TMA Young Physicians Memo

Spring 2017  

Join Your Colleagues in Houston for TexMed 2017

TexMed 2017, TMA's annual meeting, is just around the corner. Join us May 5-6 at the Marriott Marquis Houston and the George R. Brown Convention Center, where you will unite with your colleagues to Renew Your Passion for medicine. Make your hotel reservations by April 13, or until the room block is full.

While at TexMed you can:   

  • Network with colleagues;
  • Enjoy complimentary breakfast, lunch, and coffee in the Expo Hall; 
  • Take advantage of 80+ hours of interdisciplinary FREE CME; and
  • Attend social events, including the Welcome Reception and Presidents’ Reception.   

In Houston you also can help mold TMA policy and business decisions by heading to the House of Delegates and participating in reference committee meetings. All TMA members can testify at the reference committees on resolutions presented before the house. 

And the Expo Hall provides a great way to see the newest in medical devices, technology, and practice services. Sign up for a free 15-minute Quick Consult at the TMA Member Services booth #549 and meet face-to-face with TMA staff experts for answers to specific questions on various topics, or to address your general practice needs.

TexMed is a free member benefit, but it’s not just for physicians. Your practice manager and front office staff can benefit from attending TexMed 2017, too. Register today, or check out the program for more information. 

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Just for Young Physicians TexMed 2017

Come to the YPS Business Meeting May 5
Join us for the next Young Physician Section (YPS) business meeting on Friday, May 5, at the Marriott Marquis in Houston during TexMed 2017.  

Elections
Elections will be held for the 2017-2018 YPS Executive Council on Friday, May 5 during the YPS business meeting. Serving as a member of the Executive Council is an easy way to get involved, gain leadership experience within TMA, and make some great contacts. Positions up for election include: Chair-Elect, TMA Delegate (2 positions), and TMA Alternate Delegate (2 positions). To apply, submit a letter of intent and CV to your section coordinator.  

Early Career CME Track
Where will you be in your career planning on Friday, May 5? Will you be secure in your position, or 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. The track will feature presentations on employment contract negotiations, CV writing and interview preparation, debt management and consolidation, and more. Visit the TexMed 2017 page on the TMA website for more details and registration information. 

3… 2… 1… Blast Off!
Explore the infinite galaxy along with hundreds of your friends, colleagues, and friends of medicine at BLAST OFF!, the TMA Foundation’s 24th annual gala, held during TexMed on May 5, 2017. This annual TexMed social event raises funds needed to support TMA and the family of medicine’s health improvement, science, and quality of care programs to create a Healthy Now and a Healthy Future.  

For a successful launch, come equipped with the tool every space explorer will need to win out-of-this-world items in the silent and live auctions through the gala’s mobile bidding website! In addition to these exploratory activities, you’ll enjoy the gala’s pre-dinner reception and live entertainment. Order your advance tickets at www.texmed.org/gala

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 Texas Wins Tort Border Battle

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled last month in favor of a Lubbock physician entangled in a question of whether Texas or New Mexico law should apply in a liability case involving care that was provided in Texas but for a New Mexico patient. 

The decision is a victory for TMA, West Texas physicians, and organized medicine in Texas and New Mexico. Although the specifics of the verdict applied to a Texas physician who was employed by a government institution, TMA’s General Counsel opines that the ruling should be helpful to all Texas physicians treating patients from New Mexico traveling to Texas. This is because the Texas 2003 medical liability reforms are generally more favorable than those in place in other states. 

The case, Montano v. Frezza, involved Kimberly Montaño, a New Mexico resident, who sought surgery in 2004 from Eldo Frezza, MD, a Lubbock bariatric surgeon and professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. The issue was over which state’s medical liability laws would prevail in a case in which a New Mexico resident received care in Texas but claimed complications after returning to New Mexico. For additional details on the case, see "Border Battle," from the November 2015 issue of Texas Medicine

Dr. Frezza told TMA he was exhausted by the fight but elated by the ruling.  

“The lawyers have to understand how their activity is affecting patients, not just physicians,” he said. “This lawsuit was affecting tons of patients in eastern New Mexico. A lot of good people, working people, people who pay taxes are affected by the blindness of our society.” 

Howard Marcus, MD, chair of the Texas Alliance for Patient Access (TAPA), which was one of several Texas groups that filed briefs in the case, also hailed the decision. 

“Yet again, TAPA, working with its member organizations, such as the TMA and county medical societies, has prevailed in a crucial decision that promotes access to care across the Texas-New Mexico state line,” Dr. Marcus said. “Common sense and logic have prevailed.”   

The Texas Medical Liability Trust (TMLT), University of Texas System, and New Mexico Medical Society also filed briefs in support of Dr. Frezza’s position. 

The 4-1 decision “only considered the issue of comity — that is respecting the sovereignty of sister states,” said Jill McClain, TMLT executive vice president for government relations. The court’s analysis of that issue focused heavily on data that TAPA, TMA, TMLT, the American Medical Association, several county medical societies, and others provided showing how much residents of eastern New Mexico depend on West Texas physicians and hospitals for care. 

“Access to cross-border health care for individuals living in rural parts of New Mexico is an additional consideration that tempers New Mexico’s interest in applying its law to this case,” the court majority wrote. “We do not consider it overly speculative to conclude that extending comity to Texas in this case will positively serve New Mexico’s public policy interests by encouraging the continuing cooperation of Texas and New Mexico in maintaining cross-border care networks.” 

