Fall 2016  

TMA Fall Conference Wrap-Up

We had an enthusiastic meeting at the 2016 TMA Fall Conference at Hyatt Lost Pines in late September. A packed room of young physicians, residents, and fellows heard from numerous presenters on “How the Legislative Session Impacts You.” Susan Strate, MD, and Arlo Weltge, MD, the speaker and vice speaker of the house, respectively, spoke about the TMA House of Delegates and their goals for improving the TMA policymaking process. They stressed the improved policy search features on the TMA website and increased ability for all members to have input. They are also eager to hear Young Physician Section members' ideas for TMA policy resolutions or improving involvement. 

We had a presentation by Ray Callas, MD, chair of the TMA Council on Legislation, and TMA Vice President of Advocacy Darren Whitehurst, on why advocacy and involvement are important. There are several ways to get involved, even if you can’t make every TMA meeting:   

  • Get to know your senator and representative. No one can build relationships as well as their own constituents. They want to hear from you about the issues that matter to your profession. 
  • Sign up to receive the daily or weekly TMA Legislative News Hotline during the legislative session. This brief email will keep you up to date on the issues affecting medicine and how you can help.  
  • Join us at First Tuesdays at the Capitol to be a lobbyist for a day. The First Tuesdays event on March 7 is dedicated to young physician members. 
  • Learn the issues. For example, balance billing is a hot topic, and Texas Medicine featured an article in the May issue to help explain this complicated problem.  

If you have a community project that you would like to get off the ground, the TMA Foundation has funding for community grants, linking health care to the people of your community. The application deadline is Dec. 31. TMA also has ongoing programs you can sponsor in your community: Walk with a Doc, Be Wise — ImmunizeSM, and Hard Hats for Little Heads. 

And be sure to mark your calendars for the upcoming conferences. I hope to see you Jan. 27-28 at the 2017 TMA Winter Conference.  

— Sandra Williams, DO 

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 Apply for TMA's Accountable Care Leadership Program by Jan. 6, 2017

TMA launched the Accountable Care Leadership Program hand in hand with TMA PracticeEdge, a physician services organization designed to help physicians take advantage of new payment models. This intensive leadership course covers current health care topics, such as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). If you'd like to participate in the program, apply by Jan. 6, 2017.  

The program meets the needs of busy physicians, with coursework consisting primarily of lectures, readings, quizzes, and case studies accessible online 24/7. Participants in the 10-month certificate program get schooled in topics like communication skills, teamwork, and population health management, meant to help physicians adapt in a rapidly changing environment that demands more accountability and proof of value for the health care dollar.

The curriculum imparts practical skills relevant to all medical specialties. After successful completion, physicians earn a certificate from The University of Texas at Dallas, plus more than 95 continuing medical education credits from the American Medical Association and TMA.

The program features: 

  • Access to colleagues for networking and mentoring;
  • Opportunities to hear from industry leaders and visit with payers;
  • The ability to work at your own pace, from your desktop; and
  • Two weekend trips to Austin to share best practices and learn from experienced physician leaders.  

The program is supported by a grant from UnitedHealth Group. If you have questions about the program, contact Christina Shepherd at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1443, or email ACLeadership@texmed.org

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Register for the Texas Quality Summit

 This fall TMA is hosting a unique event designed to help you improve performance, increase efficiency, and continue to deliver high-quality care. Join your colleagues for the Texas Quality Summit Nov. 18–19, and get the latest resources and hands-on training to take your practice to the next level. Register now, as seating is available to a limited number of participants on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Texas Quality Summit, co-hosted by the TMA Council on Health Care Quality and the American College of Medical Quality (ACMQ), begins with a powerful pre-conference workshop ACMQ's Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Workshop on Friday, Nov. 18. Next, attend the full-day summit on Saturday, Nov. 19, for in-depth presentations, physician panels, and case studies addressing quality strategies to enhance your practice. Programming will include an update on health population trends in Texas, transitioning to value-based care, alternative payment models (APMs), implementation of MACRA, and more. 

