What did MedPAC tell Congress about Medicare payments?

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April 01, 2011
In this issue
» Medicare Commission Suggests a 1 Percent Increase in Physician Fees

» Monitoring the Monitors of Patient-Centered Medical Homes

» Study Forecasts Problems for Primary Care in Keeping Up With Medicaid Growth

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.

We start this issue by letting you know about the latest Medicare Payment Advisory Committee report to Congress.  March’s report recommends a modest increase in physician payments in 2012 and again emphasizes the need to find a permanent solution to the Medicare payment problems caused by the sustainable growth rate formula. 
Our next story tells you about new guidelines that ACP has developed in conjunction with AAFP, AAP and AOA to ensure that recognition programs are adequately evaluating the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model of care.  Because there are so many different recognition programs currently operating, it’s important to sort through which ones are adequately ensuring their participants are operating as PCMHs, and which ones are not.  
Our last story tells you about a new study from the Center for Studying Health System Change.  With the increase in Medicaid enrollees, due both to the economy and expansion under health care reform, the study finds that there will likely not be enough primary care doctors to keep up with the increased demand for services.  This sort of study shows why it is so vital that increased access to health care services and insurance needs to be matched with support for primary care physicians and other health care professionals. 
Finally, next week I’ll be in San Diego for our Internal Medicine 2011 meeting.  I hope to see many of you there.  In our next issue on April 22, look for coverage of the meeting, including new policy papers that will be released there.
For more coverage of what’s happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty.  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
» Medicare Commission Suggests a 1 Percent Increase in Physician Fees
  Report to Congress cites good access to physicians and an expected small increase in costs as justification

The commission that advises Congress on Medicare issues has recommended a very small increase in the reimbursement rate for physician services for 2012 -- a move that policy and legislative experts at the American College of Physicians say punctuates the ... » Click to read the full article

» Monitoring the Monitors of Patient-Centered Medical Homes
  ACP joins other physician groups in creating new guidelines

Recognition and accreditation programs can be a good way to determine whether a practice meets the high standards of a patient-centered medical home, but the American College of Physicians contends that it's equally important that the recognition programs... » Click to read the full article

» Study Forecasts Problems for Primary Care in Keeping Up With Medicaid Growth
  Physician shortage is found to be greater in certain areas of the country

The expected growth in Medicaid rolls in the next few years will probably "greatly outpace" any increase in the number of primary care doctors available to treat them, especially in certain areas of the country, a new study contends.

Because of t... » Click to read the full article

In focus
Senior Officials from ONC to Participate in IM 2011
Two senior officials from HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology have just been added as panelists for two of the scientific program courses at Internal Medicine 2011. Thomas Tsang, MD, medical officer for the Meaningful Use Division will be on the panel of PN034, Achieving Meaningful Use (Thur., 2:15 to 3:45, Rm 10). And, David Hunt, MD, FACS, medical officer for the Office of Provider Adoption and Support will be on the panel of PN033, Kicking the Tires: Selecting an EHR (Fri., 2:15 to 3:45, Rm 10).

Attending IM 2011 in San Diego?
If you’re at the meeting in San Diego, below is a list of policy- related sessions you may be interested in. Also, make sure to visit the Government Affairs and Public Policy booth at the ACP Resource Center in the exhibit hall. All sessions are on Fri., April 8. ***PN 029- 60 Minutes: Special Report on Hot Issues in Health Policy; 8:15 AM - 9:15 AM Room: 3 ***PN 030 - How Will Health Care Reform Affect Internists and Their Patients?; 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM Room: Ballroom 20 A ***PN001 -Internal Medicine Workforce: Challenges and Solutions for Meeting the Nation’s Demand for General Internists and Subspecialists; 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM Room: 4

Free webinar to help prepare you for Version 5010
As part of the Get Ready 5010 initiative, ACP is supporting a series of free webinars being held the week of April 4. Version 5010 is a new set of standards for submitting electronic claims to Medicare and other payers. The new transactions will be required starting on Jan. 1, 2012. They are an initial step in preparing for the eventual implementation of the ICD-10 code set. The webinars will focus on how to complete testing to ensure that you’re ready to transition to Version 5010. They will cover information for large and small practices; and how to test with Medicare fee-for-service and with private payers. Additional information about Version 5010 and the ICD-10 code set is available on the Running a Practice section of ACP online.

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