January 03, 2013 02:50 pm — In 2012, the AAFP continued to push for the elimination of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and for fundamental payment reform that would better recognize and reward the provision of primary care and family physician services. At the same time, the AAFP strove to protect and preserve programs that are vital to primary care and family medicine and the nation's health care system as a whole. In late Dec. 2011, Congress passed a two-month extension of the Medicare physician payment rate that postponed a 27.4 percent reduction in Medicare physician payment until March 1. As a result, physicians again were facing a steep reduction in the Medicare physician payment rate called for by the SGR as 2012 began.Full Story »
2012: Year in Review
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01/03/2013 — Passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 created a number of challenges for primary care, not the least of which was providing enough primary care physicians to care for the millions more patients that would be insured according to provisions in the ACA. All bets on the future of the ACA, however, were suspended when it faced legal challenges that ended up in the Supreme Court in 2012 and when it faced the possibility of full repeal depending on the outcome of the national election.
01/02/2013 — The AAFP played a key role in new recommendations for immunizations and clinical preventive services that came down the pike in 2012. Meanwhile, the Academy wholeheartedly threw its support behind helping veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and related ailments and ramped up its efforts to combat the rise of opioid abuse. Family physicians and other health care professionals also found themselves in a reactive mode last year, as different disease outbreaks and other public health threats swept across portions of the country.
01/02/2013 — Family physicians saw some doors swing open in 2012 as major players in America's health care system set to work planning for implementation of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A variety of new payment models -- primarily designed to benefit primary care physicians -- went into testing mode, and phrases such as accountable care organization and Comprehensive Primary Care initiative became mainstream in health care circles.