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TMA Bestows Highest Honor to Congressman Burgess 

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U.S. Rep. Michael C. Burgess, MD (R-Texas), (left) receives the TMA Distinguished Service Award from TMA President-Elect G. Ray Callas, MD. Image Courtesy of Texas Medical Association
U.S. Rep. Michael C. Burgess, MD (R-Texas), (left) receives the TMA Distinguished Service Award from TMA President-Elect G. Ray Callas, MD. Image Courtesy of Texas Medical Association
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TEXAS MEDICAL ASSOCIATION – In recognition of his two decades of congressional service of writing, improving, and passing legislation to benefit patient care, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) today honored U.S. Rep. Michael C. Burgess, MD (R-Texas), with its 2024 TMA Distinguished Service Award. TMA leaders recognized Dr. Burgess at TexMed, the association’s annual conference held this year in Dallas. The award is TMA’s highest honor.

“I am honored to receive the Texas Medical Association’s Distinguished Service Award,” Dr. Burgess said. “I am humbled by this recognition from our nation’s largest state medical society, of which I have been a member since 1981.”

Prior to winning a 2002 election to Congress, Dr. Burgess was a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist in Denton County, and he served as president of the Denton County Medical Society. He followed in the footsteps of his father Tim Burgess, MD, once a Denton general surgeon, who is said to have encouraged the younger Dr. Burgess to become involved in TMA and organized medicine. (Of note, the family’s legacy in medicine and health care is broad: Congressman Burgess’ brother, Richard Burgess, MD, was a Denton pathologist; his sister Terry Widmer, RN, is a nurse; and Andrew J. “Jimmy” Widmer, MD – a member of TMA’s Council on Legislation and a Temple internist – is Dr. Burgess’ nephew, as is Temple interventional cardiologist Robert J. Widmer, MD.) 

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Since 2003, Dr. Burgess has served North Texas’ House District 26 in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Denton County Medical Society Board of Directors nominated him for the award in December 2023. 

“Congressman Burgess has been a constant advocate for the House of Medicine,” the physicians wrote in their nominating letter. “He has shown outstanding leadership as a physician and a congressman in the area of advocacy.”

G. Ray Callas, MD, whom TMA will install as president on Saturday, presented Dr. Burgess with the award. “Serving under four presidents, Dr. Burgess has consistently shown outstanding leadership, advocacy, and community service throughout his career as both a public and patient care advocate,” Dr. Callas said.

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“After serving the people of Texas as a physician for over 25 years and working on health care policies in Congress for the past 22 years, I’ve learned the health care system continues to grow and expand day by day,” said Dr. Burgess. “With new innovations of treatments and cures, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring my state is able to access quality health care while also being cognizant of ways to lower health care costs.”

Throughout his tenure in Congress, Dr. Burgess authored, sponsored, or backed more than 27 health-related bills that went on to become law. He has amended and shepherded numerous health laws out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which he serves as a senior member. Dr. Burgess has also chaired the committee’s Subcommittee on Health.

One significant legislative example was Congressman Burgess’ sponsorship of House Resolution 1470, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2015. The bill led to the repeal of the flawed Medicare sustainable growth rate formula of paying physicians for providing medical care for our nation’s seniors and people with disabilities.

Dr. Burgess also advocated for legislation to improve maternal health and to reduce preventable deaths. He also contributed to the content and passage of the 21stCentury Cures Act in 2016 to fund the National Institutes of Health and advance biomedical research. Congressman Burgess also helped reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and recently sponsored House Resolution 977, the Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2023.

“While Dr. Burgess is no longer seeking reelection, his indispensable leadership on behalf of medical integrity and patient care has been invaluable for the health of all Texans, and all Americans,” said Dr. Callas.

“I am very grateful for this award and will continue putting the well-being of Americans first,” said Dr. Burgess.

TMA’s Board of Councilors ethical policymaking body reviews nominees and selects whom TMA will honor with the award. It is the second high honor organized medicine has bestowed upon Dr. Burgess, who also received a Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service from the American Medical Association.

TMA established the Distinguished Service Award in 1962 as a symbol of special recognition for meritorious achievement in medical science, advances in public health, and exceptional service to the medical profession and the community. Each year, the TMA Distinguished Service Award is presented to a physician who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and made significant contributions to the medical profession in areas such as scholarly activity, professional development, advocacy, and community service.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 57,000 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.

Information Source: TMA

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