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Advocacy Briefs: Congressional Action Strengthens Future for Primary Care

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On December 9, Congress passed legislation that averted a 5 percent cut in the 2007 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (SGR) and replaced it with a freeze. Because internists will gain an average of 5 percent in total Medicare payments thanks to the ACP-championed five-year review of the relative values for higher level office visits and other evaluation and management services, most ACP members will actually see a substantial gain in total Medicare payments, not a freeze.

The bill also included the ACP proposal for a medical home demonstration. The medical home pilot program would provide participating internists with a “care coordination fee” for managing the care of patients with multiple chronic conditions. The program would also provide the ability to share in savings from reductions in hospital admissions that may result from physician-directed care coordination. The adoption of the proposal is key to ACP's overall long-term strategy of overhauling Medicare payments to support primary and principal care.

None of this would have been possible without the grassroots support of ACP's Medical Student Members who contributed to over 12,000 e-mails and faxes expressing concern about the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (SGR) sent to Congress via ACP's Legislative Action Center. For more information visit here.

Back to December 2006 Issue of IMpact

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