Updates on Health Care Reform, the PCMH, & Rising Costs

The ACP Advocate

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November 05, 2010
In this issue
» Insurance Coverage Increases for Preventive Services

» As Technology Advances, So May the Patient-Centered Medical Home

» New Report Shows Health Care Costs Rising Faster Than Inflation

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 www.acponline.org/advocacy.

Welcome to The ACP Advocate.

Well, the big story in Washington this week is the mid-term election.  What sort of implications will the change in power in the House have on health care?  It’s hard to say with any certainty yet, but look for a detailed analysis in our next issue.  I can tell you, though, that ACP will continue to do what we’ve always done: advocate on a non-partisan basis for responsible public policy positions to the benefit of internists and their patients.


One such immediate issue is averting a devastating 23% cut in Medicare payments scheduled to go into effect on December 1.  This will need to be addressed by the upcoming “lame duck” session of Congress, and then ACP will urge the new Congress to enact a long-term solution that has the required bipartisan support.  Go to ACP’s Legislative Action Center for information on how you can help.


Our first story this week is the next in our series on implementing health care reform.  This piece looks at the requirements for covering preventive services and what sort of impact this is likely to have on your patients.


Our second story tells you about two new guides that were released by the Patient Centered Primary Care collaborative a couple of weeks ago.  The new reports, released as part of their annual summit, focus on the need for increased use of health information technology to better realize the benefits of the patient-centered medical home. 


The last story in this issue looks at an economic index of health care costs that was released recently.  The report shows that health care costs are continuing to rise faster than inflation.   


And, finally, I want to let you know about a win we had this week in Washington.  The final Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2011 was released earlier in the week and CMS made changes, recommended by ACP, to allow many more internists to qualify for a 10% increase in Medicare payments for office visits and designated primary care services that will take place on January 1.  Previously, Medicare had proposed to implement this program, created by Affordable Care Act, in a way that could have excluded many primary care internists who bill for in-office lab or other ancillary procedures or who see a significant number of patients in the hospital.  Now, because of the changes recommended by ACP and adopted by Medicare, it will be easier for such internists to qualify.  In our next issue we’ll have more detailed information for you about the Fee Schedule.

For more coverage of what’s happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty.  Now you can also follow me on Twitter @BobDohertyACP. 

And, as always, please send your feedback and suggestions on this newsletter to:  TheACPAdvocate@acponline.org

Yours truly,

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


In the news
» Insurance Coverage Increases for Preventive Services
  Changes punctuate need for more doctors

Cost may no longer be a barrier for people who have been doing without vital preventive screenings and immunizations.

A new benefit included in the... » Click to read the full article

» As Technology Advances, So May the Patient-Centered Medical Home
  New reports highlight benefits from patients' and physicians' perspectives

Increasing the use of health information technology by both patients and physicians is a key to the success of the patient-centered medical home, two new reports have found.

That includes technologies that increase patient engagement in the patie... » Click to read the full article

» New Report Shows Health Care Costs Rising Faster Than Inflation
  S&P finds that more is being paid to doctors and hospitals, especially by private insurers

U.S. health care costs -- specifically, the costs paid by consumers, private health insurers and Medicare -- rose sharply in the past year, according to a new report from Standard & Poor's.

The company's economic indexes, which estimate per... » Click to read the full article

In focus
New Recognition for the ACP Advocate Blog
This week the ACP Advocate Blog was named one of FierceHealthcare’s 10 Bloggers We’re Thankful For. FierceHealthcare called the blog, written by Bob Doherty, “a rare voice of moderation,” that “manages to offer calm, level-headed commentary on topics that often can lead to superheated, highly polarized debates in other forums.” Robert Centor, MD, FACP, a member of ACP’s Health and Public Policy committee, was also honored for his blog, db’s Medical Rants.

Internship Opportunity in ACP’s Washington Office
The College’s Washington office is now accepting applications for a newly-created Health Policy Internship Program. The interns will work with ACP staff to plan ACP’s annual Leadership Day and will be responsible for researching and presenting students and residents at Leadership Day with information on health policy issues relevant to those groups. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited medical school or internal medicine training program and a member of ACP. One Associate member and one medical student member will be chosen for the month-long, spring internship. Additional details are available on the College website.

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