Internists Participate in White House Summit on Health Care
American College of Physicians Represented by President of 126,000-Member Organization
Washington, March 5, 2009 – “Today, I was proud to represent the American College of Physicians at the White House Summit on Health Reform,” noted Jeffrey P. Harris, MD, FACP, president of the American College of Physicians (ACP). “As President Obama said in his opening remarks, this no longer is a debate about whether to have health care reform, but how that reform should look and work.”
Dr. Harris offered ACP’s continued assistance to the development of evidence-based solutions to the problems facing U.S. health care. "I was heartened to hear President Obama say that 'we have to produce more primary care physicians.’ He understands, as has been demonstrated by hundreds of studies, that primary care is the best medicine for better health at lower cost, yet the U.S. is facing a catastrophic shortage of primary care doctors."
Representing more than 126,000 internists, Dr. Harris specifically pledged to work with President Obama, and members of Congress from both political parties, to develop evidence-based solutions to:
- Design and implement non-partisan proposals to assure that every American has access to affordable coverage,
- Rebuild the primary care workforce in the United States,
- Reform Medicare physician payments to link payments to performance and accountability and to reward prevention, care coordination and primary care rather than volume-based, episodic care,
- Bring the benefits of electronic health records to every physician and patient,
- Redesign the health care delivery system to focus on prevention and care coordination,
- Leverage the enormous potential benefits of research on comparative effectiveness to inform clinical decision-making at the point of care.
“Thank you for your candor in approaching the SGR situation,” Dr. Harris told President Obama at the conclusion of the Summit. Dr. Harris’ reference was to the flawed formula for the sustainable growth rate (SGR), often cited as one of the reasons physicians are not entering primary care, or leaving practices.
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 126,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illness in adults.