RFS Connection

Summer 2017

News from the  TMA Resident and Fellow Section   

Simple Steps to Strong Leadership

The Texas Medical Association Resident and Fellow Section (RFS) was honored to have Angela Siler Fisher, MD, share tangible steps to improve networking and leadership skills at TexMed 2017 in May in Houston. 

During her talk, Dr. Fisher overviewed what she calls “the foundation of leadership development.” 

Dr. Fisher is an emergency medicine physician in Houston and founder of MaveRx, a leadership development consulting firm.

She suggested the following steps to ensure success in every project:

  • Step 1: Start with the end in mind! Write down your goals then network and formalize mentorships with those you wish to emulate. These mentors will help create your roadmap to success. 
  • Step 2: Establish credibility. Reach out for opportunities to work with your mentors, apply for leadership roles, and run for elected positions. The American Medical Association, state medical associations, state specialty societies, county medical societies, medical schools, and residency programs all offer leadership opportunities. 
  • Step 3: Work with your mentors to identify opportunities to ensure acknowledgement of individual and team successes through nominations for awards. There are awards available for everyone — just look for them! 

More leadership information and resources can also be found through the TMA Knowledge Center.

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Let TMA Help You Master the Business of Medicine

We know you’re becoming an excellent physician. But are you ready to tackle the business side of medical practice? If you’re like most resident physicians, you probably haven’t had much time to think about that.

Whether you’re starting your own practice, joining a group, or becoming employed, it’s important to know what to consider when making early career decisions that will have an impact on your future.

TMA offers free education sessions that will give you a better understanding of your options when it comes to the business of medicine. 

Here are some examples of what you can learn:

Professional Development:

  • CV Writing and Interview Preparation *
  • Starting in Medical Practice
  • Timeline for Transitioning Into Practice *
  • You Get What You Negotiate *

Legal and Financial Considerations:

  • Finding the Right Practice and Signing the Right Contract *
  • Physician Contracts: A Comprehensive Analysis *
  • Noncompete Covenants
  • Disability and Life Insurance: Why Are They Important?
  • Health Care Data — Managing Cyber Threats – NEW for 2017
  • What Every Physician Needs to Know: Medical Malpractice 101 – NEW for 2017

* These courses include a complimentary catered breakfast or lunch. 

More details on each program can be found on the TMA website.

You can request any of these free seminars for your residency program by contacting TMA Practice Consulting at (800) 523-8776 or practice.consulting@texmed.org.

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There's Still Time to Apply for a Council or Committee Position

Applications are still open for TMA board, council, and committee positions for the 2017-18 term. If you would like to serve as the RFS representative or alternate representative, please submit an application to RFSInfo@texmed.org by Aug. 30.

A complete list of council and committees is included on the application. You can read more about their focus areas on the TMA website

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Texas Stands Tall in AMA House

Texans won big, in both political and policy arenas, at the annual meeting of the AMA House of Delegates.

More than 100 Texas physicians, residents, medical students, and alliance members representing TMA, various sections, and national specialty societies participated in the June 10-14 meeting in Chicago. The Texas delegation left the meeting having elected both candidates it ran for AMA office and winning adoption of several Texas policy statements.

Among the most hotly contested issues were AMA’s stance on proposed changes to Medicaid funding and the imposition of maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements on physicians.

No Medicaid Block Grants
The House of Delegates adopted a simple statement that AMA opposes caps on federal Medicaid funding, a key financing provision in congressional Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“Capping Medicaid funding would be disastrous for patients by limiting medical responses to unforeseen events and medical innovations,” AMA Board of Trustees Member Carl A. Sirio, MD, said after the vote. “Physicians and states need the flexibility to respond.”

But, led by Fort Worth pediatrician Melissa Garretson, MD, delegates rejected a proposal for AMA to advocate a nine-point set of principles should Congress move ahead with a Medicaid cap. Dr. Garretson and others argued successfully that AMA should not “show its hand” in the face of heated debate on health system reform.

