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ACP letter to Senate Bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group urges additional recommendations to improve care of patients with chronic diseases

(Washington, January 26, 2016) -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) today submitted a detailed letter with comments on the Senate Finance Committee's Bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group policy options document. ACP expressed support for many of the recommendations and made additional recommendations to improve chronic care.

"ACP applauds the Senate Finance Committee's efforts to improve the care of patients with chronic diseases," said ACP President Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, MACP. "We appreciate the Bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group's consideration of our recommendations as an aid in crafting policy that can be introduced as legislation later this year."

ACP supports many of the recommendations in the policy options document, including:

  • improving access to chronic care and ensuring appropriate reimbursement for complex chronic care management
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  • eliminating beneficiary cost sharing for chronic care management services
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  • integrating care for behavioral health conditions in a primary care setting
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  • improving the process for development of quality measures for chronic conditions, including filling critical measure gaps
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  • allowing increased flexibility for accountable care organizations (ACOs) to better design packages of services for patients with chronic conditions, support patient engagement, choose the best approach for patient attribution to meet their needs, and expand the use of telehealth to treat their patients with chronic conditions

ACP also recommended that the Committee consider:

  • creating a new code bundle for diabetic care management
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  • providing reimbursement for e-consultations between hospitalists and primary care physicians and specialists and primary care physicians
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  • expanding the implementation of the patient-centered medical home as a means of improving care for patients with chronic illness
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  • not expanding Meaningful Use to include activities involved in the coordination of the care of patients with chronic conditions until there is better evidence about the best ways to use health IT to perform that coordination

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The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 143,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.