TMA Urges Governor to Allow Local Mask, Vaccination Decisions

A Message from the TMA President

As physicians across the state toil against the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Medical Association leaders met with Gov. Greg Abbott’s office [on August 20] to ask for greater flexibility at the local level to respond to and slow the surge and its emotional and physical impacts on you and the health care system. 

As this latest wave has shown, we are seeing many more patients who are younger and sicker requiring hospitalization and intensive care, the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated. This is particularly concerning for kids under the age of 12 who do not yet have access to a vaccine. 

Because all disasters are local – and because so many of you have reached out to us – the TMA Board of Trustees, in an emergency meeting last Sunday, unanimously decided we needed to take action to reach out to the governor. 

On Friday, I led a meeting with the governor’s chief of staff, Luis Saenz, and deputy chief of staff Garland Pate. Joining me in the virtual meeting were TMA President-Elect Gary Floyd, MD; TMA Board of Trustees Chair Richard W. Snyder II, MD; TMA Board of Trustees Vice Chair G. Ray Callas, MD; and TMA Executive Vice President and CEO Michael J. Darrouzet. 

Our request to the governor on behalf of the TMA Board of Trustees: Please allow all institutions – including schools, school districts, hospitals, health care facilities, medical schools, and medical centers, regardless of funding source – to make local, independent decisions regarding vaccinations and the use of masks, preferably in consultation with physicians in those communities, and always using evidence-based data to inform their decisions. 

The lengthy discussion underscored the need for physicians and state leadership to continue educating Texans about the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and to address vaccine hesitancy. 

TMA understands and appreciates all you are doing during this difficult time to address the needs of your communities and your patients. We are taking steps to ensure your viability, resiliency, and knowledge of the current crisis. 

Please continue to share your stories, issues, and concerns. And we will always be keeping you abreast of the association’s advocacy activities in Texas Medicine Today and through the COVID-19 Resource Center.


Sincerely,

E. Linda Villarreal, MD
President
Texas Medical Association

Ten Tarrant County Physicians Start New Terms in TMA Leadership Positions

Ten Tarrant County physicians have begun new terms of service in Texas Medical Association (TMA) leadership positions.

TMA leaders elect or appoint TMA physicians and medical students to one of TMA’s 25 boards, councils, and committees. They are responsible for studying health care-related issues and making recommendations on important health care policy affecting Texas patients and their physicians.

All of these physicians are members of the Tarrant County Medical Society.

Tilden L. Childs III, MD, a diagnostic radiologist in practice for 41 years; reelected to the TMA Council on Legislation.

Shanna M. Combs, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist in practice for nine years; appointed chair of TMA’s Committee on Membership and reappointed to the committee, and reappointed as a consultant to TMA’s Committee on Reproductive, Women’s and Perinatal Health.

Cheryl L. Hurd, MD, apsychiatrist in practice for 19 years; reappointed as a consultant to the TMA Committee on Physician Health and Wellness.

R. Larry Marshall, MD, a rheumatologist in practice for 32 years; appointed to TMA’s Committee on Continuing Education.

G. Sealy Massingill, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist in practice for 32 years; appointed as a consultant to the TMA Council on Science and Public Health, and reappointed as a consultant to TMA’s Committee on Reproductive, Women’s, and Perinatal Health.

Matthew M. Murray, MD, a pediatric emergency physician in practice for 31 years; reappointed to TMA’s Committee on Health Information Technology.

Stuart C. Pickell, MD, an internist and pediatrician in practice for 21 years; elected to TMA’s Council on Medical Education, and reappointed as a consultant to the TMA Council on Health Service Organizations.

Drew Elizabeth Rainer, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist in practice for four years; elected to TMA’s Council on Medical Education.

Angela D. Self, MD, an internist in practice for 19 years; reappointed to TMA’s Committee on Patient-Physician Advocacy.

Linda M. Siy, MD, a family physician in practice for 28 years; reelected to TMA’s Council on Legislation.

Read the descriptions and responsibilities of each TMA council and committee.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 55,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

TCMS Pediatrician Voted in as TMA President-Elect

Gary Floyd MD picture

Gary W. Floyd, MD, a Fort Worth pediatrician and longtime member of the Tarrant County Medical Society, was elected president-elect of the Texas Medical Association  on Saturday, May 15. TMA’s House of Delegates governing body announced elections during TexMed, the association’s annual conference, held virtually this year due to the pandemic. He will serve in this role for one year before assuming the presidency of America’s largest state medical society in 2022. 

“It’s an incredible privilege and responsibility – and very humbling – for the members of our TMA to elect me to be the spokesperson for our organization,” said Dr. Floyd. “I will never tire of advocating for our patients and our physician members.”

