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Internists express 'very substantial concerns' over MedPAC physician pay proposal
Date:9/23/2011

(Washington) "While ACP (the American College of Physicians) appreciates that MedPAC (Medicare Payment Advisory Commission) has put forward a comprehensive proposal to eliminate the SGR (sustainable growth rate) with the intent of protecting access to primary care for Medicare beneficiaries, we have very substantial concerns that preclude us from supporting it," Virginia L. Hood, MPPS, MPH, FACP, president of ACP, said today in a letter responding to a MedPAC proposal made last week. She noted that the comments provided in the letter are a constructive effort to develop a framework that would have ACP's full support.

Written on behalf of the 132,00 internal medical physicians and medical student members of ACP, the letter says that ACP is specifically concerned that the proposal will not adequately protect and ensure access to primary care, while also reducing access to other essential physician services. The proposal also will work against MedPAC's goal - which ACP shares - of transitioning to new delivery and payment models aligned with value.

"Although elimination of the SGR is an essential step toward new payment and delivery models, it is only a step and one that should be designed carefully so as not to result in having unintended consequences," Dr. Hood pointed out in the letter. "The College is concerned that the payment freezes and cuts outlined in the MedPAC recommendations will have a significant adverse effect on beneficiary access to care, and actually impede timely and effective implementation of new physician payment models."

Dr. Hood noted that primary care physicians would actually experience a net loss under MedPAC's plan, because their payment updates would not keep pace with inflation, and ancillary services and possibly hospital visits by primary care physicians would be subject to a nearly 17 percent cut over the next three years. "We anticipate that with such reductions, more primary care physicians deliver
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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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