TAFP Blog

  • This year, resolve to reach out when you need help

    Tags: anticipate joy, partnership, counseling, support, covid-19, benefit

    By Anticipate Joy

    There is no doubt you have experienced extreme stressors in 2020, and now is a great time to determine where you want to be in the new year. Discussing New Year’s resolutions can feel somewhat cliche but can absolutely have benefits. 

    It’s a common practice for physicians to “cope alone.” Your schedules are chaotic, your expectations are near unreachable, and looking forward to retirement is sometimes your only effective strategy for coping with the turmoil. 

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  • Texas Immunization Registry webinar series for reporting COVID-19

    Tags: DSHS, ImmTrac, COVID-19 vaccine

    By the Texas Department of State Health Services

    The Texas Immunization Registry will host a series of live webinars to help providers identify data quality issues and how to resolve them using registry resources for accurate reporting. The webinar is for organizations reporting COVID-19 immunizations via data exchange.

    The registry is offering multiple sessions to allow for flexible attendance. Each session will cover the same content. A recording of the webinar will be made available at a future date on the DSHS Registry webpage under “User Training.” Each webinar session has a maximum capacity of 900 attendees, and you should register for only one session. If all sessions are full, we recommend referring to the DSHS Registry web page later for the posted recording.

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  • TAFP calls for all physicians, residents, and medical students be prioritized to receive COVID-19 vaccine

    Tags: COVID-19, vaccination, priority

    The Texas Academy of Family Physicians echoes the Texas Medical Association and Texas Hospital Association’s call for all physicians, medical students, and residents to be included in the priority group for COVID-19 vaccines.

    Our independent, community-based family medicine physicians constitute the foundation of our health care system. These physicians put themselves at risk every day and we depend on them to serve on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 — screening, testing, and managing the vast majority of patients outside of the hospital. These independent practices and their staff cannot afford to contract COVID-19 and close up shop. People will continue to get sick. Patients with chronic disease still need ongoing care, and many more will seek mental health counseling than ever before as a result of isolation, job loss, and financial insecurities. We cannot afford to lose our primary care workforce.

    As more COVID-19 vaccines become available, we must redouble our efforts to ensure that all physicians — including those physicians who are not employed by or affiliated with a hospital or health system — are prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination.

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  • President's Letter

    Tags: president's letter; amer shakil, december 2020, TAFP president, covid-19, new governance structure, UT southwestern

    Blessings, hopes, and new beginnings in difficult times
    Inaugural address of the newly installed TAFP President

    By Amer Shakil, MD
    TAFP President

    I feel incredibly blessed and honored to be elected as president of Texas Academy of Family Physicians. I recall my first TAFP meeting in the winter of 1998 after I had moved to Dallas and joined the St. Paul Residency Faculty. The following year, I joined the Commission on Academic Affairs and since then, I have hardly missed any TAFP meetings. A year later I also joined the Dallas Chapter of TAFP, where I still serve on the board.

    The reason I have been so regular in my attendance to these meetings is none other than the welcoming, supporting, and nurturing environment of TAFP, exemplified by its visionary leadership and staff year after year and meeting after meeting. I was lucky to find great mentors like Linda Siy and Doug Curran, colleagues like Jake Margo and Ashok Kumar, and of course all of our TAFP staff members.

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  • TAFP 2.0 — Introducing a new organizational structure to enhance member engagement

    Tags: new governance structure, get involved, member engagement

    By Jonathan Nelson and Kathy McCarthy

    For many years, a core group of dedicated family physicians have congregated twice each year at TAFP’s annual and interim meetings to sit on committees and conduct the business of the Academy. A frequent topic of discussion has always been how to attract more members to volunteer to serve in this capacity.

    As it turns out, there are a finite number of family doctors you can fit around a table in a hotel conference room for a three-hour committee meeting. And there are only so many physicians who can make a three-year commitment to break away from their practices for a few days two times a year to attend those meetings.

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  • Finding joy in stressful times

    Tags: anticipate joy, partnership, counseling, support, covid-19, benefit

    By Anticipate Joy

    2020 began with such hope. Many entered the year with an expectation for new vision and focus. We never could have predicted that this year would be marked by a health crisis that would tax our medical personnel and resources to unfathomable proportions. 

    We are not fully aware of the effects of this pandemic on the wellbeing of the physicians and other medical providers who have sacrificed their own health for that of others. In times such as these, fatigue, depression, stress, and burnout are words commonly used to describe the experiences of our medical heroes. Nevertheless, some doctors manage to find joy and hope in their daily experiences. Why is this important?

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  • Telehealth visits with elderly patients

    Tags: telehealth, elderly patients, Tasaduq Hussain Mir

    By Tasaduq Hussain Mir, MD, FAAFP

    The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a paradigm shift in how we see patients. Many physicians have now switched to telemedicine. Prior to the pandemic, only about 11% of physician visits were done via telehealth and now almost 46% of visits are completed via telehealth, according to the American Medical Association.

    Although telehealth visits have many benefits and are a preferred mode for a lot of patients to see their physician, they have their limitations, too. Many patients prefer telehealth because they do not have to spend hours in a doctor’s office, contend with heavy traffic, or struggle to find a parking spot to park their car. Having said that, many of the patients we schedule for telehealth visits are elderly, and problems like hearing loss, poor vision, and dementia are common in this age group.

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  • Multiple sclerosis and the National MS Society: A physician-turned-patient’s perspective

    Tags: Lisa Doggett, multiple sclerosis, MS

    By Lisa Doggett, MD, MPH

    I woke up dizzy on a Monday morning in November, 11 years ago. I didn’t think much of it, and I went to work, as usual, at my small community clinic in Central Austin. But as the week wore on and my symptoms persisted, without any explanation, I began to worry. When I started to have mild diplopia and taste changes, I needed to seek care. A neurologist examined me and told me I was probably okay, but my dizziness continued. A few days later, after noting subtle nystagmus during my otherwise normal exam, a savvy ENT doctor ordered the MRI, revealing my diagnosis: multiple sclerosis.

    I was lucky. Most people with MS wait months or even years before they are properly diagnosed. My diagnosis took eight days because, as a physician, I understood something was wrong, I knew the ENT doctor who fit me into his busy schedule, and I had the support and resources to get help fast. I worry when I think of others who can’t access the care they need. But as family physicians, we can help.

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  • An exciting new partnership for your mental wellness

    Tags: anticipate joy, partnership, counseling, support, covid-19, benefit

    By Anticipate Joy

    Anticipate Joy is an innovative mental health treatment and wellness company that supports healing and personal growth through a HIPAA-compliant online professional counseling platform. Anticipate Joy creates an introduction between the client and the therapist, along with the technology that enables the client to have therapy sessions with a licensed mental health provider within the convenience of your own home.

    Your benefits

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  • Direct primary care: A light in the darkness

    By Kissi Blackwell, MD

    Recent events have shed light on the existing difficulties facing family physicians and have revealed the fragility of the current healthcare system. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has devastated our health care delivery process, and many family physicians are facing the difficult decision to close their doors or contend with salary reductions due to sharply decreased face-to-face visits. Now, more than ever, patients are valuing visits that can take place outside of the exam room, and, unfortunately, reimbursement has been severely lacking for virtual visits for traditional fee-for-service practices.

    In the midst of all this uncertainty, there has been an inherent need to shift the way we approach primary care delivery and payment. In a time where we stand to lose thousands of primary care physicians to financial difficulties or retirement forced upon them by the current situation, we owe it to our profession to find a better way.

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