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American College of Physicians Challenges Congress to Make “Fundamental Changes” in Medicare Payment Policies

Recommendations to Ways and Means Committee Hearing on Options to Improve Quality and Efficiency Among Medicare Physicians

May 10, 2007 (WASHINGTON) “Congress has an historic opportunity to join with the American College of Physicians (ACP), other physician organizations and employers to redesign Medicare payment policies to provide incentives for patient-centered care,” ACP told the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health in a written statement for the record submitted today. Thursday’s hearing was on Options to Improve Quality and Efficiency Among Medicare Physicians.

“ACP today offered a comprehensive plan for Medicare to realign payment policies to support comprehensive, coordinated, and longitudinal care for beneficiaries through a physician-directed, Patient-Centered Medical Home,” noted ACP President David C. Dale, MD, FACP.

“It is a rare opportunity to realign payment incentives to:

  • help physicians deliver the care that patients need and want;
  • recognize the value of care managed by a patient’s personal physician;
  • support the value of primary care medicine in improving outcomes; and
  • create the systems needed at the physician practice level to deliver the best possible care to patients.”

ACP, which represents 120,000 physicians and medical students, is the largest medical specialty society and the second largest medical organization in the United States. Internists provide care for more Medicare patients than any other medical specialty.

ACP strongly believes that Medicare and other health plans should be reformed to advance the Patient-Centered Medical Home, a model of health-care delivery that has been proven to result in better quality, more efficient use of resources, reduced utilization, and higher patient satisfaction. Thursday’s Subcommittee hearing provided an opportunity to focus on key advantages of the Patient-Centered Medical Home.

In March, 2007, ACP, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Osteopathic Association released a joint statement of principles that defines the characteristics of a Patient-Centered Medical Home. The four organizations represent 333,000 physicians and medical students.

A Patient-Centered Health Medical home is a physician practice that has gone through a voluntary qualification process to demonstrate that it:

  • Provides continuous access to a personal primary or principal care physician who accepts responsibility for treating and managing care for the whole patient through an a patient-centered medical home, rather than limiting practice to a single disease condition, organ system, or procedure,

  • Supports the specific characteristics of care that the evidence shows result in the best possible outcomes for patients.

  • Recognizes the importance of implementing systems-based approaches that will enable physicians and other clinicians to manage care, in partnership with their patients, and to engage in continuous quality improvement,

  • Introduces transparency in consumer decision-making and accountability for getting better results by reporting on evidence-based quality, cost and patient experience measures of care.

The Patient-Centered Medical Home has the support of a broad collaborative of physician organizations, employers and other stakeholders. The Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, of which ACP is a founding member, has submitted a statement to the record of this hearing that endorses the patient-centered medical home. The Collaborative includes employers that collectively employ more than 50 million Americans, primary care organizations that represent the physicians that provide primary care to the vast majority of Americans, and federally-funded community health centers that provide care to millions of low-income patients. Representatives of consumer organizations have been participating in the Collaborative’s ongoing discussions and are expected to endorse and join the Collaborative in the near future. The Collaborative’s joint statement of support for the Patient-Centered Medical Home has been submitted separately for the record of this hearing.

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 120,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illness in adults.

Contact:
David Kinsman, (202) 261-4554, dkinsman@acponline.org
Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acpoline.org

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