Stimulus bill, Conscience protection, Inauguration & More

The ACP Advocate
January 23, 2009
In this issue
» Health Leaders Identify Priorities for Reform

» Stimulus Package Includes Health Subsidies

» Conscience Rule Could Have Broad Impact

About this newsletter

The ACP Advocate is an e-newsletter, edited by the College's Washington, DC governmental affairs division, created to provide you, our members, with succinct news about public policy issues affecting internal medicine and patient care. To learn more about ACP's Advocacy, go to

Welcome to The ACP Advocate.

President Obama was inaugurated this week, and has already made mention of his intention to make health care reform a priority.  In his inaugural address he mentioned that families needed to have access to care they can afford; and that we need to make use of technology to provide higher quality care at lower costs.

In this issue of The ACP Advocate you’ll find coverage of some of the movement his administration has already made toward health care reform.  This includes the experiences of physicians who participated in health care reform discussions that were held across the country at the request of Tom Daschle, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services.  You’ll also find coverage of the health subsidies in the proposed economic stimulus package and the conscience protection regulation put into effect under the Bush administration at the end of 2008.

You may also want to note the sidebar, directly to the right of this letter, mentioning the new ICD-10 coding regulations that were released last week.  After taking office this week, President Obama requested that government agencies review some regulations that are still in process (meaning regulations that have been published, but that they have not yet taken effect).  The new ICD-10 ruling may fall under this request.  We’ll be tracking the situation and will update you as more information becomes available.

Looking forward, ACP’s annual State of the Nation’s Health Care briefing will be held in Washington on February 2.  In our next issue we’ll tell you about ACP’s recommendations for the year’s health care agenda.

For more on health care reform and other health policy issues, check out my blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty .  I hope you’ll join me over the course of this year, as I discuss ACP’s efforts in guiding health care reform.

Please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and
Public Policy
American College
of Physicians

In the news
» Health Leaders Identify Priorities for Reform
  They emphasize the need for primary care and community partnerships

HealthDay News -- President Barack Obama's swearing-in this week marks what many in the medical community see as the best hope in years of garnering federal support for needed health-care reforms.

In small forums across the country last month, physicians, patient advocates and other community health leaders responded to a call from Tom Daschle, President Obama's nominee for Health and Human ... » Click to read the full article

» Stimulus Package Includes Health Subsidies
  Funding targets information technology, preventive care and primary-care training

HealthDay News -- House Democrats, along with President Barack Obama's economic team, have called for investing tens of billions of dollars in health care as part of a sweeping plan to reinvigorate the nation's economy.

An outline of the $825 billion economic stimulus plan, unveiled January 15, included $20 billion to jumpstart efforts to computerize patient medical records. On the campaign ... » Click to read the full article

» Conscience Rule Could Have Broad Impact
  Doctors are divided over Bush administration policy

HealthDay News -- Some of the nation's largest medical groups are objecting to a final regulation issued by the Bush administration to "clarify" the scope of existing federal "medical conscience" laws.

They say the Dec.18, 2008, ruling, which took effect January 20 of this year, could affect a swath of healthcare services -- beyond abortion -- and may stymie access to care and biomedical in... » Click to read the full article

In focus
CMS Issues Final ICD-10 Rule, However Delay is Still Possible
Last week CMS issued the final rule for the ICD-10 code sets that will replace the ICD-9-CM code sets. However, this week, President Obama issued a memorandum requesting that agencies review certain regulations in process. This may apply to the ICD-10 rule. ACP is opposed to the implementation of the ICD-10 codes sets, noting the burden that they would place on small primary care practices. (read our letter here) Look for further guidance from the College in the coming months.

Free ACP E-prescribing Webinar January 28th at 7PM EST
Join ACP for a free webinar focused on the new Medicare E-prescribing Incentive program. Learn about the rationale underlying the program, participation and reporting requirements, and the potential for financial reward for successful participation and reporting. In addition, listen to practical information from a practicing internal medicine physician regarding the use of e-prescribing in an ambulatory office setting. Registration instructions and information about future webinars can be found on ACP's Running a Practice website at the above link.

College CEO Named Chair of eHealth Collaborative
On January 8th, John Tooker, MD, MBA, executive vice president and chief executive officer of ACP, was announced as the chair of the 2009 Board of Directors of the National eHealth Collaborative. The National eHealth Collaborative is a public-private partnership that seeks to advance interoperable health information technology, including electronic health records (EHRs). They were formerly known as the American Health Information Community (AHIC).

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