This is What Stability Looks Like: Proposed 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Statement attributable to:
Robert Wergin, MD
President
American Academy of Family Physicians

“Today’s release of the proposed 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule marks the beginning of health security for millions of elderly and disabled Americans who depend on Medicare. It’s the first time in more than a decade that federal law did not threaten their access to care with mandated, double-digit Medicare cuts in payment for physician care, thanks to passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.

“Instead of facing a devastating Medicare cut in payment for the care they provide, physicians will see a modest increase. But most important, physicians can focus on caring for their patients, and their patients can rest assured their care will not be interrupted.

“The AAFP strongly recommended that CMS establish advance planning codes that would pay for the medical expertise and physician time in helping patients and families develop care plans. Advance care plans help patients receive the care they want.

“Knowing a person’s wishes regarding medical care in advance eases patients’ and families’ burden as they grapple with difficult decisions in the face of life-limiting illness or injury. Helping families understand the medical underpinnings for such decisions requires deliberate conversations based on the family physician’s expertise. This service is a vital part of medical care that merits compensation, and we look forward to working with CMS to ensure inclusion in the physician fee schedule.

“Equally, we are pleased to see discussion of expansion of the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, and we look forward to submitting suggestions as CMS works to extend this program.

“All in all, the proposed 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule provides a first glimpse of stability in the Medicare system. Family physicians who treat Medicare patients appreciate the view and look forward to providing CMS with a formal regulatory response to their proposals.”

Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Wergin, contact Leslie Champlin,(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchampli@aafp.org.

 

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited 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(5 page PDF) 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).