Archives / 2012 / April
  • State leaders must be willing to invest in the training of more primary care physicians

    Tags: workforce, shortage, primary care, cogme, centers for medicare and medicaid services, payment

    By Tom Banning

    There is not a self-respecting health policy analyst here or anywhere in the country who will say otherwise – we need to invest in and produce more primary care physicians.

    The conventional economic wisdom, backed by common sense and an abundance of evidence drawn from the real world, is that patients with ready access to primary care receive more timely and optimal health care services with better outcomes. Primary care physicians provide preventive, coordinated, and continuous care which results in less invasive and costly medical intervention and reduces the probability of redundant or unnecessary services.

  • Texas residency slots not keeping up with medical school graduates

    Tags: report, legislature, medical school, residency, texas higher education coordinating board, graduate medical education

    A new report reveals a severe problem in addressing the Texas physician workforce shortage: Though more medical students are graduating from Texas medical schools, our state won’t have enough first-year residency slots to keep them in the state to complete their training.

    The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board finds that while Texas medical schools have increased their enrollment by 31 percent from fall 2002 to fall 2011, at least 63 graduates will not be able to enter a Texas residency program in 2014. Without action, this shortfall will reach 180 by 2016.

    According to THECB and reported by the Texas Tribune, Texas had more than 550 residency programs in 2011 that offered a total of 6,788 residency slots. By 2014, Texas will need 220 more residency positions to achieve the 1.1 to 1 ratio of first-year residency positions to Texas medical school graduates. 

  • An introduction to RRNeT, the Research Residency Network of Texas

    Tags: family medicine residency program, research, faculty, medical student

    By Jason Hill
    RRNeT network coordinator

    The Research Residency Network of Texas, or RRNeT, is a collaboration of 10 Texas family medicine residency programs across the state, representing 100 family physician faculty and 300 family medicine residents who see approximately 300,000 outpatient visits per year. The program is comprised of physicians and researchers who meet bi-monthly to discuss research projects. RRNET is united by a single goal: to generate medical research that meets the needs of our diverse patient population. RRNeT’s patients are comprised of Latinos (55 percent), African Americans (12 percent), Caucasians (27 percent), and Asians (4 percent).

    To begin a study, physicians discuss reoccurring medical issues and concerns arising in their day-to-day clinical work. “What patient issues are most puzzling or worrisome?” A consensus answer to this question often determines the research agenda for the upcoming year. Each year, one or two large research studies are implemented. Research topics to date have included alternative medicine use, medication compliance, teen preventive care, cost-efficient care, low back pain, and obesity. After selecting a research topic, RRNeT members derive specific research aims to shed light on underlying causes, further describe the topic, and  test linkages between the causes and associated health outcomes.  Then study design, sampling, procedures, and data collection processes are determined. At this point, RRNeT members acquire permission to conduct the study with their respective institutional review boards.

  • Reflecting on 15 years at TAFP

    Tags: anniversary, mccarthy, tafp foundation

    By Kathy McCarthy, TAFP COO

    In recognition of the 15th anniversary of my time at TAFP, I’d like to take a moment to reflect. In these tough economic times, most feel lucky just to have a job. I am especially blessed to have one that I enjoy, that challenges me, and that rewards me in so many ways. I began working for TAFP in 1996 as a secretary and left after about nine months to get certified to teach grade school. After a few months of substitute teaching, I knew that I was not well suited to teaching. I returned to Austin and found myself back with TAFP on April 7, 1997, as “special projects coordinator.”

    I’ve seen lots of changes in those years, many driven by revolutionary technology. When I started working in membership, we still had a microfiche machine to view member records and speakers would show up for our CME event with slide carousels!

  • McAllen family physician brings monument to Capitol grounds

    Tags: barrera, monument, legislature, community, capitol

    After 12 years of planning, Texas leaders unveiled a Capitol grounds monument on March 29 honoring Tejanos, the first Spanish and Mexican descendants who introduced many of our state’s proud traditions and culture.

    This is el sueño (the dream) of McAllen family physician and TAFP member Cayetano E. Barrera III, M.D., as event emcee State Rep. Richard Peña Raymond said at the unveiling ceremony. Back in 2000, Barrera and his wife were walking the grounds of the Texas Capitol when they noticed that none of the statues or monuments recognized Hispanic contributions to the state. With his love of history and respect for genealogy, Barrera knew that the Tejano contribution was too important in the formation of Texas culture to ignore. And over the next decade, he worked as president of the Tejano Monument Committee to meet with sponsors, architects, engineers, historians, board members, legislators, and all other necessary contacts to raise support and funding for the monument.

    The final product is a grand tribute to the Tejano contribution. It features 11 life-size bronzed statues mounted on slabs of pink granite: a vaquero on horseback corralling two longhorns, a Tejano couple with a baby, a young girl, a boy leading a goat, and an explorer gazing over the whole scene.