The 152nd Annual Meeting of the Texas Medical Association House of Delegates opened in San Antonio this morning with outgoing TMA President Carlos J. Cardenas, MD, reminding delegates of their ability to effect important health care change.
“I want to draw a few direct lines for you that connect the power of this house to the real world in which we practice medicine,” he said, “to the real world in which we advocate for constructive change.”
Harkening back to TMA's 2016 Annual Meeting, Dr. Cardenas demonstrated how delegates’ adoption of two key TMA policy positions led to the Texas Legislature passing a law to protect physicians from maintenance-of-certification (MOC) abuse and to another law to ensure physicians get paid when they are not in their patients' insurance network.
“Texas now has the strongest MOC protection law in the country,” he said. “Texas now has the best, and the most fair, balance-billing law in the country.
“A direct line from problem to solution. All thanks to the power of this house.”
He then urged the delegates to approve a seven-point plan he helped craft to address the state’s “terrible standing” in maternal mortality and morbidity statistics.
“Then Texas physicians must take the lead, to pass legislation, to move the bureaucracies, to educate ourselves and our patients,” Dr. Cardenas said. “I challenge you all to leave here tomorrow dedicated to making that happen, so that next year [incoming TMA President Douglas Curran, MD] can stand here and report that this state is now doing all that we can to make sure it’s safe to be a mom in Texas.”
Before Dr. Cardenas’ address, outgoing TMA Alliance President Karen Lairmore spoke on the important work that the Alliance has done over the past 100 years, starting with rolling bandages and providing care packages during World War I.
“Over the years, members have educated the public on illnesses including polio, tuberculosis, and AIDS, and have stressed the importance of immunizations, as well as protecting our children’s precious noggins through Hard Hats for Little Heads,” Mrs. Lairmore said. “We developed First Tuesdays at the Capitol, and our members are in the trenches working to elect medicine-friendly candidates seeking public office.”
The House of Delegates, the legislative and policy-making body of the TMA, will spend the next two days debating and voting on policies that will shape TMA’s policy and agenda in the future. After the Opening Session, delegates split into four Reference Committees: Financial and Organizational Affairs, Medical Education and Health Care Quality, Science and Public Health, and Socioeconomics.
Also during the House of Delegates’ Opening Session:
Young Physicians Honor Dr. Read With Young at Heart Award
Doctors from the TMA Young Physician Section (YPS) honored Dallas surgeon Don R. Read, MD, with the 2018 TMA Young at Heart Award.
The YPS, a group of TMA physicians under the age of 40 or in their first eight years of medical practice, chose Dr. Read for his commitment to helping young physicians become tomorrow’s leaders in the association, and for inspiring them to speak out for the health of all Texans.
“I am very humbled to be receiving the TMA Young at Heart Award,” said Dr. Read. “As I got involved in Texas Medical Association activities and learned how TMA policy is made, I realized how great the potential for good was. I have tried to encourage all medical students, residents, and young physicians to get involved in policymaking and political action with the legislature.”
A colon and rectal surgeon for more than 40 years, Dr. Read practices at Texas Colon & Rectal Specialists in Dallas and is immediate past president of TMA.
Former TMA President Recognized for Mentoring Students
Also during the opening session, Texas medical students recognized Fort Worth orthopedic surgeon Stephen L. Brotherton, MD, with the 2018 C. Frank Webber, MD, Award for his commitment to mentoring medical students.
“This is the highest honor I have ever been given, and I am so pleased the students invited me to get involved,” said Dr. Brotherton, who serves as physician advisor to the Medical Student Section. “It is easy to get entrenched ideas and stick with habits, and the medical students are flowing with new thoughts, new energy, and new strategies.”
Dr. Brotherton has been a TMA member since he began his medical career and has held several teaching appointments throughout his career, including his alma mater Texas Christian University and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School.
Dr. Brotherton was TMA president from 2012-2013 and also served as speaker of the TMA House of Delegates for four years and vice speaker for three years.
Created in 1987, the C. Frank Webber, MD, Award is named after the late Texas family physician and educator who was dean of The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Dr. Webber’s efforts prompted the development of the strong student organization within TMA.
Residents Present Galveston Endocrinologist with Top Honor
Galveston endocrinologist Kevin H. McKinney, MD, received the J.T. “Lamar” McNew, MD, Award for his service to physicians-in-training, or medical residents.
The award honors a TMA physician who has provided outstanding mentoring and service to residents and fellows — medical school graduates completing specialty training prior to practicing medicine on their own.
“I am very humbled to receive TMA’s J.T. ‘Lamar’ McNew Award from the Resident and Fellow Section (RFS),” said Dr. McKinney. “As someone who began his tenure in TMA in the RFS, I appreciate the critical issues and aspirations of our physicians-in-training who want to improve the learning environment, prepare for the transition to professional life, and interact with those who came before them. As a program director at UTMB, I enjoy fostering these interests every day.”
Dr. McKinney is associate professor of internal medicine in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) Department of Internal Medicine.