at Dallas (UT-Dallas) to help physicians learn about being leaders in medicine, and about accountable care organizations (ACOs) and how their practice might interact with — or help launch — one.

“Medicine is changing, and who better than TMA to help empower our physician leaders of today and tomorrow to adapt to, and help orchestrate, these changes?” said Tom Garcia, MD, TMA president. “I am truly excited that our TMA is offering physicians guidance to help them thrive and succeed in the leadership and business aspects of medical practice.”

Michael Deegan, MD, a UT-Dallas clinical professor of health care leadership and innovation, presents the course. “I have enjoyed working with TMA members throughout the state to help them make the transition from traditional care delivery and reimbursement models to new models that will help them survive and thrive as health care delivery and reimbursement change,” said Dr. Deegan.

Physicians are leaders of the health care team, and many are leaders as owners of their medical practice. Regardless of their experience, they can benefit from formal leadership training. And for those who might want to join or lead formation of an ACO, the course provides necessary insight and skills to succeed.

Generally speaking, an ACO is a collaboration of physicians and health care providers who accept accountability for the costs and quality of care of a defined population of patients. The goal is to reduce costs while improving quality of patient health care. It replaces the long-standing fee-for-service model of health care delivery, in which the patient pays for a diagnosis or a treatment. Many early ACOs were set up by hospitals, or at least included a hospital as a major participant.

Yet many physicians want to remain independent doctors, not owned by or formal partners with hospitals. That’s why the need to educate physicians about ACOs developed, so if doctors want to form or join an ACO without hospital participation, they know how. TMA’s new physician services organization, TMA PracticeEdge, LLC (a supporting partner in this education program) helps independent physicians and doctor groups “go it alone” — apart from hospital ownership or partnership — together by empowering them to unite efforts to provide better care for their patients and better practice management for their offices. And if they choose to formalize that effort by forming an ACO together, TMA’s Accountable Care Leadership Development program can help guide the way.

That’s one reason Brenda Vozza-Zeid, MD, a Henderson internist, decided to enroll.

“After taking this course I feel better prepared for the many changes that are coming in health care,” said Dr. Vozza-Zeid. “It has helped strengthen my leadership skills and helped me to better work with people and make positive changes in the future.”

The genesis for the change in health care delivery models is health system reform driven by the federal government, pressuring physicians and hospitals to control cost and improve quality in the nation’s health care delivery system. Accountable care was born.

The ACO leadership class requires a huge time commitment from already-busy physicians. It incorporates 12 study units including the capstone event, each averaging 8-10 hours to complete. Units feature topics like managing change, practice improvement tools, and creating value for patients and payers. Participating physicians receive 85 hours of continuing medical education credit upon completion.

The initial class participants vary in age, practice specialty, practice size, and geographic location across Texas. A few have already formed their own ACO, including one rural physician group who did so under the guidance of TMA PracticeEdge.

TMA already is soliciting physician-students for the next Accountable Care Leadership Development program term.

“I highly recommend this course, and thank TMA for providing me this wonderful educational opportunity,” said Dr. Vozza-Zeid.

TMA Accountable Care Leadership Program Graduates and their hometowns:

  • Saba Asad, MD, of Fort Worth
  • Luis M. Benavides, MD, of Laredo
  • Gregory M Fuller, MD, of Keller
  • Oscar Garza, MD, or Pearsall
  • Brenna Gerdelman, MD, of Austin
  • Sander Gothard, MD, of Plano
  • C. Shane Hall, MD, of McKinney
  • Jeffrey B. Kahn, MD, of Austin
  • Lianne Marks, MD, PhD, FACP, of Round Rock
  • Phuong-Khanh Jessica Nguyen-Trong, MD, of Dallas
  • Garth Vaz, MD, of Gonzales
  • John F. Villacis, MD, of Austin
  • Brenda Vozza-Zeid, MD, of Henderson 
  • Kevin Winfield, MD, of Houston 

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.


Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org

Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org

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Last Updated On

June 17, 2016