On Dec. 1, the final 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule was released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). It finalizes several important provisions for internists, including increases in payments for evaluation and management (E/M) services. ACP's initial reaction to the rule reiterated our support for these changes and called on Congress to ensure they are implemented as planned on Jan. 1. In an alert sent to members of the Advocates for Internal Medicine network, ACP urged physicians to contact their members of Congress to let them know these changes are essential. ACP will be continuing to analyze the new rule and will update you in the Dec. 18 issue of the ACP Advocate.
ACP Policy News
If not appropriately implemented, these policies could restrict access to effective treatments, interfere with patient-physician relationship.
Patients Before Paperwork
Implementation dates originally set for November have been delayed until April 2021, but more time is needed to meet compliance.
A report released this week by the Primary Care Collaborative (PCC) found that U.S. health system's investment in primary care, as measured by primary care spending, is low and declined between 2017 and 2019, both nationally and in a majority of states. The findings in Primary Care Spending: High Stakes Low Investment are particularly relevant in the context of COVID-19, which has affected primary care practices financially, with implications for primary care physicians and their care teams in terms of their ability to care for patients, including those from marginalized and vulnerable communities.
“Primary care spending is a proxy for how oriented a health system is toward primary care,” said Darilyn Moyer, MD, FACP, FRCP, FIDSA, executive vice chair and CEO, ACP and chair of the PCC's board of directors. “Unfortunately, this study and others have shown that the U.S. is moving away from primary care, despite the evidence that it is associated with better value, including enhanced population health, greater equity, and more efficient use of healthcare resources.”
ACP is supporting a national effort to promote COVID-19 safety and health insurance enrollment. We know how essential it is that everyone has access to affordable health care coverage and are partnering with #GetCovered2021 to remind Americans to get insured and stay healthy. #GetCovered2021 is committed to getting all Americans, who are eligible for coverage today especially in urging health equity for America's diverse communities. Health equity begins with access to care, and access to care comes with having health insurance. Learn more at GetCovered2021.org.
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