• TAFP report outlines five-point plan to transform health care in Texas

    Tags: Marshall Plan, prospective payment, 87th Texas Legislature

    By Jonathan Nelson

    Texas’ fragmented health care system has long been plagued by ever-rising costs, inconsistent access to care, poor health outcomes, and a shrinking primary care workforce. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed those critical weaknesses and laid bare the undeniable socioeconomic inequity endemic to our health care system.

    In response to the ongoing pandemic, TAFP commissioned a report from FTI Consulting, an independent global business advisory firm, to study the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Texas’ health care system. The report, “The Primary Care Marshall Plan: A Five-Point Plan to Transform Health Care in Texas” lays out specific actions that policymakers should take to reimagine and transform how primary care is funded and delivered to improve the health and economic productivity of Texans, reduce overall health care spending, and prepare us for future public health emergencies.

  • Change is on the horizon

    Tags: sokunbi, race, racism, equity

    By Yetunde Sokunbi, MD

    “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” — James Baldwin

  • DSHS offers COVID-19 communications tools for businesses

    By Jonathan Nelson

    Recently, the Texas Department of State Health Services created COVID-19 communication tools to help you operate your business safely. Tools include videos, social media graphics and animations, plus printable posters. You also have access to minimum recommended health protocols for safe operation. Materials are available in English and Spanish.

    The materials promote health safety practices. You can display posters in high-traffic areas such as entrances, lobbies, restrooms, and break rooms. You can post social media content on your channels. You can also feature these messages in employee communication. And you can share these resources with others to use.

  • Direct primary care: A light in the darkness

    Tags: DPC, direct primary care

    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.

  • Is it anxiety or does Kevin have COVID-19?

    Tags: Texas Children Mental Health Care Consortium, laurel williams, CPAN

    By Laurel L. Williams, DO
    Medical Director, Centralized Operational Support Hub
    Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium

    Clinical vignette: It’s 3 p.m. on a busy Thursday. Kevin and his mother zoom into your office for the third time in six weeks. Today’s chief complaint is stomach pain and mild diarrhea. Kevin is 9 years old and has had some stomach issues in the past. Mom has been reading up on COVID-19 and heard that children more often present with stomach versus respiratory symptoms. The history does not really fit COVID-19 and you are starting to wonder about anxiety. But how to talk with mom without looking like you are brushing off the COVID concern? You wish you had a child psychiatrist on speed dial.

    What’s faster than a pizza delivery and better for your physical and emotional well-being? The new state-funded Child Psychiatry Access Network at (888) 901-2726.

  • TAFP resident and student members elect their 2020-2021 officers

    The 2020 CFW Resident and Student Track was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Section on Resident Physicians and Section on Medical Students still held virtual elections for various officer positions. The following are the 2020-2021 resident and student officers.

    Section on Resident Physicians


  • Attend webinar on early detection of cognitive impairment by the Alzheimer’s Association, UNTHSC, and TAFP, and earn free CME

    By Scott Finley
    Manager of Media Engagement, Texas Alzheimer's Association

    The Alzheimer’s Association in partnership with the TAFP and the University of North Texas Health Science Center is presenting a live CME event on Wednesday, June 17 from 6 to 7 p.m. The event is titled “Family Physicians and Early Detection of Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease.”

    Dr. Mary Quiceno will be our speaker in the webinar. Dr. Quiceno is a board-certified neurologist affiliated with William P. Clements University Hospital and University of Texas Southwest Medical Center, where she is the Director of the Memory Disorders Clinic. She has held steering committee positions on national consortia, and she has served as investigator for the Alzheimer’s Neuroimaging Research Initiative/ADNI and the Texas Alzheimer’s Research and Care Consortia/TARCC. She is appointed to the Texas Council on Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. At the Alzheimer’s Association, she is vice chair of the Medical and Scientific Research Committee for the Dallas and Northeast Texas Chapter.

  • TAFP urges Congress to make visas available for IMGs to help with physician shortage

    Tags: Healthcare workforce resilience act, IMG, J-1, visas

    By Jean Klewitz

    TAFP sent letters to Texas congressional lawmakers in support of legislation introduced to the House and Senate that has the potential to add 15,000 physicians to the pandemic-strained physician workforce. The letters were signed by TAFP President Javier Margo Jr., MD.

    Earlier this month, AAFP put out the call for state chapters to join in the academy’s efforts to advocate for this legislation. The letters from TAFP went to Texas congressional lawmakers in the House and Senate regarding the Healthcare Workforce Resilience Act, H.R. 6788 and S. 3599. “This legislation is a good, incremental, step to address an immediate need presented by the COVID-19 pandemic," the letter said.

  • Alzheimer’s Association is partnering with TAFP to provide resources

    Tags: Alzheimer's Association, partnership, resources, Laura McEntire, Elise Passy, Dementia

    By Scott Finley
    Manager of Media Engagement, Texas Alzheimer's Association

    Right now, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. In Texas, this amounts to over 400,000 Texans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias with an expected growth of more than 20% by 2050.

    The Alzheimer’s Association is partnering with TAFP to provide a variety of resources to support family physicians throughout the disease continuum, including early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, management of these conditions, and care planning and support services following a diagnosis.  

  • What’s being heard: Methods for establishing strong patient rapport

    Tags: Antonio Barksdale, patient rapport

    By Antonio Barksdale, MD

    As providers, particularly primary care providers, it is becoming more and more vital to establish a positive and strong rapport with every patient. This rapport fosters trust, openness, and ultimately yields better compliance along with improved outcomes. How is this rapport established? How do we get patients to trust us? How do we get patients to listen? How do we improve compliance? And how do we improve patient satisfaction scores?

    There is a slew of research on these topics and we have an entire team in our organization to address the last question. The one thing I’d like to highlight in this article is being mindful of how we are communicating and what messages we are sending beyond the surface of our words. We’re communicating all day. We greet, we ask, we explain, we plan, we disclose, we lecture, we theorize, we talk about numerous things with our patients. Patients however only hear a portion of what is being said. To some providers, this can be disconcerting and frustrating. After all, we’ve invested our time, expertise, energy in order to tell the patient something beneficial, so they should readily scoop it all up ... right? Research shows that patients only grasp 20-60% of the information spouted at them, depending on the type and complexity of the information.