CME, Not MOC
Physicians expressed their continued outrage at mandatory MOC requirements and at the national boards that administer the certification programs. Long lines of delegates queued at the reference committee microphones to debate MOC with physicians representing the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and other boards.

Two days later, the house unanimously adopted the reference committee report, which called for:

  • Recognition that “high quality continuing medical education (CME) appropriate to that physician’s medical practice” is the best approach to lifelong learning for physicians;
  • The elimination of high-stakes examinations in MOC;
  • ABMS to continue to display publicly a physician’s initial board certification status even if the physician chooses not to participate in MOC;
  • Further studies of how AMA can help state medical societies lobby for laws — such as recently passed by the Texas Legislature — that bar state licensing boards, hospitals, and insurance companies from requiring MOC; and
  • Further study of a proposal to oppose ABMS direct-to-consumer marketing that links MOC participation with improved health outcomes.

Texans, Texas Ideas Triumph
The Texas Delegation arrived in Chicago with the goal of winning approval of three policy items passed earlier this year by the TMA House of Delegates. They were overwhelmingly successful.

All three of the policy proposals Texas took to the meeting won support from the house.

One directs AMA to push the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for flexibility beyond the current maximum of five years on the graduate medical education (GME) cap-setting deadline for new residency programs. This will especially help GME programs in medically underserved areas.

The second tells AMA to ask that CMS create an exception to the current regulation that says physicians can bill locum tenens for no more than 60 days. The exception to the 60-day limit would apply to physicians facing illnesses, family emergencies, or prolonged absences after childbirth.

The third Texas resolution called on AMA to adopt minimum federal standards for the sale of health insurance across state lines, another policy proposal under consideration in Congress. Rather than put off action on this politically hot issue, the house voted for a specific set of standards. The adopted policy states that any legislation allowing cross-border insurance sales should not weaken any state’s protections on key issues such as network adequacy, contracting, prompt payment, and appeals.

“The Texas Delegation to the AMA is composed of leaders from Texas that advocate and promote issues important to Texas physicians at the national level,” said David Henkes, MD, of San Antonio, chair of the Texas Delegation. “The number of Texas delegates is based on the number of AMA members in Texas. We encourage your membership in AMA so that the voice of Texas can be increased and heard louder at the national level.” 

At the urging of Texas A&M Health Science Center medical student William Estes and other medical students from across the country, the House also said AMA will support “the movement toward a unified and standardized residency application and match system for all non-military residencies.” 

Want to get involved at the national level? Delegate positions are available to the AMA Resident and Fellow Section. Contact your Section Coordinator for details. 

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Learn Licensing, Regulation with Free Courses

Your residency is giving you valuable real-world experience that will help you become the best physician you can be. But there are areas of medical practice that you might need help learning outside of your residency, particularly licensing and regulation.

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) can help, with free online education modules for medical students and residents.

The modules, developed by the FSMB Workgroup on Education for Medical Regulation, “will address a variety of issues such as navigating the licensing process and dealing with physician health and impairment,” according to the FSMB website, including:  

  • The role of state medical boards;
  • Understanding and navigating the medical licensing process;
  • Reasons why physicians get in trouble;
  • What is the medical disciplinary process; and
  • Physician health and impairment.  

More information is available on the FSMB website

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Join Us at TMA's Fall Conference

Register for the 2017 TMA Fall Conference, which will take place Sept. 15-16 at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Bastrop. This free member benefit lets you reconnect with colleagues and learn more about what’s new in Texas health care. This year will feature a recap of the 85th Legislative session. It also will include a discussion of the long- and short-term effects of abuse and neglect and other adverse childhood experiences.

The RFS will host a casual mixer with the Young Physician Section at 8 pm Fri., Sept. 15, with a joint business meeting to follow at 9 pm. Visit the RFS webpage for upcoming meeting details and agenda. 

TMA’s special room rate is $214 plus tax and a $5 resort fee for single or double occupancy. Reserve a room online or by calling (888) 421-1442, and ask for the TMA Fall Conference rate. The deadline to book your hotel reservation at the TMA rate is Aug. 30. 

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