Winter 2017  

Deadline Extended: Apply for TMA's Accountable Care Leadership Program 

TMA launched the Accountable Care Leadership Program hand in hand with TMA PracticeEdge, a physician services organization designed to help physicians take advantage of new payment models. This intensive leadership course covers current health care topics, such as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). If you'd like to participate in the program, apply by Jan. 13. 

The program meets the needs of busy physicians, with coursework consisting primarily of lectures, readings, quizzes, and case studies accessible online 24/7. Participants in the 10-month certificate program get schooled in topics like communication skills, teamwork, and population health management, meant to help physicians adapt in a rapidly changing environment that demands more accountability and proof of value for the health care dollar.

The curriculum imparts practical skills relevant to all medical specialties. After successful completion, physicians earn a certificate from The University of Texas at Dallas, plus more than 95 continuing medical education credits from the American Medical Association and TMA.

The program features:    

  • Access to colleagues for networking and mentoring;
  • Opportunities to hear from industry leaders and visit with payers;
  • The ability to work at your own pace, from your desktop; and
  • Two weekend trips to Austin to share best practices and learn from experienced physician leaders.    

The program is supported by a grant from UnitedHealth Group. If you have questions about the program, contact Christina Shepherd at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1443, or email ACLeadership@texmed.org

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AMA House Tackles Post-Election Health Reform Options

An issue once thought resolved and one that won’t seem to go away dominated the debate and action at the 2016 Interim Meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates.

The meeting convened just four days after President-elect Donald Trump secured his victory with promises to move quickly to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The House of Delegates voted unanimously to “actively engage the new Administration and Congress in discussions about the future of health care reform, in collaboration with state and specialty medical societies, emphasizing our AMA’s extensive body of policy on health system reform.” AMA President Andrew Gurman, MD, emphasized that AMA wants to ensure that any ACA replacement “not cause individuals currently covered to become uninsured.”

Leaders of the Texas delegation, who pushed the “actively engage” language along with other southern and conservative states, said the 2016 elections brought physicians an excellent opportunity to rebuild America’s health care systems. “Everything is on the table — the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare, and Medicaid,” said delegation Chair David Henkes, MD, of San Antonio. “Today, we are crafting plans to remake the system so it truly serves our physician members and our patients.”

Recent House of Delegates meetings have reacted to physicians’ extreme dissatisfaction with maintenance of certification (MOC) exams and the specialty boards that run them with calls for increased transparency and reduced cost and time commitments. MOC opponents came back to the house demanding that AMA take a tougher stance. Delegates definitely moved in that direction. The house:  

  • Said MOC should not be a mandatory requirement for recredentialing, privileging, or insurance panel participation. That added to existing AMA policy that said MOC should not be required for licensure, credentialing, reimbursement, network participation, or employment.
  • Directed AMA to advocate for and develop model state legislation and model medical staff bylaws to ensure MOC “not be a requirement for: (1) medical staff membership, privileging, credentialing, or recredentialing; (2) insurance panel participation; or (3) state medical licensure.” The TMA House of Delegates adopted similarly policy in May 2016, based on a new law to that effect recently passed in Oklahoma.
  • After a long and contentious debate, told AMA to, before Dec. 31, 2016, “formally, directly, and openly ask the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) if they would allow an independent outside organization, representing ABIM physician stakeholders, to independently conduct an open audit of the finances of both the American Board of Internal Medicine, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization, and its Foundation.”  

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Winter Conference

Mark your calendar for TMA Winter Conference, which will take place Jan. 27-28 at the Hyatt Regency Austin. The conference provides an opportunity for physicians, residents, and medical students to conduct TMA business, obtain continuing medical education, and network with peers. The Young Physician Section will host a joint mixer with the Resident & Fellow Section on Friday, Jan. 27 from 8-9 pm with the business meeting to follow at 9 pm. 

TMA’s special room rate is $199 plus tax. The deadline to book your hotel reservation at the TMA rate is Jan. 5. Make your reservation early.  

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First Tuesdays

Your patients and your profession need you to be a lobbyist for a day. Mark your calendar now to join the Party of Medicine in Austin for First Tuesdays at the Capitol during the 85th Texas Legislature on Feb. 7, March 7, April 4, and May 2. The March 7 event is dedicated to young physicians and Alliance members. 

TMA’s comprehensive 2017 legislative agenda advocates what's best for patients and their physicians, from preserving physicians’ right to bill for services to improving Medicaid payment rates and reducing red tape and hassles. 

If you’re traveling to Austin from out of town for First Tuesdays, reserve your room at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Hotel by calling (800) HILTONS (445-8667). Hotel rooms in Austin are in demand during legislative sessions, so make your reservations now. For more information, visit www.texmed.org/firsttuesdays, or call (800) 880-1300, ext. 1361. 

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Submit an Abstract for the TexMed 2017 Poster Session

TMA announces the fifth annual TexMed Poster Session, presented by the TMA Council on Health Care Quality. The session will be held May 6 during TexMed 2017 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. 

