What the Journals are Saying About Primary Care

The ACP Advocate

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May 14, 2010
In this issue
» A Peek at How Primary Care Doctors Spend Their Days

» To Fix Health Care, First Fix Primary Care

» Insurance Policy Cancellations on the Wane

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.

This week’s issue starts by taking a look at two new pieces on primary care that have been published recently.  Our first story looks at an analysis from an ACP Master, Dr. Richard Baron, that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  Dr. Baron looked at the immense amount of uncompensated work that primary care physicians have to deal with outside of patient care.  Our second story looks at a special issue of Health Affairs, published last week, that focuses on ways to fix the primary care system.

Finally, our third story looks at one of the effects of the new health reform law that is already taking place.  Insurers have agreed to cease the practice of cancelling coverage for beneficiaries immediately after they are diagnosed with a serious illness.  This change voluntarily comes ahead of schedule, four months prior to when the mandate included in the new law would have taken effect.

We’re gearing up in the Washington office for the ACP Service’s annual Leadership Day next week.  Leadership Day provides the opportunity for ACP members from across the country to come to D.C. to meet with their congressional representatives and share information about the policy issues important to internists.  Look to our next issue on June 4th for complete coverage of this year’s event.

For more coverage of what’s happening in Washington, take a look at my award-winning blog, The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty. 

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
» A Peek at How Primary Care Doctors Spend Their Days
  Analysis finds that each hour spent with a patient means an hour of other work

Phone calls, refilling prescriptions, reviewing lab test results -- all uncompensated work that physicians do on behalf of patients every day. So exactly how much time is spent on such care?

Dr. Richard Baron, MACP, an internal medicine physic... » Click to read the full article

» To Fix Health Care, First Fix Primary Care
  Policy journal calls for changes to create better outcomes and lower costs

Primary care desperately needs to be reinvented, contends a major health-policy journal, if the United States is to have a chance of meeting its health-care reform goals, including stemming the rising costs of health care and improving patient outcomes.» Click to read the full article

» Insurance Policy Cancellations on the Wane
  Industry group urges end to rescissions before September mandate

The practice of insurers retroactively canceling health insurance when policyholders fall ill may be coming to an end sooner than expected.

The new health-reform law requires health insurance companies to halt the practice beginning in Septembe... » Click to read the full article

In focus
ACP Twitters Leadership Day
Leadership Day is fast approaching on May 18 & 19. Are you interested in the latest news leading up-to, and during, the event? To further our advocacy conversation we have established a hash-tag (#ACPLD) to tag all tweets about Leadership Day. The College will be using the tag to label the tweets we send out, and we encourage Twitter users to tag any posts they make about Leadership Day.

New HHS Office to Oversee Health Reform
At the end of April the Department of Health and Human Services established a new office to oversee the implementation of the new health reform legislation. The Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight will be responsible for ensuring compliance with new insurance regulations, they will oversee the medical loss ratio rules, and they will administer the temporary high-risk pool programs to provide insurance to people with pre-existing conditions.

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