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Video Web Cast From IAFP Reveals the Consequences of Medicare Physician Payment Cuts
Date:11/28/2007

LISLE, Ill., Nov. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians has unveiled a video release to illustrate the devastating impact that upcoming Medicare physician fee cuts will have on family physicians and the patients they care for.

View the IAFP Video News Release at http://www.iafp.com/legislative/index.htm

There you can

-- WATCH the Academy in Action video telling Illinois family medicine's story.

-- READ the American Academy of Family Physicians' Medicare Physician Reimbursement policy, issued in Summer 2007

In November, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued their final report, calling for a 10.1 percent decrease in payments to physicians beginning January 1, 2008. The current system, which relies on a Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, calculates physician fees based on the Medicare budget, without regard to the costs physicians incur providing that care. This formula means reduced payments to physicians that will total a 15 percent cut over the next two years, and could add up to 40 percent by 2016. Physicians are demanding that the SGR be abandoned and replaced by a system that ensures physicians can afford to keep the Medicare patients they have now and add future patients as the number of Medicare eligible patients continues to rise.

"Unfortunately, family medicine is a business and has to be run like a business," said IAFP president Steven D. Knight, M.D. of Harrisburg, Ill. "If you don't run it like a business, you'll have to close the doors and no one gets care, which is not what we want."

For small practices, a reliable and fair system for physicians' services is critical for primary care physicians, because of the high number of Medicare patients they care for and the fact that most family doctors do not have the capital to absorb cuts in the payment for services.

"Cutting into a margin that is already pretty razor thin as it is makes it very difficult for us," said Matthew T. Johnson, M.D., a family physician in private practice in Park Forest, Ill.

The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, along with physicians from around the country, is calling on Congress to put a halt to the impending cuts and pass a two-year positive update to Medicare physician reimbursement rates. Congress is expected to take up the issue when they return to Capitol Hill beginning December 4. IAFP has sent the video to the Illinois Congressional delegation with a call for their support.

IAFP encourages the media to use the video news releases, in their entirety or using segments in their own reports to cover this important issue facing our seniors and their doctors in Illinois. The video includes interviews with Illinois family physicians and members of Congress from Illinois. Television stations can request a broadcast quality VNR version of the news release in their desired format by contacting Ginnie Flynn at the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians at gflynn@iafp.com or 630-435-0356 x118.

The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians can also connect you with any of the family physicians in the video to conduct your own interviews. The web site also includes links to Illinois Academy of Family Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians background information on each topic.

The Illinois Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP) is a professional medical society dedicated to maintaining high standards of family medicine representing over 4,000 family physicians, residents and medical students. IAFP provides members with practice-based support, education, government relations and public relations services.


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SOURCE Illinois Academy of Family Physicians
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