Dr. Diana L. Fite becomes TMA President

Houston emergency physician Dr. Diana L. Fite, has been sworn in as the 155th president of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) – America’s largest state medical society.

Dr. Fite took her oath of office before the organization’s Board of Trustees and outgoing president Dr. David C. Fleeger over online video feed. Fleeger departed as president just under one year after he was sworn in on May 18, 2019.

 

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Under normal circumstances, a TMA inauguration ceremony would draw an in-person audience of 500 physicians and medical student delegates from across Texas during the annual TexMed conference, which has been cancelled due to COVID-19. 

Dr. Fite has ascended to the presidency amid trying times as Texas has topped 32,000 confirmed COVID cases and the death total creeps toward four-figures. Additionally, the health care workers are battling and pandemic’s unrelenting demand and thousands of physicians and other health care workers battle to heal and protect them and everyone else.

Doctors’ practices are in horrible financial shape… many employees now are without jobs… hospital-based physicians are having salaries cut and losing hours of work… while many of us place ourselves and our families in harm’s way,” said Dr. Fite in her inauguration speech.

As far as her prioritization, she has listed bureaucratic interference in medicine as a top issue. 

She also is said to be planning on conveying to lawmakers the need to improve physicians’ payments for caring for Medicaid patients, saying the current situation has reached “a very dangerous point.” 

This urgency, according to TMA, stems from the fact that most physicians have not seen Medicaid payment rates increase in more than 20 years, and physicians’ acceptance rates for new patients insured by the state-federal program are traditionally among the lowest.

An emergency physician who rotates between several Harris County emergency departments, she is also concerned with what she views as an onerous manual data-logging system.

Electronic medical records (EMRs) have turned us into data processing clerks,” Dr. Fite said. Optimizing the system will be a priority for her, including making EMR systems smarter. 

A native of Amarillo, Dr. Fite earned her bachelor of science degree from West Texas State University at Canyon, and her medical degree from The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, now known as McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.