Dear AAPS Texas Chapter Members and Friends:
It is a privilege to serve the doctors of TxAAPS. I want to share with you a few important links to information on relief efforts for flood victims and encourage all to find ways to help the many people who are in need. Also, I am including a summary of some of the work the TxAAPS board did earlier this year.
1. Disaster Recovery
In the wake of the hurricane disaster in the Houston area, we have much to be thankful for, and there is so much we can offer to those who will be in need for potentially months to come. The medical center in Houston has been able to respond quickly and had the preparation and resources to be operational in a short time frame.
There are many displaced people, however, and doctors and staff are among them. The medical clinics will take time to rebuild. Patients will still need care and many will not have transportation for a while.
While most of us are capable of clearing debris and donating supplies, we may also be able to offer volunteer medical care in areas that are more seriously affected by the hurricane damage and flooding, and in the areas where displaced persons have been concentrated in shelters.
There are volunteer organizations in place already who have stand-by lists of medical professionals who have volunteered to help. Some links to these organizations and their efforts are here:
- Texas Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (TX VOAD) http://txvoad.communityos.org/cms/node/104
- OneStar Foundation: https://onestarfoundation.org/
- HHS Activities: the official HHS release with everything the agency is doing currently: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2017/08/28/hhs-establishing-medical-shelter-to-aid-those-affected-by-hurricane-harvey.html
We need to look to long term help for patients who may not soon be able to return to normalcy. People whose homes were damaged may not have the financial reserves to pay for the high deductibles imposed on them by insurances. The exceptionally high cost of medication will add further to the strain on limited resources.
One of the potential solutions we could offer is to send mobile medical units to areas with high needs. They can be used by local teams of medical professionals or by volunteer teams. Crisis pregnancy units equipped with sonogram capabilities would offer help for women and children. Many have offered individualized services, and we can expect Texas doctors to reach out to the people who need care during this crisis.
2. Legislative Update
Other important issues that have been the focus of our board include the contentious issue of MOC mandates. The SB1148 victory in the regular session was even more remarkable in view of the difficulty in the Texas legislature of passing other more high-profile legislation.
While the bill takes effect January 1, 2018, proactive physicians are already taking matters into their own hands. A unanimous vote in favor of removing MOC requirements occurred June 27 at Memorial Hermann Southeast and other hospitals in the system will hopefully be soon taking a similar vote.
During the recent special legislative session in Austin, we obtained the support of a coalition of over 64 groups to send a position letter to inform the legislators of the problems with the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC). Our goal was to raise awareness and make sure the IMLC didn’t resurface in the TMB Sunset bill.
In addition, the Texas AAPS Board members co-signed a rebuttal to a JAMAarticle that was critical of Texas’s SB1148.
3. Chapter Meeting, Elections, and Other Events
Below are some upcoming events that you may be interested in—we hope you join us!
1) Sept. 21: The Texas Chapter is co-sponsoring an event to educate medical students and residents about the benefits of Direct Primary Care. Practicing physicians are encouraged to be there and take part in the Q&A with Josh Umbehr, MD, and Philip Eskew, DO. The dinner workshop is being organized by the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association District II. Click here for detailsand see the flier at the bottom of this message. If you know of other potential co-sponsors, please let us know.
2) Oct. 6: In conjunction with the 74th AAPS Annual Meeting in Tucson, AZ ,we will hold a Texas Chapter meeting and election of directors of the Texas chapter board. The meeting will be held during breakfast from 7am to 8am. The exact meeting room will be announced in the near future. More details about the AAPS annual meeting can be found at http://aapsonline.org/2017am.
3) Oct. 12-14: Our friends at the D4PC Foundation are hosting their 2nd DPC Conference in Orlando, Florida. Click here to learn more.
Please stay tuned for future updates. Thank you for your service to the patients of Texas and your support of TxAAPS!
All for the Patient,
Sheila Page, DO