TMA’s president is the organization’s primary voice to external audiences and to physician members – for advocacy and policy efforts, and in news interviews.

Dr. Floyd has been very involved in TMA and other organized medicine organizations throughout his 42-year medical career. He chaired TMA’s Board of Trustees governing body for the past year, having served in that body for seven years. He led the board in a “disaster board” function last year, temporarily acting on urgent business in place of the association’s policymaking body since the pandemic prohibited an in-person House of Delegates meeting. Board members explored a new diversity initiative as well.

“As chair, I led our board to initiate a task force to study equity, diversity, inclusion, and racism,” he said. “I believe our TMA needs to seriously address these issues as we move further into the 21st century.”

Dr. Floyd also was reelected today by the TMA house as a delegate representing Texas in the American Medical Association House of Delegates. He has chaired the TMA Council on Legislation and served on the association’s Council on Constitution and Bylaws, and the Select Committee on Medicaid, CHIP, and the Uninsured. Dr. Floyd also was a district chair of TEXPAC, TMA’s political action committee.

Dr. Floyd has several objectives planned for his presidency next year, which mirror long-term goals of the association.

“My goals include aggressively protecting against intrusions into the practice of medicine by those who have not done the necessary training, in order to protect our patients and unsuspecting citizens in Texas,” he said. He also lists defending Texas’ liability reforms and defending against intrusions into what he calls “the sacred bond” between physicians and their patients. He believes in protecting physicians’ autonomy to make medical decisions with and for their patients. 

The pediatrician assumes the presidency as Texas continues to vaccinate against COVID-19 and return to normalcy in life and patient care.

“I actively practiced pediatrics over 40 years, but with the COVID pandemic, I retired from daily patient care,” he said. He continues to be very involved in medical management and organized medicine, however.

During the pandemic, TMA distributed millions of personal protective equipment masks to Texas physicians. TMA also guided many doctors in adopting telemedicine to remotely care for patients and provided other information and support for physicians to survive and thrive during the pandemic.

Dr. Floyd previously served as president of the Texas Pediatric Society and TCMS, and he was active in the American College of Physician Executives, and the Society for Pediatric Emergency Medicine. He is a fellow and board member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Floyd graduated from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and completed his pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center. He pursued his undergraduate studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

Board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, Dr. Floyd has practiced in various settings in Texas and Oklahoma including general pediatrics, academic pediatrics, and  pediatric emergency and urgent care, and he has worked in administrative medicine and government affairs. He was the John Peter Smith Health Networks chief medical officer and executive vice president of medical affairs, then executive vice president of government and alumni affairs.

Active in the First Baptist Church of Keller, Dr. Floyd has been married 47 years to Karen Floyd, whom he met when they were in high school. “She is my best, most trusted friend,” he said. The couple has two married daughters, Holly Peterson, married to Ben Peterson, and Neely Pedersen, married to Craig Pedersen, DO, and two grandsons, with another due in October.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 55,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.

Check out TMA’s COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet

A lot of misinformation is circulating about the COVID-19 vaccine. If you want to know fact from fiction, take a look at TMA’s fact sheet on the COVID-19 vaccine, where top vaccine rumors are addressed with clear answers from the physicians who are taking care of our communities.

AMA President Joins TMAF Gala as Honorary Chair

Susan Rudd Bailey, MD, TMA past president and current American Medical Association president, will serve as honorary chair of the TMA Foundation’s virtual gala, Superheroes: Meeting the Challenge, which is scheduled for Friday, May 14, 2021, during TexMed 2021, TMA’s annual meeting. The gala helps make TMA’s population health, science, and quality of care programs possible.

“Clearly the COVID-19 pandemic has called on physicians like no other threat has in our lifetimes,” Dr. Bailey said. “It’s with great pleasure that I join the TMA Foundation gala to recognize and celebrate the courage physicians have shown because of their singular dedication to the health of their patients.”

Dr. Bailey is an allergist in private practice and has been with Fort Worth Allergy and Asthma Associates for more than 30 years. She has a long history of service in organized medicine, having served as TMA vice speaker and speaker and as board chair and president of the Tarrant County Medical Society.

“Please join me, the gala-co-chairs, and the TMAF board by attending this virtual gala, which comes at a time when we need to remain strong and follow where the science leads us. The continued strength and resolve of our physician heroes is needed to see us to the very end of this pandemic,” Dr. Bailey added.

TMAF’s gala will take place as a virtual event from 7 to 8:15 pm (CT) Friday, May 14, with a preshow from 6:30 to 7 pm. It will feature a silent auction, special messages to the health care superheroes in Texas, entertainment from Austin musicians, a party Box for guests and more.

 Purchase your table or tickets  or call (800) 880-1330, ext. 1664, or (512) 370-1664 today for more intormation.