TAFP Blog

  • Independent physicians are disappearing and communities suffer for it

    By Christopher Crow, MD, MBA

    Every six months, leaders and physicians in the Catalyst Health Network—independent physicians all—get together to talk over what’s going on in our network and in health care generally. They’re great meetings. I always leave fired up about our work and I think my fellow physicians do, too.

    These convenings are especially encouraging at this time when there is so much pressure on physicians to join big hospital systems and affiliated medical groups. Such mergers are driving health care economics in Texas and across the country — and they’re creating big problems for patients, physicians, and communities.

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  • Looking ahead to 2020—Seeking clarity in a cloud of change and disruption

    By Tom Banning
    TAFP CEO

    Momentum continues to grow for value-based payment initiatives and other alternative payment models to fee for service. According to a report from the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, 34% of all U.S. health care payments in 2017 were tied to the value of care delivered, up from 23% in 2015.

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has led the charge toward value-based payment models, through various programs that design, pilot, and reward providers’ participation in them–pay for performance, Medicare Shared Savings ACOs, bundled payments, etc. Additionally, Medicare Advantage participation continues to grow and flourish. Commercial insurers are also beginning to aggressively drive payment models away from fee for service toward total cost of care, capitation, and value-based payments through exclusive provider or narrow networks.

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  • President's Letter

    Tags: private practice, catalyst. presidents letter, hart

    Private practice: Are we approaching the end of the road?

    By Rebecca Hart, MD
    TAFP President

    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.

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  • Funded delegate spots and scholarships available for NCCL and ACLF

    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 jnelson@tafp.org by Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. Be sure to let him know which constituency or constituencies you would like to represent.

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  • TAFP announces innovators competition prize winners

    Tags: behavioral health task force, behavioral health integration, innovators competition, janet hurley, behavioral health

    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.

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  • Plan now for Hard Hats for Little Heads month

    Tags: hhlh, hard hats for little heads, hard hats for little heads month, tma, tammy wishard, bicycle safety

    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.

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  • The health care zombie apocalypse

    Tags: health care apocalypse, hurley

    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.

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  • President's Letter

    Tags: presidents letter, q3 2019, rebecca hart, accomplishments, challenges, MOC, pilot program

    Accomplishments and challenges in a busy year

    By Rebecca Hart, MD
    TAFP President

    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.

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  • Join us in San Antonio or stream live from home: Emergency and Urgent Care live course

    Tags: aafp emergency and urgent care live course, san antonio, aafp course

    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.

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  • Recent challenges to a culture of patient safety

    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.

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