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PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE


2012 a success, but we’re not done


BY MICHAEL E. SPEER, MD, 2012-13 TMA PRESIDENT


As you can


see by reading this annual re- port, 2012 was another very successful year for the Texas Medical Association. We accom- plished a great deal for physi- cians and our patients. We crossed the 47,000- member mark in 2012, but there still are physicians who simply don’t understand the value of membership in TMA. When I became president last May in Dallas, I said I wanted TMA to achieve 50,000 mem- bers this year. We’re close, but there is still work ahead. There’s disagreement over who first said “Decisions are made by those who show up,” but whoever said it was right. We can sit back and complain about what government and in- surance companies do to us and our patients, or we can show up. We can show up and vote. We can show up and work for candidates who support our posi- tions. We can show up and talk to our local lawmakers when they are in their home districts. But first we must show up and join TMA. If you’re already a member, thank you. I hope you will continue your membership for years to come. And please talk to your colleagues who are not members. Tell them why you joined TMA, explain to them what we do for you and your patients, and urge them to join us. Some of the issues we faced in 2012 are still with us. Pre-


Michael E. Speer, MD


serving Medicare fees, fixing the broken Medicaid system, maintaining tort reform, and fending off encroachment on our scope of practice are just a few. We’ve already seen what sequestration did to physicians’


56 TEXAS MEDICINE May 2013


Medicare payments, down 2 percent. Later this year, as they have for more than a de- cade, Congress and the Cen- ters for Medicare & Medicaid Services likely will put physi- cians and patients through another gut-wrenching expe- rience by again threatening us with drastic cuts in Medi- care payments for 2014 via the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Before this occurs, we must


redouble our efforts to con- vince Congress to do what it should have done years ago, lo, more than a decade ago — repeal the SGR formula and establish a fair Medicare pay- ment system. While we’re at it, we must convince Congress to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, an unelected board created by the Patient Protection and Affordable


Care Act. The board’s only option, by law, is to cut Medicare payments to physicians.


None of these challenges will be easy. They never are. But I’m confident that with the same hard work it took for us to become physicians, we can overcome them. It was an honor for me to serve as your president during


the past year. I know that with our new president, Dr. Steve Brotherton, at the helm, it will be another impressive year for our association. n


JIM LINCOLN


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