What Is Your Clinical Autonomy Worth to You? 

There is no question that Waco physicians value their clinical autonomy. In the Texas Medical Association’s April 2010 physician survey, 74 percent of those responding rated “personal control of clinical decisions” as very important in their choice of practice setting. In this time of steep budget cuts amid health care reform, however, physicians’ clinical autonomy seems up for grabs. No practice setting is immune from various interests seeking to erode physicians’ personal control of clinical decisions.

  • Insurance companies make you ask — and wait — for permission to use the treatment you’ve chosen for your patient, or instruct pharmacies to substitute drugs you’ve prescribed.
  • Hospital administrators butt heads with you over clinical policy, staffing, and equipment.
  • Limited-license practitioners elbow for authority to expand their scope of practice beyond that safely permitted their education, training, and skills.
  • Trial lawyers fight for the chance to evaluate your medical judgment in the courtroom.
  • Lawmakers threaten to cut off access to care for your patients, restrict your ability to invest in better medical facilities, let corporate CEOs make medical decisions, and
  • The State Budget may contain an additional 10% reduction in Medicaid reimbursement, that’s cutting a rate which is, on average, at a meager 72% of the Medicare rate for reimbursement.

How can you be expected to practice medicine amid all this subterfuge? Sound the Alarm!

That’s where TMA and TEXPAC come in. You joined TMA for more than just a subscription to Texas Medicine, right?
You joined because you know that there is strength and solidarity in numbers, and because it’s the best way to take coordinated action on behalf of medicine and your patients. You joined because you are confident TMA will look after your interests at the state capitol.

You joined because — as confirmed by Capitol Inside’s 2011 rankings — TMA has one of the top association lobby teams in Texas. You joined because you know their success is a direct reflection of McLennan County and other TMA physician members’ interests in both the election and the legislative processes.

Much of TMA’s success at the capitol is a result of TEXPAC’s hard work during the election cycle leading to up each session. TEXPAC’s goal is to elect medicine-friendly legislators who are educated about, and accountable and attuned to their physician constituents — including the value they place on clinical autonomy. 

So, what is your clinical autonomy worth to you? Enough to make an investment in TEXPAC to keep the momentum going? Is your control of clinical decisions worth a personal $125, $300, or even $1,000 annual membership in TEXPAC?
Learn more about TMA’s legislative activities and how to join your colleagues in supporting TEXPAC at TEXMED.org. Finally, when you receive a letter from TEXPAC this month — open it up and consider what your clinical autonomy is worth to you. I hope you will join me in supporting TEXPAC in McLennan County.
Bradford Holland, MD FACS

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