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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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Toll Free: (800) 523.1546 · Local: (215) 351.2400
American College of Physicians Will Work to Reverse
Collapse in Primary Care
PHILADELPHIA-- (April 6, 2006) A comprehensive strategy to
redesign how primary care is taught, delivered and financed was
released today in a set of three policy papers by the American
College of Physicians (ACP) at its Annual Session in Philadelphia.
The strategy is part of an effort to prevent the collapse of
primary care in the U.S., and to allow physicians to provide care
that is centered on the needs of patients.
"The ACP calls for a national workforce policy for internal
medicine, critical changes in undergraduate and graduate medical
education and training, and reforms in physician payment and
delivery systems to reverse the downward trend in primary care.
These reforms will help recognize and reward primary care
physicians for the value and quality of services they provide,"
said C. Anderson Hedberg, MD, FACP, ACP president.
"Creating a New
National Workforce for Internal Medicine," one of the ACP policy papers, calls
for a national health care workforce policy to reverse the
impending collapse of primary care. The paper states that the
future supply of primary care physicians, particularly those
practicing office-based internal medicine, will be inadequate to
meet the health care needs of the aging U.S. population. This is
particularly alarming, ACP maintains, because baby boomers are
beginning to reach the age when they will be at increased risk for
needing healthcare services. Without a strong primary care system,
ACP believes the consequences will be higher costs and lower
quality of patient care.
Training for Internal Medicine," another ACP policy paper
that was published online today in Annals of Internal
Medicine, calls for critical changes in undergraduate medical
education and internal medicine training. ACP recommends a system
of educating medical students and internal medicine residents to
more effectively meet the needs of patients and of 21st century
medicine within the context of a rapidly evolving system of health
Inadequate and dysfunctional payment and delivery policies are
key drivers behind the impending collapse of primary care.
of the Dysfunctional Healthcare Payment and Delivery
System," ACP's third policy paper, says the current payment
system limits innovation and does not support the value of skills
and quality of services that internists and primary care physicians
provide. Many internists cannot maintain an office environment to
provide the quality care they want to provide and that their
patients need, ACP says.
The three papers released today by ACP build on an earlier
policy the organization released earlier this year calling for a
new model of patient care, the advanced medical home. That model is
based on the premise that the best quality of care is provided
through patient-centered, physician-guided, cost-efficient,
longitudinal care, designed to strengthen and support the
patient-physician relationship. Under the model, patients would
have a personal physician -- most likely a primary care physician
or a specialist/subspecialist for patients requiring ongoing care
for certain conditions -- working with a team of health care
professionals in a practice that is organized according to the
needs of the patient.
Primary care physicians, and general internists in particular,
are a key component of managing chronic diseases, providing
comprehensive and coordinated long-term care. ACP's recommended
reforms will help strengthen the importance of primary care in the
health care system, by acknowledging and supporting the value and
role of primary care physicians in delivering better quality care
at lower cost.
ACP (Doctors of Internal Medicine. Doctors for Adults.®) is
the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest
physician group in the United States. Membership includes
physicians who provide comprehensive primary and subspecialty care
to tens of millions of patients, including taking care of more
Medicare patients than any other physician specialty. Internists
specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses
in adults. ACP works to enhance the quality and effectiveness of
health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the
practice of medicine.
Susan Anderson at 215-351-2653 or 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2653;