Step 1: Get to it and through it
By Student Dr. Kendra
Step 1, the rite of passage for every medical student. It seems like torture to get to and go through, but it’s the one thing that can affect the trajectory of your whole career in medicine. It’s a daunting task but it seems like everyone — for the most part — has gotten through it pretty well. The journey to it and through it can be ugly, but hopefully, I can offer you some preparation tips that will successfully get you where you want to be. It can seem overwhelming, but focusing on your schedule and the resources available to you can help get past. I will outline my schedule, the resources I choose, and the review techniques that worked best for me.
A few things to note first:more
How the CCO model would address our nation’s health care crisis
By Jim Rickards, MD, MBA
Back in 2011, the state of Oregon was facing a massive budget deficit, primarily driven by rising Medicaid costs. Medicaid is government-supported health insurance for economically disadvantaged individuals earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. About 25 percent of Oregon’s population, nearly 1 million individuals, are currently enrolled in Medicaid. This is a similar percentage to what is seen nationally. Not only did the deficit substantially impact the state’s overall budget for health care funding, but the potential impact on the lives of many Oregonians also weighed heavy on the medical community.
Typically, when states try to manage deficits related to Medicaid, they employ a combination of three strategies. For one, they will decrease reimbursement rates to hospitals and providers. This does not work very well because, ultimately, clinics will need to limit the number of Medicaid members they see since they are not financially viable, in turn creating access issues for patients. Second, the number and types of covered services can be restricted by the state. In Oregon, we had already employed the Prioritized List of Health Services for more than 20 years, which served as an evidence-based approach to prioritizing and limiting the availability of health care services. Limiting what was already on the list would not have been possible without denying many essential services. Finally, a state can decrease the number of individuals enrolled in Medicaid. This was not an option either, as Oregon was going to be an expansion state under the Affordable Care Act and would see its Medicaid population grow from 600,000 to a little over 1 million members within just a short time.more
The pace of American medical training
By Travis Bias, DO, MPH, DTM&H
In his commencement address at Kenyon College in 2005, the late author David Foster Wallace told the story of two young fish swimming along. They pass an older fish swimming the other way who greets them: “Morning boys. How’s the water?” As they swim on, one of the younger fish responds to the other: “What the hell is water?”
Feeling and appreciating your body of water takes experience, maturity, and occasionally someone else making you aware of your daily surroundings. It was not until a few years into my career as a family medicine physician that I realized the furious pace at which American physicians learn to swim, insulated in a system that operates in stark contrast to that of other countries around the world.more
Addressing Texas’ maternal mortality crisis
Janet Realini, MD, MPH
As is often the case in Texas politics, there was little agreement during the 85th Legislative Session on which steps are necessary to address the state’s many health care challenges. One area that did see agreement, though, was the recognition that far too many mothers in Texas get sick or die during pregnancy or within a year of a pregnancy ending. Unlike the decline of mortality rates internationally, U.S. maternal mortality rates have been increasing, and Texas’ maternal death rate infamously doubled between 2010 and 2012.
Thankfully, the Legislature moved during special session to extend the state’s Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, which plays an important role in identifying and addressing the core issues contributing to maternal death and severe illness.more
On the shoulders of giants
An excerpt from the inaugural speech of the new TAFP President
By Janet Hurley, MD
Greetings friends, colleagues, staff, and family members. It is my honor to stand before you as our next TAFP President. As I watched Dr. Elliott receive this medallion last year, I thought of all of the leaders in the past who have worn this medallion before us. I am honored to receive the responsibility today, acknowledging that this medallion has been around the necks of many giants along the way before me.
My first TAFP meeting was in the summer of 1997, ironically also here in Galveston. I was a student, wandering lost around the conference hotel. I was impressed to feel so welcomed by the TAFP staff and physician leaders, like Dr. David Schneider, who was among my first Academy mentors.more