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AAFP Calls on Budget Committee to Eliminate SGR in Deficit-reduction Plan
By News Staff
The bipartisan committee has been tasked by Congress with developing a plan to achieve federal budget cuts and possible revenue increases. If the government fails to enact the committee's recommendations by Dec. 23, across-the-board cuts totaling $1.2 trillion in will be automatically triggered.
In the letter, Heim reminds committee members about the role primary care plays in restraining health care costs and improving quality. For example, she notes, there is growing evidence that the patient-centered medical home and accountable care organization, or ACO, models "can reduce total (medical) costs by 7-10 percent, largely by reducing avoidable hospitalizations and emergency room visits."
- The AAFP is calling on the newly formed Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to eliminate the current Medicare physician payment formula and provide primary care physicians with a higher payment rate.
- According to a letter from the AAFP to the committee members, primary care physicians play a vital role in restraining health care costs and improving quality.
"The key factor across all of these (systems) is increased investments in the primary care setting. Based on the early results of these experiments, we believe that increasing primary care payments so that they represent 10-12 percent of total health care spending to improve access to a broader array of services will more than offset the cost of the investment."
Press Kit Describes Impact of SGR Cut on Physician Services, Patient Care
Such a large cut likely would force many family physicians to close their offices, which would disrupt care to thousands of Medicare patients and leave entire communities without primary care physicians, according to the AAFP.
The press kit includes information on the role primary care physicians play in augmenting quality of care and helping control costs and the impact a 25 percent or greater cut in Medicare physician payment would have, including results of an AAFP survey of FPs on what would happen to their practices if the SGR-based cuts were to go into effect.
Heim also calls for rebalancing the nation's health care delivery system. "The United States has built a health care system that focuses on acute care at the expense of preventive care, coordination of care and chronic disease management," says Heim. "This imbalance means that we rely on the fee-for-service (model), which rewards volume and disregards care management and cognitive medical skills provided by primary care physicians."
Deficit-reduction Plan Must Eliminate SGR, Says AAFP