Monday, November 3, 2014

Arming Schools With a Life-Saving Device; Making Your Doctor’s Office a “Medical Home”

TMA’s Texas Medicine Magazine Covers These Stories and More

Doctors want to arm schools with a small device that could save students’ lives, and your doctor’s office might undergo an internal change aimed at giving you even better care. These stories highlight this month’s Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Texas Medicine magazine. Texas Medicine is TMA’s official publication. Here’s a more detailed summary of these articles:

“Schoolhouse stock: Allergists want to require EpiPens on campuses”

While playing football, the teen’s only concern should have been big, opposing linemen, not the venomous little bugs that ultimately killed him.

Fire ant bites killed a 13-year-old Texas middle school student while he was playing football after school in September 2013. No one knew he was allergic to fire ants before the incident. Had they known, the student might have had a prescription for a life-saving epinephrine auto-injector (or “EpiPen”) at school. Had the youth been given epinephrine immediately after the ants bit him, it may have saved his life. A new push by physicians in TMA’s governing body aims to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

The TMA doctors want all Texas schools to have epinephrine available on campus and to train school personnel to recognize and treat severe allergic reactions to bites, stings, and food. This could help any random allergic-reaction patient who does not have the medicine readily available.

“Children in school with life-threatening food allergies are at a high risk for death if they have a reaction and don’t receive epinephrine immediately,” said Fort Worth allergist Sue Bailey, MD, a TMA past president. “These are totally preventable deaths, and this legislation would give Texas schools more tools to keep their students safe.”

“Home sweet medical home: Reinventing primary care”

Your doctor’s office might be undergoing a transformation to serve you better.

Some physicians are making their practice a “medical home,” sort of a one-stop-shop team approach to primary care for patients. As a patient of one of these practices, you might receive a call reminding you of a necessary screening, or enjoy broader hours to visit the clinic, or visit multiple specialists under one roof, guided by a care coordinator. The goal over time is healthier patient results and lower medical costs, in a comfortable care experience.

The four major national primary care physician associations formalized this medical home concept. The primary principles require health care delivery to be:

  • Patient-centered,
  • Comprehensive,
  • Coordinated,
  • Accessible, and 
  • Committed to quality and safety.

TMA supports the medical home concept, believing patients with chronic conditions would benefit first. The association recently formed a committee to explore how big and small medical practices across Texas might become medical homes, and how that might improve patients’ access to care. TMA’s Healthy Vision 2020 also calls for the use of the patient-centered medical home model in Medicare, Texas Medicaid, and commercial insurance plans.

Visit the TMA website to start reading these articles and more.

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