TMA NEWS RELEASE
TMA's 2013 Legislative Agenda: Healthy Vision 2020: Caring for Patients in a Time of Change
Jan. 11, 2013
“As lawmakers reconvene in Austin, we must work together to put patients before politics,” said Michael E. Speer, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association (TMA). He made the statement as he and TMA laid out the association’s legislative agenda for the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature, which began this week.
Dr. Speer urged legislators, physicians, hospital systems, insurance companies, and community leaders to create a more sustainable and efficient health care system.
Texans should stop pushing health care to the most expensive settings — hospital emergency departments and in-patient care, he said, and should build physician-led health care teams to meet the diverse needs of Texas patients. The right way to save money is to ensure the right professional provides the right care, at the right place, and at the right time.
Texas’ population is expected to boom from 25 million to almost 45 million by 2040. That’s more people but also a greater need for health care services for more and more obese Texans with chronic diseases and the generally sicker elderly residents, all of whom need better-coordinated care. Texas also needs more physicians and other health care professionals working in all parts of the state, especially in rural and border Texas.
The solution: TMA’s Healthy Vision 2020
TMA’s legislative agenda, outlined below, urges state leaders to follow the recommendations of TMA’s Healthy Vision 2020 — to help us all care for patients in this time of change.
Texas needs to build physician-led health care teams that can safely meet the diverse needs of the state’s population. Texas needs to support both critical parts of medical education and training to help cultivate future generations of Texas physicians, ensuring stable access to health care for all Texans.
We must protect the unique patient-physician relationship. We must protect independent medical judgment for physicians in all employment relationships; ensure that corporate entities cannot direct medical decisions to the detriment of patient care; protect physicians’ due process rights and prohibit retaliation for patient advocacy in all employment relationships; and defend physicians’ ability to have honest, candid conversations with their patients and provide medically appropriate care.
Physicians are critical to Texas’ health care system if it is to be cost-effective. State leaders must realize that cutting physicians’ payments is not an effective tool for controlling health care costs, and often exacerbates the cost of care.
Texas law clearly defines the practice of medicine and the educational qualifications necessary to diagnose, independently prescribe, and direct patient care — and to be held accountable for that care. Now, and in the future, physicians and other professionals will practice in teams to provide comprehensive patient care, and these patient-focused teams must be physician-led to ensure quality, continuity, and efficiency in care.
We need legislative solutions to cut through the red tape, regulations, and other unproductive elements that do nothing to improve quality and everything to interfere with doctors’ ability to practice medicine efficiently and effectively.
Texas has taken no more important step to strengthen our health care delivery system than passing the 2003 medical liability reforms, so we must protect them.
We must invest in evidence-based wellness and public health programs that complement physician efforts to keep women and babies healthy, and reduce obesity, tobacco use, chronic disease, and cancer.
Legislation is needed to regulate insurance companies that attempt to apply the health care rates an insurer and physician agreed upon to other payers — without the physician’s knowledge or consent.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
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|Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
||Contact: Brent Annear
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
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