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Medicine's small business practices should be supported by federal budget
Date:3/18/2009

Washington - Speaking from his perspective as a physician who practiced for nearly 30 years in a small medical practice in rural Virginia, Jeffrey P. Harris, MD, FACP, president of the American College of Physicians (ACP) testified today before the House of Representatives Committee on Small Business.

"About half of our members who are involved in direct patient care are in practices of five or fewer physicians and 20 percent of these physicians are in solo practices," the president of ACP told the committee. "It is critical, then, to fund a 'fix' to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR - the flawed Medicare reimbursement formula) and to provide adequate funding for primary care and health reform."

Testifying at a hearing, The President's Budget and Medicare: How Will Small Providers be Impacted?, Dr. Harris urged Congress to take advantage of an historic opportunity to adopt a budget that will help physicians in smaller practices provide the best possible care to patients.

"Even though decades of research tell us that primary care is the best medicine for better health care and lower costs," Dr. Harris declared, "the current U.S. health care system fails to support policies and payment models to help primary care survive and grow."

One of ACP's main priorities over the past several years has been urging Congress to reform the SGR, the committee was told. Along with accounting for the true costs associated with providing updates that keep pace with practice costs, it is a bigger priority than ever.

"President Obama's budget is a marked departure from past practices," Dr. Harris noted. "It acknowledges what we all know to be true, which is that preventing pay cuts to doctors will require that Medicare baseline spending be increased accordingly."

ACP contends that once the true costs are accounted for in the budget, Congress and the administration should enact a long-term solution that will permanently elimina
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Contact: David Kinsman
dkinsman@acponline.org
202-261-4554
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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