Although the court ruled in favor of the Dr. Frezza in this instance, TMA suggests physicians continue to avail themselves of the law New Mexico enacted last year allowing them to obtain a signed agreement from New Mexico patients stating that should they wish to file a lawsuit they will do so in Texas court. To help physicians take advantage of the law's protections, TAPA developed two forms, one for emergency treatment and one for voluntary treatment. You can download the emergency treatment and voluntary treatment forms (English or Spanish-and-English) from the TMA website.  

In consultation with an attorney, TMA suggests physicians who treat New Mexico patients, or patients living in other states, consider adopting this language in the practice forms patients sign.  

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 Apply for the TMA Leadership College by June 1 

TMA is now accepting applications for the TMA Leadership College Class of 2018. The deadline to apply is June 1.  

The TMA Leadership College, established in 2010 as part of TMA’s effort to ensure strong and sustainable physician leadership within organized medicine, is geared toward active TMA members younger than 40 or who are in the first eight years of practice.  

Graduates serve as thought leaders who can close the divide between clinicians and health care policymakers, and serve as trusted leaders within their local communities. Many also receive priority consideration for appointment to TMA councils and committees.  

Visit the TMA Leadership College webpage for full program details, a class schedule, and application. For more information, contact Christina Shepherd by email or by calling (800) 880-1300, ext. 1443, or (512) 370-1443.  

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One More Chance to Make Your Voice Heard

First Tuesdays at the Capitol returns May 5, and the Family of Medicine needs you to be there. It’s your last chance to be lobbyist for a day during the 2015 legislative session. Tell your state lawmakers what you think about Medicaid funding, scope of practice incursions, raising the age to buy tobacco products, surprise medical bills, and more. 

The “White Coat Invasion” has been the key to physicians’ successes in the Texas Legislature since the inception of First Tuesdays at the Capitol in 2003. Our senators and representatives listen when their hometown doctors appear in their offices. Our influence is so much greater when physicians and alliance members arrive en masse in the House and Senate galleries. It’s time again to bring out Texas medicine’s strongest weapon. Register today

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O'Malley Scholarship Winner Announced

Congratulations to Dixon Baird of Cross Roads High School in Malakoff, the 2017 recipient of the Michael O’Malley, MD, Memorial Scholarship. Dixon aspires to become a trauma surgeon for the U.S. military. He has been accepted to Texas A&M University. 

Rural Texas high school seniors who excel in science receive $1,000 to use to pursue an education in the field of medicine. The Young Physician Section Rural Scholarship transformed into a memorial scholarship for the late Michael O’Malley, MD, in 2007. Dr. O’Malley, a recipient of a similar scholarship himself, was an internal medicine physician in Galveston and past chair of the TMA Young Physician Section. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the scholarship. 

To ensure the continued work of this scholarship, make a donation by calling the TMA Knowledge Center at (800) 880-7955 or sending an email

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Your Video Guide to Texas’ New Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

In an effort to address the very real and debilitating crisis caused by the misuse of opioid pain medicines, the Texas Sunset Commission has recommended a mandate that all prescribers and pharmacists check the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) before prescribing any controlled medication. 

TMA, other prescribers, and pharmacies are fighting that proposal in the Texas Legislature and recommend instead that lawmakers turn to the new and evolving technology of the revamped PDMP and its abilities accomplish a number of important data tasks. 

In conjunction with that strategy, TMA is introducing a new tutorial video to help physicians set up accounts and utilizing the new PDMP web site, hosted by the Texas Board of Pharmacy. Allison Benz of the Pharmacy Board demonstrates the new site in this brief, informative TMA-produced video, showing viewers what each page looks like and how to navigate and interact with the site. 

At TMA’s urging, the state moved the PDMP from the Department of Public Safety to a new online system the pharmacy board created in 2016. This online portal is designed to facilitate physician participation in the new program. Physicians and health care providers can set up an account to enter info or check existing prescriptions of Texas patients.  

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Coming Up: Two Great TMA Seminar Series 

TMA is on the road, bringing you outstanding education opportunities to improve yourself and your practice. Don’t miss these two great seminar series: 

  • Take Back the Power: Payer Contract Negotiations: Learning to unleash your negotiation power can result in better contracts and more money to your bottom line. Many physicians feel they can’t negotiate from a place of strength or simply don’t know where to begin. The lessons in this seminar will help empower you to take control.  
  • The Best Front Desk: Transforming Customer Service: Make a good first impression, and an even better lasting impression. Your front desk staff often are the first people your patients see and/or talk to. Give them the training they need to build strong communication, telephone, and conflict resolution skills that will keep your patients happy and coming back.  

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 It is Easy to Support Your Favorite Programs All Year 

The Texas Medical Association Foundation (TMAF) makes it convenient for you to support your favorite programs by setting the amount and time of your recurring donation. By scheduling a gift using the credit card of your choice, you become a TMAF Pulse Donor. TMAF will send you a yearly statement, which is handy since the foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and gifts are tax deductible to the full extent of federal law. 

Your recurring gifts you enable TMA’s award-winning programs to reach more Texans, young and old, providing them with the tools they need to lead healthier lives. Your gift is combined with thousands of others to fund health improvement, science, and quality-of-care initiatives that create a Healthy Now and a Healthy Future, such as Be Wise – Immunize℠, Hard Hats for Little Heads, Walk With a Doc Texas, and more.  

For more details or to become a Pulse Donor, call TMAF at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1466, email TMAF, or visit www.tmaf.org

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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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