Welcome to The ACP Advocate.
We have some good news to report to you in our first story this week. As of yesterday Congress has passed a fix to the Medicare SGR cuts that will stabilize payments through the end of 2011. While this is certainly better news than a 25% cut, the fight doesn’t end here. Now it is crucial for Congress to take advantage of the next year to devise a solution that will end this recurring problem once and for all. Yesterday the President and the Secretary of HHS both made statements that they look forward to finding a permanent solution next year. We need to hold them, and Congress, to that challenge.
Our second story this week looks at a new program starting under Medicare to test the Patient Centered Medical Home model of care. It is critical now that we find ways to save money and slow the rapidly rising cost of medical care. I believe that this project will find results and I look forward to seeing it move forward.
The third story is the next installment of our series on the implementation of health care reform. This week we look at the provisions regarding Accountable Care Organizations and what still needs to be resolved before we move forward with these organizations.
Finally, I want to let you know about another piece of good news we had this week. Earlier in the week, Congress passed legislation that would exempt physicians and other health care professionals from the Red Flags Rule. Previously the FTC had said the physicians who did not accept payment from their patients at the time of service qualified as creditors, and therefore had to comply with the rule having identity theft prevention and detection programs in place in their practices. However, thanks to the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010, practices no longer have to worry about the Jan. 1 compliance deadline.
I’m glad we are able to report two pieces of good news to you in our last issue of 2010. Enjoy your holidays, and we’ll see you again on Jan. 7.
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
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians