• Academy Says House Bill Would Benefit Rural FPs, Patients

    Legislation Reconfigures Practice Expense, Geographic Practice Cost Indexes

    July 03, 2019 04:25 pm News Staff – The Academy has enthusiastically welcomed recently introduced legislation that aims to improve physician pipeline and payment issues.

    "The AAFP believes the bill would help address the shortage of physicians practicing in rural areas and thereby improve access to Medicare services for rural patients," said a June 3 letter(1 page PDF) signed by Board Chair Michael Munger, M.D., of Overland Park, Kan. "Its enactment would greatly benefit rural family physicians and their patients."

    Introduced June 18, the Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act of 2019 (H.R. 3302), would update and improve the accuracy of data used to calculate Medicare's practice expense and physician work geographic practice cost indexes.

    The Academy's letter to the bill's sponsor, Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, noted that the legislation aligned with key AAFP policy calling for the elimination of all geographic adjustment factors from the Medicare physician fee schedule except for those designed to achieve a specific public policy goal, such as encouraging physicians to practice in underserved areas.

    "GPCI floors reduce the geographic variations in Medicare payments, a step toward the elimination of geographic modifiers for which the AAFP advocates," the letter said.

    "We are particularly pleased that Section 3 of the bill increases the physician wage and practice expense GPCIs to 1.0 for any locality that would otherwise have an index value below that level."

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