Family Physicians Support Health Care Payment Reform

Monday, Jan. 26, 2015

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 6052

LEAWOOD, Kan. — Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced measurable goals and a timeline to achieve payment reform in health care. The historic announcement outlined a plan to move the Medicare program, and the health care system at large, toward paying providers based on the quality, rather than quantity of care they give patients.

Douglas E. Henley, M.D., executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Academy of Family Physicians, joined nearly two dozen other leaders representing consumers, insurers, providers and business leaders for the announcement and shared remarks on behalf of the health care provider community.

HHS has set a goal to tie 30 percent of traditional, or fee-for-service, Medicare payments to quality or value through alternative payment models, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) or bundled payment arrangements by the end of 2016, and to tie 50 percent of payments to these models by the end of 2018. HHS also set a goal to tie 85 percent of all traditional Medicare payments to quality or value by 2016 and 90 percent by 2018 through programs such as the Hospital Value Based Purchasing and the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Programs.

This is the first time in the history of the Medicare program that HHS has set explicit goals for alternative payment models and value-based payments.

“These goals for payment reform are critical to achieving what family medicine is really all about: delivering the right care, at the right time, to the right person, in the right place,” said Henley.

He continued, “We recognize that the current fee-for-service payment model prohibits the realization of these goals to their fullest extent. This is why the AAFP has promoted and supported payment reform for some time, especially in the context of the patient-centered medical home. The current focus on fee for service payment must end and be replaced with better alternatives such as blended or prospective global payment models which promote value over volume. Our work to accelerate the adoption of the patient-centered medical home is all about transforming the delivery of comprehensive primary care to children, adolescents and adults.

“The AAFP and the family physicians of this nation stand ready to support the payment reforms critical to moving away from today’s health care enterprise to realize a true health care system that will deliver better care, better health, and do so at lower cost.”

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 136,700 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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