Comprehensive Reform of Physician Payment System Still Needed
February 6, 2011
Virginia L. Hood, MBBS, MPH, FACP
President, American College of Physicians
Washington-The American College of Physicians (ACP) congratulates the RVS Update Committee (RUC) for its decision to expand its membership to include more representation of primary care and geriatrics. The two added seats for these fields-combined with the existing seats for internal medicine specialists, internal medicine subspecialists, family physicians and pediatricians-will help ensure that the RUC has the necessary expertise from physicians with the training, skills and experience in comprehensive and longitudinal care of patients, especially those with complex illnesses. We believe that this change will help improve the accuracy and appropriateness of the relative value process. ACP also supports the RUC's efforts to improve recognition by Medicare of the value of physician services relating to the management of patients with complex illnesses.
In addition to the increased primary care representation, ACP is also encouraged by the RUC's decisions to increase transparency and advocate for chronic care coordination. Revealing vote totals on relative value recommendations will allow observers to better trust the RUC process. Also, the RUC's request and ongoing efforts to ensure that CMS appropriately recognize the care coordination services involved in caring for patients with chronic diseases are a step toward better aligning payment with appropriate care.
Even as we welcome and applaud the RUC's decisions, ACP will continue to advocate for comprehensive reform of the physician payment system to ensure accurate and fair valuation of physician services, including moving toward better models of payment aligned with value to the patient.
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 132,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.