FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2022
Statement attributable to:
Tochi Iroku-Malize, MD, MPH, MBA, FAAFP
American Academy of Family Physicians
“The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) is disappointed the end-of-year legislation fails to adequately address outdated Medicare physician payment. While the omnibus spending package mitigates 6.5 percent of Medicare payment cuts originally slated to take effect in 2023, physicians still face a 2 percent reduction in the 2023 Medicare conversion factor. The implementation of these cuts threatens the health care promises made to seniors and, left uncorrected, will reduce access to timely care for many.
“Coupled with inflation and rising practice costs, any payment cut puts untenable strain on family medicine and other physician practices. This ultimately worsens beneficiaries’ timely access to care, stalls progress toward value-based care and hastens health care consolidation. Congress must take action to ensure Medicare physician payment policies support comprehensive and continuous primary care, keep pace with increasing practice costs and stop the annual threat of Medicare cuts.
“It is imperative that lawmakers take concrete action on comprehensive Medicare payment reform so patients can access to the quality care they deserve, and physicians have the resources and flexibility they need.
“The end of year legislation included several provisions that move our nation closer to our goal of ensuring affordable, equitable and comprehensive care for all. We applaud the extension of Medicare telehealth flexibilities, including audio-only telehealth, through the end of 2024. This preserves patients’ access to virtual care and offers predictability for physicians.
“We also strongly support the requirement for states to continuously cover children in Medicaid and CHIP for 12 months—something the AAFP has long advocated for. Additionally, the legislation makes permanent a state option to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage for a full year. These changes will improve access to care, help family physicians maintain strong relationships with their patients and help address disparities in child and maternal health.
“The AAFP also is pleased to see investments and policies that will increase mental health care access. This legislation includes grant funding to support the adoption of the Collaborative Care Model, a small but important step toward expanding behavioral health integration into primary care. We’re also encouraged by new Medicare graduate medical education spots that can bolster the primary care and mental health workforce.
“The AAFP remains committed to working with the 118th Congress to identify and advance meaningful policies to ensure we have a robust primary care system to meet the needs of our growing and aging population.”
Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Iroku-Malize, contact Julie Hirschhorn, 202-655-4949, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 129,600 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 and the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, visit www.aafp.org. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.