Crisis in Primary Care And More

The ACP Advocate

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December 05, 2008
In this issue
» Worsening Primary Care Shortage Predicted

» Health Professions Diversity Takes a Hit

» AMA Adopts PCMH Joint Principles

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.

In this issue you’ll find coverage of the latest news on the crisis in primary care.  Recently the World Health Organization, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the New England Journal of Medicine have all released new information that spotlights the importance of primary care and the challenges that general internists and other primary care physicians are currently facing.  These pieces are all referenced in the article Worsening Primary Care Shortage Predicted. Click on the links above to see the entire articles.

At a time when major health care reform may be right around the corner, it is promising that so much attention is being paid to the benefits of primary care medicine.  With the promise of lowering costs and increasing quality, primary care should be a major part of fixing our dysfunctional health care system. 

Looking ahead to our next issue on Dec. 19, we’ll be telling you about changes to the Medicare program for 2009, and highlighting programs that may enable you to increase your reimbursement.

We’re getting some good traction on my new Advocacy blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty .  I hope you’ll check it out and join me in examining the most provocative, ground-breaking and intriguing health policy discussions I come across in my daily work.

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
» Worsening Primary Care Shortage Predicted
  Experts recommend work redesign and payment reforms

HealthDay News -- America's looming shortage of generalist physicians is destined to reach crisis proportions by 2025 if nothing is done, experts are warning.

In a string of reports and commentaries, leaders in primary care and health policy have begun fleshing out the problem and offering up potential fixes.

"There's no single step that will solve the problem, but I think it's g... » Click to read the full article

» Health Professions Diversity Takes a Hit
  Nebraska voters approve measure ending affirmative action

HealthDay News -- With the vast majority of the nation's attention being centered on the election of Barack Obama as the 44th U.S. President Nov. 4, some important statewide ballot referendums might not have received the attention they merited -- especially in terms of what they eventually might mean for practices and procedures beyond state boundaries.

Such was the case in Nebraska and Colora... » Click to read the full article

» AMA Adopts PCMH Joint Principles
  Roles of Nurses, Payment Methodologies and Comparative Effectiveness also Reviewed

The American Medical Association House of Delegates voted at its Interim meeting in Nov. to join ACP and three other members of organized medicine to adopt joint principles of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH). The Joint Principles statem... » Click to read the full article

In focus
New ACP Paper on Primary Care Literature
In mid-November, ACP released a policy paper that warns that primary care, the backbone of the nation's health care system, is on the verge of collapse and documents the evidence on the value of primary care. How is a Shortage of Primary Care Physicians Affecting the Quality and Cost of Medicare Care?, is an annotated bibliography based on a literature review of more than 100 studies, spanning 20 years of research. The paper shows that primary care provides patients with better outcomes at lower cost, and it highlights the urgency of the need to prevent shortages of primary care physicians.

House Committee asks HHS to delay ICD-10 codes
On November 19th, Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services to request that they delay implementation of the new ICD-10-CM code set. The new code set, replacing the current ICD-9 codes, is scheduled to go into effect in 2011. In her letter, Chairwoman Velazquez urged HHS to perform a thorough analysis of the regulation. She stressed that the current timetable would place an enormous burden on solo and small group physician practices. ACP has requested that HHS suspend plans to adopt the new codes.

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