Future of Medicine Tops 12th Annual Border Health Conference

Physicians, Congressional Leaders to Address Health Care Access Issues

  • WHAT: Physician leaders will meet in Edinburg, Texas with federal lawmakers and government officials to discuss critical health care needs and challenges facing communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. The 12th Annual Border Health Conference is sponsored by the Texas Medical Association (TMA) Border Health Caucus (BHC). The BHC’s mission is to ensure access to care for all patients along the border, and this year’s conference agenda also covers top issues of national importance.
  • WHEN: Friday, Aug. 4, 8:30 am-2:30 pm (See detailed schedule below.)
  • WHERE: Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, 118 Paseo Del Prado, Edinburg, TX
  • WHY: This marks the 12th year physicians have assembled with other health care and government experts to discuss health care problems facing border patients and their physicians. Many of the issues also affect all Texans and Americans. Specific issues this conference will address:
    • Federal health care act reform and the future;
    •  Public health and infrastructure; and 
    •  Cross-border health issues. 

  • WHO: Top Texas physician, health care, academic, and government leaders, led by BHC Chair Manuel Acosta, MD; BHC Vice Chair Luis Benavides, MD; and TMA President and founding BHC member Carlos J. Cardenas, MD; as well as honorary conference Chair U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville).

Conference panels and participants

8:30 am            Opening Remarks

  •  Carlos J. Cardenas, MD, TMA president
  •  U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville), conference co-chair
  •  Attending Representatives 
    •  U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston)
    •  U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo)
    •  U.S. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Corpus Christi)

9 am                 Panel 1: Health Care Act Reform and the Future Where we are now, what happened, and where we go from here. Topics to be covered include Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Graduate Medical Education funding.

Moderator: Carlos J. Cardenas, MD, TMA president

  •  Chris Traylor, former executive commissioner, Texas Health and Human Services Commission
  •  Ken Janda,  president and CEO, Community Health Choice Inc.
  •  John H. Krouse, MD, dean, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

10:45 am         Panel 2: Public Health and InfrastructureWhat resources are available to meet public health needs along the border? Are they sufficient? Topics to be covered include assets in the Rio Grande Valley, threats such as the arboviral disease in El Paso, and the changing face of hospitals.

Moderator: Linda Villarreal, MD, member, TMA Board of Trustees

  •  Eddie Olivarez, chief administrative officer, Hidalgo County Health Department
  •  Gilbert A. Handal, MD, professor, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center-El Paso
  •  John Hawkins, senior vice president of advocacy & public policy, Texas Hospital Association

1:00 pm            Panel 3: Cross Border Health IssuesThe importance of Texas collaborating with health officials in Mexico, because health care knows no boundaries.

Moderator: Luis Benavides, MD, BHC vice chair

  •  Victor H. Gonzalez, MD, founder, Valley Retina Institute
  •  R. J. Dutton, PhD, director, Office of Border Services, Texas Department of State Health Services
  •  Hector F. Gonzales, MD, director, City of Laredo Health Department

Please contact Brent or Marcus in TMA’s communications division to pre-arrange interviews with participating physicians before, during, or after the conference.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 50,000 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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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

August 01, 2017