Health Care Marketplace | American College of Physicians Proposes Primary Care Physician Payment Increases

The American College of Physicians on Monday proposed revisions to the U.S. health care system that would pay primary care physicians based on their coordination of care for patients, CQ HealthBeat reports. Under the proposal, to qualify for “patient-centered care” payments, physician practices would have to show an accrediting organization that they have systems in place to perform tasks such as generating reminders to patients to practice certain forms of preventive care, tracking the care delivered to patients with chronic diseases like diabetes and giving patients greater access to doctors through e-mail and phone calls. According to an ACP statement, patient-centered care “provides continuous access to a personal primary or principal care physician who accepts responsibility for treating and managing care for the whole patient through an advanced medical home.” The ACP proposal also seeks an expansion of a Medicare pilot project that reimburses physicians in certain states for providing a “medical home.” Other policy recommendations call for expanded coverage of the uninsured through expanding health insurance programs and allowing low-income U.S. residents to buy into the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Robert Doherty, senior vice president for government affairs at ACP, said that improved primary care can prevent unnecessary admissions to intensive care units and other forms of costly care. ACP president Lynne Kirk said the proposal addresses the “collapse of primary care medicine in America.” The group acknowledged that it would take time for the proposed changes to result in savings, CQ HealthBeat reports (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 1/23).
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