Contents tagged with president's letter

  • Defining the meaning of “meaningful use”

    Tags: texas family physician, meaningful use, technology, tradition, balkcom, president's letter

    By I.L. Balkcom IV, M.D.
    TAFP President

    Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone, but I am attempting to practice on my laptop so I might understand how to have a “meaningful” encounter with my patient. I have made progress in technology in that I even sent our chief operating officer, Kathy McCarthy, an e-mail this year—a proud moment in my technological infancy. Now I find myself immersed in a small screen with small print and myriad options for the EHR. As Peanuts would say, “ARRRGHH!” as I erase an entire page by accident.

    Now for those of you who are fortunate enough to know all things computer or young enough to have grown up with iPhones, laptops, and MP3 players, I heartily congratulate you. Some of us less technologically gifted are still learning how to turn on these infernal machines and not to treat them like coke machines—beat and kick the “heck” out of them. I wish so often they would say something so I could keep up my tirade. Oh, I forgot. They do talk to you now.

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  • Protecting our most vulnerable

    Tags: responsibility, balkcom, abuse, children, president's letter

    By I. L. Balkcom IV, M.D.
    TAFP President 2012-2013

    Her name was not important. This little 6-year-old girl I had been called to examine in the emergency room now sat silently, flanked by her mother and mother’s boyfriend.

    I was in my third year of residency and was summoned to evaluate this patient who I’d been told had fallen in the bathtub at home. She had a large bruise around her left eye.

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  • The chance of a lifetime

    Tags: texas family physician, president's letter, balkcom

    An excerpt from the inaugural speech of TAFP’s new president

    By I. L. Balkcom IV, M.D.
    TAFP President, 2011-2012

    In 1987, as I was graduating from the Columbus medical center’s residency program, I thought I was hot potatoes. We were good. The 12 of us just thought that we were it. I felt like I could do a Caesarean section with a teaspoon. There was no body cavity I couldn’t align. We felt like we could just do it all.

    So, armed with that knowledge, I set off in the world. I happened to be going to a meeting at the Capitol one day, and as I checked in at my hotel, I was puffed up pretty good. I signed in: “Dr. I. L. Balkcom, IV, M.D.”

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  • Payment reform starts with family doctors

    Tags: texas family physician, payment, health care reform, reform, president's letter

    By Melissa Gerdes, M.D.
    TAFP President, 2010-2011

    Adequate payment for primary care health services has long been an issue for family medicine. The absence of adequate payment has affected our specialty in numerous ways, including forcing physicians to see too many patients too fast, causing student interest in family medicine to decline, and leading practicing physicians into non-clinical careers. This migration of physicians away from family medicine has a negative effect on the public and our patients. According to the Commonwealth Fund, countries that have a lower proportion of primary care physicians to patients have populations with higher morbidities and poorer health outcomes.

    Our current payment system is volume-driven, where physicians are paid more for doing things to patients than for doing things for patients. Research shows that doing more things to a patient does not automatically result in improved health outcomes. In fact, such practice very often results in worsened health outcomes. How do we migrate away from the volume basis?

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  • Members work to advance family medicine and TAFP’s strategic initiatives

    Tags: texas family physician, strategic plan, president's letter

    By Melissa Gerdes, M.D.
    TAFP President, 2010-2011

    I devote this column to our Academy members and friends. The Texas Academy of Family Physicians is, after all, only as good as our membership.

    As you will recall, TAFP held a strategic planning retreat in August 2010. We began with the anticipation that we would design a three-year plan, but it soon became a one-year plan. The group identified so many items needing urgent attention that the timeframe necessarily shortened. A physician champion paired with a TAFP staff person to design and implement each action item. Now, seven months later at Interim Session, we are well on our way to accomplishing our goals. The entire strategic plan can be viewed on www.tafp.org.

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  • Lessons from the past guide the future

    Tags: texas family physician, gerdes, president's letter

    An excerpt from the inaugural address of TAFP’s new president

    By Melissa Gerdes, M.D.
    TAFP President, 2010-2011

    As your president for the next year, I will live and advance our vision and mission. I will be your faithful servant, listener, and even cheerleader. Fortunately, I have some experience in each of these roles. I am sure you have heard of the book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” I like to say much of what I really need to know to be a family physician, I learned before medical school.

    My very first job at McDonald’s prepared me well for service. I was born in Chicago where the famous Hamburger University is located. Consequently, I got to work with many young recently trained managers for the company. McDonald’s is actually all about brand recognition and service, concepts I very much respect and push forward in my job today.

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  • Reflections on a year as president

    Tags: texas family physician, president's letter, kumar, reflection

    By Kaparaboyna Ashok Kumar, M.D., F.R.C.S.
    TAFP President, 2009-2010

    It has been truly a privilege and an honor to serve as your president. This year was fast-paced, exciting, and full of accomplishments. It was a great year and I have many wonderful people to thank for it.

    First, I would like to thank my wife, Elaine, and my children, Priya and Nikhil, for their love and affection, patience and understanding, and for their support without which I would not have been able to take up the responsibilities of this office.

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  • The long road ahead

    Tags: texas family physician, president's letter, health care reform

    By Kaparaboyna Ashok Kumar, M.D., F.R.C.S.
    TAFP President, 2009-2010

    It’s been more than a month since President Barack Obama’s health reform package became the law of the land, and we’re still dealing with the political and policy fallout. The legislative process and the yearlong debate have been painful, and remind us why it’s often better not to see the making of the sausage. As physicians, we can disagree about the appropriate roles for the market and the government in the distribution and financing of health care, but we should also begin considering the law apart from the partisan battlefield and analyze what its actual ramifications might be for our patients and our practices.

    Throughout the legislative process, AAFP was engaged in the debate at the highest levels, working to fend off ideas that would have been detrimental to physicians and patients, and making the case that investing in primary care will result in better health outcomes and reduced cost. Lawmakers heard and understood that message.

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  • Become an ambassador of family medicine

    Tags: texas family physician, president's letter, kumar

    By Kaparaboyna Ashok Kumar, M.D., F.R.C.S.
    TAFP President, 2009-2010

    Last fall as I watched Roland Goertz, M.D., carry out his successful campaign to become AAFP’s new president-elect aided by our physician leadership and supported by our members, I was struck by something he frequently told audiences. In the midst of the concern and confusion surrounding the health care reform debate taking place on Capitol Hill, Dr. Goertz would look out at the crowd with hope and congratulate everyone for having the chance to live in interesting times. What a great perspective.

    We have every reason to be optimistic about the future of family medicine. Demand for the comprehensive, attentive care we offer our patients remains strong and the recognition among policymakers of our value in the health care system has never been greater. At the state level, TAFP has become a trusted and respected resource for lawmakers as they craft legislation, and at the national level, senators and congressional representatives seek the wisdom of family physicians in their deliberations. These are indeed heady days for our organization and our specialty.

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  • Invest in students, residents to keep specialty strong

    Tags: president's letter, kumar

    From the inaugural address of TAFP’s new president

    By Kaparaboyna Ashok Kumar, M.D., F.R.C.S.
    TAFP President, 2009-2010

    It is a great honor and privilege to serve as your president. I thank every one of you for placing your confidence in me and I will work sincerely and tirelessly to protect the interests of our members and patients.

    As I begin my term as president, I would like to thank some very special people. I thank my family, especially my wife Elaine, for their love, understanding, patience and support, without which I would not be able to take up these responsibilities.

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