Your patients and your profession need you to be a lobbyist for a day. Mark your calendar now to join the Party of Medicine in Austin for First Tuesdays at the Capitol during the 85th Texas Legislature on Feb. 7, March 7, April 4, and/or May 2, 2017.  All physicians are welcome at all First Tuesdays; however, March 7 is designated for the TMA Alliance, and the young and newly licensed physicians. The April 4 event is dedicated to medical students and residents. Registration is open.

Until the March 10 bill filing deadline, DCMS and TMA physicians are talking in general terms with their legislators about the issues we support. See this TMA publication for the issues members are discussing now.

TMA's comprehensive 2017 legislative agenda advocates what's best for patients and their physicians, from preserving physicians' right to bill for services, to improving Medicaid payment rates, and reducing red tape and hassles.

If you're traveling to Austin for First Tuesdays, you can reserve your room for the Monday before each event at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Hotel by calling (800) 445-8667. Note that you are attending TMA's First Tuesdays at the Capitol event for the special room block rate of $219 for February, March, and April, and $209 for May. Hotel rooms in Austin are in demand during legislative sessions, so make your reservations now.

You also can reserve a room online, but make sure to enter the correct group code for your stay (February: FTC, reserve by Jan. 16; March: TAT, reserve by Feb. 13; April: CAP, reserve by March 13; and May: TUE, reserve by April 10). 

DCMS physicians who would like to join their colleagues in Austin can contact Tracy Casto, DCMS director of advocacy, at or 214-413-1427.  

“If physicians aren’t at the table, they’re on the menu.”

This sums up why physicians need to be involved in all phases of the legislative process – starting with interviewing prospective candidates, working for their election, and staying in touch with them during and between sessions.

The Legislature meets from January through May every odd-numbered year, but members also are plenty busy during the interim. 

Throughout the year, your colleagues work with lawmakers and lobby staff in taking bills from the idea stage to the final stage, and we need all members’ involvement to make for a successful session for Medicine.

The 85th legislative session has begun. If unable to attend First Tuesdays at the Capitol, physicians have plenty of opportunities to become involved. Here are four ways you can help your patients and your practices:

  • Be social. Follow @DCMSadvocacy, TMA and your state lawmakers on Twitter.

  • Engage. Get to know your senators and representatives. DCMS Advocacy staff can set up meetings and brief you before you beforehand.

  • Engage again. Join the fun in Austin on First Tuesdays at the Capitol to lobby in person. Mark your 2017 calendar for these dates: February 7, March 7, April 4, and May 2.

  • Speak out. Watch for TMA action alerts and be ready to call, write or visit your legislators before critical votes on key issues.

To get involved at any level, contact Tracy Casto, DCMS director of public affairs and advocacy, at or call 214-413-1427.