By Jonathan Nelson
Last week two TAFP members testified before the House Higher Education Committee, asking for support for House Bill 2261 by Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, and Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler. The bill would increase the maximum payout of the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program from $160,000 to $180,000 for physicians who agree to practice for four years in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area. The bill has a companion in the Senate, SB 998 by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen.
In 2009, the Texas Legislature greatly enhanced the existing Physician Education Loan Repayment Program by changing the way smokeless tobacco is taxed and designating part of the difference to physician loan assistance. That allowed physicians to receive up to $160,000 to pay off their educational debt in return for four years of service, and that’s a deal many physicians have been eager to make. In the past five years, the program has enrolled well over 750 physicians who are now caring for patients in rural communities, urban centers, community health centers, and correctional facilities – all places where Texans suffer a lack of access to care.more
By Jonathan Nelson
TAFP’s new strategic plan focuses on helping members care for patients
Last fall, the TAFP Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan for the Academy designed to strengthen the organization and ensure it works to help members do what they do best: take care of their patients and their communities. The plan is the culmination of a yearlong process led by TAFP’s elected leaders and a select group of other leaders. It will help guide Academy actions and endeavors for the next three to five years.more
By Larry Kravitz, MD
I had a retirement role model once. A secret role model, who didn’t retire. In the moment, I never told him of my admiration. I was just passing through his clinic, 40 years ago, and never knew how long his impact would remain within me.
As a fourth-year medical student at George Washington University, I had signed up for a tropical medicine elective at the Gorgas Institute in Panama, one of the top infectious disease research institutes in the Western Hemisphere. Gorgas was created in 1921, named for Dr. William Crawford Gorgas, who eradicated yellow fever in Panama, thus facilitating the construction of the Panama Canal. Interspersed with the daily lectures, we rounded in the hospitals and saw florid cases of tetanus, measles, and typhoid. We went on field trips including visiting a leper colony, a living museum of medical history.more
Strong family physicians, strong medicine, strong patients
An excerpt from the inaugural speech of the new TAFP President
By Rebecca Hart, MD
I am so humbled, joyful and happy to begin work as your new president. Thank you for electing me and giving me this opportunity to serve you. I hope you join me this year in working harder than ever to keep our profession strong, our physicians inspired, and our workforce increasing.
When I began my career as a resident in Family Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine Residency Program in 1988, I was naïve. I knew nothing of the big issues that would face me in my future as a family physician. I knew nothing of CMS, preauthorization, payment reform, physician shortages, mid-levels, MACRA, EHRs, quality incentive programs, or Medicare Advantage plans. Heck, most of these things didn’t even exist back then! I knew only that I loved every rotation back in medical school, so family medicine was right for me. I wanted to be a full-scope family doctor, deliver babies, and work in a small town in Texas to make a difference in people’s lives.more