New College Policy Paper on GME; ACP Comments on Proposed Fee Schedule

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September 09, 2011
In this issue
» ACP Wants Government to Consider Primary Care Shortage in GME Funding Debate

» ACP Seeks Changes in New Medicare Fee Schedule

» Quality Care at Low Cost? Not in the U.S., New Report Finds

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
First, I'd like to take a moment to direct your attention to the top of the column next to this letter.  There you'll find a notice of the application period for our next Health Policy Internship in Washington for medical student and associate members of the College.  You still have a few weeks to get your application in for next spring.  If you're still considering whether or not to apply, I'd encourage you to check out the article by one of this year's interns on page 6 of the latest issue of the Capitol Key Newsletter for Key Contacts.  The piece by Dr. Freeman illustrates why involving yourself in advocacy work can be both important and rewarding.  And I encourage all ACP members, fellows, and masters to spread the word! 
With Labor Day past us, we're gearing up for a busy fall here in Washington.  Congress came back to town this week and immediately began the work of figuring out how they're going to cut the budget deficit.  In our first story this week, we tell you about a new paper we released this week that I'm hoping will help to inform them about one of the important issues in health care funding.  Aligning GME Policy with the Nation's Health Care Workforce Needs, presents the case for preserving GME funding while at the same time better aligning it the nation's workforce needs. 
Our second story this week tells you all about the College's perspective on the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for next year.  Our formal comments to CMS at the end of August propose specific ways to improve coding and payment for internists' including work done outside of a face-to-face encounter. I'm hopeful that CMS will agree to make the changes recommended by ACP (in addition to Congress preventing the scheduled Jan. 1 pay-cut) in the final rule later this fall.
Finally, our last story tells you about a new study that shows that the U.S. pays more for health care than any other industrialized nation.  We cannot continue to absorb these high (and quickly increasing) costs, and I believe that many of the reform proposals that ACP has been suggesting in recent years could help to reverse the trend.
Also, one last thing to tell you about, changes to the Medicare eRx program have been finalized.  If you qualify for a hardship exemption that will allow you to avoid the payment penalty for not using electronic prescribing, you'll need to apply by Oct. 31.  In our next issue we'll have more details for you about the changes, who may qualify, and how to apply.
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:

Yours truly,

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


In the news
» ACP Wants Government to Consider Primary Care Shortage in GME Funding Debate
  'We're looking to change things,' ACP president says

Long concerned with the shortage of primary care physicians across the United States, the American College of Physicians is urging the federal government to make sure that its increasing scrutiny of programs such as graduate medical education align with na... » Click to read the full article

» ACP Seeks Changes in New Medicare Fee Schedule
  College wants regulation to be more in line with current concepts of medical practice

In January, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be updating the Physician Fee Schedule for 2012, instituting new rules that will affect reimbursement, workload and other aspects of physician practices. Though ACP leaders and staff ana... » Click to read the full article

» Quality Care at Low Cost? Not in the U.S., New Report Finds
  Americans pay the most, according to data comparing 12 industrialized nations

U.S. consumers pay far more for health care than people in other industrialized nations, and yet, according to a new report, the health care Americans receive doesn't seem to be of any higher quality.

Researchers from the Commonwealth Fund, a pri... » Click to read the full article

In focus
Become an ACP Health Policy Intern
The internship is open to associate and medical student members. This Internship represents a unique opportunity for one Associate and one Medical Student Member to develop legislative knowledge and advocacy skills by working directly with the College’s Washington, D.C., staff and participating in ACP’s 2012 annual Leadership Day. The deadline for applications is October 14.

Version 5010 Deadline Looms
The Jan. 1 deadline to comply with Version 5010 electronic administrative transactions is only 115 days away. On Jan. 1 all health insurers, not just Medicare and Medicaid, will only accept electronic transactions that use the Version 5010 standards. Practices that do not successfully transition to Version 5010 will find that their claims cannot be processed – and therefore, cannot be paid. Practices need to work with the vendors, clearinghouses, and payers of their practice management systems and electronic health record to begin testing for Version 5010 compliance. Visit the CMS website at the link above for a checklist of how to get ready.

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