Private practice: Are we approaching the end of the road?
By Rebecca Hart, MD
Is private practice obsolete? Can it be saved, and if so, who will save it?
Such questions dog many of our colleagues in family medicine. We struggle to keep small businesses thriving amid ever-increasing administrative hassles and expenses. All the while, disruptive new market entrants threaten to upend the mores and norms we’ve always known.more
Each year, AAFP holds the National Conference of Constituency Leaders and Annual Chapter Leader Forum together in Kansas City, Missouri. NCCL representatives and ACLF attendees from across the nation gather to discuss various issues, suggest policies and programs to AAFP, and receive leadership training. In 2020, the conferences will be held April 23-25 and TAFP is looking for members to serve on the delegation or apply for scholarships to attend.
TAFP opportunities for NCCL
Spots are available for 10 TAFP members to represent each of the five constituencies: new physicians (physicians who have been out of residency for seven years or fewer), women, minorities, international medical graduates, and LGBT physicians. TAFP reimburses up to $1,200 for expenses for each of the five delegate and five alternate delegates. In addition, TAFP offers two other opportunities to attend NCCL with funding. These scholarships will be awarded to one third-year resident and one minority physician.
Interested? Please send a current curriculum vitae and a statement of intent to Jonathan Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. Be sure to let him know which constituency or constituencies you would like to represent.more
Academy launches Behavioral Health Integration Toolkit
The judges’ tallies are in and we have three winners in TAFP’s first-ever Behavioral Health Integration Innovators Competition. In May, the Academy put out a call to primary care practices asking them to submit their unique models of behavioral health integration for the chance to win $10,000. Entries were judged by the TAFP Behavioral Health Task Force, which was appointed after the Academy identified the need for greater integration of behavioral health services in primary care as a top priority in its strategic plan.
The judges selected winners in each of three care settings: academic health centers, integrated health systems, and solo and small group practices. The winners are the Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program of Sugar Land in the academic setting category, the Heart of Texas Community Health Center of Waco in the integrated health systems category, and the Hope Clinic of McKinney in the small group and solo practice category.more
By TMA Staff
Like the Panhandle community of Perryton, you, too, can help ensure that kids in your community have helmets as TMA celebrates the 25th birthday of the Hard Hats for Little Heads program in October.
A hit-and-run accident in Perryton earlier this summer sent a 10-year-old bicyclist to the hospital and prompted the community to host a local bike safety workshop. TMA member Rex L. Mann, MD, a Perryton family physician, got busy to make sure the event featured a TMA helmet giveaway, a first for the community. These local family physicians, along with Dr. Mann, helped provide helmets for the event: Manon E. Childers, MD, Blake A. DeWitt, MD; Jennifer T. McGaughy, DO; and Rick A. Siewert, DO.more
By Janet Hurley, MD
There was once a time when I believed that organized medicine would play a major role in creating a sustainable health care product for our nation. Admittedly our organized medicine leaders have a lot of great ideas, many excellent skills, good relationships with lawmakers, and brilliant expertise. However I learned with sadness as time progressed that the dysfunctions in Washington, D.C., and Austin are unlikely to lead to substantive health care changes. While our organized medical societies give wise advice, our lawmakers are not always listening.
I then turned my energies to the private sector and focused my leadership on a large integrated health care system that emphasized and respected high-value primary care. I had hoped that these kinds of systems could leverage their medical homes, medical neighborhoods, and IT systems to more optimally coordinate care and reduce waste. Yet once I entered that world, I became aware of the massive regulatory burden facing our hospitals today. The relentless push to become a Joint Commission-accredited, “high reliability organization” with “zero harm” is commendable, yet requires the hiring of multiple levels of safety officers, nursing leaders, and administrative leaders, and the development of many more “clicks” in the electronic medical record that leads to massive nurse burnout rates in our country.more
Accomplishments and challenges in a busy year
By Rebecca Hart, MD
Greetings colleagues. As I reflect on this year so far, it’s been a whirlwind! We have seen major accomplishments, but huge challenges lie ahead. Let’s recap where we are on several issues.
Accomplishments: The 86th Texas legislative session ended with a few significant wins for family medicine. We retained our funding for the Family Medicine Preceptorship Program and Physician Education Loan Repayment Program. We successfully protected funding levels for existing residency training programs while the Legislature increased graduate medical education expansion funding by $60 million. And once again, we defeated challenges to our scope of practice and turned back efforts by nurse practitioners to practice medicine independently.more
Attend the AAFP’s Emergency and Urgent Care live course from your home or join your peers in San Antonio, Texas, October 9-12.
Know the latest treatment options in emergency and urgent care settings, gain
hands-on skills, and recognize when to treat and when to refer. At the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Prepare treatment plans for patients who present to emergency departments and/or urgent care clinics.
- Evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients with acute health needs affecting any number of body systems, including cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological, maternity, psychological, or musculoskeletal conditions.
- Incorporate emergency plans into practice, including written protocols and necessary equipment/tools for treatment.
By Travis Bias, DO, MPH
A culture of patient safety built over the past 20 years is encountering roadblocks. Policies and recent events that defy both research and initiatives geared towards strengthening health care safety, whether intentional or not, must be highlighted to ensure we continue to move the ball in the right direction.
Recently a New York Times story highlighted the “culture of secrecy” that protects hospitals from disclosing their name when an outbreak of a drug-resistant bug occurs within their walls. Defenders of the policy argue this encourages hospitals to promptly report these outbreaks to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention without fear of negative publicity.more
Mergers, acquisitions, and the family physician — where do we fit in?
By Rebecca Hart, MD
Recently I have been hearing a lot of angst from colleagues about all the impending mergers of large retail corporations, insurance companies, and pharmacies starting up primary care clinics complete with urgent care, lab, imaging, and other amenities. My colleagues are gnashing their teeth wondering if they’ll be forced out of business by yet another corporate takeover. First the hospitals, now this.
The CVS/Aetna partnership brings us HealthHUBs in CVS stores, a health care “destination” with nurse practitioners at the helm and a “care concierge” to direct the patient to CVS services. They are associated with physicians only as reviewers of the NPs, because this is required by Texas law. They are not even on the payroll, but act as consultants — a very distant role. These physicians are not involved in directing the company or directing the primary care at all.more
With the increase in immigrants seeking asylum along the southern border, physicians and charitable organizations are struggling to provide needed care, supplies, and shelter to migrants in their communities. A recent article in Kaiser Health News describes the situation this way:
“In the absence of a coordinated federal response, nonprofit organizations across the 1,900-mile stretch have stepped in to provide food, shelter and medical care. Border cities like El Paso, San Diego and McAllen, Texas, are used to relying on local charities for some level of migrant care. But not in the massive numbers and sustained duration they’re seeing now. As the months drag on, the work is taking a financial and emotional toll. Nonprofit operators are drawing on donations, financial reserves and the generosity of medical volunteers to meet demand. Some worry this “new normal” is simply not sustainable.”
Many members along the border are working with local charities to provide care and services and we know many more members would like to help. Here are some organizations and opportunities to contact if you are interested. If you are working with other organizations or know of other opportunities, please email Jonathan Nelson, email@example.com