By Jonathan Nelson
Last week, Adrian Billings, MD, PhD, traveled from his home in Alpine, Texas, to Austin to testify on behalf of TAFP and the Texas Medical Association at a hearing of the House of Representatives Public Health Committee. The hearing focused on assessing the challenges rural Texans face when trying to access health care.
“I stand before you today privileged to advocate on behalf of rural patients and communities. I do not want to fail these incredibly resilient rural human beings,” Billings said.more
By Jonathan Nelson
The House Select Committee on Health Care Reform wrapped up two days of hearings last week in pursuit of their interim charge to provide policy solutions before the January start of the next Texas Legislature. Committee chair Rep. Sam Harless, R-Spring, kicked off more than 15 hours of invited testimony by outlining the committee’s charge.
“We are directed to look at the rising cost of health care and health care plans as well as transparency of health care plans, confusing and unequal pricing and more,” Harless said. “Our goal is to increase access and improve affordability for medical care for all Texans including the uninsured and the underinsured.”more
By Anticipate Joy
As a physician you may be struggling with caring for the needs of others, while prioritizing your personal needs and you may be asking, “Is self-care selfish?”
It’s a common question.more
By Jonathan Nelson
As Texas lawmakers prepare for the 88th Texas Legislature scheduled to begin January 10, 2023, they will have an estimated $27 billion in extra revenue to spend, according to a letter to state leadership last week from Comptroller Glenn Hegar. On top of that, the state’s “rainy day fund” will have swollen to $13.6 billion when the Legislature convenes, an increase of $3.5 billion since the comptroller’s last report. Inflation on consumer goods and high prices for oil and gas have led to unprecedented revenues from sales taxes for the state.
The July 14 letter detailed a revision to the comptroller’s Certification Revenue Estimate, which is presented to the Legislature in advance of each regular legislative session.more
By TAFP COO Kathy McCarthy, CAE
I had the privilege of attending the HOSA International Leadership Conference on behalf of AAFP in June. HOSA-Future Health Professionals is a global organization with a mission to promote career opportunities in the health industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care for all people. It includes middle school and collegiate students, but most attendees at the conference were high school students. The regional, state, and international conferences include business sessions to elect their leadership, educational seminars and workshops, and competitive events and exams. This was the first live international event for the organization since 2019 and there were more than 10,000 high school students from across the country and the world at the meeting (the lines at the Starbucks were a testament to size of the gathering).
AAFP has worked with HOSA the past few years to develop an exam and competitive event focused on family medicine, and my purpose for attending the conference was to help judge the first live competition. The high school students did at least two interviews with family physicians and medical students. The interviews along with their research informed a presentation on the specialty, the educational pathway, and more. They gave their presentations to a group of their peers before going to competitive events. In Texas, we have seven regions with competitions and a statewide event that had 18 competitors in the Family Medicine Physician event.more
Statement by Texas Academy of Family Physicians President Mary Nguyen, MD, in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling regarding Roe v. Wade.
Like all health care, abortion is a deeply personal issue. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice or somewhere in between, today's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court will undoubtedly cause a great deal of confusion for many Texans and family physicians. While it will take time to fully understand how this ruling and existing Texas laws will affect patient care, I know family physicians will continue counseling their patients to make medical decisions together about what care is best for them.
The Supreme Court's decision to strike down Roe v. Wade ends a half-century of federal constitutional protection of abortion rights and allows each state to decide whether to restrict or ban abortion. In Texas, which already has a “trigger law” in place, that would mean a near total ban on abortion.more
By TAFP President Mary Nguyen, MD, and Texas Pediatric Society President-Elect Louis Appel, MD, MPH
We urge all physicians to become educated about the ongoing mental health crisis our youth and families are facing. These are the facts none of us can escape in our busy practices: one in four children suffer from a mental health condition, 50% of serious mental health disorders have been diagnosed by age 14, and suicide rates continue to increase for young people. COVID-19 has only worsened these worrisome national trends.
Between 2016 and 2020, the number of children ages three to 17 diagnosed with anxiety grew by 29%, and depression jumped by 27%. Those numbers are expected to grow even more as young people recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health. In 2022 they released a Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention detailing prevention strategies designed to support pediatric health clinicians.more
By Tammy Wishard
In a recent advisory calling attention to health care worker burnout, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, highlighted the broad response the situation calls for: “We must ensure that every health worker has access to affordable, confidential, and convenient mental health care.”
If finances are keeping you or someone you know from seeking treatment for depression, anxiety, substance use, or other conditions, the Texas Medical Association’s PBF Wellness Fund is here to help overcome that barrier.more
By Anticipate Joy
It’s 2022 and sad to say the stigma surrounding seeking mental health services is still alive and well. Despite well-intended efforts to reduce the stigma, many people continue to see mental health issues as a sign of weakness, leaving those who suffer from mental illness feeling alone in their struggle. However, if mental health is a concern for you, you are far from alone. In 2019, 20.6% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness, representing 51.5 million people or one in five adults. 5.2% of U.S. adults experienced serious mental illness, representing 13.1 million people or one in 20 adults. Mental illness is more common than you might believe, demonstrating that you are not the only one struggling.
Of particular concern, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, early evidence suggests the rate of depression in physicians across age groups is 25%. A study evaluating barriers to treatment for physicians found that 70% of physicians with moderate to severe depression reported “getting an appointment that fits my schedule” as a major barrier to mental health treatment.more
Once a year, family medicine residents and medical students come together to engage in real talk about family medicine with family medicine leaders, educators, and recruiters at the National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students, held July 28 – 30 in Kansas City, Missouri. This year’s conference will inspire attendees to choose a dynamic career in family medicine — one that literally can take you anywhere. Attendees will hear from nationally recognized speakers.
National Conference also offers:
- An Expo Hall with 400 exhibitors including residency programs, physician employers, medical missions, fellowships, government agencies, and more.
- Workshops on topics such as career planning, health policy and advocacy, leadership and development, and research.
- The ability to influence AAFP policy and develop leadership skills in the student and resident congresses.
- Enhance your clinical skills, such as providing trauma-informed care, understanding reproductive and maternal care in family medicine, learning procedures, and more.