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Internists Express Support for CMS on its Patients Over Paperwork and Meaningful Measures Initiatives

Washington (October 31 2017)—In a letter sent today to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, the American College of Physicians (ACP), expressed support and appreciation for the new initiatives recently announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to put “Patients Over Paperwork” and to ensure that the agency is using “Meaningful Measures” in all of its programs, including the Quality Payment Program.   ACP noted that the initiative is consistent with the goals of ACP’s own “Patients Before Paperwork initiative, launched two years ago.

“ACP has long been in favor of trying to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens on physicians,” said Jack Ende, MD, MACP, president, ACP. “We agree with the Administration that overly burdensome administrative tasks interfere with the patient-physician relationship, diverting the physician's time and attention away from the actual patient care. It is important to minimize these distractions to avoid negatively impacting patient care.”

The CMS initiative echoes many of the themes in the ACP’s own “Patients Before Paperwork” initiative, that has been in place since 2015.  Over the past several months, ACP has had numerous communications and conversations with HHS and CMS staff, urging them to make a reduction in administrative tasks a priority.  ACP specifically asked that CMS to look at a recent policy paper “Putting Patients First by Reducing Administrative Tasks in Health Care,” which was published in Annals of Internal Medicine in March 2017 and supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

ACP also is encouraged by your announcement of a new ‘Meaningful Measures’ initiative to ensure that quality measures, which are a critical component of paying for value, are streamlined, outcomes-based, and truly meaningful to clinicians and their patients,” continued Dr. Ende.

Dr. Ende pointed to ACP's comments to CMS last year on the Quality Measure Development Plan, and noted that the initiative appears to be well-aligned with those comments.

“ACP looks forward to actively engaging with the Administration on their new Meaningful Measures Initiative to ensure that the measures being used within the QPP and all of the CMS payment programs are measuring the right things,” concluded Dr. Ende.  “We need to ensure that we are moving toward clinical outcomes, patient- and family- centeredness measures, care coordination measures, and measures of population health and prevention that do not create unintended adverse consequences.”

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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 152,000 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.

Contact: Jackie Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org