The summit will be held in Austin at the TMA building (401 W 15th St.) in the Thompson Auditorium. Discounted room rates are available at the Doubletree, across the street from the TMA building. 

Space is limited, so register today, or visit the TMA website for more information. 

The summit will conclude with the TMA Accountable Care Leadership Program class of 2016 graduation ceremony to acknowledge physician participants' achievements. The ceremony will take place Saturday, Nov. 19 at 3:30 pm in the May Owen conference room at the TMA building.

For more information about the summit, read "Learn From the Experts" in the October issue of Texas Medicine.  

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TMA's MACRA Resource Center Keeps You Up to Speed

Turn to TMA's MACRA Resource Center for the latest information about Medicare payment reform and the new payment tracks that are coming soon.

The Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula is history, and the federal rulemaking process is under way for MACRA. In SGR's place, MACRA requires physicians to choose between two major payment tracks beginning in 2019: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and eligible alternative payment models (APMs). 

The resource center informs you about MACRA and connects you to education offerings and tools to help you prepare for the upcoming transition to MIPS and APMs. The resource center keeps you up to date on everything you need to know about how physician payment reform will affect your practice, influence care delivery, and affect your bottom line. 

Visit the TMA MACRA Resource Center to learn the basics, compare the two payment tracks, explore continuing medical education opportunities, connect to services, and more. 

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 TMA Offers New Cyber Security and Ransomware Tools

Ransomware has reached Texas, and its emergence highlights the importance of up-to-date security. Health care is particularly vulnerable to the ransomware threat. Four-fifths of respondents to KPMG's 2015 Health Care and Cyber Security Survey, which polled 223 U.S.-based health care executives, said cyber attacks had compromised their information technology.  

Several large health systems have been high-profile ransomware targets. When smaller practices are the target, the perpetrators adjust their ransom demands accordingly. You can take steps to protect your practice. 

TMA is raising awareness and educating physicians on ways to manage security and technology risks. A new webinar, Cyber Security and Ransomware: Protect Your Practice, is available in the TMA Education Center. The webinar outlines how to mitigate cyber risk and respond appropriately in the event of a breach or ransomware demand. 

TMA's new Ransomware and Cyber Security Resource Center offers cyber security articles, education resources, consulting services, and endorsed vendor information — all in one place.  

If you have cyber security questions, call TMA's Health Information Technology Department at (800) 880-5720, or send an email

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Don't Miss TMA's 2016 Advocacy Retreat Dec. 2–3

While Texas politics is a year-round sport, the season really heats up in odd-numbered years just about the time mall elves and holiday music are making their crescendos. That's why TMA holds its biennial political retreat the first week of December. 

Register today for TMA's 2016 Advocacy Retreat, Dec. 2–3 at the Omni Barton Creek Resort in Austin. Join other physician leaders from around the state as we gather to plan for the 2017 Texas Legislature. The agenda is currently under development, so check the Advocacy Retreat webpage for updates. 

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 TMA Has Resources to Help Your Practice

TMA's Knowledge Center publishes answers to commonly asked questions as a members-only resource via the TMA website. Examples include: 

How to Notify Your Patients When You Leave a Practice

Where is the 2016 Medicare Fee Schedule?

Can I Prohibit Patients From Carrying Handguns Into My Office?

How Can I Create an Account on the TMA Website?

Visit the TMA website to see the full menu of FAQs or ask a question.  

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Are You Getting the Most From Your TMA Membership?

Check TMA’s return on investment calculator to see what other benefits and services you can tap into. 

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Connect With TMA on Social Media

Are you keeping up with TMA on social media?  

TMA is very active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We also have a robust YouTube channel with hundreds of videos by and about TMA. These pages help us communicate with our more than 49,000 members and keep you informed about news, events, member benefits, and our advocacy efforts.  

We hope you will follow, like, tweet, and engage with us. We’d also like to hear from you! If you have any social media questions or suggestions, contact Jen Rios in the TMA Communication Division at jennifer.rios@texmed.org

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Stay Connected 
Keep up with important news, and connect with colleagues across the state through TMA’s Young Physician Section webpage

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