Congress Halts Medicare Payment Cuts, Senate Passes Reform Bill

The ACP Advocate

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January 08, 2010
In this issue
» Obama Signs Law Delaying Medicare Physician Fee Cut

» Senate Vote Shifts Focus to Crafting Compromise Health Bill

» ACP 'Biopsy' Tool Could Aid Practice Transformation

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 and to access the ACP Advocate archives, go to

Welcome to The ACP Advocate.

As expected, Congress put into place a temporary measure halting the scheduled Medicare SGR cut. Our first story looks at what is likely to happen before the measure expires at the end of February.  

Our second story this issue details the next steps that will take place on health care reform following the Christmas Eve passage of the Senate legislation. As the two bodies of Congress work to hammer out the compromise legislation we will be continuing to push to ensure that ACP’s priorities are included.

Our third story examines a new web-based tool being offered by the College. The Medical Home Builder is a new approach to helping practices make steps in quality improvement. It can be used by practices looking to make the transition to a medical home, or by practices looking to find opportunities for smaller improvements.
Also, in the section to the right of this letter, we provide you with information on how major new Medicare regulations will affect your practice in 2010.

Finally, for more coverage of health care reform and what’s happening in Washington, take a look at my blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty. I hope you’ll join me to discuss ACP’s efforts as we head toward the final health care reform bill. 

And, as always, 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
» Obama Signs Law Delaying Medicare Physician Fee Cut
  Legislation maintains 2009 rates until March 1

Physicians have gotten at least a temporary reprieve from the 21.2 percent cut in Medicare fees that had been slated to take effect Jan. 1.

President Barack Obama signed legislation Dec. 22 that postponed the cut until March 1. Congress tucked ... » Click to read the full article

» Senate Vote Shifts Focus to Crafting Compromise Health Bill
  ACP will push for strongest provisions to avert primary care shortage

With the U.S. Senate's historic Christmas Eve passage of health-care reform legislation, Democratic leaders in both chambers of Congress are turning their attention to engineering a compromise.

Amid that process, the American College of Physici... » Click to read the full article

» ACP 'Biopsy' Tool Could Aid Practice Transformation
  Web-based program assists with medical home recognition, electronic health record implementation, quality improvement and more

Breaking away from day-to day patient-care demands to identify practice flaws, improve quality and shift workflow patterns can be tough. But in an environment increasingly geared toward performance measurement, more medical practices are making an effort t... » Click to read the full article

In focus
How will changes to Medicare in 2010 affect your practice?
The College has compiled, on our Running a Practice Web site, a summary of the changes to Medicare in 2010 that will most affect internists. The summary covers the overall impact of payment changes; how to adjust your coding to accommodate the elimination of consultation codes; and how to take advantage of incentive programs that could help you earn more in 2010.

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