It's Academic

September 2016 

State Awards 2017–18 GME Planning and Partnership Grants 

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) awarded 14 graduate medical education (GME) planning and partnership grants in August as part of Texas' effort to expand residency training capacity. Medical schools, hospitals, and community-based health care centers will use the grants to evaluate the feasibility of establishing and/or planning new GME programs. The Texas Legislature provided $3.5 million for up to 14 one-time grants of $250,000 each for 2017–18. Grants were awarded, either individually or through partnerships, to seven of Texas' 11 medical schools, eight hospitals, and six health care or behavioral health care centers. The majority of the grant recipients plan to focus on primary care residency programs, but there is also interest in emergency medicine, general surgery, neurology, and psychiatry.   

The 2015 passage of Senate Bill 18 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), sponsored by Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton), created the GME Planning and Partnership Grant Program (Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board). This is the final grant award process for the $53 million provided by the Texas Legislature for GME expansions.  

SB 18 modified the GME planning grant program established in 2013 by expanding eligibility to medical schools, teaching hospitals, and community-based ambulatory patient care centers, and by promoting partnerships among these groups. Eleven of the 14 grant awards for 2017–18 involved partnerships. The original program limited grant awards to hospitals that had never offered GME. The current program allocated nearly three times the amount of grant funds than the original program. 

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 Register for TMA Fall Conference: MACRA, Zika, What's Next?

It’s not too late to register for the 2016 TMA Fall Conference at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa, Sept. 23–24. This free member benefit offers you the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and learn more about new developments like the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), telemedicine, and the Zika virus. 

Online registration for the conference ends Friday, Sept. 16, but you can also register when you arrive starting on Friday, Sept. 23. For more information about the conference, sleeping room availability, the onsite flu shot clinic, and the full agenda for the General Session, check the TMA Fall Conference website. Questions? Email the TMA Knowledge Center, or call (800) 880-7955, Monday-Friday, 8:15 am-5:15 pm CT.  

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 Protect Your Online Reputation
 Google yourself. You might be surprised to see what comes up. Open a web browser, and type your name in the search box. Do you like what you see? Does it make your blood boil? Is there anything there? If your name is not that unique, do the results actually refer to you?

Chances are physician-rating sites dominate the first page of search results. These ratings can influence consumers' choice of physicians. A 2014 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported 35 percent of prospective patients chose a physician based on good reviews from a ratings site. About the same percentage went elsewhere based on negative physician reviews. Even more — 43 percent — say they don't trust those sites and prefer recommendations from friends and family.

What do you do if a patient slams you and your practice on Yelp or Healthgrades or Vitals or Zodcoc? If the complaints even hint that the patient is considering legal action, the Texas Medical Liability Trust urges you to contact your attorney and your medical liability insurance company. Anything you say in response to the noxious post could come back to haunt you in court.

Otherwise, consider taking these steps:

  • Examine the complaint closely. Can you determine directly or indirectly who wrote it? Is it really from a patient, or could it be a disgruntled former employer? Are there any details that help you recognize a specific patient or incident? 
  • Once again, be very wary of responding directly. HIPAA requires physicians to protect the identity of their patients. According to the Dallas Medical Journal, "privacy laws in health care will not allow physicians to defend themselves in the same manner. The fact that even a patient's identity is protected information directly hinders the physician's ability to refute a complaint. Simply acknowledging publicly that the complaining party is a patient breaches confidentiality and violates HIPAA laws." 
  • Contact the site owner. Some review sites allow you to flag reviews as inappropriate and then will consider removing them. Others will respond to a level-headed note asking them to decide if the post complies with the site's terms-of-use policy.
  • Take the conversation offline. If you can positively determine who wrote the post, contact the person as quickly as possible by phone or schedule an appointment to discuss it. (Stay away from email, as that could easily get copied and pasted into further online complaints.) Find out exactly why the patient is upset. Just as you would in dealing with other legitimate complaints about your practice, you should show good customer service and work to resolve this one. Apologize, explain, or offer a refund if any of those options is appropriate. But take care of the problem quickly. Patients who do not get a response using social media initially are likely to continue to discuss the issue online until there is a resolution. If you help the patient, he or she may follow up with a positive post to share the good news.    

Regardless of whether you want to be "on the internet," chances are you and your practice are being discussed online, and your digital reputation is being established. Set up Google Alerts for your name, practice name, and any other possible way you could be found online. Google will send you free email alerts when you have been mentioned. This will trigger the next step of how to further engage with that post or review. Or it may make you aware of something you can easily change to improve your practice for all of your patients.

To learn more, purchase the TMA publication Get Social: Put Your Practice on the Social Media Map. Learn how to build an online presence and manage your online reputation. The publication offers 1.75 Ethics and AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.

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 Register for AMA Academic Physicians Section Interim Meeting

The American Medical Association Academic Physicians Section (APS) 2016 Interim Meeting allows academic physicians to network and learn more about AMA’s medical education initiatives. The meeting will take place Nov. 11 at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle. Register now.  

The meeting features:  

  • An update on the progress of AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium;
  • An opportunity to review, debate, and vote on reports and resolutions that will go before the AMA House of Delegates;
  • An education session on health systems science, the third pillar of medical education that has emerged from the work of AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium;
  • A networking reception with academic physicians nationwide, along with representatives of the 32 member medical schools of AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium; and
  • An update on the Academic Leadership Program, which offers 20 percent or greater discounts on AMA dues for medical school deans and faculty.   

Visit the AMA-APS webpage for updates. Also, read a summary of the June 2016 AMA-APS meeting. For more information, email the section, or call (312) 464-4635. 

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AMA Looks at Pain Management Breakthroughs in Neurology Curriculum 

An Aug. 2 AMA Wire article examines the progress made by leaders in neurology "in preparing residents for the board exam and more effective patient care." The article features an interview with Christopher Winfree, MD, an assistant professor of neurological surgery at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Dr. Winfree created neurosurgery "boot camps," which include "everything residents need to know about pain management in neurosurgery." 

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This Month in Texas Medicine

The September issue of Texas Medicine features a cover story on maintenance of certification exams that doctors say are exhausting to prepare for and largely feature multiple choice questions that entail regurgitating facts often irrelevant to what they see in daily practice. In the issue you'll also find coverage on what TMA is doing to educate doctors on a new law that requires Texas physicians who diagnose a child with Down syndrome to provide parents with information on the disorder. The September issue highlights TMA's recommendations to improve the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' proposed rule to implement MACRA; standing pharmaceutical orders for naloxone, used to rescue those who overdose from opioids; and resources physicians can use to prevent employee theft in their practices.

You can subscribe to RSS feeds for TMA Practice E-Tips, TMA news releases, Blogged Arteries, and Texas Medicine. More

It's Academic is for physicians in academic settings. For more information about TMA’s efforts on behalf of medical education and academic physicians, visit the TMA Council on Medical Education’s Subcommittee for Academic Physicians page and Advocacy page on the TMA website.

Please share with your colleagues who are not TMA members and ask them to join.

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