• Legislation to Block Clinical Labor Pricing Update Will Hurt Primary Care, Worsen Staffing Shortages

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
    November 23, 2021

    Statement attributable to:
    Sterling N. Ransone, Jr., MD, FAAFP
    President
    American Academy of Family Physicians

    “The American Academy of Family Physicians firmly supports the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ plans to modernize Medicare clinical labor pricing in 2022—a long overdue update that would support physician practices’ ability to hire and retain clinical staff.

    “However, the Medicare Stability for Patients and Providers Act (H.R. 6048) was recently introduced in Congress and would stop the clinical labor pricing update and prohibit CMS from updating this data. Halting this much-needed update of Medicare clinical labor pricing will undermine primary care practices’ ability to hire and retain nurses, medical assistants, and other essential clinical staff. This would result in lower Medicare payments to family medicine practices next year and worsen ongoing staffing shortages for years to come.

    “Clinical labor pricing is the portion of Medicare physician payments that account for the costs of employing nurses, medical assistants, and other essential clinical staff. The data CMS uses for clinical labor pricing hasn’t been updated since 2002, almost twenty years, negatively impacting primary care and other specialties that rely on these care team members every day.

    “Primary care physicians are counting on the clinical labor pricing update to protect practices and the patients we care for. Amid recruitment and retention struggles in the wake of widespread staff shortages, the AAFP strongly urges Congress to oppose H.R. 6048 and instead, support CMS' plan to begin updating clinical labor pricing in 2022 and embrace policies that strengthen primary care.”

     

    Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Ransone, contact Julie Hirschhorn, 202-655-4949, or jhirschhorn@aafp.org.

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    Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 133,500 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.