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AAFP Statement: Preserving Patient Access to Primary Care Act
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
James King, M.D.
American Academy of Family Physicians
The American Academy of Family Physicians applauds Congresswoman Schwartz for introducing the Preserving Patient Access to Primary Care Act.
This bill takes a number of profound and important steps toward the goal of comprehensive health care reform. It acknowledges the importance of primary care in improving quality and controlling costs, and it recognizes the current and worsening shortage of primary care physicians.
Its proposed solutions: shore up primary care medical education; encourage our best and brightest students to choose family medicine, general internal medicine and general pediatrics careers; and thereby ensure that Americans have a personal physician to meet their health care needs.
Specifically, the bill:
- improves payment systems under Medicare to support, sustain, and enhance the practice of primary care;
- directs Medicare to pay for specific care coordination services that have been shown to improve outcomes for patients with chronic illnesses;
- requires that Medicare transition to a new payment methodology for qualified patient-centered medical homes by allowing qualified PCMH practices nationwide to receive monthly payment for care coordination to qualified beneficiaries;
- provides scholarships for students who agree to serve as primary care physicians (after residency) at critical shortage health facilities;
- provides for loan repayments and loan deferment for students who agree to serve as a primary care physicians (after residency) in critical shortage areas; and
- eliminates barriers to increased training in ambulatory settings.
AAFP calls on Congress to approve this legislation and pave the way for reforms that will help guarantee Americans can find a primary care doctor and have full access to the health care services they need. Congress With passage of this bill, Congress will contribute to meaningful change that will help us achieve real health care for all.
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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.
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