The ‘House of Medicine’ Launches Effort to Ensure Access to Primary Care for Uninsured, Low-Income, Working Families

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Contact:
Leslie Champlin
Senior Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5224
lchampli@aafp.org

WASHINGTON — The American Academy of Family Physicians and 40 of its constituent chapters, joined four other national medical associations and their local chapters to launch a full-court press to preserve low-income, working families’ current and future access to health care.

The action came in a joint letter to Congress from the AAFP, the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Osteopathic Association as well as their state and local chapters. The letter urged Congress to oppose elimination of the Medicaid primary care payment increase.

At issue is a proposal that would prevent the scheduled 26.5 percent cut in Medicare physician payment by using funds set aside for bringing Medicaid payment for primary care services up to Medicare levels. Currently, Medicaid — whose payment rate varies by state— pays 66 percent of Medicare reimbursement on average. In 44 states, Medicaid pays less than Medicare rates for primary care services. The Medicaid-Medicare parity policy, which would go into effect Jan. 1, would close the gap between the two programs’ overall payment rates for primary care.

“Elimination of this policy further burdens the already challenged Medicaid system of today,” the joint letter says. “Patients will face obstacles to connecting with a patient-centered medical home and will be forced to rely on episodic, acute care services provided in other settings after the patient’s health has deteriorated, forgoing the more cost-effective coordinated and preventive care services that primary care physicians provide.”

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is nearly 214 million office visits each year — nearly 74 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.


To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).