Physicians Advocate for Patients in Washington

Two Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso physicians joined other community physicians in the U.S. capital this week to advocate for patients.  Richard McCallum, M.D., professor of medicine and founding chair for the TTUHSC EP Department of Internal Medicine, and Gilbert Handal, M.D., professor in the TTUHSC El Paso Department of Pediatrics and vice chair of the medical advisory committee for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, were amongst a group of border health experts meeting with federal legislators and government officials at the Ninth Annual Border Health Conference. The purpose of the conference is to address the health care needs and challenges along the U.S.-Mexico border, which includes the thousands of Central American immigrant children and their families streaming into southern border states. Texas physicians say this humanitarian crisis illustrates the need for comprehensive care along the border.

“We had a very successful visit where the El Paso delegation effectively communicated our message to House members from Texas and actively participated in the Border Health Caucus discussions where our needs and suggestions were heard and we were fully briefed on challenges specific for El Paso and our region. Kudos to Patsy Slaughter, director of the El Paso County Medical Society and Texas Medical Association (TMA) staff,” said Dr. McCallum.

Other issues the conference will focus on includes ensuring U.S. veterans receive timely care, Medicare’s broken physician payment formula and its impact on seniors and Texans with disabilities, and the need for a strong public health infrastructure.