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ACP advocates on behalf on internists and their patients on a number of timely issues. Learn about where ACP stands on the following areas:
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On May 21 and 22, the PA-ACP sent a strong contingent of
students, residents and physician members to Washington to get our
lawmakers attention on key issues facing Internists in our local
communities. During this two day event we focused on four (4)
This year's attendees were led by Drs. Jeff Jaeger and Evan
Pollack and included Drs. Dan Kimball, Larry Jones, Darilyn Moyer,
Chuck Cutler, and Greg Kane. We were excited to have resident
attendees from Drexel, Jefferson, Penn, and Temple (Drs. Danielle
Krol, Arpan Patel, Fatima Syed, Natalya Klebanov, and Joanthan
Gottfried); as well as students from Penn State and Drexel
(Christine Prifti, Sravanthi Koduri, and Katherine Greco).
I want you to know that we will be fighting for Pennsylvania's
Internists, not just on the Hill, but back here in Pennsylvania as
well. To learn more about our issues, I have highlighted our
advocacy positions on each of the four issues in this message:
Unless changes to the U.S. health care system are met by
adequately funded GME programs as well as an adequate supply of
well-trained primary care physicians, increasing access to high
quality and affordable health care will not be possible. Congress
should fund the following programs at the levels indicated:
Section 747, Primary Care Training and Enhancement/Title VII, at
$71 million, is the only source of federal training dollars
available for general internal medicine, general pediatrics, and
family medicine and promote interdisciplinary training that helps
prepare physicians to work with other health professionals, such as
physician assistants, patient educators and psychologists.
National Health Service Corps (NHSC), at $810 million, funds
training for thousands of primary care clinicians who provide care
to tens of millions of persons in underserved communities by
providing scholarships and loan forgiveness to primary care
physicians who serve in underserved communities.
National Health Care Workforce Commission, at $3 million, is a
multi-stakeholder workforce advisory committee charged with
developing a national health care workforce strategy, analyzing and
making recommendations for eliminating barriers to entering and
staying in careers in primary care. However, to date, Congress had
not provided the necessary funding for the Commission to be
convened, preventing this advisory body from embarking on its vital
What are we asking Congress to do in the area of GME?
Finally, fully fund the National Health Care Workforce
Commission, which has yet to become operational because Congress
has not provided the necessary funding. Advocating to Avoid
Medicaid Payment Cuts: The Medicaid program currently provides
coverage for more than 62 million low-income Americans, including
more than 20 million nonelderly adults. Primary care physicians and
related subspecialists are not required to participate in the
Medicaid program, and many practices traditionally have not been
able to accept significant numbers of Medicaid patients because
reimbursements do not keep pace with their costs of providing
services. In all but a few states, Medicaid payment rates are much
lower-as much as 60 percent less-than the amounts allowed by
Medicare. This differential, studies show, is a major reason why
Medicaid patients have trouble accessing physicians. In 2010, the
federal government enacted into law the Medicaid Pay Comparability
program, which is designed to increase Medicaid payment for
designated primary care services and immunizations to 100 percent
of Medicare rates in years 2013 and 2014. Unless Congress
intervenes, the Medicaid Pay Comparability program will expire at
the end of this year. In some states, this could mean a cut of 60
cents on the dollar for primary care services, which is simply not
sustainable. In April 2014, ACP conducted a survey of a
representative sample of its members who spend the majority of
their professional time engaged in direct patient care. It found
that 46 percent of the respondents indicated they had enrolled in
the Medicaid Pay Comparability program via their State Medicaid
program and would accept fewer Medicaid patients in 2015 (40
percent) or drop out of Medicaid entirely in 2015 (6 percent) if
the Medicaid Pay Comparability program were allowed to expire on
December 31, 2014. We asked our Congressional leaders not to let
this happen by extending the current Medicaid Comparability Program
through at least 2016.
I know this is a lot of material, but I wanted to be sure you
had a chance to hear about our advocacy efforts first hand.
If you have questions or comments I'd love to hear from you or
see you at a regional event. Please watch for future
Gregory Kane, MD, FACP
Governor, PA Chapter Southeast Region