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ACP-ASIM Pressroom

ACP-ASIM Expresses Disappointment at Senate Vote on Patients' Bill of Rights

July 15, 1999

College Looks Forward to House Action to Improve Legislation

Statement Attributable to Whitney Addington, MD, FACP, President, American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine

The Patients' Bill of Rights legislation as passed by the U.S. Senate today falls short of the provisions needed to improve patient care in managed care settings and restore trust in the health care system. It is clearly in a patient's interest to have medical necessity decisions made by their personal physicians, based on the individual's particular circumstances and the available clinical evidence on the effectiveness of alternative treatments. Likewise, patients should have an effective mechanism for appealing arbitrary denials of treatment and be able to choose a qualified specialist to provide their medical care. All patients need such protections, not just those in ERISA plans.

The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine looks forward to working with both parties in the U.S. House of Representative to improve the Patients' Bill of Rights. We urge the House to forge a bipartisan bill that reflects the best interests of patients. We believe that it is still possible to craft a bill that will provide the necessary protections to all insured Americans, without causing an increase in premium costs that could result in more uninsured persons.

Patients' Rights proposals being developed by members of the House of Representatives such as Charles Norwood (R-GA) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) can form the basis of a Patients' Bill of Rights capable of being passed with bipartisan support in this session of Congress.

We urge the members of both parties to redouble their efforts to reach an acceptable compromise on this vital issue.

EDITOR'S NOTE: ACP-ASIM is the nation's largest medical specialty organization and the second largest physician group. Membership comprises more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. Internists are the major providers of medical care to adults in America and treat more Medicare patients than any other medical specialists.


Jack E. Pope, 202-261-4556

Page updated: 11-04-03

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