Statement attributable to:
Omar T. Atiq, MD, MACP
President, American College of Physicians
WASHINGTON November 3, 2023 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) is encouraged that Medicare payments to physicians in 2024 will start to make progress in better recognizing the value of primary care. The final 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule that was released yesterday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) includes implementation of code G2211 that better recognizes the resources necessary to provide patients with longitudinal, continuous care.
Primary care office visits provide patient-centered care that allows patients to achieve better health at lower costs. The complexity of care provided by internal medicine and other primary care physicians is consistent with their expanding role in managing multiple chronic problems, balancing multiple guidelines, and coordinating care with multiple physicians. Implementing G2211 as an add-on code for office visits will begin to better account for the unique and additional costs of providing continual, longitudinal care for all patients.
While the inclusion of this new code is a step in the right direction, we remain concerned about the continued financial instability of the Medicare program and the risk that instability poses to patients’ access to care. Overall payments to physicians are scheduled to be cut on Jan. 1 and it will take an act of Congress to stop these cuts. The cuts are the result of a Medicare program “budget neutrality” rule that requires any payment increase to be offset by cuts elsewhere, no matter how badly the increases are needed. The result is that Medicare payments to physicians have been flat for the past two decades, while inflation has risen. For years physicians have struggled with this broken Medicare payment system that does not allow them to keep up with rising practice expenses and the cost of providing care. The Physician Fee Schedule is the only part of Medicare that does receive annual adjustments for inflation; current Medicare physician payment rates have decreased by 26 percent since 2001 when accounting for inflation.
Congress must step in to prevent the cut scheduled for Jan. 1 and find a long-term solution that would ensure that physicians are appropriately compensated for the care they deliver to our nation’s seniors. We need a payment system that will support long-term reform – including advancing health equity, enhancing access to care, and improving the health and well-being of everyone enrolled in Medicare.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 161,000 internal medicine physicians, 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 X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and Facebook.
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