TMA to Start 2024 Listening Tour
By Emma Freer Texas Medicine January 2024

Jan-Feb_24_TM_Membership_Listening Tour

Over the past two decades, physicians have been bombarded by new regulations, new payment requirements, more insurance hassles, and new ways to practice medicine.

The medical landscape continues to change, bringing with it new challenges and opportunities for how physicians take care of their patients.  
That’s why the Texas Medical Association Board of Trustees, leadership, and staff are hitting the road in 2024 to learn directly from Texas physicians what is working, what isn’t, and what TMA can do to ensure Texas is the best place to practice medicine. 
“For the past year, I have been meeting physicians in their communities, in small, mid-size, and large practice groups, in hospital settings, and in medical schools and have learned so much – it’s the best part of my job as the TMA president,” Rick Snyder, MD, said.  “We need to do more. We need to spend as much time as we can connecting with our members and with the thousands of physicians who don’t know TMA and the services we provide."  
Michael Darrouzet, TMA executive vice president and CEO, says meeting physicians where they live and work is the association’s No. 1 priority in 2024. “We need to crisscross the state and listen to physicians and learn what they need from TMA, especially in this post-COVID world that has impacted so many of us.” 
The goal of the tour is to listen and learn. TMA will travel to at least 10 communities and host three different types of listening activities: One will be small meetings with physicians and practices in the area; another will take the shape of a focus group or town hall meeting; and the third is a large social gathering for TMA members and nonmembers. TMA wants to meet and learn from all physicians who live in the communities it visits.  
The feedback TMA gathers from the listening tour will be incorporated into TMA’s strategic plan and will provide invaluable direction for TMA’s communications, educational programming, advocacy, and recruitment of new members to the association.   
 “One of our chief goals is to learn what younger physicians and those who just moved to Texas want from their medical association today and into the future,” Dr. Snyder said.  
The tour will begin in late February and travel across the state until early December. For tour announcements, updates, and highlights, continue to read Texas Medicine as well as Texas Medicine Today, TMA’s daily e-newsletter, delivered to your inbox weekday mornings.  
TMA board debuts strategic plan at TexMed 
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 unveiled its new strategic plan at TexMed 2023 last May. 
“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 an audience of physician delegates and other attendees when he introduced the plan during the conference. 
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 names 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.  
Whether reaffirming TMA’s commitment to all physicians or marshaling the association’s resources to resolve shared problems, the plan emphasizes consensus, Dr. Callas said.   
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.  
“It was a very collaborative effort, which we are very proud to have accomplished,” Dr. Callas said. 

Last Updated On

February 29, 2024

Originally Published On

December 18, 2023

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Emma Freer

Associate Editor

(512) 370-1383

Emma Freer is a reporter for Texas Medicine. She previously worked in local news, covering city politics, economic development, and public health. A native Clevelander, she graduated from Columbia Journalism School and the University of St. Andrews.

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