AAFP Statement: Improved, Comprehensive Care Took Step Forward with Announcement of Medicare Pilots

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Statement attributable to:
Roland Goertz, MD, MBA
American Academy of Family Physicians

The formal launch of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation paves the way for new models of delivering and paying for health care that will have goals of improving quality and safety of care and lowering costs. It is apparent the Innovation Center is committed to getting input from stakeholders as it works to find the models that will improve the health and provide care that patients want and need. One of the first initiatives announced, the Multi-Payer Advanced Primary Care Practice Demonstration, will further explore the patient-centered medical home model in eight states.

The Innovation Center is integral to ensuring that the transformation of our health care delivery system is based on models that have effectively achieved improved patient outcomes, cost efficiencies and community health. These initial pilot programs will move the nation toward comprehensive, coordinated health care for patients and away from our current fragmented, duplicative and costly sickness care model. They emphasize the value of primary care as the keystone to a high quality, efficient health care system.

Since 2006, the American Academy of Family Physicians has called for transforming our health care system by implementing the patient-centered medical home. We applaud the launch of these pilot programs as they involve multiple payers — Medicare, Medicaid and private health plans. To date, a significant challenge to larger-scale adoption has been the fragmentation of our payment system, and the failure of public and private payers to participate in coordinated PCMH pilots. The new initiatives are a major step toward making patient-centered medical homes available to all patients.

The AAFP further applauds and urges continuance of the commitment of the innovation center to continuously involve stakeholders and build partnerships to foster rapid implementation of successful new models of care. This meeting of health care providers, business and consumer groups, and private payers is an important demonstration of collaboration.

Editor’s Note: To schedule an interview with Roland Goertz, MD, MBA, please contact Leslie Champlin, 800-274-2237, Ext. 5224, or lchampli@aafp.org.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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