By Jonathan Nelson
The Texas Legislature approached full stride this week as some of its most powerful committees began hearing testimony from state agencies and the public. The Senate Finance Committee took up Article II of the state budget, which contains funding for all agencies and programs that fall under Texas Health and Human Services. That includes Medicaid, CHIP, Healthy Texas Women, the Family Planning Program, services for the aging and those with disabilities, and much more. At roughly $80 billion for the biennium, Article II accounts for more than a third of total state expenditures.
Antonio Falcon, MD, of Rio Grande City, was the first TAFP member to address the committee on Wednesday morning, February 6, advocating for one of organized medicine’s top legislative priorities, the allocation of funding to ensure competitive and appropriate Medicaid payments. Those payment rates have not been increased in a meaningful or enduring manner in nearly two decades. Yet physician practice costs have increased by about 3 percent each year.more
By Jonathan Nelson
We’re well into the third week of the Texas Legislature and now that the opening ceremonies are out of the way, lawmakers are beginning to get down to business. Both the House and the Senate have released their proposed budgets for the coming biennium, and both have announced committee assignments. Now the real work begins.
This session TAFP aims to fight for the restoration of funding for our family medicine residency programs to help address the increasing shortage of primary care physicians practicing in the state.more
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AAFP Family Medicine Board Review Express ® Live Course in Dallas, Feb. 21 - 24more
When you renew your annual AAFP/TAFP membership this fall, consider supporting the AAFP Foundation by making a $50 check-off donation on your dues form. Your contribution will ensure that the important work of the Foundation continues at the state and national levels.
Go to the AAFP website to pay your dues.
Your dollars will fund grants for chapter-level programs through the Family Medicine Philanthropic Consortium as well as AAFP Foundation humanitarian, educational, and research initiatives. All programs are designed to advance the values of family medicine and improve the health of all people.
The dues check-off is the easiest and fastest way to support your state and national Foundation. Your $50 gift:more
Each year, AAFP holds the National Conference of Constituency Leaders and Annual Chapter Leader Forum together in Kansas City, Missouri. NCCL representatives and ACLF attendees from across the nation gather to discuss various issues, suggest policies and programs to AAFP, and receive leadership training. In 2019, the conferences will be held April 25-27 and TAFP is looking for members to serve on the delegation or apply for scholarships to attend.
TAFP opportunities for NCCL
Spots are available for 10 TAFP members to represent each of the five constituencies: new physicians (physicians who have been out of residency for seven years or fewer), women, minorities, international medical graduates, and LGBT. TAFP reimburses up to $1,200 for expenses for each of the five delegatee and five alternate delegates. In addition, TAFP offers two other opportunities to attend NCCL with funding. These scholarships will be awarded to one third-year resident and one minority physician.
If you are interested in being considered for one of the delegate or alternate positions, please send a current curriculum vitae and a statement of intent to Jonathan Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Be sure to let him know which constituency or constituencies you would like to represent.more
Boost access, increase revenue with telemedicine
By Sheri Porter
The AAFP has launched a new telemedicine software platform designed specifically for family physicians working in small and medium-sized practices with fewer than 20 physicians. Called AAFP Virtual Care, the platform is powered by the virtual care technology company Zipnosis and aims to provide physicians and their patients with an easy way to connect.
This new member resource comes at a most opportune time, according to Steven Waldren, MD, director of AAFP’s Alliance for eHealth Innovation.more
By Evelyn Delgado
Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition Chair and Healthy Futures of Texas President/Executive Director
The texas women’s healthcare coalition is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of women, babies, and families by ensuring access to preventive care — including contraception — for all Texas women. Our membership includes health care organizations, provider organizations, advocacy organizations, and faith organizations from across the state. We strive toward our mission by working with state legislators on women’s health policy issues, educating the public on the landscape of women’s health in Texas, and through building relationships with state agency leaders to improve the programs serving Texas women.
Since its formation, TWHC has advocated for priority issues during each Texas legislative session with the goal of improving access to women’s health services. The No. 1 priority is always to protect funding for the state’s women’s health programs and advocate for more funding to meet the statewide need for family planning and preventive health services.more
By Janet Hurley, MD
If you have never seen the movie “Apollo 13,” I highly recommend it. It tells the story of a fateful NASA mission to the moon. In route to the moon, there was an explosion and the astronauts had to use the lunar lander module as a lifeboat. The movie tells the story of innovation, teamwork, and unbridled commitment toward the goal of bringing the astronauts home. The mission was called “a successful failure” because they failed to go to the moon, but they succeeded in bringing the astronauts home alive against terrible odds.
In my role as medical director of population health for my local health system, I have undertaken the task of developing a behavioral health program with the goal of having a behavioral health counselor embedded in each of our primary care clinics and psychiatrist consultants available to review behavioral health care plans, discuss cases with primary care physicians, and receive direct referrals. This is one good way to provide support to primary care while protecting a psychiatrist’s time to ensure that referrals are done for only the most difficult mental health patients. This has been my initial plan for mental health expansion in my organization.more
By Jonathan Nelson
At this year’s AAFP Congress of Delegates in New Orleans, the American Board of Family Medicine announced plans to pilot a longitudinal assessment alternative to the 10-year secure examination family physicians must take to maintain board certification. This option will be available to physicians who are current with continuous certification and are due to take the exam in 2019.
Based on ABFM’s popular Continuous Knowledge Self-Assessment platform, the new assessment option will deliver 25 questions online each quarter to diplomates who choose to participate.more
By Shari Glickman, MSSW, PMP
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has contracted with Mathematica Policy Research to recruit provider practices to help test an electronic clinical quality measure, or eCQM. The measure title is “Documentation of a Health Care Partner for Patients with Dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairment.”
The measure requires that a patient’s health care surrogate or partner’s contact information (email address and/or phone number) be documented in structured fields of the electronic health record or electronic medical record. Testing activities include practice staff — clinicians and practice managers — speaking with the Mathematica team about the practices’ workflows and the data elements they capture in their EHRs. We also ask practices to submit an extract of de-identified patient-level data from the EHR for analysis, including the data elements required for the eCQM, such as a health care surrogate or partner’s contact information. Finally, we ask practices to permit trained chart abstractors to review the data elements in a sample of patient charts.more