Monday, January 26, 2015

Texas Physicians’ Healthy Vision for Texas

In unveiling their 2015 Texas legislative agenda, Texas Medical Association (TMA) physicians urge state and federal leaders to enhance the environment in which doctors practice medicine so they can do what they do best — care for patients.

“The current health care landscape is filled with bumps, detours, and even dangerous curves that harm access to care and detract physicians from patient care, while increasing the costs for patients and taxpayers alike,” said Austin I. King, MD, TMA president. “Yet all the while, Texas physicians are committed to improving the health of all Texans. We ask our government leaders to help us achieve that goal.”

TMA identifies these obstacles along with many needed solutions in its second edition of Healthy Vision 2020: Caring for patients in a time of change, which articulates specifically and directly what TMA is asking of the Texas Legislature, the U.S. Congress, and state and federal regulators to smoothing out those bumps. The recommendations range from the complex (devise and enact a system for providing health care to low-income Texans with realistic payment to physicians, less stifling state bureaucracy and no fraud-and-abuse witch hunts) to the most fundamental (pass no laws or regulations that interfere with the patient-physician relationship).

“Our government must make it easier — not more difficult — for us to care for our patients,” added Dr. King. Here are the association’s top 10 recommendations:

TMA’s Top 10 Recommendations
  1. Increase funding for graduate medical education.
  2. Improve physicians’ Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program payments to more appropriately reflect the services they provide to patients.
  3. Hold health insurance companies accountable for creating and promoting adequate physician networks.
  4. Devise and enact a system for providing health care to low-income Texans that improves efficiencies by reducing bureaucracy and paperwork.
  5. Stop any efforts to expand scope of practice beyond that safely permitted by nonphysician practitioners’ education, training, and skills.
  6. Promote government efficiency and accountability by reducing Medicaid red tape.
  7. Protect physicians’ ability to charge for their services.
  8. Improve the state’s public health defense to better respond in a crisis.
  9. Preserve Texas’ landmark medical liability reforms.
  10. Protect the patient-physician relationship from corporate and political intrusions.
Dr. King said, “What’s guiding our mission is promoting good health care for all Texans, and that’s the only thing.”

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