Archives / 2012 / July
  • By choosing wisely, physicians can help address the unsustainable trajectory of health care costs

    Tags: perspective, young, choosing wisely, health care costs, aafp

    By Richard Young, M.D.

    “Every admitted patient should have a chest X-ray and a VDRL,” said one of my Type A personality internal medicine attending physicians during residency. The year was 1990 and this attitude was shared by a few other knowledgeable physicians at the time, though others questioned the practice and were more flexible in their medical decision-making. I would venture to guess that few family physicians or internists practice this way in 2012, but the practice is not completely dead.

    A lot has changed since 1990. The total cost of U.S. health care was $724 billion and consumed 12.5 percent of the gross domestic product.1 In 2012, the total cost of U.S. health care is estimated to be $2.8 trillion and will consume 17.6 percent of GDP.2 This health care inflationary trend has continued unabated for the last 50 years.

  • Defining the meaning of “meaningful use”

    Tags: texas family physician, meaningful use, technology, tradition, balkcom, president's letter

    By I.L. Balkcom IV, M.D.
    TAFP President

    Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone, but I am attempting to practice on my laptop so I might understand how to have a “meaningful” encounter with my patient. I have made progress in technology in that I even sent our chief operating officer, Kathy McCarthy, an e-mail this year—a proud moment in my technological infancy. Now I find myself immersed in a small screen with small print and myriad options for the EHR. As Peanuts would say, “ARRRGHH!” as I erase an entire page by accident.

    Now for those of you who are fortunate enough to know all things computer or young enough to have grown up with iPhones, laptops, and MP3 players, I heartily congratulate you. Some of us less technologically gifted are still learning how to turn on these infernal machines and not to treat them like coke machines—beat and kick the “heck” out of them. I wish so often they would say something so I could keep up my tirade. Oh, I forgot. They do talk to you now.

  • View pictures from the 63rd Annual Session and Scientific Assembly

    Tags: annual session and scientific assembly, business meetings, leadership, committee, commission, report

    About 400 family physicians and other health care providers gathered in Austin this July to learn, network, see old friends and make new ones, all while celebrating the specialty of family medicine at the 63rd Annual Session and Scientific Assembly. For your TAFP staff, this was a special Annual Session because it was held in our hometown, so we enjoyed recommending our favorite restaurants, coffee houses, and activities to any attendees who were interested.

  • Call for nominations: Select our next Member of the Month

    Tags: membership, member of the month, nomination

    Here’s a quick quiz on a Monday morning. What do the following have in common: A private-practice physician inspiring fitness in her community by leading by example, an Army doc who joined the service after 9/11, a third-year resident in Odessa originally from Nigeria, and a San Antonio educator who completes triathlons in her spare time? They’re all TAFP members and they’ve all been profiled as a TAFP Member of the Month!

    Launched in February 2011, Member of the Month has introduced us to 17 TAFP members who practice their own unique “brand” of family medicine. It’s published in TAFP News Now and on, and features a brief biography and Q&A giving voice to their passions and viewpoints.

    The idea was brought to Academy staff by Melissa Gerdes, M.D., 2010-2011 TAFP president, and has taken root as one of my favorite projects. And with 7,000 family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students, we have lots more work to do.

  • Things to know for TAFP’s Annual Session & Scientific Assembly

    Tags: annual session and scientific assembly, membership, hotel, parking, conference, reminder, network, event

    We’re gearing up for the 63rd Annual Session and Scientific Assembly and can’t wait to welcome all TAFP officers, leaders, members, CME attendees, and special guests to Austin. We have an eventful conference planned for you and we look forward to seeing you in our hometown.

    Please visit the TAFP registration desk (locations and hours listed below) to pick up your materials including your CME syllabus, registration packet, and Official Program. Your Official Program includes schedules, maps, and other important information about the conference.

    > This essential resource is available online for viewing on your laptop or mobile device at

  • The epidemic of our times: Diabetes

    Tags: diabetes, resources, kadir, annual session and scientific assembly, preventive care

    By Lamia Kadir, M.D.

    Diabetes is a personal issue for me, as with many; my mother was diagnosed decades ago. I firmly believe a solid knowledge of diabetes is crucial for all primary care physicians. To know diabetes is to know medicine.

    According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3 percent of the population—have diabetes. There were 1.9 million new cases of diabetes diagnosed in people over age 20 in 2010.