What you need to know for C. Frank Webber and Interim Session
It’s conference week! Whether you’re joining us for high-quality CME or to help develop policies to direct the Academy, we have all the information for you to have a great experience learning and interacting with TAFP and your colleagues. All events will take place at the Omni Austin Hotel Southpark; view more information on driving directions and parking below.
If you have any questions or concerns this week, please call (512) 329-8666. For on-site assistance, find a TAFP staff person at the TAFP registration desk, or go to the Omni front desk for help locating a TAFP staff person.
Here’s a quick rundown of events, with links to their detailed schedules:more
Welcome to the all-new TAFP.org
Here at TAFP headquarters, we are proud to introduce the completely retooled TAFP.org. The new site features a host of interactive opportunities with the goal of engaging our members in all facets of what the Academy has to offer.
At first you’ll notice that the site is much more graphically inviting, with lots of pictures to highlight various services, opportunities, resources, and news items of interest to family doctors. The home page is designed to introduce you to the site and welcome you to explore the various departments without overwhelming visitors with massive amounts of text and options.more
Addressing primary care access begins with the workforce
By now, it’s common knowledge that Texas faces a growing shortage of primary care physicians. We currently have approximately 18,000 primary care physicians to care for more than 25 million Texans, an unfavorable ratio that will worsen as fewer medical students choose to enter primary care fields and as the population continues to balloon at both ends of the age spectrum.
In an op-ed published Feb. 10 in the Houston Chronicle, Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, wrote about this dire need to address primary care access in Texas, acknowledging that the non-emergency medical services and coordinated care primary care physicians provide for their patients has been shown to increase quality and efficiency, and lower costs.
She has worked with TAFP and other stakeholders over the last decade to build the primary care workforce to improve the health of Texans and make health care costs sustainable for our state, and last session authored a comprehensive package of reforms to the state’s health care delivery system that aims to improve quality and efficiency in the health delivery system by testing and implementing various performance-based payment methods that provide incentives for improved patient outcomes.more
A win for the patient-centered medical home
WellPoint, the country’s second-largest health insurance company, is the latest industry leader investing significant funds into the patient-centered medical home. And while none of their 34 million enrollees are Texans, this still adds weight to the argument that spending more for primary care—upwards of $1 billion—will save money down the road.
Starting this summer, WellPoint will pay primary care physicians more through an increase to their fee-for-service schedule of around 10 percent, by paying them for “non-visit” services currently not reimbursed (like preparing care plans for patients with multiple chronic conditions), and through shared savings payments for achieving quality outcomes and reducing medical costs. Meeting the shared savings goals alone could make a practice eligible to earn 30 to 50 percent more than they earn now for the same service.
In addition to paying primary care physicians more, the company will enhance “information sharing,” provide care management support from WellPoint’s clinical staff, and incorporate best practices from their medical home pilots, the company said in a press release. In return, the physicians would have to meet additional requirements including expanded access for patients and maintaining a chronic disease registry.more