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Legislative Budget Board partially reverses physician pay cut for dual-eligibles
HHSC will reverse part of the cut in physician payments for care provided to patients covered by both Medicare and Medicaid, or “dual-eligibles.” The agreement was reached following a meeting at the Capitol last week that included TAFP member Javier Saenz, M.D., of La Joya. It will reinstate coverage of the dual-eligible patients’ Medicare deductible. Leaders in organized medicine say this is a good start, but full reinstatement of the cut is the goal. more...

HHSC delays Medicaid fee increase for now
Organized medicine to Washington: Don’t reverse Medicaid bonus
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has postponed the Medicaid primary care physician payment increase authorized under the federal health care reform law that will increase Medicaid payments for primary care services by an estimated 54 percent in Texas for two years. CMS released the final rule on Nov. 1, which left states scrambling to make necessary system changes. Experts expect the bonus to be paid retroactively if Congress doesn’t reverse it as part of a proposal to help pay for a temporary fix to Medicare’s sustainable growth rate formula. more...

Speak out now to protect family medicine
Clock ticking on Congress to act on Medicare SGR, federal budget
Congress has until the end of the year to keep the country from hurtling over the so-called fiscal cliff, and some very important programs critical to family medicine hang in the balance as negotiations continue. AAFP has issued an action alert, calling on members to contact their legislators with the message that Congress must find a way to avert scheduled cuts in Medicare physician fees due to the flawed sustainable growth rate formula without removing a provision in the Affordable Care Act that would increase Medicaid fees for primary care physicians. Act now.

Member of the Month: Jerry Abraham, M.P.H.
Student member is a leader in the world of medicine
Meet December’s Member of the Month, Jerry Abraham, a third-year medical student at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Though early in his medical career, he is a representative, delegate, member, and president to several organizations and committees throughout the state and around the world, including chair to TAFP’s Section on Medical Students. His love of people and desire to contribute to the greater good of public health drove him to choose primary care as a specialty. more...

Sign up today to be a Physician of the Day at the Texas Capitol
The 83rd Texas Legislature convenes in just three weeks and TAFP needs members to sign up to serve as a Physician of the Day, especially in January and February. Volunteers spend a day in the Capitol Health Services Clinic caring for members of the Capitol community and are introduced on the floor of the House and Senate. It’s a neat advocacy opportunity open only to TAFP-member family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students. Learn more and sign up today on the Physician of the Day page of TAFP’s website, www.tafp.org/advocacy/get-involved/physician-of-the-day.

Help curb childhood obesity with AAFP’s Ready, Set, FIT!
As the prevalence of childhood obesity grows, family physicians have an increasingly important role in counseling patients about a healthy lifestyle. Don’t know where to start? AAFP’s Ready, Set, FIT! is a school-based childhood obesity prevention program that enlists teachers and family physicians to teach third- and fourth-graders about the importance of fitness. Sign up to present at a school near you and help students to be active, eat right, and feel good in the upcoming year. Learn more today!

Happy holidays from your Academy
The TAFP staff would like to wish all TAFP members and their families a safe and happy holiday. Our office will be closed the afternoon of Dec. 19, Monday, Dec. 24, to Wednesday, Dec. 26, and Monday, Dec. 31, to Tuesday, Jan. 1. We appreciate your continued membership and we look forward to serving you in the new year! View our upcoming 2013 events on our website, www.tafp.org/professional-development/events. Happy holidays!


Now open: Register for TAFP’s C. Frank Webber Lectureship in March
Register today for the C. Frank Webber Lectureship on March 1, 2013, at the Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark. Attendees will earn up to 10.25 credits of continuing education at the one-day conference. Come a day early or stay a day late and make progress toward your Maintenance of Certification with TAFP’s SAM workshop on Mental Health in the Community or SAM workshop on Heart Failure. Go to www.tafp.org/professional-development/cfw for more information and to register.