American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association Applaud Bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
American Academy of Family Physicians
(913) 906-6000 ext. 5224
American College of Physicians
American Osteopathic Association
A top priority for each of our organizations is reform of the Medicare physician payment formula, specifically, repeal of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. For too many years, physicians have been subjected to an unpredictable and inequitable payment formula. The SGR formula fails to account accurately for physician practice costs and it is highly volatile. As a result, Medicare physician payments will be cut by 4.3 percent in 2006, with additional cuts projected for the next several years.
Chairwoman Johnson’s legislation addresses these concerns by replacing the volatile SGR formula with a more equitable and predictable payment formula based upon the Medicare economic index (MEI). It also includes provisions that promise every physician a positive payment update in 2006—guaranteeing an increase in payments for all physicians during the transition period from the current SGR formula to the new MEI-based formula.
We applaud Chairwoman Johnson’s commitment to moving Medicare toward a more quality-based health care system. This is an important step that will ensure beneficiaries receive the most appropriate health care services based upon the latest medical information, research, and technology. As primary care physicians, our members understand the importance of patient-centered quality health care and the positive long-term implications such care has for our patients.
Today’s health care consumers—including Medicare beneficiaries—demand that physicians and other health care providers provide the highest quality of care for every health care dollar spent. Our organizations recognize that quality improvement in the Medicare program is an important and worthy objective. We look forward to working with Congress to develop a quality-based program that protects the physician-patient relationship and promotes the delivery of quality health care.
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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 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 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.