"The Family of Medicine Needs YOU!"
The 85th Texas legislative session is well underway, and it is now critical that you get involved! There have been more than 1,300 bills filed already, and over 400 of them involve health care in some way. It is important for physicians to continue to fight for our patients and the practice of medicine. We have been very successful in the past with tort reform and scope of practice issues. We must continue our efforts and build upon them.
Physician advocacy is one of the main reasons that doctors join Bexar County Medical Society and the Texas Medical Association. Why be politically active? Here is what physicians are saying:
There are several ways to get involved either directly or indirectly. These include
1. Joining the BCMS Legislative/Socioeconomics Committee
The BCMS Legislative/Socioeconomics Committee is chaired by Drs. Alex Kenton and Ashok Kumar and staffed very capably by Mary Nava, BCMS Chief Government Affairs Officer. It meets the fourth Wednesdays of each month. Please contact Mary Nava at 210-301-4395 Office or Mary.Nava@bcms.org.
2. Running for a position as delegate or alternate delegate to the TMA-House of Delegates
Every year in September, you, the members of BCMS, elect a number of delegates and alternate delegates to represent BCMS at the TMA-House of Delegates meetings. Throwing your name in the ring, so to speak, is a great way to get involved and learn more about organized medicine at the state level. There are many opportunities to get involved there as well.
3. Joining/Giving to TEXPAC
TEXPAC is a non-partisan State and Federal Political Action Committee advocating on behalf of Texas physicians, residents, and medical students. This organization does tremendous work on behalf of the Texas Physicians. Ironically, only a very small percentage of BCMS members actively support TEXPAC. Please go to their website, www.texpac.org, to learn more and donate.
4. Attending First Tuesdays
The "White Coat Invasion" has been the key to physicians' successes in the Texas Legislature since the inception of First Tuesdays at the Capitol in 2003. Our senators and representatives listen when their hometown doctors appear in their offices. Our influence is so much greater when physicians and alliance members arrive en masse in the House and Senate galleries. It's time again to bring out Texas medicine's strongest weapon.
Mark your calendar now to join us during the 85th Texas Legislature on Feb. 7, March 7, April 4 and May 2, 2017.
As part of First Tuesdays, you will:
5. Contacting your legislators Contacting your legislators can be as simple as forwarding information sent from BCMS or TMA to a representative or senator, or as involved as setting up a meeting or call on your own with one of your legislators. Everything helps- calls, emails, letters, meetings. They all make a difference! Please look on the BCMS website under advocacy for the information on the legislators, or use this link (www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us).
6. Talking to your patients Talking to your patients is always important, but not just about their medical conditions. Patients have lots of questions with regards to healthcare, insurance issues, etc. It’s important to keep them involved in the legislative process and let them know that their voice and concerns matter.
Challenge and opportunity is what the TMA is saying this legislative session brings. With your help, the Texas Medical Association and Bexar County can face up to the challenges and seize the opportunity.
I look forward to your involvement in this legislative session.
Dr. Leah Jacobson
**BCMS website ***TMA website/brochure
Leah Jacobson, MD, is the 2017 president of the Bexar County Medical Society.