Academic medical centers and the academic physicians they employ have long been committed to quality patient care, research, community service and education of future physicians. They serve as a very important piece of the medical profession, and TMA relies on their knowledge and experience to ensure that Texas remains a premier state for medical training, research, and establishing practices.
Leadership and Policy Development
- The Council on Medical Education coordinates the association's medical education activities, with a focus on developing policy on medical education-related issues and concerns. Three times a year, the council meets with medical school leadership for dialogue and informational exchange on current issues and areas of mutual interest.
- Subcommittee for Academic Physicians comprises representatives from all 10 health-related institutions. They address faculty-specific issues and communicate with their peers, TMA leaders, and the membership on these topics.
- TMA's Committee on Physician Distribution and Health Care Access conducts analysis on changing trends in the physician workforce including the pipelines feeding into the profession.
- Committee for Continuing Education evaluates continuing medical education needs and promotes high-quality CME programs for Texas physicians.
- International Medical Graduate (IMG) Section. TMA is one of only 11 state medical societies with a representational group devoted to the unique issues and concerns of all IMG physicians.
- Medical Student Section. Serves as forum for medical students to participate in development of TMA and AMA policy. Encourages development of student leaders and programs in medical student chapters at each medical school. Helps satisfy students’ strong altruistic interests through a variety of ongoing public health programs.
- Resident Physician Section. Advocates for physicians and patients through resident physician involvement in creation of TMA and AMA policies. Provides a communication resource and structure to address residents’ unique needs and issues.
- Young Physician Section. Physicians under the age of 40 or in their first eight years of practice participate in activities and programs relevant to the physician just entering practice.
TMA’s vision, to improve the health of all Texans, is a goal that is compatible with the mission of Texas’ academic medical centers. Reaching this goal is possible only if Texas has a physician workforce with the skills and experience needed to meet the state’s health care needs. Fundamental to achieving that goal is a high-quality medical education system, both undergraduate and graduate. TMA is committed to supporting that achievement at the state’s academic health centers.
After years of watching the unwillingness of Congress to adjust funding policies that were preventing the needed expansions in graduate medical education (GME) capacity, TMA forged partnerships with Texas academic health centers to educate state policymakers on the need for the state to step up to fill the void. The response from the state’s leaders has been overwhelmingly positive, as reflected in the following highlights from the current two-year state budget.
State Budget for 2020-21
Medical Education, GME, and Physician Workforce Development
- $12.8 million in additional funding for teaching medical students, for an overall total of $762 million.
- Extra $60 million for the GME Expansion Grant program, raising the total to $157 million. This will help to maintain the ratio of 1.1 to 1 for first-year residency positions per Texas medical school graduate. The target ratio was met for the first time in 2018.
- An increase of $8.4 million in GME formula funding to help offset a portion of the faculty costs for training residents, for a state total of $98.5 million.
- Stable funding of $3 million for the state’s longstanding program to encourage medical students to choose primary care careers.
- Continued funding for the state’s program to assist economically disadvantaged students to go to medical school, with $10.2 million for the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP).
- An increase of $5 million for the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program for physician shortage areas, reaching a total of $29.9 million. The additional funds allow the total repayment amount to be increased by $20,000 per physician and more closely align with rising debt levels.
- $150 million in additional funding for mental/behavioral health services. Included is $99 million for establishing the Child Mental Health Care Consortium with representation from each academic health center and formation of the Child Psychiatry Access Network, also at academic health centers, to improve access to psychiatry services for Texas children.
- $68 million increase for women’s health programs and $7 million extra to implement measures to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.
Other State Legislation
- More explicit prior authorization procedures and more transparency regarding denials, requirements, and reviews.
- Surprise billing arbitration process that takes the patient out of surprise billing battles while giving physicians a fairer shake on payment.
- Mandatory network adequacy reviews for PPOs and EPOs.
- An increase to age 21 for buying tobacco and vaping products.
- Extended authorization for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) for 10 years, subject to voter approval of future funding.
- Renewal of the Texas Medical Board through 2031.
New TMA Policies
At the urging of TMA’s Council on Medical Education, the TMA House of Delegates in 2019 adopted new policies in support of the goals and interests of academic medicine, including:
- Renewal of support for increasing both pipelines into the physician workforce: the education of medical students and the training of residents.
- Support for expanding funding opportunities for GME at teaching hospitals, including a fix for the inequity in Medicare GME base funding experienced by many hospitals and expanded eligibility for inpatient Medicaid GME funding.
- A call for a study by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board on the projected need for more medical schools in the state.
- Tracking the numbers and characteristics of Texas medical school graduates who do not match to residency training.
- Promotion and expansion of Project ECHO at academic health centers.
TMA Services and Programs
∞Scholarships and Awards∞
TMA Minority Scholarship Program
$10,000 scholarships each year for qualified, underrepresented minorities who are accepted at each Texas medical school.
TMA Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching
Annual awards of $5,000 to a Texas elementary, middle, and high school teacher who inspires students with unique and innovative science lessons and projects, and a resource grant for their schools.
Low-interest loans and scholarships
Financial assistance in the form of low-interest loans and a variety of scholarship opportunities for Texas medical students and residents.
TMA Leadership College
Intensive leadership program to identify, orient, and train young TMA members for future leadership positions.
Special Interest Sections
Sections for medical students, residents and fellows, young physicians, international medical graduates, and women in medicine provide opportunities to serve in leadership roles, network with peers, collaborate on issues, and influence TMA policy through representation.
TMA and County Medical Society Conferences
More than 80 hours of free continuing medical education (CME), as well as professional development and networking opportunities.
TMA and County Medical Society Boards, Councils, and Committees
Opportunities to serve and strengthen the medical profession through policy making, sharing of expertise, and dialogue with peers.
∞Education and CME Opportunities∞
On-demand, on-site early career educational programs for residents on 12 topics of high interest to residents, including negotiating contracts, transitioning from training to practice, and medical malpractice 101.
Hundreds of hours of CME (including ethics) on the web-based TMA Education Center that are FREE for TMA members and practice staff.
∞Practice Management Services and Professional Resources∞
Extensive array of personalized practice management services, including new practice setup services, maximizing reimbursement, legal resources, assistance with health information technology, and a comparison product tool for electronic health record systems.
Be Wise – ImmunizeSM
Program to improve immunization rates in Texas through immunizations and health screenings for underserved populations, in cooperation with public and private partners.
Be Wise – Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.
Hard Hats for Little Heads
Matching donation program for bicycle helmets to help Texas physicians prevent head injuries among children in their communities.
Walk with a Doc
Promotion of healthy physical activity through physician-led walks in Texas communities.
TMA Foundation (TMAF)
Hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in public health grants and student scholarships.
TMA Knowledge Center
Answers from experts to the toughest questions – from health law to medical economics – at no cost to members.