AAFP Statement: Medicare Physician Fairness Act Promises Dependable Access to High Quality Health Care for America’s Elderly and Disabled Patients

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Statement Attributable to:
Lori Heim, MD
American Academy of Family Physicians

“The AAFP applauds the introduction of the Medicare Physician Fairness Act of 2009 (S. 1776). This legislation will end the annual struggle to ensure that America’s elderly and disabled patients have access to the physician services they need.

“This legislation addresses the seriously flawed sustainable growth rate formula on which Medicare physician payment is based and sets the stage for health care reform that provides access, improves quality and helps rein in costs.

“By resetting the sustainable growth rate formula on which Medicare now calculates the physician fee schedule and removing the debt that has accumulated over the past six years, we hope S. 1776 will enable Congress to establish a new payment system based on quality of care rather than quantity of services.

“The result of this legislation: dependable access to comprehensive and high-quality health care for elderly and disabled patients who depend on Medicare and the foundation of a reformed health care delivery system that focuses on good outcomes and efficiency.”

Editor’s note: To arrange an interview with Lori Heim, MD, contact Leslie Champlin, at 800-274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchampli@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 136,700 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest 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 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(familydoctor.org).