American Academy of Family Physicians Announces ‘Health Care for Everyone’ Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Contact:
Leslie Champlin
Senior Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5224
lchampli@aafp.org

CHICAGO -- Americans could find a family physician they like, name that doctor’s office as their medical home and assure themselves of comprehensive care under a plan announced today by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The plan was approved here today by the AAFP Congress of Delegates during its annual meeting.

Dubbed “Health Care for Everyone,” the plan would move patients out of a fragmented, duplicative and unnecessarily expensive system into one that provides comprehensive preventive care, coordinates subspecialty services and razes financial barriers to patient access to both.

“The AAFP plan centers on one principle – that everyone in the United States should have a patient-centered medical home from a well-trained personal physician, preferably a family physician,” said AAFP President Rick Kellerman, M.D. “America’s health care system must have primary care as its foundation, with the patient-centered medical home as its basic building block.”

Under the AAFP plan, primary care physician practices would be designated as a medical home under criteria decided upon by the AAFP, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians and the American Osteopathic Association and established by an independent, external entity.

The plan will improve care, rein in costs and enhance patient outcomes. Numerous studies have demonstrated that primary care-based health systems result in improved outcomes at less cost.

In addition to ensuring that patients have access to a medical home, the AAFP plan would reduce financial barriers to care. Patients would pay no copayments or deductibles for services provided by their medical homes: primary care, prenatal care, well-child care, immunizations, preventive services and hospice care. Patients would share financial responsibility for diagnostic tests and procedures not performed in the patient’s medical home, medications, hospitalization, durable medical equipment, emergency department visits, referrals and long-term care.

When personal out-of-pocket spending for these health care services exceeds a certain threshold (for example, $5,000 per family per calendar year), catastrophic financial protection will be provided.

“Ultimately, the goal is to ensure the good health of all Americans. Simply having an insurance card does not guarantee that,” said Kellerman. “That card must be accompanied by a health care system that offers a medical home, where people can develop a relationship with their doctors, work to prevent illness, and get high quality care when they become sick or injured. Insurance without access to a physician is not the solution. This plan ensures that health care is there when Americans need it.”

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 129,000 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.

To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).