Texas physicians face a rapidly consolidating health care industry, legislative attacks on the patient-physician relationship, and a plurality of opinions among their ranks.
To help them overcome – and thrive amid – these challenges, the Texas Medical Association Board of Trustees recently unveiled its new strategic plan during TexMed 2023, its annual conference, in Fort Worth.
“As an association, it’s essential to have a course, a direction, a road map to help us navigate through today’s tough times, through tomorrow, and over the next five years,” TMA Board Chair Ray Callas, MD, told the audience of physician delegates and other attendees.
Developed over more than eight months, the strategic plan centers on TMA’s vision – improving the health of all Texans – and its updated mission, “empowering Texas physicians in the practice of medicine.” This statement replaces TMA’s previous mission, “stand[ing] up for Texas physicians by providing distinctive solutions to the challenges they encounter in the care of patients.” Dr. Callas said this change reflects the board’s commitment to physician empowerment, with the added benefit of being more concise.
The plan includes five goals against which to measure TMA’s future performance:
- Champion physician leadership;
- Cultivate healthy communities;
- Advocate with one voice;
- Strengthen practice viability; and
- Sustain operational excellence.
Dr. Callas said the plan emphasizes consensus, whether reaffirming TMA's commitment to all physicians or marshaling the association’s resources to resolve shared problems.
For instance, while speaking about the plan’s fourth goal – to strengthen practice viability – he acknowledged the “evolving needs” of physicians, who are now spread out across a diverse array of practice settings, as well as TMA’s own evolution to meet them.
“TMA strives to provide services, benefits, and advocacy for all physicians, in all practice settings, for every stage of your career,” he said.
Dr. Callas also cautioned against getting sidetracked by divisive issues, which could cause the association’s membership to splinter.
Instead, he said, “If we focus on core issues, things we all agree on, things we’ll fix in medicine … we will grow and flourish and continue this flagship medical association.”
The plan was heavily informed by a member survey, which asked about practice settings, the TMA services respondents found most valuable, and the most pressing issues facing medicine today.
“We learned that practice consolidation is rapidly reshaping Texas practices, much like the rest of the nation,” Dr. Callas said of the results. “We learned that members find great value in TMA communications, CME, and advocacy. And we had strong consensus on the top issues facing medicine today.”
These issues are:
- Preventing scope-of-practice expansion;
- Protecting landmark medical liability reforms;
- Protecting the patient-physician relationship; and
- Protecting physician autonomy.
Once the board had drafted a plan, its members consulted with TMA staff before voting unanimously to approve the document in April.
“It was a very collaborative effort, which we are very proud to have accomplished,” Dr. Callas said.