AAFP Statement: Family Medicine Appreciates Efforts to Forestall Medicare Payment Cuts

Permanent Answer Needed, But Temporary Solution Prevents Patient Care Disruption

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Statement attributable to:
Ted Epperly, MD
Board Chair
American Academy of Family Physicians

“On June 1, family physicians and all physicians who provide health care services to Medicare beneficiaries, face once again an unsustainable reduction of more than 20 percent in their payments, unless Congress acts. While we all agree that Congress should permanently address the hopelessly flawed SGR formula that continues to threaten the stability of the Medicare program, the long-term solution is still not available. As we work on finding this solution, we appreciate the bipartisan, bicameral commitment of Congress to make sure the disruptive cuts don’t go into effect.

“The payment proposal offered by the House Ways and Means Committee recognizes the importance of allowing for growth in the services provided by primary care physicians, especially if we are to respond to the increased demand for these services as more Americans get covered by insurance. The data are clear that health care based on primary care will be both more efficient and more effective. The AAFP applauds the Committee for recognizing this and we urge Congress to approve this temporary update as quickly as possible.”

Editor’s Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Epperly, contact Leslie Champlin, 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).