What Did ACP Say About the Supreme Court Decision?; Plus More on ICD-10, MedPAC & Health Courts

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June 29, 2012
In this issue
» Diagnostic Coding Changes Delayed for a Year

» Legislators Question Medicare Commission's Plan to Curb the Budget

» Health Courts: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

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

First, as you've all obviously heard, the Supreme Court announced yesterday that it upheld the Affordable Care Act.  We are pleased that by favorably resolving the constitutional questions, the decision will allow implementation of the key ACP-supported provisions of the law to expand and improve coverage, improve payments for internists' services, and support training of primary care physicians to move forward to full implementation.  ACP understands that while this is the final say on the constitutionality of the health care reform law, this is by no means the end of the discussion on health care reform, and it will continue to be the subject of debate among voters and the ACP's own membership.
Yesterday ACP sent our initial reaction out to members of the press; you also should have all received an email from our President, David Bronson, MD, FACP overnight last night.  If you've not had a chance to look at these materials yet, I encourage you to visit the Advocacy section of ACP online to check them out.  And, also, stay tuned for the next issue of the Advocate on July 13th when we'll look more in-depth at the potential impact of yesterday's decision. 
In other news, our first story this week looks at the upcoming transition to the ICD-10 code set.  HHS recently pushed back the start date to October 2014, but there is still a lot of work that needs to happen between now and then to make this transition successful.
Also, our second story today looks at the June MedPAC report that was released recently.  The report included some important recommendations looking to control the Medicare budget, but, also promisingly, it contained recommendations to start paying physicians for the care coordination services so many of you are already providing.
Finally, our last story examines an idea that we discussed with legislators during Leadership Day at the beginning of the month: health courts.  Take a look at the article to find out more, we're excited about the potential this concept could hold for improving our malpractice system.
For more coverage of what's happening in Washington, especially over the next few weeks as the health care decision is explored, 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
» Diagnostic Coding Changes Delayed for a Year
  ACP asks for revisions that would be more physician-friendly

The federal government has delayed for a year implementation of a complex new set of codes that physicians use to document medical diagnoses -- a delay the American College of Physicians hopes will lead to some crucial changes in the eventual use of the co... » Click to read the full article

» Legislators Question Medicare Commission's Plan to Curb the Budget
  Proposed methods include surcharge on subscribers with supplementary insurance

A proposal to increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries who carry additional insurance earned a skeptical reception earlier this month from members of a House subcommittee on health issues.

In its June report to Congress, the Medicare Payment Adv... » Click to read the full article

» Health Courts: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?
  ACP president says new way to handle malpractice cases would bring balance and fairness to the process

The American College of Physicians is pressing lawmakers to take a new look at an old tort reform proposal by establishing a pilot program to test the viability of special health courts to hear malpractice claims.

The health courts would operate ... » Click to read the full article

In focus
Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative Soliciting Applications
CMS is now soliciting applications for practices that are interested in participating in the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) initiative. This initiative combines public and private health payers in selected geographic markets to provide bonus payments to primary care practices that better coordinate care for their patients. If you’re an interested practice from one of the selected markets participating in this program, please visit the CPC section of the CMS website. All applications are due by 5:00 pm Eastern Time on July 20.

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