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TCEP Residency Visit From a Resident’s Perspective
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TCEP's visit to UT Health San Antonio served as an excellent introduction for our residency. In conversations with fellow residents, moments that stick in our memory include realizing the power of advocacy and understanding various ways to practice once we graduate. TCEP President Heidi Knowles, MD, FACEP, kicked off the meeting by discussing the recently-completed Texas state legislative session. Though the buzz about politics and healthcare may be centered on Washington, what happens right here in Texas affects our daily practice. We learned that emergency medicine physicians play a valuable role in the legislative process as the vast majority of elected officials have no medical or healthcare training, yet they are charged with crafting the laws that guide our practice. Helping educate lawmakers on the unique events inside our emergency departments protects our patients and strengthens our specialty.

With an introduction to Texas policy under our belt, Nicholas Steinour, MD, FACEP, clarified the differences between independent contractors (ICs) and employees. While ICs enjoy advantages like high hourly pre-tax rates, tax deduction opportunities, and more flexible work arrangements, they also aren't afforded the employee benefits of easier tax filings and perks like health insurance. As we considered our future, Craig A. Meek, MD, MS, FACEP, was perfectly positioned to give his Pecha Kucha-style talk about the changing field of emergency medicine. Justin Hensley, MD, FACEP, followed with advice for improving consults. As a brand new intern, I gained several new tools to help make those conversations smoother. As I made mental notes to improve my consultant relationships, Hemant Vankawala, MD, FACEP, gave me the confidence to be "Dr. Awesome" by imparting words of wisdom about memorable doctor-patient interactions.

The final speaker, Gillian Schmitz, MD, FACEP, inspired us to join TCEP and ACEP by touting some of the benefits. Building on the introduction from Dr. Knowles, Dr. Schmitz helped explain complex policy in terms easy to understand to emerging physicians. Topics covered included balance billing and advocacy for Medicaid/Medicare reimbursement for freestanding EDs. Her conversation segued into a panel discussion with all the speakers with tips for everyone from fresh new interns to the 3rd years getting ready to graduate. After a whirlwind six sessions plus the panel, we finished our morning session with a fresh outlook on emergency medicine's opportunities and ready to roll up our sleeves to tackle the challenges ahead.

I know my colleagues join me in saying thank you to the presenters for their insights. They will help us all become better practicing emergency physicians.

~ RJ Sontag, MD

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