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Internal Medicine Physicians Wage Campaign to Urge Congress
Not to Allow Medicaid Pay Parity to Expire
September 23, 2014
(Washington) - A national report
showing the benefits of preventing a reduction in the rates
physicians receive for providing Medicaid services was released
today by the American College of Physicians (ACP). The report, "Why
Congress Must Save the Medicaid Primary Care Pay Parity Program:
Unless Congress Acts, Program to Ensure Access to Life-Saving
Primary Care Will Expire," explains why it is critical to ensure
Medicaid patients' access to internists and pediatricians (and
their related subspecialists), family physicians, and
obstetricians/gynecologists who provide mostly primary care.
"We are speaking for our patients when we ask senators and
representatives to do the right thing and see that current Medicaid
payment rates for primary care and immunizations services are
maintained," said David A. Fleming, MD, MA, FACP, president of ACP.
"We ask senators to co-sponsor S. 2694, the Ensuring Access to
Primary Care for Women & Children Act, and representatives to
introduce companion legislation in the House." The bill continues
federal support for the Medicaid Primary Care Pay Parity
Program, which otherwise will expire at the end of this year
and trigger payment reductions to physicians who take care of many
of the nation's vulnerable patients-those enrolled in Medicaid.
At its Board of Governors meeting last week, ACP unveiled a
program that featured reports with parallel information for each of
the states, and the District of Columbia.
The Senate bill will ensure that Medicaid payments for visits
and immunizations provided by internal medicine physicians and
other eligible primary care specialties will continue to be no less
than the Medicare rates through 2016.
The national report notes that:
ACP governors received state-specific reports last week. They
were asked by ACP leaders to release to local media significant
findings in the reports along with personalized stories about
patient access resulting from pay parity. The College's governors
also were asked to be in touch with local members of Congress and
state medical societies.
letter that lauded the efforts and leadership of Senators
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) was sent on
September 15 by a broad physician coalition of ACP and 20 other
organizations, representing internal medicine and related
subspecialties. The letter applauded the senators for introducing
the Senate bill that will extend current-law payment rates under
Medicaid for certain primary care and immunization services to at
least the level of Medicare through 2016.
Dr. Fleming sent a
letter on behalf of ACP to the senators on July 30, shortly
after the bill was introduced. Also, one of several ACP Advocate
Alerts that have focused on the pay parity issue was targeted at
the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Ways and Means Committee,
House committees that play influential roles in Medicaid, Medicare,
and other health care legislation. ACP Advocates consist of more
than 13,000 members who contribute to ACP's continued success on
"If Congress fails to take action to extend this vital program,
physician participation will be undermined, and patients will face
barriers in accessing primary care. An April 2014 ACP- member
survey found that of the respondents who indicated they had
enrolled in the Pay Parity program via their State Medicaid
programs, 46 percent would accept fewer Medicaid patients in 2015
or drop out of Medicaid entirely in 2015 if the program was allowed
to expire on Dec. 31, 2014. If Pay Parity is not extended, the
nation's primary care physicians will face an average pay cut of 41
cents on the dollar for providing primary care services, such as
office visits for the treatment of chronic diseases like high blood
pressure and diabetes to the more than 65 million Americans
enrolled in Medicaid," concluded Dr. Fleming.
The American College of Physicians is the
largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest
physician group in the United States. ACP members include 141,000
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.
David Kinsman, (202) email@example.com
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