The Poster Session is a platform for physicians, residents, and medical students to share their breakthroughs and best practices for better patient care, especially in one or more of the six aims of quality care: that it be safe, timely, effective, equitable, efficient, and patient-centered. 

The Poster Session offers a chance to gain exposure, network with Texas physicians, and have your work published. Here are just a few of the many reasons to participate:   

  • You can present your poster to physicians from across Texas during a continuing medical education event at TexMed 2017;
  • Your abstract will appear on the TMA website, which draws more than 75,000 visitors monthly; and
  • The top three winners in each category receive a cash award.   

Abstract submissions are due on March 17, 2017. All accepted poster exhibitors who participate in the author-hosted presentation at TexMed will receive a travel stipend.  

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 Join the Texas Two Step How to Save A Life Campaign  

We enthusiastically invite young physicians around the state to get involved with our Texas medical students to support our CPR training events planned for Feb. 10-12. Training teams representing the 11 Texas medical schools will conduct hands-only CPR training over the three-day weekend in cities across Texas to both raise public awareness of hands-only CPR and train as many people as possible. The training will be conducted with participants practicing on mannequins with instructor supervision, and receiving educational materials summarizing the skills learned.  

Please share this information so that young physicians can reach out to their respective city team leaders to assist with securing training sites, resources, and volunteers for the day of the event.   

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 Save the Date – TexMed 2017 Early Career CME Track

Where will you be in your career planning on Friday, May 5? Will you have be secure in your position? Will you still be actively looking for a new post? Will you be planning your search for the next year or two?

No young physician should miss the TexMed 2017 Early Career CME Track. Scheduled for Friday, May 5 from 7:30 am-noon at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, the track will feature presentations on employment contract negotiations, CV writing and interview preparation, debt management and consolidation, and more. 

Watch the TexMed 2017 page on the TMA website for more details and registration information. 

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 Foundation Board Announcement  

Shannon Hancher-Hodges, MD, of Houston has been appointed to serve as the    Young Physician Section representative on the TMA Foundation Board of Trustees. She will serve a two-year term. Dr. Hancher-Hodges is an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. She is a graduate of The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.  

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Pay It Forward and Be an MD Mentor

You probably remember what first motivated you to become a doctor: a family legacy, an aptitude for biology, or the desire to help those in need. But do you remember who had the biggest influence on how you practice medicine? Chances are it was a physician mentor.

TMA is calling on internists to pay it forward. Follow in the footsteps of those who influenced you by volunteering to serve this summer as a mentor for a Texas medical student. 

Applications are now open for the 2017 General Internal Medicine Statewide Preceptorship Program (GIMSPP). Eager students across the state are lined up for a preceptorship match — with more joining the list each week. 

Preceptors spend two, three, or four weeks from May to August providing personal instruction and supervision to medical students. Students meet with their preceptor daily to follow rounds and interact with patients. This hands-on guidance gives medical students a clinical leg up before the start of residency and in many cases commits them to working in primary care. 

Selected preceptors will be notified in March, with all student matches completed no later than April.

By making mentorship a priority, you're supporting the next generation of young physicians. Sign up to be a GIMSPP preceptor today. 

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Consider Mumps in Symptomatic Patients in Wake of Current Outbreak

A recent health advisory from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) encourages physicians to consider mumps as a diagnosis in patients with unilateral or bilateral swelling of the parotid or salivary glands preceded by a low-grade fever, myalgia, malaise, or headache. 

The advisory comes after investigation of two mumps outbreaks in North Central Texas. One outbreak occurred in Dallas County involving five adults. Another outbreak occurred in Johnson County involving 10 cases primarily in children.

Texas requires diagnosis or suspicion of mumps to be reported. DSHS urges physicians not to wait for a laboratory confirmation of mumps to report suspected cases. Mumps reports should be made to your local health department or by calling (800) 705-8868.

According to DSHS, physicians should also consider mumps in patients who have traveled outside the state or who have come into contact with those infected with mumps. Several counties in Arkansas have reported mumps cases.

DSHS specifies that up to 20 percent of those infected may be asymptomatic. Other rare complications of mumps include deafness, pancreatitis, oophoritis, meningitis, and encephalitis. 

Physicians should collect the following specimens for all patients suspected of having mumps:  

  • Buccal swab (preferred) for viral isolation and PCR testing. 
  • Blood drawn and submitted for serological testing to detect IgM antibody. 

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TMA's Outreach Programs Funded for 2017

More Texans will be affected by TMA's five signature outreach programs thanks to grants recently approved by the TMA Foundation totaling $514,000. Donations from individual and institutional donors make these grants possible. Thousands of physician, TMA Alliance, and medical student member volunteers join with community members and local organizations to make the programs possible. More

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Stay Connected 
Keep up with important news, and connect with colleagues across the state through TMA’s Young Physician Section webpage

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