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American College of Physicians commends MedPAC June 2008 report to Congress
Date:6/20/2008

Washington -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) today commended the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) for its recognition of the importance of primary care in a well-functioning health-care delivery system in its June 2008 Report to Congress. ACP commended MedPAC in a letter to Glen D. Hackbarth, chairman of the diverse 17-member independent advisory Commission that advises the U.S. Congress on issues affecting the Medicare program. In addition, ACP broadly supported a specific recommendation included in MedPAC's report to increase Medicare Part B payments for primary care services. ACP also came out in favor of another MedPAC recommendation to establish a Medicare medical home pilot program. The Medicare medical home pilot, as recommended by MedPAC, would expand on a much more limited program authorized by Congress in 2006. Taken together, these recommendations by MedPAC would implement and evaluate two major payment strategies to address the current undervalution of primary care services and the trend toward decreased availability of primary care physicians and services.

MedPAC which also is challenged with analyzing access to care, quality of care, and other issues affecting Medicare reported that primary care services have been historically undervalued by Medicare and other payers.

"The result of the undervaluation has been that an average income for primary care physicians is at least 40 percent lower than most other medical specialties," said Jeffrey P. Harris, MD, FACP, president of the 125,000-member ACP. "The effects of this undervaluation include a precipitous decrease over the last decade in the share of U.S. medical school graduates entering primary care; an increase in the number of internal medicine residents choosing to subspecialize rather than enter into a general primary care practice; and a disproportionate number of physicians who have chosen the field leaving general practice compared to other
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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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