Generous Contributions Push TMA Relief Program Near $1 Million

Sept. 16, 2017

Two substantial contributions by national physician organizations gave the Texas Medical Association (TMA) TMA Disaster Relief Program a giant boost today, pushing the total raised to nearly $1 million. The program aims to assist thousands of Texas physician practices damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey recover and reopen to care for patients as quickly as possible.

The need is great: A new TMA survey finds nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of physicians in Texas’ official disaster area counties were forced to close their practice temporarily, and one-third (35 percent) had to reduce their hours or services.

Representatives from the American Medical Association (AMA) and The Physicians Foundation presented checks for contributions in the amount of $150,000 and $500,000, respectively, at 2017 TMA Fall Conference near Bastrop today.

Susan R. Bailey, MD, of Fort Worth, speaker of the AMA House of Delegates, and Russell W.H. Kridel, MD, of Houston, a member of the AMA Board of Trustees, presented the $150,000 AMA donation to Leslie H. Secrest, MD, of Dallas, president of the TMA Foundation.

“Physicians and other health care workers rushed to help during the storm, but many came back to practices that had been devastated just like the homes of their friends and neighbors,” said Dr. Bailey. “The AMA is committed to improving the health of the nation, which is why we are providing this assistance to get practices back up and running so patients can once again see their own doctor.”

“As a practicing physician in Houston, I know firsthand the toll of this storm and the impact it had — and will continue to have — on our community,” said Dr. Kridel. “I know several colleagues who lost their homes and had their offices destroyed. We hope this contribution from the AMA will help TMA’s effort to rebuild doctors’ practices so we can continue to help patients get the care they need. The rebuilding process will be massive, but my hope — and the AMA’s hope — is that empowering Texans to see their own physicians will be an important step toward normalcy and recovery.”

Physicians Foundation board members Joe Valenti, MD, of Denton, and Louis J. Goodman, PhD, TMA’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, then presented a reliefprogram check for $500,000 to Dr. Secrest.

“As a physician, I understand the concern among practices in the affected areas to be able to provide quality care amidst this devastation,” said Dr. Valenti. “My colleagues here at TMA and I are committed to supporting our fellow Texas physicians so they can get back to what they do best.”

“Our physicians must be able to treat their patients, providing them with a safe and healthy environment which has unfortunately been compromised by this disaster,” said Dr. Goodman, a former Physicians Foundation president. “As a dedicated Texan and physician advocate, I am proud to deliver this grant from The Physicians Foundation to help get physicians and communities affected by Hurricane Harvey back on their feet.”

“The compassion, generosity, and graciousness represented by each gift is amazing! This will allow medical practices in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to get up and running, providing the care their patients desperately need,” said Dr. Secrest.

TMA President Carlos J. Cardenas, MD, presided over the presentations. “We wanted to jump in and help doctors rebuild or relocate as quickly as possible, because their patients need them; these incredibly generous contributions will go far in boosting this effort,” he said.

The TMA Foundation had raised $257,000 in new and prior donations for physician relief. Today’s $650,000 infusion springs the total available funds to $907,000.

TMA restarted the program to help physicians reestablish practices destroyed by Harvey’s winds and floodwaters. For many doctor’s offices throughout southeast Texas, damage is terrific. Many lost everything from medical equipment to vaccines to office furniture and computers.

Funds the Disaster Relief Program distributes will help physicians pay for storm loss expenses their insurance or other sources will not cover. The goal is to raise at least $1 million.

Today’s contributions underscore the support of organized medicine across the nation. State, national, and specialty medical societies from coast to coast, in addition to physicians and others across Texas, already have pledged or donated funds. Many medical societies are urging their in-state physicians to donate to the TMA program as well.

“Physicians want nothing more than to care for their patients. They understand how people rely on access to care when they need it,” said Dr. Cardenas. “So we feel the pain of our brethren who suddenly find themselves unable to do what they do, care for their community. That’s why we want to rush to assist as quickly as possible, and as generously as possible.” 

“Communities across the south are hurting; they need to get back to normal, and they have basic needs like food, shelter, and health care. We want them to regain that access to their hometown doctor.”

TMA’s philanthropic arm, TMA Foundation, created similar fund drives after hurricanes Rita and Ike in 2005 and 2008, enabling TMA to grant between $5,000 and $8,000 to each medical practice in need. TMA received $700,000 in contributions for the program in 2008. TMA Foundation once again is overseeing fundraising, and The Physicians Benevolent Fund is administering the TMA Disaster Relief Program. Any Texas physician whose medical practice in one of the federally-declared disaster counties was damaged by Harvey may apply for assistance from the TMA program. 

Please click here to see a brief video of a TMA physician describing flooding to a Humble, TX medical clinic.

 

About TMA and the TMA Foundation

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. The TMA Foundation raises funds to support the population health, quality of care, and science priority initiatives of TMA and the Family of Medicine.

About The Physicians Foundation

The Physicians Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that seeks to empower physicians to lead in the delivery of high-quality, cost-efficient health care. As the U.S. health care system continues to evolve, The Physicians Foundation is steadfast in its determination to strengthen the patient-physician  relationship, support physicians in sustaining their medical practices, and help practicing physicians navigate the changing health care system. For more information, visit www.PhysiciansFoundation.org.

About AMA

The American Medical Association is the premier national organization providing timely, essential resources to empower physicians, residents, and medical students to succeed at every phase of their medical lives. Physicians have entrusted AMA to advance the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health on behalf of patients for more than 170 years. For more information, visit ama-assn.org. 

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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

November 28, 2017