Medicare Payment Fix Falls Short

The ACP Advocate

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July 16, 2010
In this issue
» SGR Patch Offers Interim Relief but No Solution

» ACP Releases Comprehensive Tobacco Control Strategy

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

Welcome to The ACP Advocate.

Congress finally took action on the Medicare payment cuts.  However, their new fix was enacted too late to prevent unacceptable havoc in internists' offices and falls far short of the long-term solution called for by ACP and other medical groups.  The new legislation extends current Medicare payment rates only through the end of November.  Our first story this week updates you on the details of that fix.  The College will be lobbying over the next few months to ensure that the chaos that played out with Medicare payments over the first half of this year doesn’t repeat itself at the end of the year. 

Our second story this week looks at a new policy paper developed by ACP's Health and Public Policy Committee about the need to develop a comprehensive tobacco control policy in this country.  Tobacco use has decreased greatly over the past few decades, however a sweeping new strategy is needed to further bring the problem of tobacco use under control.

Finally, a note to let you know that your next issue of The ACP Advocate won’t be landing in your inbox until a month from now.  Congress  will be in recess at that time and we will look ahead at what might be happening in Washington this fall.

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:

Yours truly,

Bob Doherty
Senior Vice President
Governmental Affairs and Public Policy
American College of Physicians


In the news
» SGR Patch Offers Interim Relief but No Solution
  Delayed Congressional action fuels physician unease with Medicare payment system

Physicians will receive a 2.2 percent increase in Medicare payments though November under legislation signed June 25 by President Obama.

The interim pay raise replaces a 21 percent cut that officially took effect June 1 but didn't kick in until... » Click to read the full article

» ACP Releases Comprehensive Tobacco Control Strategy
  Multifaceted approach is needed to reduce U.S. smoking rates, the College says

With one in five adults still hooked on cigarettes and many young people taking up the habit, America's tobacco problem persists and is not likely to abate without a comprehensive tobacco control and prevention strategy, the American College of Physicians ... » Click to read the full article

In focus
The College's New Guide to Health Care Reform Law
The College has released a new publication to help physicians understand the changes coming as part of the new health care reform law. An Internist’s Practical Guide to Understanding Health System Reform provides clear, concise and unbiased explanations of changes made by the law and when they go into effect. Also, HHS recently launched a new consumer focused website about health care. is designed to be a database of health coverage options and information about the progress in implementing the health care reform law.

Aug. 4 EHR Webinar
On Aug. 4 the AmericanEHR Partners program will be hosting a free webinar to guide practices in navigating the new guidelines for “meaningful use” of EHR systems that were released this week. “Meaningful Use and Its Implications For Your Practice” will feature Dr. David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology and Dr. Michael Zaroukian, FACP, CMIO for Michigan State University. The webinar is a project of the new AmericanEHR Partners EHR selection & comparison website.

ACP Announces New CEO
The College has announced Steven E. Weinberger, MD, FACP as the College’s new executive vice president and CEO. Dr. Weinberger has served as ACP’s Deputy Executive Vice President since 2009 and as Senior Vice President for Medical Education and Publishing since 2004. Dr. Weinberger will assume his new position July 19.

New CMS Administrator Appointed
Donald Berwick, MD has been appointed as the new Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Dr. Berwick is President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. He is also a major proponent of patient-centered care and the Patient Centered Medical Home.

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