It's Academic: September 2017

September 2017 

Medical Board Avoids Sunset During Special Session

When the dust settled from the Texas Legislature’s 2017 general session, there was no legislation to keep the Texas Medical Board (TMB) and the Texas Medical Practice Act alive after Sept. 1, 2017.

Texas physicians nervously watched as Gov. Greg Abbott called a special session of Texas legislators this summer to address this void. Both the House and the Senate passed identical versions of relevant bills during the early days of the special session, but neither took any action on the other’s bills for several weeks. The logjam broke Aug. 7, when the House State Affairs Committee approved Senate Bill 20 (which extends the life of TMB) and the House Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 60 (which provides funding for the agency). With no debate, discussion, or amendments, the full House of Representatives gave the bills speedy preliminary approval Aug. 10 and final appproval Aug. 11.

With a collective sigh of relief among Texas physicians, Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bills extending the life of TMB and the Medical Practice Act on Aug. 11, just hours after they reached his desk. 

The Texas Medical Association thanked the governor and lawmakers for “standing up for medicine and patient care.”

“Thanks to the passage of this critical legislation, Texas will now be able to continue to license new doctors and regulate the practice of medicine,” the governor said. “As the first order of business on my special session call, these bills were necessary in keeping important state agencies running and keeping Texans healthy.”

TMA President Carlos J. Cardenas, MD, quickly released thank-you statements on the TMA website and in a video message.

“The Texas Medical Association thanks Gov. Greg Abbott for placing the Medical Practice Act and TMB sunset renewal on the legislative special session call,” Dr. Cardenas said. “We also thank Texas lawmakers for answering that call and passing these laws overwhelmingly to ensure Texans can continue to receive the best patient care possible from their physicians.”

The 85th Texas Legislature returned to Austin in July for the special session. Starting with the TMB sunset bill, the governor identified 21 priorities for consideration — all reprised from the regular session that ended May 29.

Without legislative action, TMB would have begun a wind-down period beginning Sept. 1, and the Medical Practice Act would have ceased to exist on that date.

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What Is the Biggest Challenge Residents Say They Face?

Work-life balance remains the biggest challenge residents say they face during their medical education, according to a recently released study. 

One in three residents said balancing the hard work required during residency with a satisfying social life is their biggest challenge, according to Medscape’s Residents Lifestyle and Happiness Report 2017. It is the third straight year work-life balance topped the survey. 

More than 1,500 medical residents in more than 25 surveys participated in the survey, which was conducted between April and May and released last month. 

Dealing with the pressures or demands on their time was residents’ second-biggest challenge, according to the report. Fear of failure or making a serious mistake (12 percent), debt (11 percent), and developing the skills required for their specialty (11 percent) also were cited as challenges. 

The survey also took physical and behavioral health into consideration. According to the survey: 

  • Thirty-six percent of respondents said they rarely or never make enough time for personal health and wellness,
  • Eighteen percent said they have enough time for a satisfying social life,
  • Sixty-six percent believe a manageable work schedule and call hours would prevent burnout,
  • Ten percent said they were depressed always or most of the time, while 51 percent said they were rarely or never depressed, and
  • Eighty-five percent said they’ve never considered suicide, while 11 percent said they have. 

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Tools to Help Medical Students and Residents Be Prepared for Medical Licensing

Although the intricacies of medical licensing might not be the most interesting topic, familiarity with the process will help it run smoothly for aspiring physicians. After all, you can’t practice medicine without a license.

To help students and residents understand the process, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has developed a series of education modules on medical regulation

The online modules begin with an overview on The Role of State Medical Boards and Understanding and Navigating the Medical Licensing Process. Future modules will focus on physician health and impairment, reasons physicians get in trouble, and the medical disciplinary process.

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Help Create a Healthier Texas at Statewide Summit

How can academic physicians improve obesity rates in Texas? What can Texas physicians do to curb poor nutrition and physical inactivity in their patients?

Those are some of the questions that will be addressed at the Healthier Texas Summit, a joint event of The University of Texas System and It’s Time Texas, a nonprofit organization focused on improving health and wellness in the state.

The summit, Nov. 6 and 7 at the Hilton Austin, is part of the Healthier Texas initiative, designed to reduce the burden of preventable chronic disease, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of all deaths in Texas.

The event will feature 35 sessions, town hall conversations, interactive workshops, and two symposiums: What’s Next? Health and the 85th Legislative Session and Collective Action Approaches to Improve Community Health. Education credits will be available for a variety of professions.

Online registration is open until Oct. 29, and sponsorship opportunities are also available.

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This Month in Texas Medicine 

The September issue of Texas Medicine takes an in-depth look at prior authorizations, which insurance companies require when physicians prescribe a medication or treatment. Authorizations are designed to keep costs down, but anecdotal evidence shows that in the last year or so, prior authorizations have become abusive. Topics include independent review organizations, which offer a little-known appeal option, and peer-to-peer conversations between a patient’s physician and another physician to determine whether the treatment is necessary. The magazine also looks at long-term effects of adverse childhood experiences; a legal case involving pharmacies and compounding creams; and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, which opened about a year ago.

Check out our digital edition of Texas Medicine.

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Texas Medicine RSS Feed

Don’t want to wait for Texas Medicine to land in your mailbox? You can access it as an RSS feed. Once there, you can download an RSS reader, such as Feedreader, Sharpreader, Sage, or NetNewsWire Lite. You also can subscribe to the RSS feeds for TMA news releases and for Blogged Arteries, the feed for Action.

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E-Tips RSS Feed

TMA Practice E-Tips, a valuable source of hands-on, use-it-now advice on coding, billing, payment, HIPAA compliance, office policies and procedures, and practice marketing, is available as an RSS feed, the same way you get the Texas Medicine RSS feed.  

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This Just In ...

Want the latest and hottest news from TMA in a hurry? Then log on to Blogged Arteries.

It's Academic is designed for physicians in academic settings. For more information about TMA’s efforts on behalf of medical education and academic physicians, visit the TMA Council on Medical Education’s Subcommittee for Academic Physicians page and advocacy page on the TMA website.

Please share with your colleagues who are not TMA members and ask them to join.

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Last Updated On

October 17, 2017

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